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Do you have the faith to follow God and wherever He leads you, no matter the cost? Are you willing to lay aside your own plans and desires to follow His will for your life? Almost 2 years ago, I prayed some dangerous prayers and told God that I would follow Him wherever He leads me and do whatever He calls me to do, no matter what it looked like and NO MATTER THE COST. I want to do HIS WILL for my life and bring glory to Him. I’m tired of staying in my own comfort zone and being a “safe” Christian. This life is too short and there are too many lives that need to be saved to sit around and play safe Christianity. There are hurting and lost people everywhere that need the HOPE that only Jesus can give.

After praying these dangerous prayers, I started to go through a long 18-month wilderness season of stripping, pruning, and preparation. I’ve never walked through so much pain before in my entire life or been stretched as much as I have been stretched. I feel like Elastigirl off of the Incredibles movie. 😊 But God was doing a work and preparing me for what was to come. I kept hearing, “I will not allow pain without allowing something new to be born.” (Isaiah 66:9) The Lord kept impressing Isaiah 43:18-19 on my heart all of last year. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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.” When God gives you a vision for the future, He will often lead you straight into the wilderness to prepare you.

The wilderness is the place where God tests, humbles, strengthens, and refines us. There is where He molds Godly character in us. It is the preparation ground for future fruitful work in His kingdom. The wilderness is a time of letting go of everything that has sustained us other than God. God was stripping all of these things away from me so that I could rely solely on HIM.

In the wilderness, you become hungry and thirsty for the Lord. For those who deeply desire Him, He does this to create a greater hunger for the ecstasy of intimate fellowship. The most exciting thing about the wilderness is that it is the place where God reveals Himself in fresh new ways!

I learned to stop fighting the wilderness and started to embrace it and what God was teaching me. If we surrender to the process and allow God to do the work that He needs to do in us, it becomes so much easier knowing that there is a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and purpose for it all (Romans 8:28). We can’t shorten the wilderness season, but we can prolong it by being stubborn, prideful, complaining, blaming others, getting bitter or by giving up.

It’s in the furnace of affliction and persecution that the truly Godly person is made. The purpose of the wilderness is to purify, strengthen us, and prepare us for what’s to come. As unpleasant as it seems, allow God to purify you and make you into what you ought to be. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].”

As God is leading me out of the wilderness season, He is calling me into NEW things! The grace has lifted where I am currently at and He’s leading me to an unfamiliar place. God told Abraham to leave the place and the people he was familiar with and go to completely unfamiliar territory. It took tremendous faith and courage for him to say yes to such dramatic changes in his life. But the blessings God had in store for Abraham and his descendants would happen only if he was obedient and willing to endure change (Genesis 12:1).

We have to remember that every assignment from God is not a lifelong assignment. Just because God calls us to do something in one season doesn’t mean that He’s calling us to do it in the next season. We have to be sure that what we’re pursuing is what God is actually calling us to do and we need to be careful not to cling to a ministry more than we cling to God. His grace will always be sufficient for the things that He calls us to. Where God guides, He provides. We have to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding, but in all of our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God often leads us moment by moment, not all at once. As we take the first step of obedience, then He shows us the next one. Many of us are waiting for God to show up and do something in our lives, but God is waiting until we show up and step out in faith. “Faith is taking the first step even when we don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

When God gives you a new beginning, it often starts with an ending. We have to close the one door in order for Him to open the new door. It takes courage to let go of the familiar and embrace the new. The Lord has put dreams in my heart that He is calling and leading me to but before I can step into them, I have to be obedient and give up what He’s asked me to. God has asked me to close the Inspire doors at the church and even though I can’t fully understand it, I know that God has a plan. I have truly loved spending the past 7 years at C3. The Pastors & staff have been so gracious and good to me! It’s hard to give up something that has been so good but sometimes you have to give up the good in order to get to the great. I truly believe without any doubt that the best is yet to come! I know in my Spirit that God is calling me out and is wanting me to give my 1-month notice at the church. The last INSPIRE class at the church gym will be on Feb. 28th. All class participants will have one month to use up any punch cards that they may currently have.

My prayer is that even if you don’t understand, that you support this decision knowing that this truly is a step of faith into where God is leading me next. I wouldn’t do it unless it was from Him. I have had one confirmation after another, and I know that this is what I’m supposed to do. God has great plans and I’m excited to see what all He has in store! May He be glorified!!!

So let me ask you - What are you hanging on to that God is wanting you to let go of? Are you clinging to something of this world more than you are clinging to God? What step is God leading you to take? Are you being obedient? God blesses obedience. Are you doing what God has called you to do? Do you have the faith to follow? There is a cost to following Christ but it’s SO WORTH IT!!! Take up your cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).

Your Sister in Christ,

Amber Cunningham

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