For 6 days, I tried to forget that little voice I had heard. I said nothing to Michael or anyone else about the preposterous idea of me quitting my job. At this point, we had been married for just over 2 years, still fighting regularly; Michael was in seminary and I was our sole source of income. Walking away from a perfectly good job was just not a wise plan.
But the following Sunday, our little Mark Study group reconvened to check in and pray for one another. As we went around the table, each time I bowed my head to pray for someone, it was like the Holy Spirit was screaming in my ear: QUIT YOUR JOB!!!
So when my turn came to share, I was forced to blurt it out. I asked the group to pray for my imminent conversation with Michael and for clear direction regarding God's plan (because, if I'm no longer working, God must have something else in mind -- right?!?).
The next day, I confronted Michael. "Honey, remember how, like, eight months ago, I felt like the Lord was telling me to wait? But, um, how we haven't really known what we're waiting for? Well, um, I think he might be telling us now."
Michael: "Really? That's great! What do you think it is?"
Me: "Well, I'd really like to let you pray about it and ask him to tell you. Then, you know, we can come together and see if he told us the same thing." [I'm really trying to avoid being responsible for cutting out our income here]
Miraculously, Michael agrees. Huge sigh of relief. Now I just need to wait for God to tell Michael that I'm leaving my job. I waited a whole month - all of February 2002. Michael comes to me at the end of the month and says, "I've been praying. And -- God hasn't revealed anything to me. BUT - I think he has told you. So you need to tell me what God wants us to do."
ARE YOU KIDDING?!? Big gulp. We sit down on the couch. And I say, with about as much hesitation as I've ever spoken in my life, "Well, see, I'm pretty sure God wants me to...um...quit my job."
Michael's jaw didn't drop. His eyes got a little bigger, but, rationally, calmly, he asked me what I would be doing instead of earning a decent wage.
The cool thing was, back in January, when I first heard God's crazy call, I didn't have a clue what the next step was. But while Michael spent February seeking God's direction, I was also listening to his voice. And he showed me a path. "I think I'm supposed to do the Leadership Development Institute."
Michael quietly took in this information, then asked for another month to pray about it and get some counsel from others. March was another waiting month, but then in early April, Michael confidently approached me and confirmed that this was, indeed, God's plan for us. So I gave 5 months notice to my employer and began praying that God would raise up financial partners to support us while I spent 9 months as an intern at our church [yes, the same church that had hurt us just one year earlier].
That's how long I waited on God to tell me that I could leave my job and enter full-time ministry. It's the time I spent losing confidence in my role in the church, losing part of my husband while he grieved, losing income, losing my home, losing my father. People and things kept being taken from me during those ten months, but I kept on hoping in God.
I do not believe that I can do anything to earn God's favor or to secure my salvation. Jesus did everything for me on those accounts.
But I do believe that how I respond to God's voice in my life will affect the measure of [rewards, benefits, joys] that I will receive from him.
I don't honestly know if, during those ten months, I had stopped waiting on the Lord, he would have still sent me to LDI. But I do know that after intentionally waiting on him - the "answer" was well worth the wait. And my time in LDI - another miraculous story in itself - secured forever my ministry calling. Those ten months permanently changed my view of my life; they taught me how little [how not at all] it is about me, but how it is ALL about God. They encouraged me that trials are momentary and that Christ is my treasure.
Most of all, they reminded me of what I am ultimately waiting for - the joy of seeing Jesus face to face.