I have always had my eyes on things that were deep. Especially the ocean or the sea.
So, it came as no surprise that the blog God birthed in January was entitled “Deep in A Shallow World”. I am even so deep, ok maybe childlike is a better description, that I like to think of myself as a mermaid. Yep. I’m an Ariel who writes, and I certainly have gadgets and gizmos of plenty. *wink* So, when I was honored with an interview by Voyage Houston, featured in their trailblazers’ section, my go to idea was to do a photo shoot by the water. Somewhere fit for a mermaid, somewhere DEEP, but as always God had something much deeper in mind for me.
I try to do prayer walk down Eagle Drive every other day. Just to spend some alone time with God, and at the same time balance out all the cookies I’ve most definitely consumed the day before. So, when God opened the door for a magazine interview and a book publishing opportunity, I began praying strategically on this, as I marched my chubby feet down that long drive. “God, give me YOUR vision.” I’d say. Even though my prayers were genuine and I was consistently “knocking on the doors of heaven for direction, I was still so focused on where I was currently positioned, that I almost missed exactly where it was that He was taking me. Like the Israelites, we can become distracted by our present situations and forget the promise land that lies ahead.
So, with my mind still focused on my present state, I told my photographer Kelly, “Let’s just do the shoot somewhere beside the water.”
“Sounds great,” she said, so the location was settled.
She picked a beautiful spot in liberty by a lake to do the shoot, yet somewhere deep inside I still felt a restlessness. I knew this was where God had me right this moment, in the depths, but I felt pressed that He was trying to show me something else instead. Was there something deeper that I was missing?
The next day, as I walked in prayer, I began to recall a painting that I had done in January. One that God had birthed through a vision He gave me in my prayers. A vision of a whale springing up in the midst of a dry desert land. I kept hearing His voice roaring from somewhere deep inside my heart, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
My prayer walk turned into a sprint as my feet started running, I could feel the adrenaline coursing its way through my body. I felt His presence join me as I ran. My heart beating drum to the cadence of my feet. His voice now so close to me it was becoming a gentle whisper in my ear, like only a lover would do as he said, “I know you don’t understand this now, but I promise it’s” going SOMEWHERE.” Peace and vision flooded my mind as I saw a picture in my head of me standing on train tracks. I knew they represented “going a new direction, and God already setting the path before me.”
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6
I couldn’t wait until I got home, to message Kelly about the vision. I told her what God said, and she knew immediately where He was taking us. Straight to the old train station on Main Street in Liberty, Texas. You see, He was taking us to Freedom.
BUT-God definitely has a sense of humor, because August in Texas is so hot it feels like God is giving you a glimpse of Hell. As if to say, “Turn or burn Texans!” Even though we were on the tracks of Liberty (Freedom), with a heat index of 109, it was almost unbearable, but we pressed on. In spite of my makeup melting off, my outfit soaked in sweat, the Texas sized thorns that began to find their way on our legs and feet, or the ants that thought my hands were a dinner provision, Kelly got some amazing shots. I can still hear her voice calling to me from behind her camera as I stood on the train tracks, “Allison, look for your train. Your Train is coming!” Every time she’d call out that phrase, I could feel His spirit inside of me moving. He was turning my gaze to what was to come. To what was ahead. So, each time, I’d look for Him. In every shot I was waiting. Thinking. “God, where are you. Where is this going? Where is my train.”
Finally, we’d gotten some really amazing shots, and after enduring all the obstacles we had in our way, we both were worn out and done. We began packing up our stuff to leave, and as we were making our way back to our cars to head home, we heard a loud horn break through the silence. With wide eyes Kelly cried out, “The train is coming!” The horn blared again, this time louder, and with more urgency! Quickly, we gathered our things, and ran as fast as we could in order to catch the train! We made it just in time so that Kelly could position me right next to the tracks, and I could feel it’s powerful force roar past me. Its presence was shaking every inch of my body, and we both were flooded with an intense joy! The kind of joy you can only feel when God finally shows up and you see your promise unfolding before your eyes. In the physical it was just a train, but in our souls, it was something deeper. The train was God. He was showing that He was a promise keeper, and confirming that we were indeed “going somewhere”. Even if in that moment I couldn’t see exactly where it was that He was taking me. Now I see it was right here, to this every moment, just to share it with you.
You see there was another person I’ve met along my way. One I first heard about as a child, with felt characters stuck to a board in Sunday school class. One who God must have kept saying to, “I know you don’t understand this now, but I promise this is going somewhere.” A man named Abraham who left his home and everything he was comfortable with to set out on a journey in the faith in a promise that “This was going somewhere”. And BOY did it “go somewhere.” Every place Abraham’s journey led him always required extraordinary faith. God’s promise to birth a nation through him, while over 100 years passed and there was still not a single sign of his “train” coming down that track. Doubt creeping in and Abraham finding himself doing what we all do, just trying to help God along, but instead committing sin, and making things a BIGGER mess in the process. Abraham did the same thing that Adam and Eve did, he took something that was in God’s hands into his own, and He’s so good, that He kept His promise in spite of Abraham’s sin. That train came rumbling down the track at a speed so fast it even made Sarah laugh. Though they did have to wait for such a very long time, Isaac was eventually born and Abraham learned the same lesson I did the day God sent the train. That even when we cannot understand, even when the odds are stacked against us, and we feel like God is somewhere in heaven kicked back in a recliner just forgetting about us, there will NEVER be a promise God doesn’t keep. He’s just making us wait for the increase.
Today, no matter where God has placed you in life, no matter how little the hope is you have inside for your destiny being fulfilled. I pray you hear his tender whisper in your ear, “I know you don’t understand this now, but I promise THIS IS GOING SOMEWHERE” it always has been, every mission, every marriage, every friendship, everything you do, no matter how much you don’t understand it, or how insignificant it may seem, is just a “train” of faith on your Journey Home.