Since we are now entering the third month of the year, I wanted to take some time to update everyone on the adventure. In early December, the family we were staying with got a word from God. They were awakened in the night and God said that the Sanders family would need to leave their house by the end of the month (December). This message did not sit well with them because they knew that we had no place to go. Nevertheless, they gave us the message. They have been a God sent blessing to us over the last year. They faithfully sheltered and fed our family, simply because God said so. As a result, we did not question what God said to them and began making preparations to move out. I still marvel at this family’s trust in God. They had only casually known our family for a few months when God told them to take us in and they obeyed. In addition, we had a harmonious relationship with them throughout our stay. 10 people, living in a 3 bedroom house for 1 year, without strife. That has to be God in action.
We moved everything, except our suitcases, into our storage unit and on December 22, we moved out. This was the second time God had our family evicted at Christmas time. Apparently, he did not get the memo about Christmas miracles. 😉 Amazingly, we were completely at peace with all of it. The kids were excited to see what God would do next. Jenny and I were at peace, because we had been in this situation before and God came through. We were confident he would do it again.
The kids were on Christmas break from school, so we went to my parent’s house in Illinois. For the second year in a row, my parents and family saved Christmas for the kids. I am so very thankful for my parents. They have not only provided comfort, they listen to us share what God tells us to do and they sincerely pray with us as we seek direction. I can only imagine how gut wrenching it must be, as a parent, to watch our adventure unfold. We spent the entire Christmas break with my parents, and left for Tennessee feeling refreshed and hopeful.
We arrived in Tennessee in the late afternoon. We had no where to go, so we went to the parking lot of a local business and began to pray for direction. I have mentioned before that we have an agreement with God that we will not make our needs known to others, unless he specifically tells us to. We simply pray and trust that he will direct others to assist, if needed. That sounds great in an inspirational sermon or book, but put yourself in a minivan with your family, on a cold January night, and see how it sounds then. I can tell you that it does not feel good. Around 8pm, we received a text message from a friend. They asked us what we were doing and where we were. We explained our situation and they invited us to stay the night with them. We have stayed with them, on and off, over the last 2 months and we are very grateful for their hospitality, but we know that God has something else for us, so we spend the majority of our time praying and fasting about our purpose.
Jenny has gotten clear direction, from God, to open a safe place for people to come and get rest from the heaviness of life. Her vision is to provide Rest, Restoration and an opportunity to Re-start under God’s direction. She believes that God has a plan for each and every person and most are simply too busy with the heaviness of life (bills, kids, work) to stop, rest, be restored, and re-start, this time on a mission to fulfill God’s purpose for their life. It is a big vision and would be impossible without God. I have also gotten a clear vision of who I am in God. He created me to love and encourage others in their faith. My family and I are walking out our faith adventure and are becoming equipped to awaken the sleeping giants of faith. I will speak faith to people that are called to mission fields (near and far) and they will rise up and fulfill their purpose in God. Once again, it is a lofty vision and will not be possible without supernatural power.
As I write this, our living situation is still unclear and the visions I have shared seem impossible. I continue to question my own sanity in following the still small voice and would gladly give up, if it were not for the many, many unquestionably clear directives of that voice. They are too numerous to detail in this blog, but I assure you every one is captured and will appear in the book that Jenny is working on. I often get frustrated by these miraculous tidbits, because they come when I am ready to throw in the towel and forget God and his silly adventure altogether. It is at this point that an undeniably clear still small voice speaks. I get frustrated because I had just convinced myself that God no longer cares for me and my family (kicked out at Christmas, low on food, homeless in a minivan) and I just need to take care of my family without him. At that moment he clearly does something that lets me know he is with us and he cares. As a result, we plod on.
Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone that follows this blog. Two to three hundred of you, across five countries, read each post and we are very encouraged by that. We often say if we started a church and that many people came every time we opened the doors, we would feel useful in the kingdom of God. He did not give us a church, but he clearly instructed us to create this blog and provide the world with a detailed accounting of a family that seeks first the kingdom and trusts God for everything else.
If you need encouragement or if God has spoken things to you that you want someone to pray with you about, we want to be there for you. We created an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for you to connect with us. We believe that God is in the process of challenging many people to step out in faith and if we can be an encouragement to you, as he speaks, we would love to do it.
Love, the Sanders family