Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Great Adventure, Part 6

We said what God was waiting for us to say.

Yes.

We give.

We surrender.

We raise the white flag.

We get it.

We see it.

We're with you.

And, in the words of good ol' Johnny, we're going to Jackson.

Somewhere in those pressure-packed and snowy January days, God turned out hearts. He changed our hearts. And not just our hearts. He changed our minds too. In one month's time, we went from not even remotely thinking this would ever be in our future to being so excited about kingdom work at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN that we might not be able to breathe until we get there.

A few things had to happen first, though.

We decided that we needed to just sneak into a service one Sunday and check it out. And I don't mean check the church out in the sense of 'does it meet our approval.' I mean check it out in the sense of - see what happens in our spirits as we worship inside those walls, with those people, and take in the teaching of the Word of God with them. So we did. On January 17.

As we walked in during the first song, I thought of one of Jesus' most famous phrases: It is finished.

It was done. God was not subtle in our hearts on that day. We knew this was the place for us. It was all I could do to hold it together that Sunday. I just kept telling myself, "Keep looking at the screens. Don't look around. If you do, you will fall apart. Just stare at the screens. Must. Look. At. Screens. Only. Screens."

It was a futile attempt. The release we felt on that morning was too much. And staring at the screens or not, I was a heap of emotion. It was awesome.

To add blessing upon blessing, our kids had such a great morning. We had to drag them out of their Sunday School classes. "Can we move here?" they shouted in the halls. "Um, let's take that volume down please," I said as I covered their Dr. Pepper-moustached mouths. "And we'll take this conversation to the car." The joy was too much.

Another thing that had to happen is that we had to wait to give Ben our answer. Through the counsel we received, God had given us a certain date to wait for before we gave them an answer or made this story public. So that date was February 3. But here we were on January 17, and we already felt as though we had our answer. Abraham immediately came to mind. Was God going to put an 11th hour ram in the thicket before we walk this offering through? Was He holding that date for us to give us time to see yet another bend in the road? Was I going to wake up on February 2nd and be done with this whole journey? Or worse, was Englewood going to wake up and be done with this journey?

In my heart, I knew that wasn't going to happen. But because He gave us that date, we waited. And I'm so glad we did. Because in the 11th hour (the morning of February 2nd), He DID give us a word. It was a good word that was the final mark and final churn to complete our heart turn to this change. Not a word to share with anybody; a Word just for us. And it went deep into our souls. It was a work that neither Angela nor I even knew we needed. But once we got it, we were more fully at peace than ever before on this journey.

So at 12:01am on February 3rd, Pastor Ben got a call. From me.

"Hey," he said.

And I replied, "No ram in the thicket."

Joy commenced.

Still, there was one last piece to the puzzle.

24 comments:

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

So fun to read this in installments, to get a little piece of the story each time it pops up on Twitter.

Of course, it's a little annoying too. Like eating M&Ms one at a time when you really want a handful...

all4boys said...

My heart is so happy. :)

Randall said...

Travis, your Great Adventure is making my heart soar. It's amazing to see how personal God is revealing Himself to you and your family.

You my friend whom I've worshiped with but never met, are cracking me up.

Diane said...

It's been great seeing how you have worked through this process WITH God!! You are an example to each of us! Enjoy your next 'assignment' !! Blessings to you and your family as you serve HIM !

Amy M. Fry said...

This is a truly wonderful way to share this journey you and your family are on. Seeing, REALLY SEEING God move in your lives has been fascinating, and full of awe. And that's for ME, I can't IMAGINE what it's been like for YOU! Although, your writing is superb and I, for one, can almost feel Him moving!
Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

Dionna said...

I'm really happy for you. Not just at the new opportunity but at the amazing experience you had feeling God speak and work personally in your life. I crave those moments.

pinkmommy said...

Our church has been searching for a worship leader for some time now. After the LPL event in Memphis I told the other ladies we needed you! I am very angry at my pastor for not hearing from God that you were it and calling you first! Just kidding. Sort of. You know how to prepare a heart to hear a Word like nothing I've ever seen. Jackson is very blessed. My husband is putting in for a transfer there right now. Just kidding. Sort of.

Anonymous said...

by way of introduction-no, you don't know me but I've just been lurkin around here for a little while because a) your music b) you're hilarious. That said now I just have to say
---Dude...yer killin me!--- I'm trying to keep up with this on my phone....do you know how many times over the last week or so that I've had people blowin their horn at me at red lights long ago turned green?!?!

excited for what God is doing with your family and what He is doing in you!

Melissa Milbourn said...

I am thoroughly enjoying reading this. :-)

connorcolesmom said...

I have a HUGE grin on my face
I have truly enjoyed reading about God's plan for you and your sweet family :)
Can't wait for part 7 :)

Southern Cheesehead said...

so many times we ask for God to "write His will for us in the sky" or "send us a clear message so we don't mistake it". I think He did that for you guys...more than once! How sweet of the Lord!!

Toknowhim said...

What an awesome story... Can't wait to hear the last part of the story...

Lindsey said...

Oh my! I am so excited for you and your family! Can't wait for the rest of the story!

Georgia Jan said...

Travis - this makes me so happy. I can hardly stand it. You are such a blessing. I.love.this.

Choir Practice Rocks! You'll love it all over again...

If we love your ministry and we only see you 2 or 3 times annually - just think how much your choir peeps will love you.

I know these things. I am a "song leading - choir practicing - worship minister's wife of 32 years!"

You know it!

Georgia Jan

Nancy said...

All I can say again is, "are you kidding me?" Yes, it's marvelous to watch how God is moving and how He is working in you two, but really...making us wait? Just plain mean.

ocean mommy said...

I love this.

Blessings!
stephanie

Profbaugh said...

Oh my, Travis!! I'm just catching up on all parts of your post. And I'm glad I didn't have to wait for all the installments. God, however has been teaching me to wait on His timing and to never say never! So, your posts don't really surprise me--just reinforce that you truly are a man after God's own heart. Can't wait to read the next post. In the meantime, know that I'm covering you and the family in prayer.

Much love,
~Cheryl

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Congratulations!! I know you will be such a blessing to them and they to you!! Can't wait to here the final part of this.

Oh BTW...please don't make them wear choir robes.....Not that I see you as a robe kinda guy....

Leah

Aysha said...

This is so much fun to read. I am going to print this "Great Adventure" out and save it for the future to refer to.

Thank you,
Aysha

Kelly S. said...

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Alright Cottrell you are killing me here I thought when I read your post this A.M. I thought for sure I would have an answer then got to the bottom of the post and said to myself ARE YOU KIDDING ME HERE TRAVIS. It is amazing how God is working in your life the song that was on my heart this a.m. was ( Amazing Love You Are My King ) Travis you are a servant of the Lord I will praying for your new adventure and we want the rest of the Megillah
Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love you brother
May the Lord bless you and your sweet family.
Carol

Mary Lou said...

Just reading the words, "there is no ram in the thicket" brought tears to my eyes and I already know the end of the great adventure...I am reading these out of order...but that blessed my socks off.

Bitsy said...

Englewood is a GREAT Church, Trav!!! Sooooo happy to hear that you guys will be going there! :) I have had the privilege of worshipping there when I have been in town in the past for Jackson Symphony gigs back in the day, and also for a TBC Conference a few years ago. They were a very gracious people! Cool!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Travis your music is the best, I heard a song at a local chuch here in Sacramento, CCS. I would like to get the CD, song title This is the Day, what month will this recording be out, Please post it on your blog. Thanks