Why we moved to KC-Part one
I have broken this into two blogs, because I believe every detail is important. Every detail shows Gods handiwork. I will highlight words that I need you to keep in mind, for these are the very signs that God SPOKE & SHOWED us.
"I know the plans I have for you, "Declares The Lord. "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to bring you Hope and a Future." JEREMIAH 29:11
Not sure why this still surprises me... After everything I could possibly go through... This has become the scripture that has most attached itself to my heart. He knows the plans... And if I Were to reread the book "Love Connection." It's apparent that He plans things in ADVANCE, not on a whim. He doesn't just one day decide to fly by the seat of his pants and throw something my way. He knows the plans. He has them laid out. But... There's another side to this. We have the ability to CHOOSE to walk in them.
Needless to say, Austin and I had been considering moving for a while. We felt like we had outgrown Springfield, like we needed to abandon the nest. So knowing God is a Planning God, let me take you back.
When I first met Austin, we always talked about our dreams and our future. We talked about things that were ideas... That we felt like could happen if we just believed. I trust in His dreams and he trusts in mine... Which is why we fit together so perfectly.
The first time I ever got super excited for his music and him super excited for my future book, God had told us that there would be road blocks, literally and figuratively. We were driving in the car on the way to Austin's house when we were having this conversation and we came up on a corner that had orange cones placed across it. Now I am no "expert" on these cones being there, but it was a God thing. Someone had literally placed them there for no reason, but as a prank. They served no purpose, but Austin and I knew someone would get hurt if we left them there, so we moved them off and set them on the side of the road. (It was obvious it was someone messing around, or we wouldn't have moved them) but God came to us VERY CLEAR... AND SAID AGAIN "THERE WILL BE ROADBLOCKS, BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO STEP OUT OF YOUR CAR AND MOVE THEM."
Yes, our dreams... They have had roadblocks. It hasn't been all easy and we haven't just cruised along. We have had to continually get out of our "car" out of where we are comfortable to GET UP, STAND UP, & move them. This was the first time I had felt empowered by God asking me to get involved and telling me that my dreams were possible if I was willing to fight for them, if I was willing to persevere.
After that, Austin and I dated and continued to talk about dreams and ideas... Our hopes and our expectations. One night after an evening out, we went to Jordan ValleyPark and like little hoodlums we climbed onto a nearby roof. We chatted more about Jesus and the road ahead. In this time, we looked across the way and a building stood tall with the name COOPER on it. We laughed and we speculated. Maybe COOPER would be our first babies name. :) I always talk about babies, so this was no different. I wanted the season to eventually turn into marriage and babies.
Which, fortunately for us... We did get married. (No babies.....yet) Austin proposed to me that summer (2012) in Florida and we were supposed to be married the summer of 2013. But In OCTOBER, God spoke again very clearly that we were to be married in December, so we moved our entire wedding up 7 months! Everyone came together and God provided everything-- more than enough. It was gorgeous.
That next month, I worked a lot, but God came to me again and said "Write down your vision." (Habakkuk 2:3) So, I wrote down that I wanted to write Love Connection and have it done by Mother's Day. Which got me into high gear... Writing every free moment I had. On top of being a newly wed, we were both focused on making our dreams possible. Austin had written down that he wanted to make a mixtape. Which neither of us would have been focused on these things IF we would have been focused on a wedding that summer.
Instead, we were focused on God and HIS PLANS. We fasted and prayed and by July 2013 instead of a wedding, our book "Love Connection" was published and Austin's first mixtape was out. (Of course that wouldn't have been possible without the participation of Jamie Ward, my birth sons MAMA.)
With Love Connection on a roll, I called a ton of places to get speaking engagements for us and then FINALLY got a response from a few different places... Although not the ones I expected. I thought that if I wrote the book, God would take it to the top of books overnight or that it would be a best seller... He was moving on my behalf, but I wasn't as thankful as I should have been in the season that I was in...Instead I was invited to a broke chains concert in Lebanon, Mo. Which, I assumed would be small and not very significant. I honestly was ignorant and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Austin and I packed up our books (this is a story in itself, 200 books were bought for us by a man named Cory Mauck who runs the Zimbabwe Orphan program) and we went to the concert. When we got there it was awkward, all the women had on long skirts and I had on jeans. Which, sounds lame, but I felt out of place. We set up our little table of books and we set our sign out that said the books price. The people around us were giving away free popcorn, and free drinks, and free snow cones... When a little girl came to our table in an oversized shirt and pants that didn't fit. She asked "are these free." My heart broke when I told her they were 15.00. She walked away and then no one came over to the table for a little while.... Then God told me "put the sign away." I thought, then what was the point of coming...? People began to flood into the park and listen to the music and take advantage of the free popcorn and bounce houses. People stood on stage giving their testimonies, when Jeremy (the pastor) came over to me and asked if I would like to speak.
I wasn't expecting it, but I told myself I would jump out of my comfort zone so I said yes and jotted down a few things that I wanted to say. After I spoke, a lady came up on stage and said that my books were there. I told her that I would take donations only, but that everyone should have one.
When I got off the stage, people were already lined up at the table to get books. I hugged them, I cried with them, and I laughed with them as I signed copy after copy. When the crowd cleared... I looked at Austin, Lauren and Ryan (who came to help) as they were all behind the movement. We laughed and began chatting with everyone around us, getting to know their stories.
Then Gods Spirit rested on the entire park. People began getting baptized right there...When they would come out of the water people began speaking in tongues and God spoke to me, "You have learned that when something is freely given, you too can freely give. I have called you to BREAK CHAINS in my Name."
This was only the beginning to the great things that God was about to do.