“Then Adonai said to Abram,“Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you…” (Genesis 12:1)
In 2019, when Yahweh led me to move to the Knoxville, Tennessee region, I related to Abram and Sarai in the sense I was told to leave behind my homeland and those I loved, in obedience to Him. And, I can assure you being a stranger in a strange land from mid-April 2019 until mid-September 2022 (especially between lockdowns and knowing few people) definitely drew me closer to Him. The amount of isolation I endured was, admittedly, very hard at times. What He led me to learn, and the growth I’ve experienced personally and spiritually is not apparent to the naked eye.
There is no irony in what I’ve endured since mid-September, and where I am now planted. He who is omniscient kindly reminded me how, when I first understood I was to relocate to East Tennessee, He had spoken that this was the place…and that I was distracted away from it by being enamored with another location (Tellico Plains). I had never been to NE Tennessee, nor had I ever heard anything about this area. Yet, over the months between May and October 2022, the Tri-Cities area is precisely where He kept leading me. A year prior, I had been led to camp in the area but fear of the horrible weather – to this very novice camper – prevented me from making that adventure. And, we all know that fear is a distraction tactic of the enemy of our lives, right?
After finally reaching this area in May (2022) I fell completely in love with it – even more so than the Tellico area. Why? My Father in Heaven made it so! Plus, there is peace and irresistible beauty over this promised land.
Growing deeper still
The image above is of my beloved Smoky Mountains, shot just after dawn broke one morning in January (2022). Views like this made living in the Smoky Mountain region bearable for the past 3 years. It is part of my DNA but while I was drawing closer to Yahweh I also discovered truths about my heritage and where my direct Cherokee kin lived: not in Tennessee but in Virginia, before moving to Eastern Kentucky. (I’ll make the connection to this discovery for you later. Again, no ironies.) And, as I’ve mentioned in the past, He used my heritage to open my eyes to what He wanted me to see in The Word, in order to grow deeper in Him.
The entire time I lived in Blount County, near Knoxville, I struggled to make connections with people. I knew deep within me HE had a reason. I would talk to Adonai about this yet always stayed a stranger in a strange land, till the very end of my time there. Why? I understood why: He never intended that I grow roots there – only using it to transition me into the next season. I now believe those years were a sabbatical for me, from people, ministry, and other things I needed to be separated from. Thankfully during this time, I grew closer to the small circle of sisters in the faith I have known for years. They are treasures to me!
Was moving to Blount County a choice? No, I believe it was the happy medium, a wilderness location He found for me at the last minute, since I wasn’t clearly receiving His direction at the start of the journey. I was unknowingly distracted by a “want” – not trying to be disobedient – and that’s how the enemy gets us off course! Believe that I have repented several times after coming to this understanding about location. Another irony perhaps: after lockdowns began and I was going nuts in the house – He led me to drive to Roan Mountain for a day trip (and ever since I’ve had the photo below set as my computer’s background image). The seeds were silently planted that day, as to where He desired I be.
I heard Him say in April of 2021 I had one more year to stay in the Knoxville area, then I could go. Was I finally being released to move to SE in Tennessee? No…nothing was leading to that happening. Then, when all heck broke loose back in late March over my apartment lease, and not being able to find a place to live, I sought His face hard for an answer. That’s when He began leading me once again to spend time in NE Tennessee. And, if you know me, I had my heart set on living in the middle of nowhere so He had to put me in my place a bit by taking away a place to live altogether, and giving me no choice in the matter.
And, that’s exactly what happened.
God always has my back
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for even a short time, you know that whenever I have faced trouble, The Father is ceaselessly faithful in pulling me through. This time was no different. When I realized that come mid-September I would be truly homeless, I prayed and had others praying for me to receive clear direction. He began to provide direction in early July as I returned to Tennessee from Ohio, where I had been taking care of my mom after surgery. She was planning to move back to Florida and it just so happened that needed to happen in late September. As I headed south on 1-75, I heard that voice I know so well telling me that I would be taking all the time my mom needed to help her move.
Anyone who has walked with Adonai for any amount of time I hope understands that His timing is perfect. Our humanness cannot fathom that our lives are planned out by Him, to the most minute detail, if we allow it; if we walk in obedience and sacrifice ourselves to His will above our own, His perfect will can descend. If we look at Israel in the wilderness after leaving Egypt for the Promised Land, we see how He took care of their every need – yet how often did they fall on their faces in gratitude and have faith? (Never, only in moments of fear, with the exception of Moses.) Yahweh had the promise waiting for them. It literally would have taken them 40 days to reach the land IF ONLY…but instead, they walked in disobedience and they walked in a complete circle, many times over; enduring wars, death, and more…for 40 years. I am not a fool – I choose obedience when I am aware of a choice.
Often, in conversation, when people question His reasoning, I share this verse: “For, my thoughts, are not your thoughts, nor, your ways, my ways – declareth Yahweh.”(Is 55:8) I stand by this verse because I see it come to pass so often in my own life, it is undeniable. Absolutely, undeniable! Trust and see, brethren! (Stay tuned – there is more to come.)