I want to tell you a little story of how God by His Holy Spirit has guided little me into the next chapter of my life and practically what that looked like. Some of us may not be familiar with a ‘living God’, or some people may be triggered by anything remotely ‘Christian’ right now, some may have been following Jesus forever. Wherever we are at today, I really want to say that this God is so alive and true. He’s not the powerless God that we hear about sometimes, he’s a God on the move and I hope through my story and own creativity I can somehow express this reality to you today.
Before I go into this story though I want to make a couple of things known. It could easily come across like this all happened over a couple of weeks, but actually these were the documented God moments sprinkled over the course of 3 years. During those 3 years I’ve been a busy little bee. Living my life, growing, failing, dreams were being fulfilled that I’d been waiting for through my job, through wild hearts and most of all meeting my future hubs. I’ve been studying theology, I struggled in my mental health due to overworking myself, I’ve seen God do amazing things, I’ve had the best times and managed to do a fair bit of traveling as well.
We Always Want The Full Picture.
So here we are! The golden thread through this story is so similar to how God has spoken in the past in times of change, but it might look totally different to you – that’s also totally okay! There is no formula.
It’s amazing how He guides us step by step. It’s mysterious, adventurous and full of purpose. He is a God of suddenlies and I hope to encourage you with my process over the last six months in what He might be saying to you when you are coming into a time of transitioning to the next of what He has for your life as well.
Don’t get me wrong m’love, it can be such a frustrating process. We want the whole picture, we want to know everything but God so often speaks to us so softly over a period of time. Gently leading us one step at a time. I believe God loves the journey with us, the journey is so important. It’s a time we learn to hear His voice yet again. It’s a time we grow. It’s a time when we are tested to move by His voice alone. It’s a time when our capacity for faith, trust and surrender invite us into a deeper relationship with Him. We love making our own plans, but in the meantime in God’s sovereignty He determines the steps.
I wanted to write this little story so I can also keep record of this experience. I know in seasons to come I will need to remember His faithfulness. So I can choose faith and trust yet again to walk into another chapter of my story that He’s leading me into, and maybe it can give you the reminder as well. I feel thankful to past Rae, for writing down my stories with God from the past because reading those gave me faith to trust what He was saying, especially when I wanted to stay put, doubt, and stay comfortable. I have doubted so much, but His faithfulness always wins! So you could see this blog post almost like an ‘Online Journal Entry’.
My Story: How God Guided Me Into A Different Season.
First, let me give a little context for this story that took place in 2020.
In 2017 after my second year at Bethel Ministry school with a desire in my heart to go back for third year, I felt God whisper into my spirit, “it was time to come home”, when I was on my way to San Fran airport to fly back home for the summer. I felt peace when I heard Him say this, and I knew He wanted me to go back to Southern England to become a Youth Pastor at my home church even though I think I would have chosen to stay in California for another year. But I knew that I knew that I knew what I needed to do. Which was to follow where God was leading. Over the next 5 months, His plans started to unfold (after a lot of me doubting what He said because nothing was happening!) and finally that opportunity came and I took the job.
For the next 3 and a bit years I worked as a Youth Pastor which is a story for another day, like I said I just want to paint you a picture for context.
In January 2018, I went to Paris for the weekend with my sisters and one year into the job I was going through a tough time and in all honesty, I wanted to get away from it all. As I was packing my bag I prayed I said “Father, is it time to leave and move on? Show me what you are saying” I heard nothing.
During my trip I seemed to find myself a few times looking over the city in pockets of brief silence. As I was overlooking Paris this pretty city from great heights the words ‘Perspective + Perseverance’ kept zooming through my mind. I felt God speaking to my weary heart, I knew He was telling me to stay and to have perspective on the bigger picture. He was refining me, and there was a purpose. Despite feeling a bit discouraged in my job and frankly a little dry in my soul it wasn’t time to leave.
I arrived home and a text message came through from my mum, she had a scripture God put on her heart and felt she needed to text me it. My heart sank as God clearly spoke straight into my life and answered my prayer, but not in the way I wanted! Here’s the verse she sent me:
‘And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’
I’ll be honest peeps, I wanted God to say “Go girl! Go somewhere new! I have A B and C for you”, I get itchy feet you see, and I don’t particularly enjoy the process of growth, but God was asking me to stay put. And that was the word I lived my life on for the next year or so, and in that blip of time I felt really far away from God (even though I know he’s there, but you know those seasons don’t ya!) and it felt like a really long time. Until one day there was a change in the wind.
