One night, when I was seven years old, I had a dream...
It was a vivid dream of a group of beautiful black faces, smiling, singing, and chattering in a foreign language. It was in that dream I heard what I believed to be the voice of God say, “I have my hand on your life. You are a child of destiny.” As a little girl, that dream was weighty and not something I was eager to tell my friends or family for fear of being misunderstood. Instead, it was something I hid deep in my heart, and it influenced and directed many of my life choices. In secret, I hoped God would open doors for me to do something meaningful for His Kingdom. I sensed that someday I would be a missionary or an educator in Africa.
"Be careful, he's the one!"
In my first year of college, I had another dream, and the Lord clearly showed me my husband, Ray Noah, and said, "This is who you will marry." When I finally met Ray in person, I was terrified! I had dreamed of him a year before, and I wasn’t ready to be married. I grew up in a small town in Aumsville, Oregon, and I wasn't knowingly aware of women who had received their 4-year college degree. I desperately wanted to make something of my life and completing my education was part of that plan. To add to my confusion, Ray’s calling and plans for his future were not the calling God had shown me as a little girl. So, what was a girl to do? After many tears, conversations, and prayers, the Lord whispered to my heart, "Trust me. Ray is the man you are to marry."
Two weeks later, we visited my parents, and within minutes of meeting Ray, my mother said with a wink, "Be careful, he’s the one!" My parents were praying people, and her words gave me confidence. I tucked the dream of missions deep into my heart, and within a year, Ray and I "tied the-knot," and we began our first year of ministry together. Over the years, missions has been an important part of our ministry, but not something we were preparing to do full-time. The dream of my childhood rested quietly in my heart.
Fast forward to today, and on April 11, 2021, we resigned as Lead Pastors from Portland Christian Center — the church, the people, the family we deeply love with every part of our heart. To do what? To become full-time missionaries as the founders of Petros Network. Petros Network equips indigenous leaders to plant churches and provide compassion and care in unreached and highly underserved communities. As we have processed this decision, I have had moments of panic and even sadness as we step away as Lead Pastors.
On one Sunday morning, I was in one of my full panics. (I am such a human!) At the end of the service, the guest speaker called out my name and gave a prophetic word, "The child is a child of destiny. She will be ok." The congregation may have thought this cryptic word was quite strange, but I was immediately brought back to that little girl moment at seven years of age, and I began to weep. “We are going to be ok. God is working all things together for this child’s destination.”
God will fulfill His purpose in you...
God's timing is a mystery. He often doesn't do things according to our timetable. Yet, His Word promises He will not be late even a single day.
"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3).
When I read the scriptures and learn about Moses or Joseph, I see two men who believed God had something meaningful for them to do, but circumstances appeared to be far from grand, and in fact, quite disappointing! Moses, destined to lead the Israelites out of captivity, took matters into his own hands and in his anger killed the Egyptian overseer who was beating one of the Israelite workers. He then fled to Midian for 40 long years before God appeared in the burning bush and called him to confront Pharoah and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
And then there was Joseph. God gave Joseph vivid dreams, but in his immaturity, he boasted about the dreams to his brothers. Their reaction to those dreams, and the favoritism of their father, was to sell Joseph into slavery where he eventually became a steward to Potiphar. There, Potiphar’s wife accused him of seducing her. Joseph was thrown into prison for 15 years before he interpreted Potiphar’s dream and was appointed to be governor of Egypt. During a season of extreme famine, his divine leadership appointment saved Egypt and his own Israelite family.
Detours, bumps, God uses everything!
Did Moses’ and Joseph’s disobedience or pride detour God’s timing on their calling? Possibly. Were the detours and delays used as God’s development ground for leadership? Probably so.
There is a lot we can’t be sure of, but we can be confident of this, God will complete the work He has begun in us (Phillippians 1:6), even when there have been some bumps in the road.
Perhaps Moses’ and Joseph’s delays were part of God’s divine plan of growing them and maturing them for the greatness of the task he had set before them. Perhaps that is your story too. When God directs our paths sometimes, it can look like he takes us on a winding road when, in reality, he is using every turn to prepare us for his divine appointment.
Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." I would not trade my history for anything, the ups, the downs, the successes, and the failures. When we allow Him to, God uses every part of our story to transform us into His likeness and for His glory. Besides, if we planned our own lives, I am pretty sure we would plan them way too small.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Set your sights on doing God’s will wherever you are, in whatever season you find yourself in." When you do this, you can sing like the Psalmist in Psalm 31:14, "But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands."
God's ways are perfect. You. Can. Trust. Him!
I love music. It soothes my soul and speaks to my heart. Driven by Love by Lindy & The Circuit Riders tells the story of the compelling call upon my heart as we take this next adventure. Enjoy!