I’ve Got A Hunch

by | Jan 8, 2013 | Uncategorized


Singing to the words on the overhead screen, Murielle leans over and whispers, “This song reminds me of our church in Phoenix.” That was over ten years ago.

She took me back to her six year old self in a whisper. Standing on risers, her arms folded underneath the oversized white robe, tinsel halo pushed on a crown of wispy curls as she sang We Three Kings of Orient Are among a throng of gap-toothed peers. I never thought I would be standing here now.

Almost a decade ago, we started our vacation on an island a thousand miles from home and bumped into a Bishop who my husband didn’t realize was trying to call him.  How his simple question – “Will you extend your vacation and visit a church a few hours away needing a pastor?” – led to a cross country move for our family. Like Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, we ended up in a place we never expected.

When we stood up to sing Here I Am to Worship she leaned over again and whispered in my ear, “This one reminds me of Morehead City.” The coastal community we traded for the desert; the one we never expected to leave so soon.

Five years after that cross country move, on the same day we celebrated our first worship service in the new church built with people we’d grown to love, another Bishop asked the same question. A question we’d grown to expect from God. Would you consider?

And we moved again. We never expected to reside in the place where we’d vacationed for years; the same seaside town where we bumped into that first Bishop who asked us to consider extending vacation.


It’s late afternoon when my family stands huddled together in a borrowed chapel among two hundred friends displaced by a church vote. My daughter’s whispers are the resting spots between notes of realization. That dreams are harnessed when we learn to see beyond circumstance.

H and I, we’ve been doing this since we said, “I do.” Moving to new places, doing things some people call crazy.

We’re like the Magi who left home on a hunch to follow the Light, risking without certainty about the future. Because each time we embrace discernment, behold the unexpected without clarity or predictability, a defining moment greets us at the door. And like those three kings, we see extraordinary things others miss.

As I walk into the New Year, I never expected to be part of planting a new church, to lead a bible study, mentor teens,  be a content editor for a website, write an e-book, field writing invitations or speak at a retreat.  But then again, I’ve never confused home with where I’ve been, it’s always about where I’m going.


As Holley Gerth says, “God-sized dreams aren’t really about size at all–they’re about embracing and pursuing the desires God has placed within your heart that perfectly fit who you are.”

Are you in a place you never expected?

Perhaps it’s the open flap on the envelope of promise.

Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. ~Isaiah 43:19

Linking with Holley as she kicks off Saying“Yes” to a God-sized Dream in 2013


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  1. Mia

    Well done good and faithful servant! The few moves we have made have opened unexpected doors and shown us new and different ways to minister. How blessed you must feel standing beside Murielle and sharing these times.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I was actually surprised that see remembered the one from PHoenix. And then I thought about all that has been poured into her life spiritually and how thankful I am for that.

  2. Lynn Morrissey

    I think that Holly has nailed it. So often people pray, “God give me the desires of MY heart.” The implication is that we, personally, desire things and can ask God to grant them. I think what that verse in the Psalms is really saying is that we should ask God to give us the desires that He, Himself, will place in our heart in the first place. It is His joy to fulfill the desires that He, Himself, gives us. Isn’t it wonderful, Shelly, how God keeps surpassing your expectations? And I love how you and H are Sarah and Abraham, ready to pull up tent stakes at a moment’s notice, with tent-and-envelope flaps flapping in the breeze. When you live with that kind of “I’ll follow You anywhere” attitude, no wonder you have no idea where He is taking you. How exciting! You may not know what to expect, but you can always be expectant. You can be expectant as you ask for new eyes to see the new things God is doing, the new places to where He is taking you. I am asking Him for vision this year….those new eyes that behold new things. I want to rip off the blinders of my status-quo, stuck-in-the-mud heart in order to be able to recognize Him when He comes, and follow Him wherever He leads. It’s called heartsight. (See Ephesians 1:18). I also love this quote, which adorns my study wall (by Proust): “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Shelly, I’m praying God will daily give you new eyes and continue to take you to new places, where He desires you to go. What an exciting year this is going to be for you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I love that quote by Proust Lynn. And I think this realization truly comes with maturity. I love seeing new things but its in seeing what is right in front of me anew that brings contentment. Yes, to expectancy . . . always.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Shelly, what you are saying here reminds me of another favorite quote by T.S. Ellot, which you likely know: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” May all your seeing bring you contentment, Shelly.