This sudden change in the wind occurred one Saturday when I went to a leadership training day and we had a prophetic workshop and had to find a partner to practise the prophetic with. The lady I was partnered prayed for me and The Holy Spirit brought to her mind the walk she went on at the beach that morning. From our local beach, you can clearly see the Isle of Wight but on this particular morning she was walking by the seaside a fog was completely covered the Isle of Wight.
She felt like through this picture God was saying that “something is coming, you can’t see what’s ahead but just trust Him and He will reveal it.” This prophetic word excited me and I had no idea what it meant. And to my surprise, TWO more people contacted me the same week with the SAME picture in different ways all along the lines of ‘me in a fog and not seeing what God has ahead of me, but to trust and have faith because God’s got something new in store.’
It’s so funny how it can feel like God hasn’t spoken in forever then suddenly speaks to you from all directions in a short space of time, hmmm *scratches head* I guess a good Dad knows how to guide and release his kids, and God is the perfect Father after all (Matthew 5:48). Ah! My thoughts are wandering.. back to the story!
I carried her word and over the months I would be reminded of it when I saw with my own eyes the fog cover the Isle of Wight. God was so silent, and my heart was in pain due to the refining season I was in. God felt so far away and I didn’t fully get what He was doing.
I pondered these prophetic words with anticipation and frustration. I just wanted to know the full picture. But I went along living my life, studying theology and working whilst carrying these things quietly in my heart.
One day in October, I received a message on the Wild Hearts instagram account.
I agreed to go on this trip to Iceland eventually and as I prayed about what God’s will for this trip was I felt Holy Spirit give me a picture. I had a picture of myself walking through fog, it lifted slightly and I could see a little boat at a harbour. And in my heart drop the words,
“I’m about to reveal what’s coming next to you on this trip”.
I felt a rush of joy I hadn’t felt in a while!
I thought to myself “God, what could this be?! Will a job in creative arts come from this?! Who will I meet? What’s going to happen!?”
I left for Iceland with my best friend, and I was so nervous. “What am I doing!? Flying to Iceland with perfect strangers”
We met Reuben and Sam from Glass House Productions. We clicked straight away phew. Eventually after a series of hilarious events we found our hotel and got a good night sleep. The next morning we drove to an empty space in the middle of nowhere with a scenic view of the Iceland Mountains to start filming some content for Wild Hearts.
I was asked to look at the mountains for some vibey shots and I turn to see someone walking down the hill in the far distance.
“What the heck” I said to my friends.
Yep. It was my boyfriend who was supposed to be in England. To say I was confused was an understatement, the next moment there he was down on one knee asking for my hand in marriage.. SAY WHAAAAAT!
I think it’s safe to say God made it pretty clear what the next step was. Preparing for marriage!
A couple of months later, now settled into engagement which was a bit of a wild transition! Fitz, myself and some friends flew to India for a wedding (very cool!!). It worked out we were also going to be there for New Year so we celebrated together going into 2020. The first couple of days of 2020 we just chilled out at the beach, and unexpectedly God spoke to me there. As I was thinking about nothing and everything, sitting on a sunbed starring at the blue warm waves I heard God drop into my heart internally, loudly and clearly:
“It’s time to leave your job my love. Hand your notice in for September”
“No way?” I thought to myself. “God was that you?”
Now I’m aware this blog is getting pretty long so let’s not beat around the bush here. Covid 19 entered our lives on a global scale and overnight Fitz’s career as a sound engineer ceased to exist.. brilliant *very sarcastic tone*. Which is clearly in my mind was not the best time for preparing to hand my letter of leave to my job.
“Uh. Father God.. is this really a good time for me to leave my job?” Even though I was excited about what God had said, I wanted to control the situation and just stay in my job at least until 2021, so Fitz and I would be okay financially. Ahh my brain was trying to make sense of it all. “I can’t of heard God” was the narrative constantly going on in my mind.
“Trust me, my love”
God spoke to me again.
I was so grateful but it didn’t stop the anxiety and doubt creeping into my thoughts.
Over the next couple of weeks on three separate occasions three people gave me the same prophetic word along the lines of:
“Rae, God put you on my heart today. Keep trusting God. There’s a change coming, be faithful with what your doing now and don’t focus on what’s next. Trust in the Lord”
Wow wow wow.
I need to sing through this screen right now to your beautiful heart reading this, GOD IS AMAZING. HE SPEAKS TODAY! HE GUIDES HONEY, IT”S TRUE GOOD NEWS! Jesus made that happen for us! Actual connection and relationship with Heavenly Father! (some of you think I’m bonkers right now, but oh well – I can’t deny God’s faithfulness!)
