The Great Adventure, Part 3

The Great Adventure, Part 3

It was an awful night, actually. A couple of awful nights. I could feel God putting the slightest bit of pressure on my heart. I couldn’t really define what was going on inside, but I knew that the Lord was beginning to stir the pot. Still, I still wasn’t letting my heart go there. And to fend off a potentially painful journey, I continued to give Pastor Ben a moderately-defiant ‘no.’

The next morning was Sunday, December 20. I was en route from Raleigh, NC to Louisville, KY. AT 8:27am, I got a text from Pastor Ben. It said something to the effect of (not a direct quote):

I’ve been on my prayer bench getting ready to preach three services, praying with a deacon, and God will not release your name from my heart about this calling. Will you please respect the fact that I feel like I’m hearing from God on this, and at least open your heart to pray about it. If you feel like God gives you a ‘no’ still, I promise to leave you alone and will not mention it again.


I realized that although I had said I would at least pray about it (and I did), I knew that I had not opened my heart to it (which is a totally different thing). So on that Sunday, I began to do just that.

Remember when I said it felt like the Lord was beginning to put the slightest bit of pressure on my heart? Well, on December 20th, the pressure increased. A lot.

We were supposed to drive to Boone, NC for Christmas on Monday the 21st, but Lily Kate had the flu, so we waited. I spent that Monday wandering around the house, crying, sleeping, packing, crying some more. And some more. I don’t even know why. I didn’t feel sad; just emotional.

We finally hopped in the car and headed to Boone on Tuesday. And that is when Angela and I began to break down all of this that God was putting on our plate. We had talked about it all that week before…keeping communication open about what each of us was thinking. But really what Angela had been saying was, “Oh, sweetie. You’re turning 40. Bless your heart. It’ll be ok. Do you need a new car or something?”

That all changed on the drive to Boone. On that snowy day driving across Tennessee, my bride of 16 ½ years and I unpacked everything about our lives together…dreams realized…dreams unrealized…our definition of success in ministry…God’s definition of success in ministry…God’s standards for walking uprightly in the kingdom of God in this generation…what we felt like our kids’ destinies might be…how to fit them rightly for their callings…what needs to stay in our lives and what needs to go in terms of continuing to allow God the freedom to use us as equippers in the body of Christ…LISTEN. We unpacked it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. We pulled out every single aspect of our lives and looked at it in the Light. It was AWESOME. There is something about putting on the brakes in life and taking a full-scale emotional, physical and spiritual inventory that is fulfilling beyond measure. We never loved each more than we did in those moments.

So, we began to pray. And pray hard. And I will never forget praying this at the very onset of that day :

“Lord, you know I will go ANYWHERE you call me. And…”

And I heard God interrupt me in my spirit to say, “Now just hold on right there. That’s not true.”


  1. Kristy on February 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

    you are killing me =)

  2. Sarah M. on February 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I echo Kristy.

  3. 3girlsmom on February 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Seriously? You stopped part 3 with a QUOTE FROM GOD? That's harsh, Cottrell.

    It's killing me and I know the end of the story.

  4. Tiffani on February 18, 2010 at 8:01 am

    are you sure He isn't calling you in to suspense novel writing?!

    geez laweez!

    morning routine:
    1. time with Jesus
    2. check trav's blog

    I am very excited, though…I think it's gonna be GOOOOOD! 😉

  5. Susan B. on February 18, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Oh, man! I can't wait to find out what happens!

  6. Alex and Jill on February 18, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Better than any novel out there. I'm loving this.

    Then what?

  7. Diane Muir on February 18, 2010 at 8:17 am

    And … break for commercial.

    I love where this is going, but I have to admit that I want to look at you with puppy dog eyes and say, Please end the pain of anticipation!

  8. CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD on February 18, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Come on Cottrell spill the beans you are killing us seista's here.
    We need to hear the whole Megilla
    Like Beth said in the Esther bible study so spill it dear brother.
    Love ya Cottrell's

  9. Lisa on February 18, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Oh. My. Word. This really is a great adventure. Praying for you and your family all the way.

    A Siesta in Atlanta, ~ Lisa ~

  10. Laura on February 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I too know the end of the story. (Watched the video yesterday instead of my household duties!) You are doing a great job keeping the siestas in suspense!

  11. daniel on February 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

    dude, it's been fun reading these posts. excited to see what happens.

  12. Dionna on February 18, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Travis, I have tears in my heart. I know those long car drives of a conversation – some of the best times to dig deep into things! And I love where you said you began to pray about it but hadn't really opened your heart to it. Convicting. I have done that so many times.

    I love that you're sharing this with us – I know a lot of people will be able to re-think how they approach new opportunities in prayer and God's guidance from here on out because of your open and vulnerable heart.

  13. Tina on February 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Praying for you and your family. Love this cliffhanger bloggy thing you got going on…keep us coming back for more;). God Bless!!!

  14. Lora on February 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Tears after reading Pastor Ben's text and your response…then more tears…long car rides can be so good. Love your honesty and your love for your family. Love when we feel we are emotional, spiritual, physical train wrecks, and God helps us jump tracks and then with more of His goodness, He does bless.

  15. Holly Solomon Barrett on February 18, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Whew! I think I might get sick on this roller coaster if it doesn't end soon! As much as I love me some details, will ya cut to the chase, Travis?! 🙂

  16. Brian Megilligan on February 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Wait-you were in Raleigh on Dec 20th and you didn't even stop and say HI?


  17. Dianne on February 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    After good strong hints and some investigation, I know where this is going also, but I'm still enjoying the story so much. An unfolding God working in your life story is the best!

