Saturday, February 23, 2013

California to Cowgirl {some very big news}


Jesus was known for a lot of things.

But one of them was not predictability.

He usually said the thing least expected, chose the least worthy, and made his biggest moves when, according to the religious leaders, it seemed the most scandalous.

One thing I've learned over the years is that if you are walking with Jesus and putting Him first in your life, never, for a minute, can you think you may be exempt from being called into a wild, unexpected adventure. In fact, I think the unexpected ones are possibly His favorite types of callings. Just look at all the best Bible stories; the more outlandish the story, the more all signs point to Him and His glory.

How many times have you heard a believer say something like,

"Ya know, I never would have thought I'd become a pastor..."

"I never in all my life expected I'd be ministering to women who have gone through what I have..."

"Who would have guessed that we'd be pursuing adoption..."

Well you can add my latest sentiment to the list:

In a million years, I'd never have guessed we'd be moving to Montana.

But we are. Yep, you heard right. This born-and-raised California girl and my born-and-raised surfer guy are going on a grand adventure led by the Lord Himself. To Montana. Where we don't know a single person, there is no ocean, and there IS lots and lots and lots of snow. (My initial reaction was something like, 'Wait, but that's at the very top!" Meaning top of the U.S. Meaning really, really cold. Mind you, I start to freeze somewhere around 65 degrees.)

It is a long story. But the short version is that in obedience to God's crazy promptings, last fall, my husband took a leap of faith to resign from his job, unsure of what exactly would come next, but very sure that God was doing a new thing in our family.

As we prayed and prayed for clarity and direction, God closed every door but one. And after He left the Montana door wide open, He began to bring confirmations - one after another - that this is what He'd planned for us. Looking back, it was a miracle in and of itself that God was speaking the same things to both my husband and I about His will, blanketing us with peace and reassurance and grace enough to walk us through.

I suspect this is how He rolls, now, when He places on His children such radical callings: that He paves the road in peace. Not that the calling is easy to fulfill and the process is smooth. But it is peaceful, which does not mean the absence of conflict. Peace means being able to maintain the Lord's vision and trust Him - a peace of the soul - when the circumstances are not easy.

Romans 12:2 says:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This verse doesn't say that God's will is easy. It says that it is good and acceptable and perfect. That's exactly how I feel about His calling us to Montana and the way in which He has prepared us for this time. It is fully acceptable because His character is always good, and He knows what we need. And we could not have discerned His will without distancing ourselves from wordly thinking and priorities - in other words, we had to lay aside our own agendas and trust that He knows best.   

Incidentally, my husband and I visited Montana a couple of weeks ago, and I found out one thing we need is one of these. I don't even know what it's called. Some sort of ice removal tool. And we need a manual on how to use it. We know nothing about icy windshields! And apparently, there is a way to WALK on ice. Yeah, I don't know how to do that either.

So there's the big news! At my house right now, we are an electric mixture of nervous excitement, intermittent panic, blissful ignorance, and hopeful expectation of what the Lord will do with our four lives as we travel halfway across the country, come April.

The packing is a total nightmare. My least favorite part. Everything is disheveled, and I don't have time to blog or craft or sew or read to my kids or cook a decent meal or ANYTHING that I like to do. Notice I haven't blogged hardly at all lately.

But I do have peace in my heart, the kind that comes from knowing I am in the center of God's will. The kind that comes from feeling Him smile at me and whisper, "You have no idea what good things I have in store for you."

I'm hoping that what He has in store maybe includes one of these cute wagons.

I mean, why not? It's Montana. M-O-N-T-A-N-A. Wow. I'm still wrapping my mind around this adventure.

I can't wait to share with you the ways in which God shows up there. Because I bet we don't know the half of what He plans to do in and with our lives.

This next chapter in the story of my faith is already quite the page turner.



  1. i hope you get a pair of chaps.

  2. Whoa! That's so exciting! I'm sure Montana winters will be quite an adjustment!

    I actually have a blog friend who lives in Montana. Her name is Mackenzie and she blogs at Life of a Pint-Sized Mama. I'm not sure what part of MT she lives in but I'm sure she'd be more than happy to connect with you!