My spirit leapt with joy, how amazing that God spoke through three people, the same thing, and none of them knew what I was going through. These words didn’t give me clarity about the future but they were a gracious word from God that I was exactly where I needed to be, and that I had heard God.
This also gave me permission to let go, and be fully present in my commitments I had the current season I was in. Even though I struggled not to daydream about what may be coming next, my only focus now was what God had put in my hand. He was in control of the rest.
Fast forward into March, we are in the height of lockdown, and even though we had to deal with the disappointment and frustration for Fitz losing his business I was very fortunate to be able to work from home, and Fitz managed to get a temp job at Tesco’s praise the lamb.
During lockdown ‘Nottingham’ kept coming to my mind.
“Why on earth is this place coming to my mind?” I pondered. Completely out of the blue I just really wanted to visit Nottingham. Nottingham is a city in the UK, which I’ve never been to before. Super random. Anyway, ‘Nottingham’ weirdly kept coming up in different conversations. One of those being from my housemate, who told me about some time she spent there and she absolutely loved it. I wondered if Nottingham coming to my attention was a ‘God thing’, I said a little prayer:
“Father God, if this is you bringing Nottingham to mind I pray that Fitz would bring it up. Amen”
After another two months of trying to be faithful to my commitments and not get distracted, drinking lots of tea and going about the lockdown life the 4th of May arrived, Fitz’s birthday! .. this was also the day I was calling my boss to who is also a friend to let him know whether I was going to definitely leave my job in September.
Honestly I didn’t know until 5 minutes before the phone call what I was going to say! Because leaving my job during a pandemic made no sense in my mind, but apparently that’s what God was egging me on to do. I just knew it in my heart of hearts. So after a lovely day of celebrating Fitz with breakfast, a virtual zoom party and frisbee in the park I went outside in the summer to call my boss to tell him I was planning to hand my notice and leave by the end of September.
Despite feeling all the doubt, I called my boss and I told him I was going to be leaving in September. After the phone call I sat for a moment in silence, thinking “what have I done” but also knowing it was right and I had peace over the conversation. And then Fitz came outside and sat next to me, and then he burst out:
“We should just move to Nottingham!”
“WHAT!” I replied.
“Why on earth Nottingham, Fitz?! Are you serious?” .. Fitz was totally serious about it.
I then proceeded to tell him how I’d actually been thinking about Nottingham.. but I didn’t tell him about it before so I’d know if it came from him I’d know God was saying something.
We then did what anyone would do in this situation, we watched Robin Hood. (If you didn’t know, Robin Hood was set in Nottingham!)
With a sense of shock and denial, we held the idea of moving to Nottingham very lightly. I feel like over the next month of June we almost talked ourselves out of the idea because it was way too risky and out of the box during a time like this. Which ended in Fitz saying to me..
“Let’s start looking for places to live in Bournemouth for when we get married”
My stomach dropped. I really didn’t want to do that.
I didn’t know why, Bournemouth is a gorgeous place to live, I know people there, it’s familiar but it just didn’t feel right at all. And all I could think about was Nottingham! This place that I had no idea about. I didn’t say anything to Fitz in that moment but the next day I thought, no, I need to tell him how it made me feel.
So the next day I drove over to Fitz’s place and as I arrived he was running out to me with a huge smile on his face!
“Guess what!” Said Fitz.
“What?!” I replied.
“My friend in the industry just sent me a message about a production manager job in a church! And guess where it is? It’s in Nottingham!”
“No WAY!” I felt so excited. Now, let’s cut to the chase.. he got the job! Which we were told literally two days before our wedding, a lot of news in a short amount of time!
So you guessed it, we are moving to Nottingham!
Currently I’m in my room packing the last of my bits and bobs before moving. I’m in a state of awe as I reflect on how God has completely covered us, provided and guided us. We found a place to live and the process has been so smooth. So there we have it, God is faithful!
So alas! God lifted the fog step by step and it required trust and still does. I finished my job last week, and I’m not sure what I’m doing next but I have peace. I know that God is going to come through and guide me about the next step. So if you are going through a big season of change here are a couple of lessons I’ve taken from this time.
Trust God, and just let go of control.
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Build a circle of prophetic prayer warriors.
God always has something to say about His will for the season your in.
He has a plan and a purpose.
I know I’ll look back on this blog in the future and I’ll be reminding myself of God’s faithfulness again through my history with Him when I need encouragement and I hope your heart feels that too.
Nottingham! Here we come!