  18. Melanie M on February 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    You are quite the story teller, Travis! Thank you for your willingness to be open and honest with us. Refreshing, convicting, challenging. wow. I do love a good story.

  19. Plain Ryn on February 18, 2010 at 10:13 am

    You're really enjoying this, aren't you?! It's awesome to hear your story, but a little more at a time, please… Maybe God is calling you to be an author…of Christian suspense and mystery!

  20. Mama Trelle on February 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

    isn't God's plan soo much more than we can EVER imagine?????

    With 5 boys we have had the most awesome sharing times in the car on long rides…….

    Please bring this to a conclusion–i think i know where it is going but i want to read the last chapter NOW please 🙂

    praying for the Cottrell family–we love yall 🙂

  21. par50 in Texas on February 18, 2010 at 10:50 am

    You are being amazingly honest with us about all this. Thank You for trusting us with what is happening in your life, your marriage, your ministry, your prayer life. Personally, I think your openness, aka transparency, is the main attraction of your music. You have the gift of letting God speak. Thanks for letting us see Him working!

  22. Leah @ Point Ministries on February 18, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Enough already……we want the whole Megillah!!

    Really though, I love the way you and Angela tore this thing apart. How good for a marriage! How much we all need to do that.


  23. Daniel Semsen on February 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

    oh snap. God pulls out the ole, "IN YOUR FACE, COTTRELL".

  24. Alisa on February 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

    No words. Nothing. You are killing me!

  25. Fran on February 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Yep…This is killing me and I know the end of this story, but these details are just awesome to me and i've said before…I love me a good ole God story. LOVE THIS!!!

    Praying for you and your sweet family.

    And, for kicks, my sight word is brees as in Drew Brees. GO SAINTS!


  26. Anonymous on February 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I believe a Steven Curtis Chapman song needs to- accompany your story- I hear it in the background as I read it every time! This is SOOOO cool- thanks for sharing part of your journey!

  27. ThirtysomethingMom on February 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Ok! You win the suspense award!
    Can't wait to find out what God has in store for you!!!!

  28. Cheryl on February 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    To quote the great classic, "Sand Lot"

  29. Diamond on February 18, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Part 4? Pretty Please? 🙂

  30. Rhonda on February 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    My sister asked me if I had been reading. I said no. She replies you should. So I did. And you leave me like this…. do you write for LOST? I think you do:)

  31. habakkuk319 on February 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Sheer, unrelenting, torture….. Shoot me now, PaLeeze!
    (but I do so love me a good God story! Yes, Sir!)

    So stinkin' excited for what I think the ending will be!

    Yours is a Great Adventure indeed!

  32. Linda on February 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    My internet has been out for 2 days and the only thing I was worried about was missing your cliffhanger. Now when I'm finally able to get back on I find out there's at least a "Part 4" to come … seriously???

    Although I love you sharing how God is knitting all of this together, and I know a happy ending is in sight, please be a brother and end the torture! I'm beginning to think there's a sinister side to you that is only just now coming to light.

    Praying for (and rejoicing with) you & your family!

  33. Sara on February 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I'm not sure there has ever been a more unfair string of blogging posts in my life. I mean seriously, there has to be a law against this kind of torture.

    Now I'm going to go sing along to Our God Saves and pray for a change of attitude…

  34. Anonymous on February 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm


  35. Kelly S. on February 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    This is so much fun…..but I couldn't stand it and did some research. Johnny Cash thing was hilarious 🙂 I am seriously praying for your family.

  36. Mary Flynn (EBC) on February 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Our God is an awesome God! When do we get part 4, Feb. 22nd?

  37. Anonymous on February 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Seriously? When will you give us the "rest of the story?"

    Mechanicsville, VA

  38. Betsy on February 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I don't deal well with the emotional part that God puts on our hearts! I've been experiencing that lately too. I love you and I miss you terribly! Mom talked to me today too! 🙂

  39. CJ on February 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Ok, Travis.
    When you're done with your side, may we please hear the rest of the truth from Angela?

  40. Hayley on February 19, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Hi Travis – I'm still loving this story, and I have one for you. My boys 4 and 6, have started asking for "the good song" every time we get in the car. That would be your "In Christ Alone". They have great taste! 🙂 Just keep the good music coming – hoping to hear you and Beth sometime this year!

  41. Deirdre on February 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

    If you hadn't already shared that this new pastor was willing to let you continue with LPM events I would be having some serious anxiety attacks right about now.
    Sheesh, are you ENJOYING stringing this out? dude, that is just not nice.

    I mean, I love you anyway and all, but come on and lets get to the announcement already.

  42. connorcolesmom on February 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    oh goodness
    I have heard that line before and what comes next is revealing ….
    Can't wait to hear what it was for you 🙂

  43. Dena on March 15, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Let me say, I'm so glad I just came over from Boo, b/c I get to read the whole series in one sitting! That whole paragraph about the talk you and Angela had. Thank you for putting that into words for me! We are on a parrallel track as you. My husband got an offer on December 19 that would have us moving from Dallas to Atlanta. My attitude was the same as Angela's for about a month. Then that whole pressure on my heart thing. I had to get myself to a place where I was at least open to it.
    Gotta run – I'm totally engrossed in your(so much like our) story, and I've got to read the rest!
    PS – loving all the details like seeing SCC in Target. Our first night on my visit to Atlanta we sat 1 table over from Andy Stanley in Chilies, about an hour after I'd said "well the only person I "know" in Atlanta is Andy Stanley"!

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