Redding, Ca and Bethel Church have been on my heart and mind for a very long time. Apparently longer than I even realized. I thought it started on this trip, at this moment, at one of the most epic coffee shop's -- (and I don't say that trendy word lightly) Daylight Mind (pictured below). It overlooks the beautiful Hawaiian ocean, in Kona. I was visiting a very dear sister who was in her first term at YWAM. So here the story begins...or so I thought...
I remember sitting there with my journal in the mornings and some afternoons with Hannah after sessions with Holly at Ywam and just looking out at this massive expansive ocean and asking God...what next? I could see His amazing love and grace tidal waving down upon me with each wave that came crashing against the massive rocks beneath me. We would read His Word and ponder all the speakers notes from the day and the adventures we were on together in Kona and all God was speaking to each of our hearts and share them together.
It was a destiny trip if I ever had one. I wrote down..."Bethel? School of Ministry? Is that next God? Where do you want me?" I knew it was a strong tug...but the timing did not seem right. The seed had been firmly planted in the soil of my heart though and God was going to take His time patiently watering and growing, equipping, and strengthening each root for a solid foundation. It seems really crazy in hindsight but not really thought because, "Many are the plans of a man's (woman's) heart, but the Lord determines (her) steps."- Proverbs 16:9 My plans seemed to be going one way and His were this all along, they were this the whole time. Little did I know. How cool is that though?! All I have to do now is step into them? Submit to His will and His best follows. Seems simple right? Well should be. Our emotions can get in the way sometimes. So fast forward three years later and I am at WorshipU-- life-changing two weeks of my forever! More on that later. God is literally saying. I got you right where I want you girl. Oh boy. I can feel it. That seed is turning into a giant oak tree. Right before my eyes and there is nothing I can do but watch it grow grow grow and display HIS splendor and majesty and mystery. I want more...MORE GOD.
Date marked Feb 2014. Okay so I guess it was four years ago I was already interested and reaching out to Bethel. Very interesting. But let's be real. God places desires in our hearts before the foundations of the earth, when He forms us in our mother's wombs. Amazing how it all comes into fruition though...a beautiful and glorious unfolding. He can see the whole extraordinary mosaic, we only see a small little pixel at a time, right in front of us and sometimes even that is foggy. Just keep trusting and obeying. One foot in front of the next. Following the leader. He illuminates the path before us. His Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto our path.- Psalm 119:105. I can remember so clearly coming back from Kona and feeling like I was in the cave with Jesus, like David. He was hiding me beneath the shadow of His wings. Rooting those seeds deeply and even though it felt dark and I wasn't quite sure what the next step was-- I didn't have the Godly vision yet-- He was still working on watering and growing and needed to work on me a whole lot in the beauty from ashes process. I wrote down in my journal several times in bold print NOW IS THE TIME. June 8th 2015
I kept hearing NOW IS THE TIME tugging on my heart from God, but was not sure what all it meant or necessarily entailed. I just felt the weight of it and how seriously He was taking this process of sanctification and heart preparation. Then fast forward three years later, as I am driving up the hill to Bethel's campus going to WorshipU one morning-- I look over at the church signage and there it is. NOW IS THE TIME of God's favor, today is the day of salvation."- 2 Corinthians 6:2. Whew. I got chills. I was already seeking the Lord deeply and singing my prayers to Him on the drive over to school (some of my favorite times with Him ever are in the car and on the drives). At this pointed I started to cry, because that was the only day I had looked over at the church sign. The next day I looked again because I wanted to take a picture of it, but they changed it. Duh- they change it daily. Which made it that much more valuable that God had me look at it that very day, that very MOMENT,-- driving up the hill to Bethel, school of Worship-- the seed He started revealing to me in 2014 and that He planted in my heart when He knit me together. What a God, what Father! What extravagant love, and stories He unfolds for His glory. Oh this is just the beginning...I have so many more God stories to share--- but you can tell where this is leading I am sure. So much more to come. I can't write it all in one sitting. I have tried and the task is overwhelming. It feels like a novel, so my grandma ever so sweetly gave me some wisdom bombs and took the pressure off. She reminded me I can just share little by little. One post at a time-- they will all tie together. Very similar to God's big beautiful mosaic. So here is a little glimpse of a pixel for now. He is piecing it all, and I can't wait to get back and write more and witness of His GREATNESS, GOODNESS, LOVE and MIRACLES! Clearly He is rocking my world and I want to share and praise Him and give Him some major GLORY -- all the glory He deserves because I cannot contain or keep this to myself!!! "We are not meant to contain the glory" - Bill Johnson
Love always, Mal