5 Years in the Making

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My ANYTHING began three years prior to reading Jennie Allen’s book, Anything.

I was 27 at the time, with a 2 year old miracle baby. After three miscarriages the diagnosis had been that we would never have children. God spoke to a friend and told her that I was not to believe what the doctor said, that I would indeed have a baby. Believing that God spoke to her and after one more miscarriage our 5th pregnancy, Mikayla Hope, was born into this world. God did a miracle! We had been living a comfortable Christian life up until that point; going to church on Sunday, tithing, and volunteering, on occasion, in Children’s Ministry.

After having our miracle baby, God awakened us to more of His Father’s heart of love. Our life felt unsettled. I knew God had more for us. We had both been in full-time ministry in our early 20s and were hungry to see God move again.

Throughout the summer of 2010, I was starting to feel restless.

My hunger, to see God in ANYTHING and everything that my hands and heart touched, began to skyrocket. I wanted more of God; more of His love shown in the world. God’s Word was becoming alive in a deeper way. I started to dream dreams that were heavy in spiritual meaning, but I had never heard of modern-day Christians having dreams from God, so I just ignored them. After the third night of dreaming the same exact dream, I realized God works in ‘threes’. “This must be from the Lord,” I thought. I was scared out of my mind; God was about to MOVE in our lives and we needed to get ready. I called my friend to tell her my dream and she instantly gave me the interpretation. This was same friend who had told me to believe for a child.

I hung up the phone in fear and trembling; we needed to be on our knees before the Lord.

For three days, I prayed about the dream. The Lord did not give me the release to tell my husband. One night while he was putting on his shoes for work, he said, “I’d rather die than go to work tonight.” It was at that moment, the Lord prompted me to tell him my dream. “Hey Babe, last week I had the same dream three nights in a row and the Lord just told me to share it. Do you have a minute?” He paused, as he needed to get out the door quickly in order to not be late, but decided to sit back down. Cautiously he said, “OK…”

“My dream was that you died; Mikayla and I were still living in our house. Peace filled our home and we were fine. We were not in mourning over your death, but were excited about the future. The mailman dropped off our mail and inside one envelope was a check from your life insurance policy. We were set for the rest of our lives, but our house was empty.”

Unsure of how to react to dying in my dream, or what it meant, he sat quietly on the couch with his head bowed looking at his work shoes. “Well, what does it mean?” He asked quietly.

“I believe it means that you are supposed to die to how you view yourself as provider and you will resurrect into the man God made you to be. The check is God’s provision for us. The empty house is a symbol that our possessions are not our own. Your family will be taken care of when you die to your idea of what God has for us.”

We suddenly felt the presence of the Lord in our home so strongly that we had to wipe the tears from our eyes.

He responded with words I was not prepared for, “God told me 7 months ago to quit my job, but I told Him that I needed to provide for my family. I’ve been wrestling with Him ever since. I told Him I would only do it if He spoke to you, I’ve been praying this moment would happen.”

In shock, we sat on the couch looking out the front window of our 3 bedroom home. God really did want my husband to ‘die’. “How in the world would we make it on only my income?”

For the next two weeks we prayed asking God to show us when and how he was supposed to quit his job. We already knew what he was supposed to be doing. More than 10 years earlier God had spoken to my husband; we were supposed to minister His love to Hollywood. He was supposed to write a screenplay. The screenplay that God gave him to write, but he never had the time to do it.

Now that he was quitting his job, he would have time. But, God had way more in store for us than just writing. He was creating us in His image in a whole new way. He was showing us how to love others the way He loves. We were about to see a side of God we had never known before.

The same week he quit his job, God gave me the name of our next miracle baby, ‘Victoria Faith’.

Later that evening when my hubby returned home he said, “God gave me the name of our next baby, Victoria Faith.” It was confirmation. We jumped up and down hugging each other. We knew we were both hearing from the Lord.

Later that week he turned in his work keys. We were going on one income. What I thought was my husband’s ANYTHING was becoming mine as well. Each month we were in the red $2,000. However, we never put anything on credit card. For 6 months we never felt the pinch of being in the red.

One check after another came in the mail just in time to pay all of our bills. Our faith in God as provider, Jehovah Jireh, grew leaps and bounds. We didn’t tell anyone in our church. We knew it would be frowned upon for just the wife to work.

Suddenly, we felt the HIT. No money for our bills. No money for food or rent.

We hit rock bottom. What were we going to do? I kept repeating Psalms 111:5, “He provides food for those who fear him.” One night, I was preparing dinner. We were down to our last cup of black beans and last cup of white rice. This felt like our last supper in many ways. Would we still trust God even when our eyes did not see the fruit of our sacrifices?

