Becoming a Vessel for Spirit to Work Through Us
28.05.2013 - 20.07.2013
"Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness if only we had perfect confidence in the Power we were obeying.”
Hannah Whitall Smith
It’s Friday morning. One day after arriving in Portland, Oregon. We are sitting in a slightly dirty motel room. We are wondering what God has in store for us now. Knowing this is another test of faith, we still resist it slightly. We have no internet connection, no phone, and no way of knowing where to go or what to do; we are not in control. We can’t use our pop-up camper because of a city rule about RVs needing to be self-containing. We can’t find a tent campground; they’re either full or too far away. We are hungry too. It’s time for breakfast. So we start to drive. We have a very tiny map of Portland in our road atlas and try to decide which way to go, searching for a café…
Our journey up to now has brought us to this point, we know this. We know God is asking us to trust in Him to guide us to where we need to go. But man, it’s hard! All our programming tells us that we are in control of our lives. What are we doing?!? Why is it so hard to “let go” and let God lead us?
We’ll get back to this morning in just a minute. Let’s back up now, and bring you all up to speed, to how we got here in the first place. Last you heard, we were in Missouri. We had visited three different intentional communities, all very different from one another. We ultimately decided to keep journeying. We didn’t feel we were done yet. We really liked Sandhill Farm community in Missouri, and still may go back there to visit again, but felt called to check out one more community near Eugene, OR called Circle of Children. We’ll be headed there the beginning of August. Until then, we trucked it across the Great Plains and Rockies, visiting Yellowstone along the way, to make it to Spokane, Washington, where we would stay with Jessica’s family for a few weeks.
After a long and exhausting week traveling, we made it to Spokane. We were ready to take it easy for awhile, relax and let the grandparents smother Elijah with hugs and kisses. But alas! God had other plans for us, as we’ve become accustomed to now. Just as we thought we would relax in Florida when we came back from Peru, God decided we were not done learning and growing (and never will be). We won’t go into the details. Long story short, this whole journey up until now has been about ridding ourselves of our egos, attachments, and the illusion of control in our lives. We said in the beginning we were giving our lives up to follow God/Spirit wherever he may lead us, and He took us seriously.
If you’ve forgotten, we’ll sum it up nicely for you. First, we gave away or sold everything we owned, down to one backpack for the three of us. This got rid of our attachment to things, stuff, material possessions, plain and simple. Next, we left the country, our friends and family, the comforts of our “home” and everything familiar. That stripped us of many attachments, like TV, phones, the English language, our urban farm, our culture, etc. the list goes on as you can guess. Then, there were little lessons along the way, like when Jessica has a freak reaction to a sunburn that left her looking like Quasimodo for three days straight. If she had any attachment to how she looked, it was gone after that. Or one we didn’t mention yet, when Tracy got giardia for about two months, lost 20 pounds, and some days couldn’t get out of bed at all. If he was at all attached to a sense of strength, well-being, or “manliness,” it was definitely lost then. We’ve had little reminders from God that he is looking out for us and keeping us on our path. In Spokane, the message was the same. We needed to empty ourselves of our former identities, our egos. These are false senses of self and ultimately unfulfilling. What we needed was to get out of the way and let the Spirit fill us to make us whole again, truly whole, to be in touch with God. But all we felt at this point was empty.
Where was this Spirit that was supposed to fill us and where was God??
That’s when we really “let go” and cried out to God to fill us up with His love and His Spirit. We had little to nothing left. We couldn’t go any further trying to figure it out ourselves; we couldn’t doubt His plan for us anymore. We need God in our lives. And it was that simple. Of course, there are ups and downs to anything, good and bad days, but after that moment of ultimate surrender, life has been a little better every day. We know God is taking care of us, no matter what. That’s what Jesus was talking about when he said you must take up the cross and die each day. If ever a doubt, a negative thought, a worry comes into your mind, simply give it to God. And it really goes away!! We’re not kidding! For a long time, we were still holding onto this idea that we knew better, that we had to make a plan, but when you really give it all up to God, life is way easier!
Back to our story. We had just arrived in Portland and God was giving us the ultimate test of faith. What would we do in a situation where we forced to rely on God’s divine guidance? Would we panic? Would we stress out because we couldn’t look up a map, or Google a place to eat breakfast or stay the night? Would we just leave town because we could camp somewhere else instead? If you asked us a few months ago, the answer to those questions probably would have been, “Heck yes!” But no, we decided to stay relatively calm and let God literally guide us to where we needed to be.
So we drove. And ended up at a small café in NE Portland which (of course) didn’t have wifi. So we ate. And as we were eating and enjoying our breakfast, a little girl about Elijah’s age and her mother sat next to us. Naturally the toddlers brought us all into conversation. “How old is he?” “What’s her name?” You know, the usual.
Some believe that in every encounter we have with another human being there is a message for and from each individual, but it’s up to us to figure what those messages are.
Then just as they were getting ready to leave, the mother speaks up. “Do I know you from somewhere (to Jessica)? You look really familiar.”
Some also believe that when you recognize a stranger or get a sense that you know someone when you don’t, the Universe is trying to tell us something about the encounter. There is a message, a connection to be made, if we would just listen…
“No, we actually just got into town yesterday,” Jessica replies. It’s at this point that both of us knew that God was trying to work His magic through this conversation. After a little small talk about our current situation, the mother says with a slight hesitation, “I know this is a little weird, but we have an extra bedroom you could stay in.” And that was that.
So here we are now, staying with this wonderful little family. We ended up having so much in common with them, it can’t be a coincidence. This is Divine Intervention at its finest. We have children three weeks apart in age. We practice attachment parenting, like breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc. Okay so far, you could say that is just coincidence. We’re in Portland for one and lots of people do that here. But then it gets strange. They are also looking for intentional community, have very similar spiritual beliefs, want to live off the grid, and grow their own food! They actually just put a “meet up” request on meetup.com for fellow community seekers because they had recently been feeling so isolated from living and being with others.
So if that’s not proof that God exists and still works in our lives today, we don’t know what is. We’re convinced. And from now on, we’re giving every doubt, worry or problem over to God. We want to be vessels for God’s love and Spirit to work through us. He’s got a much better plan for our lives. Until next time!!
Elijah had his 1st Birthday
Hot Springs and Yellowstone