Hearing the Voice of God

It has been just over four months since we launched this thing. Four months! Can you believe that?  If you’re reading this, maybe you’re new to our church, or maybe you have been hanging out with us for a while. Either way we can all admit that there is some newness around here. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and sometimes it’s terrifying. Our staff is new, our teams are new, this year- it’s a new one. I can’t help but feel refreshed with all of the newness around me. However, it has allowed me to go back to a specific moment where my husband and I made the decision to be here. To us, living in Traverse City is new. So I figured I would share with you how we got to this new place. This story is one of my favorites to share, and I hope by the end it will inspire you to dig a little bit deeper to hear the voice of God in your life.

About a year ago my husband, Joe, and I were at the Leadership Gathering (a conference that Kensington puts together for the leaders and key people in our ministries). At the time, Joe was leading Breakaway for middle school students at another Kensington campus while I was an intern working with our school partners team. We absolutely loved what we were doing. We felt confident and we had a great routine, along with really close friends that were in it with us. However, we knew my time, at least as an intern, was soon coming to an end.

It was January and the chaos of the holiday season was just about over. Joe and I found ourselves worshipping Jesus with everything we had at this conference. We used that time to refresh, revive, and get excited about the year to come. So we prayed like crazy about our future. We prayed circles around our dreams, our future jobs, and our future family. We never stopped praying. We were in the middle of singing and I knew God was trying to say something to me. I sat back down in my seat. Everyone around me had their hands in the air and was singing at the top of their lungs and here I was, alone with Jesus in this moment. It felt like we were the only two people in the room. I closed my eyes tight and a beautiful picture started to appear. First, a cabin. Then, a bunch of trees surrounding the cabin. This cabin seemed secluded. So I asked God, “What does this mean?” And without a shadow of a doubt I felt like God whispered, “If you took this next year to be away from your family friends…if you were a little bit secluded, like a cabin is in the woods, would you trust me that in this next year you will become closer to me, and your first year of marriage with Joe will rock? Taylor, would you trust me?” I couldn’t respond in that moment. I had no idea what it meant. So I wept. I tugged on Joe’s arm and I said, “We have some more praying to do. I think God is asking us to go somewhere.” It could have been Alaska for all I knew. I wasn’t sure where He was calling us, but I knew He was asking us to leave what was comfortable. That was horrifying to me. 

Joe and I were walking out of the doors that night and one of our executive pastors pulled us aside and said, “I want you to think about Traverse City”. My heart sunk. I knew we were launching a church up there, but I had no plans to be a part of it…except when I went up to my cabin in Elk Rapids over the summer. And there it was, I said it out loud. Traverse City…. My Cabin….Away from our family. If I hadn’t made the decision to hear the voice of God at the Leadership Gathering there is no way I could put all of those pieces together. God spoke to us so clearly about moving up here and starting this thing with all of you. It was new. It was risky. But it has changed the entire story of our family, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. 

Ironically, I am preparing for this Sunday in KKids and I am reminded of the memory verse we are teaching our elementary students, Psalm 119:105, “Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way. It is like a light that guides me.”  Is this the faith Jesus longs for us to have, or what?!  Whether we read it in scripture, hear it in a song, see it in a picture that He gives us, or hear Him whisper in our ears, God is talking to us.  And if we choose to listen His word will guide us to the exact place He wants us. 


Taylor Leal | KKids Director

Jenn Bander