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    P.S. Wow, do I love your church photos. They’re exquisite, Shelly!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you. I had lots of inspiration walking the streets of Charleston over New Years with my family.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Oh I’ve heard that Charleston is so lovely. I would love to visit there (I love all things old and antique).

  4. kelliwoodford

    i identify with the magi in exactly the same way. and, you know, there are a lot of people in the Bible who did not know where they were going, but only followed the Light step by step. they are the very ones who are commended for their *faith*, not rebuked for their lack of vision or some such nonsense.
    this gives me great courage.
    and your words echo this so well. all our lives, the destination is in the journey itself.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Very good point Kelli. It’s all those stories in the Bible that make we want to take risks and to tell my own stories knowing how much story affects our lives for transformation. And I think you are already courageous Kelli. 🙂

  5. Michele {A Life Surrendered}

    I am so excited for all the wonderful, amazing opportunities you have and God-ventures you are on! What courage and what faith! Blessings on all you endeavor for His glory. Blessings, friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh, you too Michele-Lyn. God is doing amazing things, giving you opportunities too. I see it. Thanks for being an encourager here.

  6. Lori Harris

    And that is my year’s verse for 2013….may I see what God is doing in this wilderness of church planting….loved this post. Really hit home.

  7. Anne

    As the light began to come into our bedroom this AM I found myself thinking I do choose to believe God’s promises. Today God I choose to believe Romans 8:28. You do take painful situations and bring good from them. Reflecting on the past week I have a dear friend that unexpectedly lies in a hospital bed struggling to communicate. As a result I have experienced some healing conversations because of this situation. Like Shelly, I too did not expect to be where I am today. Do not know what tomorrow will bring for this dear friend of 35 plus years. But today I choose to believe God has my friend in the palm of His healing hand and all things work for the good of those in Christ Jesus.
    During the worship celebration we attended on Sunday I kept thinking how wonderful this is and my sick friend should be here. Joy and sadness coexisting. As the light creeped in brighter and stronger this AM, I realized that I let the sadness over take the joy during that worship service. I choose the wrong thought path and let my mind go down the sadness path and now I regret it. I have had several conversations with others and realize how much joy I missed. Allowing that sadness to rule and choosing it and a not entering into the joy was a decision I now know I allowed to happen. Renewing of the mind Paul calls it, choosing your thoughts. What did my sadness do? How did it glorify God as I stood in that place of worship surrounded by those that did choose to worship. Again I am reminded all action begins with a thought. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
    Today the warm sun shines and His light has filled the room. The warmth of the sun on my shoulders as I write gives me peace of knowing God stills loves me and I can worship as I sit in His warmth today, now. How awesome is our God that continually loves and redeems us. My heart sings, “Now is the time to worship”. Again Shelly your thoughts were a guide to a worshipful redeeming place, thank you.

  8. Archie Biggs

    Great post! I guess all of us worshiping in the burrowed chapel never expected to be there. The Holy Spirt was mightly present. I have been a Episcopalian/Anglican all of my 72 years but never expected to start a new church, but here I am! To God be the glory! We are following the star or as the bishop is fond of saying “a cloud by day, a pillow of fire by night.”

  9. Paula

    Beautiful post, Shelly. And, the thought of home not being where you have been; but where you are going. Photos beautiful as always.

  10. Marilyn

    I’m definitely in a place I never expected! So encouraging your words, Shelly. Home is where I’m going.

  11. hisfirefly

    abut where we’re going….
    yes, this.

  12. Eileen

    “But then again, I’ve never confused home with where I’ve been, it’s always about where I’m going.” I love that. So much hope!

  13. Stefanie

    God has richly blessed you, sweet friend! I’m thrilled for your GOD-SIZED dream and have full confidence HE will complete every work HE has begun in you.
    I’m thrilled to journey alongside you as we pursue HIS dreams for us.

  14. Tereasa

    I come to this place and breathe a sigh of relief. This part of your life is kindred to my own. Your words are balm to my soul. “It’s always about where I’m going.” Yes. These words are truth.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, I know we are definitely kindred in this area of our lives Tereasa. Glad you found a place to exhale wide and long here.

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