And Jesus cried out in a loud voice and breathed His last breath. (pneuma- Breath of Life) Matt 27:50

And when the He, The Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you. John 16:13-14 (pneuma – Breath of Truth/Spirit of Truth)

Having said this, He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.”John 20:22 (pneuma-Breath of Life/Breath of Truth/Holy Spirit)

A couple months ago, the Holy Spirit asked me to take a journey into the unknown that would forever change the course of my life. The travel invitation was something so foreign to my way of reasoning, my way of doing, and my way of rectifying that it called me to question if the voice I was hearing in my heart was actually of God. The intimidating request would cause me to confront a few of my biggest fears: rejection and abandonment.

I couldn’t wrap my heart or mind around the risk he was asking me to take so I asked for several confirmations. The confirmations were immediate, clear and came with a certain sense of peace, so I eventually boarded ship and set sail for the land of unfamiliar. I felt completely unprepared and exposed to the elements so I wrapped myself up in the only provisions I had; blind faith and determination. Out of sheer disorientation, I set my sight on where the wind of the Spirit was leading and that’s the point where my course began to turn.

It took me a minute to get acclimated to the the waves but once I did, I realized they truly didn’t matter if I kept my focus. I was steady, thanks to the love that surrounded me. Because of that, the pressure was off. I knew that Jesus is, was, and always will be good, so I stood firm in the radical booking and waited for instruction regarding the next stop. I had hope and confidence that the voyage would lead my family to a better place even though the journey was unclear.

To be perfectly honest, I thought the one thing I needed most in my life was missing. I was intent on having something completely different. After twenty three years of enduring an unanswered prayer, the missing link had begun to shape the way I viewed my life, the way I experienced joy, and what I believed about the goodness of God. Without being aware, I had been existing within an ever evolving spiritual battle for my heart. I tried everything I could to make things work until I grew too tired to make one more plan.

Here’s the thing with having your own plan; sometimes our step by step strategies don’t always line up with the Holy Spirit’s leading. Sometimes, God’s means of change and escape is not your choice. Sometimes it’s a very strange trip. Friends, don’t ever think Jesus won’t throw you a curve ball that spirals upward into a plot twist. Think about it….the most inconceivable, yet beautiful plot twist? The cross. Who would have ever initially thought that the cross would become consistent with a vision of glory. For us, more often than not, having a cross to bear plays a pivotal role in our stories of that kind of glorious and redeeming love.

The point is, sometimes God’s plans seem senseless and daunting because they don’t always line up with reason. That’s where grace steps in. Grace was God’s idea. He created grace so that we can have an undeniable encounter with a pure and dependable love that can be trusted no matter how reckless it may appear. Grace sets us free from the bondages that will never give us what only God can: the most unrestrained breath of life you will ever inhale.

So I spent 40 days adrift in The Wind. The symbolism of the 40 days was not lost on me. But unlike Jesus, I didn’t find I was tempted in the wilderness, but rather like Moses on the mountain, challenged by the authentic and confronted by a calling. During those 40 days, God unraveled everything I thought I needed and spoke truth about His sovereignty over my family. He eventually called me back to the same familiar place I had departed from but everything about it was completely different. Perfect? No. But definitely better; a new and exciting place to work from. During my absence, He stepped in, flipped the tables and rearranged them all…but it required my obedience in doing the unimaginable in order for Him to work His imaginable.

I fell asleep to the song posted below every night during those 40 days. It became my anthem that taught me to have courage when God calls me to make a difficult move, to speak up even if my voice is trembling and to take tiny steps forward in the faith of knowing….even if I had bits of doubt. The truth is, we serve a dissatisfied Redeemer who will never turn from His work of grace in our lives, even when we fail to esteem it or even work hard to resist it. With patient grace, He will call us to tune in, again.

Listen, God always knows what He’s asking us to do. It’s His intention to take us to a place we’ve never been before. He is asking us to explore and embrace the dazzling mystery that surrounds all that He is. The problem is, we want certainty, but that’s not how faith works. The promptings aren’t to prove anything to Him, it’s to unearth something in your heart that you’ve yet to discover: deeper faith, holy confidence, and richer understanding…..a powerful determination in your spirit to be braver than you have ever been before because you now realize you just totally survived and overcame the hardest thing He has ever asked you to do!

To this day I can’t listen to those lyrics and not be reminded of all that He is. He is all that I need. He can most certainly do the extraordinary and the incomprehensible. He can move every impassable mountain that blocks our paths and calm every impossible wave that feels like it might crush us.

I know Him as The Wind in my sails; the visionary that knows how to push me along in His current towards my truest purpose. The thing is, The Wind will always take us where we want to go, but rarely on the path we expect. We have to embrace the unexpected and live with a sense of adventure. We are meant to be, ….designed to be….driven by The Wind.

When The Wind finally drew me home, I understood that things had to happen the way they did. It took me getting out of the way so that God could answer that prayer. And it came as no shock at all to find that in God’s perfect timing, The Wind had blown in the rain….an unprecedented and torrential downpour of God’s faithfulness.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

**The song “The Voyage” appears on Amanda Cook’s new album ‘Brave New World’

***These paintings hang together in my home and were painted by my precious Grandmother-in-law, Doris McDowell. She was the epitome of strength and grace. After she passed into eternity, we found several paintings tucked away in a back closet and were amazed to find that they were her works. I treasure my every memory of her as well as these paintings. I especially love the middle one because she left it unfinished….like me, like you, like faith, like our journeys, and like love.

Hung together, they tell the story of grace.