  3. Hah! I agree with Shauna. I mean, if you have a wagon you MUST have chaps, right?
    God is stretching your boundaries....I cant wait to see your journey unfold!

  4. Wow, that's really exciting! By the way, it's an "ice scraper". Hehe... I too live at the top of the country. You'll get used to it and love the snow, but it's the windchill you'll need to learn all about. Love that you are stepping out and following God's plan for your family. I look forward to seeing what's in store for you. I think you need a cowboy hat too oh and some gorgeous real cowboy boots.

  5. WOW! What part of MT? I have a friend near Kallispell...also near Whitefish and she's such a love. I'm sure she'd get you connected. And MT might be cold, but it's gorgeous!!

    I loved what you said at the beginning of this post about God being unexpectant. I JUST said the other day that HE is totally into the drama!! We are in the middle of moving here...moving there...we have NO IDEA, not to mention I'm 7.5 weeks from having my FOURTH kid! We got a lot of vague answers and feelings of peace this week that He really is working for us...we weren't quite sure. And we just KNOW that He's going to swoop in and do something amazing right at the end. DRAMATIC!

  6. Ahhhh... Leslie. I'm so incredibly excited for you guys. I know this excitement and high of following The Lord into the unknown and it will not be easy but it will be worth it. Cannot wait to follow along with you on this. Wish I was close enough to help you pack, etc. Oh, and my hubs would die. In a good way. He's always wanted to visit Montana. I think it has to do with hunting. ;)

  7. Wow! How exciting!! I have to say, your comments about the ice scraper cracked me up. I had to read it to my husband! :) So glad you're experiencing such peace about your decision. There's just nothing like KNOWING you're in the center of His will! :) Praying for you as you and your family make this transition!

  8. So relate to the peace of when God is doing a BIG NEW THING - I just think that I went into it with quite a bit of kicking and screaming - and maybe a little pouting too - when God moved us. :) Praying for you. I remember having lists of lists to get through. :)

  9. Beautifully written! I can definitely relate. We moved to Minnesota 6 years ago when my husband received a job offer where close to the ocean or the sunshine I grew up with! what an exciting adventure :)

  10. girl, i hear all of this. praise jesus for his peace in the midst of crazy!
    thrilled for y'all, obeying and walking into this new path. i am excited to see the lord grow your sweet family in rich dependence on HIM. praying for you, you are a champion!

    also, laughing heartily at the ice ignorance LOL

  11. Oh boy. You weren't kidding when you said God was working in your lives a while ago!
    I'm excited for you, and so happy that I will at least meet you one time at the Mops meeting :) After that, we will have to have coffee dates in heaven.

  12. When I was 11, my parents packed up our house in Michigan and moved us far away to Idaho where we knew nobody. It wasn't until 10 years later when my dad was able to lead his best friend to the Lord that we knew without a shadow of a doubt that was why we needed to move to Idaho.

    I don't know what it's like to make such a big move as a mom but I do know what it's like as a kid. Your kids will be okay. This summer will mark 25 years since we moved here. I'm so thankful my parents listened & obeyed when the Lord put the outlandish idea of Idaho on their hearts. The Lord blesses obedience and we've been blessed beyond measure! Like you said, it's not always going to be easy but you better believe it's going to be worth it!

    P.S. It's beautiful up in this part of the country! You'll love it!

  13. !!!!!
    maybe you should swing by WI and i'll teach you everything i know about ice and cold! :)
    what an amazing journey He has you on!
    i am seriously excited to follow His leading in your life and to see Him use you for His glory, no matter where you live!

  14. Yes!! This is so exciting to my heart. I am so thankful for the 2 meet-ups we had while you lived are a lady I have come to respect and look up to as a godly wife and momma, and I hope that my faith and trust in Jesus is just a smidge of what you have. Can't wait to see pics and hear stories of all your adventures!! And I am packing right now, too...we're just moving 10 minutes down the road, but I can kinda sympathize. I'll be praying.

  15. What a crazy turn of events! But I know God has great things for y'all, and I'm excited to read along. Also, saw you were speaking at the Hope Spoken conference, which is super exciting. I live in the Dallas area, so fingers crossed, I will be able to make it. Looks like it will be amazing!

  16. wow, california from montana! it makes me smile as i read how you relied on God's voice and guidance because although His plans sometimes sound crazy to us, He always has such a great plan for His children. I'm sure whatever He has in store will be such an amazing story for His glory!

  17. awesome!!! i love reading about it with you. you will quickly learn the stuff you need about ice and snow. by trial and error. :) doesn't ralph lauren live in montana? and demi moore? you will fit right in! :)
    SO COOL.
    i am super excited for you!!

  18. I am from Montana! What part of the state are you going to be moving to?

  19. You're a blessing! Will be praying for you all! xoxo

  20. please tell me you are traveling by covered wagon. i hear they are much more affordable than u-haul. :) and way more fun, just like oregon trail!
    i feel like you are going to be living a laura ingalls dream. :)
    can't wait to see and follow you on this exciting journey, most of all, excited for your obedience to the Lord, it will be hard (you know that) but so, so worth it.

    you are living psalm 127:1.
    get it girl.
    and tell us all about it. :)

  21. Montana is beautiful. Happy new adventures await - good luck! Can't wait to read about the journey!

  22. LES!!! So so excited for yall!!! God is DEFINITELY up to something!!! :) and yay for cowgirlness! :)

  23. I spent 10 weeks in Montana as a summer missionary after my freshman year in college. I still sing "Won't you meet me in Montana. I wanna see the mountains in your eyes" in my head and sometimes out loud. Cheesy, right?

    Can't wait to read about what Jesus teaches you through this next chapter of life. Love to you!

  24. Wow! Big big news! How great that God has given you so many confirmations that this is His path for you! I will pray for you as you pack up and transition and embrace it all! I admire your willing spirit!

  25. Totally awesome! These are my favorite kind of stories, GOd stories that is! He is definitely preparing you for really GREAT things!

  26. If you get a car you can start from your phone...from inside your won't need an ice scraper!

  27. I'm so jealous, sad, and excited for your new adventure! I love you guys so much and will miss you tons...I can't wait to visit...xoxoxoxoxoxoxo!!!

  28. First time to your blog... and oh I know those feelings! I grew up on the west coast (WA & CA) and married a Texan. I remember feeling so land locked in the beginning. Then we moved to Charleston, SC...I don't even think I knew where that was before we moved there but was thankful it was on the coast...water again, yay. Though I could never get used to being at the beach around sunset and the sun not disappearing behind the ocean. Weird. We then moved to Nashville and just last month to Alabama. Alabama!!! What the? Never ever in my life did i think I would live in the south, especially alabama. But every place we've been I can always see how God used each of those places to stretch us and grow us...not that is was always easy...but it was always good.

    So excited for you and your new adventure!!!

  29. Super excited to see what this new journey brings you. Prayers for you all!

  30. oh leslie, i'm so excited about this new adventure God has given you!
    and can i tell you.. as i read your words.. i wonder if i would have the guts to do this.. move to a different state. would i be able to figure out what he wants from me? how would i know it's a god-thing? or would i just ignore the promptings He puts in my heart? makes me wonder how many promptings of His i have ignored already (!)

    living your life for Him.

    that's so awesome.

  31. MONTANA!!? How exciting. What an adventure you are all going to have together. Imagine the ways God is going to draw you each closer to each other and especially to himself. I'm glad He has lead you in peace... praying you CLING to that Peace and the assurance that He has you where He wants you.
    go with God!

  32. I think Montana sounds magical! Excited to see God's plan unfold for you and your family. :) Being a Military family and moving around so much, I can relate to the anxiousness combined with excitement that comes from moving somewhere new. But there is always a purpose to wherever He takes us! Enjoy the journey. XOXO