When you pray, “Yes, Lord” to the unknown

By Brandi Parrish

My husband, Kelly, and I lived in Granbury, Texas, and life was great. We had four kids and were happy. Kelly worked in the oil and gas industry, and I taught a Bible study. We were both actively involved in our church when God began to work in us. The only way I can really describe it was a holy discontentment. As I prayed through it, God began to lay two words on my heart—“Yes, Lord.” We began to teach our children to pray, “Yes, Lord.” As a family, we started praying that a lot. Saying, “Yes, Lord,” helped us lay our hopes, dreams and any ideas of our future on the table. It brought us to ask, “God, what are your plans?”

For 12 months we prayed “Yes, Lord,” without even knowing what we were saying “yes” to. During this season, I found myself in Isaiah.

“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” (Isaiah 43:19).

Then, God opened our eyes to church planting. We understood that our “yes” meant we would become church planters.

But where?

We prayed for God to make us brave as we started the process of discovering where He wanted us to plant. Kelly and I both understood we would abandon this calling if our eyes were on the world, instead of Him.

We made a list of 19 cities and put one in every room in our house. We bought a children’s atlas that we used to study each city with our kids. One by one, God struck them off the list. Sometimes He did that through our kids. We wanted our kids to be involved in the process so they could see all God could do. We wanted their faith to be their own; we wanted them to choose Jesus and see His power and presence in their own lives.

Is this the land we had prayed for?

Through fasting and prayer, we narrowed the list down to Fort Collins, Colorado. We loved Colorado, but who would have thought God would bring us to a place we loved? We visited Fort Collins and were driving through neighborhoods when I saw one mom walking down the street. She had a baby in a pack, strapped tightly to her, a toddler in a stroller and another toddler trudging ahead of her on a tricycle. I began to weep when I saw her because I’m that mom. There was one day when I was walking down the sidewalk in Texas with a baby in a pack, a toddler in a stroller and a toddler on a tricycle. I knew that stage of life. It was incredibly hard. Fort Collins religious statistics gave me reason to believe that mom was doing her life and this hard stage without Jesus.

Something in my heart felt compelled to reach her. I wanted to say, “Can I walk this sidewalk with you? I am certain I have something that could make what you’re doing a little bit easier.”

We continued to pray and fast while we drove around Fort Collins. Then, we went back to Texas. We had prayed, “Lord, allow us to see with our eyes; not just make a decision based on what we like or on our hearts.” We wanted Him to give us a sign with our eyes to match His Word, so we would know that we were following in step with Him in our, “Yes, Lord.”

Two days after returning to Texas, Kelly called me from work and said, “I need you to open your Bible to Joshua.” I began to weep and said, “I’m already in Joshua.” God had taken us both to the same Scripture that morning. It read, “God gave them the land that they prayed for—Timnath.” We knew at that moment that Fort Collins was our promised land, and Timnath, which is right outside of Fort Collins, is where He wanted us to serve. I’ll never forget that day.

After the move, the youth ministry, office and church all took place in our home. It was busy and hard, but also freeing. I decided I would not fight to always have a perfect house. We loved that our home was a gathering place. We have worked hard to make it a safe haven not for only our family, but for others as well.

We started inviting people to a Bible study in our home. God quickly filled my heart with a love for people. They are not the people; they are my people. They are my people that God sent me to love well. It didn’t take long to see that lives were going to change because of our obedience to God.

Finding strength

Some of the greatest struggles as a church planter’s wife have been loneliness and feeling forgotten. I have struggled with figuring out my capacity at times—what I can do and when to say “no,” even if the opportunity is a good thing. I have had to take on things I thought I could not handle.

But my understanding of the bigger picture and desire for salvation of hearts has made this role doable. God has broken my heart for this place and the people in it. I do my best to love well. I have learned to hold tightly to the vision God has given us. “Yes” is a small word with huge meaning. I’m so glad Christ said “yes” to dying for me. I want my “yes” to help others experience His faithfulness and love, too.

Published March 6, 2017

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Brandi Parrish

Brandi and her husband, Kelly, live in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he is the Lead Pastor of Living Rock Church. They have three sons and a daughter. Before becoming church planters, they served in leadership in their local church in Texas until a holy discontent and brokenness for the unreached turned their world upside down. Brandi currently spends her days discipling women and teens, teaching a weekly women's Bible study and writing curriculum. She is passionate about equipping women to live out their callings.