(The is Part 5 of a blog series. If you want to start from the beginning, please scroll down to where it says "Our Big Announcement")
I realized I haven't posted a picture of the amazing Cottle family so there you go. Here is Brady and Misty with their beautiful family :)
The next day was going to be spent on the YWAM base. Donna and Tom were scheduled to teach their class called "Pure Heart," and we were just going to sit in and observe a day in the life of a YWAM student.
It was a Monday and they have corporate worship every Monday and Thursday morning before heading off to classes. Of course it was amazing! There were hundreds of students gathered singing praises to Jesus. I was very pleasantly surprised to see a TON of families with their children. While everyone worshipped outside together, we watched as all the kids lined up to be led off to their classes for the day. I tried to take it all in and dream, with the ocean view in the background, and standing in the perfect weather, I tried to invision my family and little ones lined up with big smiles as they headed off to school. I was really trying my hardest this to day to relax and just be open to whatever the Lord had for us. Although still hesitant to say yes, I knew I didn't want to miss what He had for us. I knew better than to be wrestling so much with the Lord on whether or not I was going to do what He had called me to do. Deep down I was thinking about our adoption, and how we would've never thought to adopt a child from Africa, of all places, if the Lord hadn't spoken so loud and clear on what He wanted us to do. Although that road was difficult, I learned that I never want to say no to what the Lord has, just because I'm fearful, because He knows what is best. Aaron and I could've said no. We could've said that it was just too hard and too expensive and gone a different route, but if we had, we wouldn't have our little JoMo. What a blessing that boy is! If we hadn't said yes, we wouldn't have been stretched so much and grown in our faith and trust in the Lord in such a difficult circumstance. If we hadn't said yes, we wouldn't have been blessed with being able to visit the beautiful land of Ethiopia and fallen in love with their amazing culture and people. And if we hadn't said yes to Him then, I don't think I would've had the courage to say yes this time to visiting the possiblity of moving to Hawaii and joining YWAM. He had built up my faith, and I learned through saying yes to adoption, that I wanted to always say yes when He was being so persistent in asking us to do something. But in saying all that, and knowing all that in my heart, there was STILL a wall up. Here we go again with the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions that were going back and forth like a ping pong match in my mind. I knew what He was asking, but I wasn't too happy about it. I think my parents may could argue that I am a bit strong willed at times. I think a weakness of being strong-willed is called stubbornness, and I was being a bit stubborn to totally surrendering and say yes. I can imagine the Lord at this point up in heaven, was thinking to Himself..."Oh my Stacy, What more do I need to do or say for you to put your guard down?" That's when He had decided to come at me hard and direct. And it wasn't just for me, it was for all of us. Although I think I was the only one at this point, not planning the move already. I think Brady, Misty and Aaron had already accepted it. Sweet Aaron was waiting so patiently on me to catch up. It's ok. He's use to it by now ;)
I know you are wondering what the final straw was that the Lord had to pull to make this stubborn girl say yes.
Well, after worship that morning this more seasoned looking gentleman/leader got up to pray for the body and dismiss everyone to their classes. After he was done praying he says this:
"I feel like the Lord has given me a word for someone here today. It could be for one person or it could be for many, I don't know. But the Lord is saying that you are someone who is just out of your twenties." (Ears are perked and you have my attention, because this could be me).
He said, "You are here searching. You feel as though you missed out on what the Lord had for you in your younger years, of what you felt was the prime time in your life. He is telling you that it's not too late! He says it's not too late, and if you say yes to what I am asking, I will show myself to you, and you will witness my glory in ways you could never even imagine." Is your jaw dropped right now, because mine sure was. I knew 100% that word was for me. The way the man said it, it was from the Lord for sure, because the Lord knew my heart. He knew that I had many times looked at student's YWAM pictures online and heard their stories and felt sadness and regret for not doing something like that before I had children. He knew that I thought it was too late, and my time had passed. He knew I had told young girls going off to YWAM DTS that I wish I had done this when I was their age, and that was my biggest regret in life. He knows my heart and He wants to give me the desires of my heart!
So this is when I just slumped over and looked at Aaron and said..."Oh My gosh!" Aaron was grinning through his watery eyes because he knew too, and I am sure he was relieved that I finally got it. I told him, "Well, I guess we are coming for sure." Aaron gave me a big hug and kiss on my cheek, and I looked over at Brady and he was slumped over weeping, because that word was for him too. Misty missed it, because she was chatting with a mom about the school, but that's ok. She was already planning her move, and probably didn't need to hear it as much as we did at that point.
It was just so incredible the way the Lord spoke, and how much He spoke while we were there. So much so, we can't say no to it. We enjoyed the next two days sitting in on Tom and Donna's amazingly powerful teaching on inner healing and watching as students were being healed of past hurts and walking away in freedom. We got to pray and take part in some ministry time as well, and came home feeling a bit more whole ourselves.
There is still some nervousness here because of all that needs to be done before we can leave. It's overwhelming thinking about it. We did, however, get the hard part out of the way, and told our families we were going. I had myself all worked up that everyone was going to be against it, but they surprised me. Some are sad, of course, but I don't think anyone is really shocked by the news, which is good. I have my days where I can't wait to see all that the Lord has for our family, and then days where I cry thinking about leaving everyone. I think it will be hard and also be a blessing, just like our adoption.
Please be in prayer for our family and the Cottles as we have A LOT to do to prepare for January. We need prayer partners, and would love it if you would partner in praying for our families.