Following the Cloud: What It Means to Be a Pioneer

A fourteen-year-old girl told me that she didn’t want to be like her family.

Her father had passed away.  Her mother was in and out of medical facilities, receiving psychiatric care.  Her older sister worked long hours at a supermarket, trying to support her two-year-old little girl conceived by a very violent and dangerous man.

Who could blame this fourteen-year-old girl for not wanting to be like them?

She also told me that she wanted to “focus on her studies” and “not get distracted by boys.”

Again, who could blame her?  At fourteen I would have said the same thing.  In fact, if I’m honest I continue to say those things.   At fourteen, and now almost twenty-four.

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When I met this beautiful girl while in Detroit, I realized that she was beginning to understand something.  She was beginning to understand that she doesn’t have to remain stuck in what she was born in.  That she doesn’t have to remain trapped in cultural religion, a broken family, or her own fears.

I understand this.  I have walked this road.

And my prayer for her is that she would come to know the truth—the One who is the Truth—

And be set free.

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“So they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’  And she said, ‘I will go.’”

-Genesis 24:58

I will go.  I will leave home.  I will step out.  I will follow the cloud (Numbers 9:15-23), the presence of the living God who when He moves I move and when He stays I stay, even if He moves in the middle of the night.  Even if He moves me when I wasn’t expecting to move.  Even if He has me stay when I was expecting to go, or seeing others go.

Even if my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]”

-Psalm 27:10

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There were ten generations between Abraham and Seth, the son of Adam (Genesis 11).  Ten generations with very little to say.  Before someone decided to leave home.  Before someone decided to be brave.  Ten generations before someone said, in essence, “Enough of this.  I’m following the Lord.”

There probably wasn’t a room full of people clapping for him, asking him to come to the front of the room so everyone could see him and have the spotlight shine on him.  That probably wasn’t Abraham’s story.

That isn’t the story of the pioneers I know.

And that has never been my story.

When I hit my knees at seventeen, there wasn’t an audience.  There wasn’t even anyone else at home.  But I decided “enough is enough.”  Something has to change.

And He picked the most unlikely, fearful person to take the first step.

To be a pioneer.

And learn to pioneer for His kingdom along with others.

the girls

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Being flexible, moldable, bendable.

Working hard behind the scenes.

Messing up, falling short, because everything is new and everything must be learned or relearned, tried and tried again.

Not knowing all the logistics, timing, or what is to come.

But resting in His promise:

“I will cry to God Most High, who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!

-Psalm 57:2

A promise that can never be broken.

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“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring.  Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”

-Psalm 27:14

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord.

That’s what it means to be a pioneer.

And when you don’t know what to do next,

Just keep following the cloud.

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