Right then, we heard a knock on our door. A friend from church brought us sandwiches for dinner. We sat him down and told him our story of what God was doing. He had no idea. I put the black beans and rice away for breakfast. God provided again and again and our needs were constantly met. Our faith was growing.

Ten months into our new journey, God asked us to give up our 3 bedroom house. We moved 1,000 miles away with $100 in our pocket and arrived at my in-laws with $3 left. The trip should have cost $300 in gas alone, but God multiplied our gas. Jehovah Jireh provided yet again. Over the course of the next 5 weeks we slept on my in-law’s floor. God then spoke to us about moving back to LA. We couch jumped with two families from our church with a 3 year old, for weeks on end. Another family heard through the grapevine of our crazy story and offered us their guest bedroom. We lived there for 9 weeks.

Then a family that heard our story, asked us if we would like to live in the camper that sat in their yard. For the next 18 months we had 18 feet of living space. I slept on the twin-bed which turned into a table during the day. My husband along with our 3 year old slept in the pop-out full size bed where the heater would be most accessible to Mikayla.

We were homeless for a total of 22 months, wondering what God was thinking and what we were doing.

God was gently humbling us in order to learn how to love in a deeper way. We cooked and cleaned for the family that let us live in their camper. We started serving full-time in Children’s Ministry, after we realized no one else wanted to. We watched God move in the lives of others and knew we could make a difference. We were living proof that God is in every detail of our lives. We found out we were pregnant (after three more miscarriages) with our promised baby, Victoria Faith, while living in that camper. We kept writing the screenplay God told us to write. I worked full-time at a school with virtually no one knowing that we were homeless.

Our eyes were opened to true suffering as we realized we had no place we could truly call home.

We saw the homeless of LA and started making sandwiches for them. We gave away our last dollar so many times we lost count. We met a blind woman at our church who couldn’t get a job and started taking care of her groceries, bills and rides to and from church, as if she was one of our family members. We were learning that ANYTHING from our hands was actually everything from God’s. It didn’t matter if we were living in a camper, pregnant, it only mattered what God wanted to do in us and through us. Sometimes giving God ANYTHING isn’t always tangible, but it makes a place in our heart’s to have His temple built and formed in us.

Soon many in our church found out what we were doing and thought we were nuts and some days we did too. I read Anything after a friend said, “Linni, your hunger for God and your prayer is the same as Jennie Allen’s. I think you would love her book.” I read it and was honestly pretty upset that she said she was writing Anything while drinking her Starbucks and had her SUV parked out front. My Starbucks funds had dried up years earlier and I cried every time I saw someone carry a coffee cup. However, I realized that her ANYTHING just looked differently than mine, it was freeing to see God move in others just as He was moving in us.

Jennie Allen’s hunger for God blessed me; I didn’t feel alone anymore in giving everything up for God.

God was doing in our lives what He had done in hers. I was incredibly grateful at how she encouraged the saints to live surrendered to God. At 30 weeks pregnant, with our 2nd miracle baby, we found an apartment management job where our rent for a one bedroom would be compensated. We have now lived here for 2 years.

Our ANYTHING was giving up my husband’s career, giving up our house, and giving up our material possessions. When we did that we got EVERYTHING in return. We found our identities are in Christ alone, not in our careers, bank account, or zip code.

Ultimately being obedient to the call of God on our lives, to love one another as He loves us has been more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined. Our prayer is that he uses anything for his purpose in everything He touches in our lives as we walk by faith.

The important thing is that ANYTHING in our hands when given to God is God’s EVERYTHING from His hands back to us.

We now are focused on building community in our complex with atheist, hindu & muslim neighbors who have asked, “Why do you love me?” “We love you out of the love God shows us,” is our reply. I can’t imagine this happening without God rocking our world 5 years ago.

We still believe we are meant to minister His love to Hollywood the same way we learned to minister while being homeless, that we would have never learned if we stayed in our comfortable Christianity.

Our ANYTHING hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would; it is full of imperfections and doesn’t have a storybook ending yet. But, what I’ve learned is that we are all in process with the story God is writing through us. The end hasn’t come yet if we are still breathing. Our ANYTHING story is still developing. We are still learning to love daily as He loves us. I have learned that through His love I can offer compassion and hope where it looks hopeless. I can offer hope that God is for us. Hope and compassion to a suffering world is attractive. We may not know what the ending of our story looks like, but that’s where hope comes in, He is holding us in his hands as we walk by faith with Him!

Blessings to you,
Linni