Just as singer Barbara Mandrell “was country when country wasn’t cool,” my in-laws were house flippers before HGTV had even been launched. Buying and then fixing up old houses had proved profitable and eventually landed them in a nice neighborhood in their town. So my husband and I followed suit.
“What do you think about country blue for the bedroom?” I asked my husband as we sat swinging on the front porch of our first home in Hahira, Georgia. All rooms in our shotgun house (so named because a slug fired from the front door would sail straight through and go out the back door unimpeded) were accessed from the long central hallway. Despite our misgivings about green carpet in the kitchen, miniscule closets, and bathrooms that were clumsily added additions to the original structure, we tackled the herculean task of transforming our first small home into something that one day we would be proud to welcome others into.
The two of us had followed a predictable pattern: school, college, marriage, job, and now home ownership. Our plan was to eventually enjoy children, friends, a few toys, and at some point retire with enough wealth to live in comfort for our remaining days. I was living the American dream.
But it turned out my husband and I remodeled only our bedroom and the bathroom in that shotgun house. Eventually our conversations on the front porch led to him recognizing his desire to reach the lost for Christ—full-time. After a mere two years of marriage (and at a time when long-distance calls were expensive, there were no cell phones, and email was still only a theory for most), we made the decision to move away from our family and support system. We gave up our home and jobs, packed all of our belongings into a U-Haul trailer, and drove 15 hours to a seminary in Texas.
We gave up our home and jobs, packed all of our belongings into a U-Haul trailer, and drove 15 hours to a seminary in Texas.
The American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau theorized that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” In hindsight, I believe I was on my way to such a life. Our perfect Father, however, showed up and offered me a gift—the call to do something different. Thoreau also penned these famous words: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
When believers hear our Divine Drummer’s cadence, we are blessed if we get up, leave the mundane couch of uniformity, and march towards the unknown adventure of God’s will. In the Bible, we see that Abraham was blessed when he accepted just such an invitation from the Lord: “Go from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you” (Gen. 12:1).
At the time we left for seminary, I had just finished my first year of teaching and passed the TPAI, the certification process in 1991. I loved the work I was doing and the friends I was making at Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia. This call to pursue a different path, one that would pull me away from family and friends, was scary to consider. Some people in my life didn’t understand our choice, which seemed illogical and unwise to them. Others were hurt by our decision to leave their side. Even supportive people gradually excluded my husband and me from events and communications.
When believers hear our Divine Drummer’s cadence, we are blessed if we get up, leave the mundane couch of uniformity, and march towards the unknown adventure of God’s will.
In discussing the cost of commitment with His disciples, Jesus offered this encouragement: “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age … along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). I love the honesty of Jesus. He doesn’t promise us an easy and prosperous life if we follow Him. He warns us that difficulties will come, but so will the blessings. Our loving Lord knew following Him would be hard and promised to reward us for our sacrifice. Does that mean He will give us one hundred houses if we give up one? No, what He is guaranteeing is that we won’t be sorry. His gifts will more than compensate for our losses.
For over 20 years, my husband and I had to depend upon God for our survival and discovered personally His power, beauty, compassion, and kindness. He truly is “One who rewards those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Don’t do a hard thing just for a challenge, but, if God is calling you, don’t be afraid and don’t delay. Take the Abrahamic step of faith and let Him lead you to your promised land. His ways are grand and glorious, and you don’t want to miss the adventure He has planned for you!