When Dennis passed in January 2015, family and friends started asking if I was moving back to Houston. My answer was emphatically no. I needed stability. With both my brother and husband passing away 5 weeks apart, I needed stability and purpose and work here in Oklahoma City was providing that need; it was a good escape and distraction to all that life had dealt me. When we moved back to OKC the end of 2013, it was a God ordained move and I was resolute that I would be here until another God move. When our apartment lease came due in August 2015, it made sense to downsize to a 1 bedroom apartment but I could not endure another change or loss. My mental and emotional health dictated a renewal of my lease so I signed a 7 month lease to give me additional time.
When my Mom passed November 2015, the questions came again. I have always seen myself caring for my parents in their old age and yet when the opportunity presented itself, I felt led to stay put in Oklahoma City. I can't explain, other than I felt peace about staying in Oklahoma City and you can't go wrong when you follow God's peace. When my lease declaration came due in January 2016, I prayed that God would provide the length of lease that I needed. I felt like I was ready to handle a major life change and downsizing made sense. The apartments offered me a 3 month lease, which would end in June and allow me time to pack and prepare for moving. I was not sure where I would be moving come June, whether into a smaller apartment or back to Houston but I would be ready with an extra 3 month period of preparation.
As I began to prepare to downsize, I started hearing Australia and it just seemed crazy to me. As I prayed, it was no longer a pipe dream or crazy idea but something God was growing in my heart. I told no one but continued to put it before God in prayer. I told the Lord I would need confirmation to be able to step out like that.
Be careful what you ask for, as God is faithful to provide validation for our doubt and unbelief. I went to Louisiana for a weekend of down time and ended up being prophesied over multiple times. Pastor Marlice prophesied a new assignment, which would be global. I had several validations during that Valentine's Day weekend that my new assignment would be Australia.
In a matter of just a few months, I have been able to not only accept another major life change but begin to execute that life change. I have downsized by selling most of my possessions and my job has given me a 3 month leave of absence and the ability to work online as needed. Friends have helped me sell belongings, pack, and encourage me to step out. Family has been accepting and supportive of this move. Each obstacle I have encountered has been overcome.
I can tell you that Australia was not my dream in any way shape or form. When we did our dream exercise in Discovery Training, Dennis and I had the same dream. We saw ourselves ministering together in Africa and Israel. That dream disappeared January 4, 2015 when Dennis gained his ultimate dream to see the face of Jesus. When losing your partner, it is difficult to dream new dreams. All your dreams and hopes are gone and unrealized. To dream again is too risky and feels like the rug might be ripped out from under your feet...again. It is too painful to imagine experiencing that kind of loss again, so survival dictates that dreaming is a thing of the past and safely you keep status quo.
The truth is that God is the dream giver and dream executor. God's dreams for me were greater than I had the heart or ability to dream for myself. I had settled and the Lord had to strip much out of my life for me to consider losing everything for His plans for me. Had I not lost everything over the past several years, I would have allowed what I had to overtake the dreams and destiny He had for me. God took care of that for me. It is hard to admit that I had relinquished my dreams of long ago. Missionary work was my dream and once I married Dennis, I had incorporated him into my dream. Somewhere along the way, the dream had morphed. Without Dennis it was no longer a dream. That was a wrong belief that I had taken on. My dream of missionary work was not contingent upon Dennis. It was contingent upon my obedience and surrender to God's desire. How grateful I am that God not only placed the desire within me, but fanned it again when I was no longer capable of fanning the flame. He placed the desire back in me, gave confirmations, provided support, and removed barriers.
When I left Africa in 2001, I cried as I wanted to stay there and did not want to come home. I had found my passion in the mission field. I came home and as each door closed to be able to return, I allowed that dream to dissipate. Marrying Dennis revived that hope and with his passing, it felt gone forever.
We have to be careful what wrong beliefs we allow to creep into our thinking. I am filled with awe and gratitude as I watch God orchestrate my life to give me the dreams of my heart again. What felt like disappointments, betrayals, failures, and loss have all been refining tools to prepare me for this next assignment.
I don't know how long I will be in Australia. It may a a 3 month assignment or a lifelong assignment, but this I do know, the Lord has assigned and planned each step of my life in this day and this hour and I just need to surrender and trust that He will use my life in the way that He has ordained it. My heart's cry has been that I would fulfill the purpose of my creation. To do so, I have to erase all my limited thinking and limiting behavior and recognize I serve a limitless God.
So Australia it is for now. God is sovereign and in control...and I am dreaming again.