“Why me,” I asked God? “Why not,” He replied deep within my soul. Nothing else was said by the Lord of my life. Simply “why not.”
And so, at long last, I’m going on my first encouragement road trip! A 45 day journey where I will be sharing my painted heart art as a way to offer encouragement and share the love of Jesus with everyone God places in my path. A three year old dream, I call it “Hearts Across America,” and God has given it His green light for next summer. He placed this creative desire in my heart in the summer of 2010 and of course, I thought He was sending me right away. But that was not His plan; He wanted me to say yes and then prepare me in many ways.
I never stopped praying or believing Hearts Across America would happen . . . although others were skeptical. After all, who am I to become a road traveler sharing Jesus plan of salvation? I’m certainly not a theologian or called to be a street corner preacher. I’m an artist with a spiritual gift of encouragement who loves people. But more than anything, I worship the Lord and want to share the truth: He loves us all right where we are.
Over the past eight years God taught me three major truths that changed my life . . . taking me from being a follower of Jesus to a radical believer who placed Him in the very core of my heart, the center of my life. It has been a life changing journey and I have nothing to do with it: God gets all the glory. I simply asked Him for wisdom, transformation and later, restoration. And as I waited, (and waited and waited) He gave me all three.
First, He taught me to trust Him wholly, leaning only on Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Second, to obey Him completely, without any reservation (Deuteronomy 11:1). And third, to use the gifts He has given to me because He was preparing me for His perfect plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11).
Those eight years were learning times, filled with lessons, heartache, struggles, trials, the recession, major financial changes, the loss of income, a return to college and daily trust exercises. There was also much joy and hope in these times too as I learned how to lean on the Lord for everything. Fun times, serendipitous experiences, marriages of my children, births of 5 grandchildren, four moves and numerous challenges to develop my testimony and share it filled the 96 months. And then, after waiting and waiting and waiting, God said “It’s time, prepare to go!” “I’m so ready, Lord,” I replied happily.
This month I joined a life group at my church where we have been studying “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeust. I had never read this book which amazes me since I have been saying yes to God for eight years. I suppose He wanted me to learn directly from Him. Lysa shares 5 questions to make sure we are hearing from God and not ourselves. I won’t list them all here but the fourth question says “Is it beyond me?” Oh for sure, Lord, this is way beyond me. I was able to clearly answer all the questions with an affirmative yes so this was an echo from God that He is sending me out on the road. (Please buy Lysa’s amazing book).
I believe God's plan is to have me refresh others and to offer encouragement as I hand out hand painted wooden hearts that say “trust in the Lord.” And I will share my story of trust and restoration with all who are interested, just as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to do.
What I would love is for you to consider three things. First, (and I really mean this!) is to be a partner of prayer in my ministry. Oh how I need to know I am being covered in prayer and that people are praying for random encounters and divine appointments. Second is to think about also sharing “trust in the Lord” hearts in your states, countries and lives. You may order these or make your own. Third is to purchase hearts to give as gifts to family and friends with other sayings on them.The proceeds are to be used strictly for Hearts Across America: 25% goes for the cost of the heart and 75% to share spiritual encouragement with hearts on the trip.
I ask from the bottom of my heart that feel absolutely no obligation EXCEPT to pray. God has already brought people who want to be a part of Hearts Across America and I know He chooses wisely so I don’t need to beg. It’s not my style anyway.
Our Lord is the master of restoration and new beginnings and in less than 9 months, my first trip (of many, I hope) will head out on the road. Please be praying with me. Pray lots!
Trusting the Lord with all my heart,
Here is the link to Hearts Across America: