The Great Adventure, Part 5

The Great Adventure, Part 5

Have you ever had one of those moments in life that was so amazingly God that you want to talk about it, but you can’t because it’s too sacred? I don’t want to blow this prayer time out of proportion, but it’s how I feel about it. I won’t recount what all was prayed, but that time of prayer was a turning point in this journey.

The Holy Spirit fell in our den, hearts were poured out in prayer, and the four of us stood up from that 20 minute segment of time different people than when we began. It will ring in my spirit as one of the most profound and powerful Holy Spirit moments of my life. Our kids sat motionless on our couch for the entire 20 minutes (which is a miracle unto itself). When we were finished praying, God had begun a knitting in our souls. I’m not saying that we were instantly all bff’s, or that nothing in our lives mattered anymore. But God had started a work. And all four of us were officially on the same page about it.

After the prayer time, we all awkwardly hugged – all so stunned by the huge God moment, we didn’t know how to walk away from it. So we did what anybody would do. We headed to the mall food court. As we got in our car, I looked at Angela. And with a stunned look on my face, said, β€œWhat was that?” to which she replied, β€œ We are in trouble. LORD. HAVE. MERCY. LORD. HAVE. MERCY.”

Angela couldn’t sleep that night (duh). God brought to her mind a dream she had 10 or more years ago. She went to her office to see if she could find an old journal whee she had written the dream down. She found a stash of old journals, pulled one out and opened it. Immediately she saw these words in her own handwriting: “Lord, thank you for bringing my family to Jackson.”

Um, excuse me?

Turns out the very first journal she pulled out on this very day just so happens to be the journal she took notes in at the Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference held in Jackson, TN in November of 1999 (10 years to the week of our concert at this church last November). She was thanking the Lord for bringing her family to that event. Weird, huh? Yep. Coincidence? No says I.

It was time to call in the big dogs.

We needed counsel. So we called our pastor. And we called Beth. And we emailed our team of intercessors. We told them everything. None of them flinched. They all listened and committed to pray. And they committed to give us words as God directed. Immediately, 2 different intercessors sent us the same scripture…totally independent of one another. Hmmm.

January 1 until January 17 was INTENSE. And I’m not talking about camping. INTENSE. I don’t have a lot of tangibles to give you, because it was a spirit work that was going on inside of both Angela and me. All of the unpacking of our lives we had done over Christmas, we continued to do. God gave us scriptures to pour into our hearts…Ephesians 1, Isaiah 33:2-6, Hebrew 11, Deut. 8, to name a few. We prayed. We talked. We read. We laughed. We cried. Finally, I had had enough. I needed a break. I had not been removed from this intensity for more than 5 minutes at a time for weeks. So I pulled my comfy chair up to the fireplace, grabbed the remote, and went searching for something fun on TV that would take my mind off of this nonsense for a while. I started looking through the tv guide channel. I saw that Walk The Line was on. Woo hoo! Good one. Let me soak up somebody else’s hard life for a while. Maybe then I will get some much-needed perspective (my own self-absorption was even killing me. seriously.). So I turned the TV to Walk The Line.

Within two seconds of watching that movie, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) steps up to the microphone to sing. What does he sing, you ask?

“I’m going to Jackson.”


Seriously, God? For real? This is how you are going to play? God got a good laugh out of us that night. And I think we got one out of Him, too.

So we said it. We finally said it.


  1. Terri_in_Alabama on February 20, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Travis, after reading your latest blog post… I was prompted to pull my notes from the Memphis LPL last year… The very first thing I wrote down was to "Pray the exhiliration of the Spirit…. where is your faith? When is the last time that everything about your belief system was shaken and you realized that you were going on a wild God chase… See More?"… "When was the last time that Jesus showed you something wild and fresh about Himself and you were totally altered by it?" … it seems to me that He was preparing you even then….

  2. [email protected] on February 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Wow. This is so awesome!! Thanks for sharing this story with us.

  3. Fran on February 20, 2010 at 6:53 am

    And I sit here in this early morning with my coffee and grinning from ear to ear!!!

    Praying for you and your family! This is one wild ride. And, I love what Terri in Alabama said…"when did you realize that you were on a wild God chase?" Yep…little did you know in October that the stage was set right before you.

    Hugs and blessings~

  4. Alex and Jill on February 20, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Oh my gosh….I loved how this one ended….with a Johnny Cash song!! LOL God is so stinkin' hilarious. I'm kind of wishing that this story would never end now.

  5. Holly Solomon Barrett on February 20, 2010 at 7:08 am

    God is so funny! I just love it. And love your and Angela's commitment to listen to Him. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  6. Leah @ Point Ministries on February 20, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Now I know that God listens to country music….I had always wondered.

    Seriously, He can use anything or anyone to confirm His will, can't He?

    Could we have installment 6 today???


  7. Caroline on February 20, 2010 at 7:57 am

    God can be really freaky sometimes huh? That is what makes Him so totally cool. Praying for ya brother and your family.

  8. Anonymous on February 20, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Travis, finally this morning I followed the prompting to read your post about this "Great Adventure" had to start at Part 1.
    Thank you for speaking so clearly about the journey that you are and have been on. God used you to draw me this morning. I too am on a journey and not sure where it is taking me…but God knows. I felt His drawing again this morning.
    Bless you Travis for once again being a "Man after God's Own Heart"

  9. Nancy Hamilton on February 20, 2010 at 8:08 am

    YES Lord! Travis- you are inspiring brother!

  10. Anonymous on February 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I am always amazed by God's faithfulness. Your story meant alot to me as I read it. We all have those "defining moments" that will effect our destiny forever.(Can you tell I'm in Beth's esther study?!) I know God will bless your family for follwoing his ever present/ever powerful will. Your family will be in my prayers in the days to come.

  11. CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD on February 20, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Hey there I thought about you and your family yesterday as I was driving looking at the beautiful mountains here in Albuquerque NM
    I had your Jesus saves ce in my player and worshipping the Lord. T ravis you are a man after God own heart we will continue to pray for you and your family brother.
    Going to Jackson we will wait for part 6 brother you are defintley writing a novel here. Thanks for leading this seista in worship.
    I have to tell you something funny I went to the gym on Thursday and I had my music on and Travis was singing to the King Eternal Immortal Invisible to the only Wise King and I just was so overcome I wanted to shout and lift my hands up in the air but could hardly contain it. Anyway just wanted to tell you , you have an amazing gift. Keep serving the Lord
    Love ya brother

  12. Daniel Semsen on February 20, 2010 at 9:03 am

    No says I.



  13. Heidi on February 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

    You may THINK your kids were silent on the couch, but Jack was in the corner playing air guitar, Lily Kate was practicing her model walk down the hallway, and Levi was making bunny years behind all yns.

  14. Mind Your Manors on February 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I sit amazed! Umm..I am going to need the rest of this story TODAY!!! You are killing me. You think patience is something that God tries to correct in my life…yeah buddy!
    Seriously, I will continue to pray as this chapter unfolds. It can only be amazing when God plans each and every step of the journey.


  15. Cheryl on February 20, 2010 at 9:59 am

    A Johnny Cash song? Really?!?
    That is soooo like God to use the thing we expect the least!
    Praying for y'all!

  16. Anonymous on February 20, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Travis…I'm having one of those "God moments" that just can't be articulated! I just want to say thanks for sharing your journey. My husband and I (40ish too!) have been going thru some of the same "laying it ALL out on the table and God pruning and purifying as He sees fit" times. This past year as been eerily similar to your last few months. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our simultaneous decision of laying it ALL down…was followed by a horrific darkness in our lives. Satan did his very best to completely deplete us…spiritually, physically, emotionally. What a difficult, yet wonderful, time in our lives. Because God has been so very faithful and made Himself known in ways we have never experienced before. As a result, we are experiencing a more intimate relationship with each other and with HIM! AMAZING! My husband and I read your "Great Adventure" and wept as we could completely relate to a lot of what's been going on in your lives. We know, as well, that God is up to something huge in our lives…just have no idea what–yet! Can't wait to see what happens with you guys…thanks so much for sharing your gifts with us. Your music and your ability to share your spiritual journey has blessed us so much! Thanks!
    Katie G.

  17. Daughter of the King on February 20, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Ok, as I read both "Jackson" moments, I laughed, not a ha-ha laugh, but a humble, "that is SO God" laugh with tears right behind the laugh. Thank you for sharing yours and Angela's God moments. Watching for Pt 6. Our God is Awe-some! God is majorly giving us "God moments" these days to affirm His work among His children.

  18. Anonymous on February 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Thank you for your posting with transparency. Thank you for sharing your struggle. Thank you for your openness and humility. Thank you for posting the subsequent 'Parts' in a timely manner πŸ˜‰ I love when He meets us in a new & fresh way.

  19. Marla on February 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Ok, I have been reading along and I finally have to comment. We went through a very similar journey about 18 years ago. We were being called to leave our home state of California and move to Oklahoma. Oklahoma? Are you serious, God? This cannot be you! We spent a year in prayer. Ok, the truth is, we spent a year duking it out with the Lord.

    Finally, as we were driving in the car one day, we made the announcement to one another that the entire idea obviously was not God but was some crazy thought that had come from somewhere else. We decided to not talk about it ever again ….. maybe it would go away! I then reached over and clicked the radio on full blast. What song was playing?

    You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma

    We moved a month later.

  20. Anonymous on February 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    When God moves, you move.
    Follow in obedience.

  21. Diamond on February 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Oh my!! (For once) I truly have no words to express what I'm feeling! All i can say is thanks for sharing such an inspirational story!!!!!! God's amazing, isnt He?

  22. Miriam Emmink on February 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    What an awesome story… I'm listening to The Patriarchs right now – Leave everything behind. When praise demands a sacrifice. Follow You to love. Longing. All on one CD πŸ˜‰
    I'm trying very hard not to cry… goose bumps all over!
    Thank you so much for sharing The Great Adventure with us!!
    Hugs from Holland!! πŸ˜‰

  23. Melinda on February 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    It's been a long while since I've commented over here, being all lurkerish as I've been over the last few months. But man, oh MAN, I love a good God story.

    Especially when it's set to music and Johnny Cash is singing the lyrics.

    I'm with Leah – Part 6 today? Pretty please??

  24. YourVJ on February 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    "No says I." haha
    funny, i JUST re-watched West Virginia Ninja with some friends tonight!

  25. Angela Gifford on February 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Ah, man! This brings back memories. When my husband and I were praying about our future (about 5 years ago), one of the things in the pool was going back to Coeur d'Alene, ID.

    My husband stopped by one morning in the middle of work to grab some food and we sat on the couch for a brief minute to talk. The t.v. was on in the background. Some special was on about the top places to live in the U.S., and wouldn't you know, as we sat down, they begin to talk about Coeur d'Alene. We stopped talking and stared at the t.v. The reporter looked straight at the camera and said, "So why NOT move to Coeur d'Alene."

    We looked at each other and said, "Ya, why not?" The rest is history. πŸ™‚

  26. Holly on February 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

    He has such a great sense of humor–our God!! His journeys are the BEST. Really….so awesome.

  27. Candace on February 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Love this post. love Johnny Cash and love the Cottrell's. Congrats, when i saw this, i was so happy, surprised and sad to know that you were not right there in Franklin for us to catch up with you. This is amazing, exciting news! We are doing "One month to live" at our church and concentrating on the dash between our birthday and our death day. it's just a vapor, after all. Glad you all take your dash seriously and are following God with ABANDON. love you all – candace and chad keck

  28. Dena on March 15, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Hahaha -LOVE it – "I'm going to Jackson"!!! LOVE it!
    Your story is so much like ours w/different names and places, happening at the exact same time. I am loving reading about your/God's process, and it's so encouraging to me as I get our house ready for market this week.
    Thank you!

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