“He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
– Luke 19:40
My traveling season began on an unnaturally cold Tuesday night in a stone villa in Northern Tuscany.
Oh sure, I was already traveling. Coming 5,000 miles to Italy does count as travel. But I had not yet committed to the itinerant lifestyle that was about to become my portion.
I had not slept well since arriving in Italy, but I was determined that that night would be different. So I read several chapters in Dan Reid’s huge manual on Chinese medicine. That should put me to sleep, I thought as I finally extinguished the bedside lamp and reclined into the thick, drafty darkness of the villa’s ancient embrace.
No such luck on the sleeping. Around 1 or 2 AM, I awakened to what was nearly an audible voice in the room. I can’t tell you if it was a man’s or a woman’s, high or low, or what kind of accent it had. I can only tell you that the words were so clear, so insistent, I will never forget them as long as I love:
“Take no money. Take no luggage. And go into whatever house will receive you.”
I switched on the light frantically, searching the shadows of the room for some intruder. But there was none. Only my suitcase and its contents, a mini-circus of trip hazards strewn about the floor.
Immediately I knew this had been a word from God.
Since the first word from God I heard back in July 2016, I had become familiar with those small ideas bubbling up from some deep place within, the voice that was not audible, and yet there. But sometimes, the voice became louder. At critical moments, for example. Or when I wasn’t paying attention.
Apparently this was a moment I was to take note of.
So I did whatever I did at times when a thought like this struck with forceful clarity. I got out my phone and began to type in the phrase:
Take no money. Take no luggage. And go into whatever house will receive you.
For one thing, I knew this was a paraphrase of a passage straight out of the Bible. You can find it in Mark 6:8 and Luke 9:3-4. Jesus sent out His twelve disciples on a mission of healing and proclaiming God’s kingdom, and He gave them very specific instructions about how they were to travel. These were now the same instructions He had given me.
After noting down the passages, I felt led to just type out whatever came to mind, as I contemplated what I had just heard from the Spirit of God. Writing this post after the fact, I realize that everything I heard was deeply prophetic. That “word from God” in my phone has sustained me through more than a year of traveling since.
It was also not until a year later that I realized I had received this word on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This is traditionally a time when God wipes the slate clean, metes out judgment and begins His new work for the year. This was, apparently, my commission for the Hebrew year 5778.
But of course I did not understand that at the time. I only understood that I was freezing to death in a part of Italy that should be sweltering at that time of year. And I was more than a bit freaked out by what I had just heard.
Here are a few excerpts from the stream of consciousness in my phone. Keep in mind, this whole adventure began because I had been asking God for Everything. And He had told me that Everything I wanted would come out of Nothing.
“You have to let me give you everything. As in EVERY THING. Not as in “some things you insist on calling ‘everything.'”
I realized that had created a very small box that I filled with the few things I thought I wanted and labeled it “everything” when in reality the world was a much larger place with much more in it than I had even bothered to acknowledge or ask for.
Part of this happened because of how limited my perspective really was on the possible things I could do, have and/or achieve in one lifetime. I had written world travel off my list in part because I believed I would have needed a bottomless pocketbook or at least a much larger marriage settlement to make such a lifestyle possible. And because I secretly also believed it would be “irresponsible” to expect to have my needs provided without a job.
Really, if we get right down to it, I wanted a job to secure me social acceptability–of the “you can categorize me and label me as a decent person because you understand easily how I contribute to society” variety–and to rationalize the cash flow to my own ego that wants to be darn sure it earns its keep fair and square.
“’Every thing’ is defined as the whole world. I want to give you the whole world as yours … not just one piece of it. I want you to have many countries and many languages, not just one country and one language. I want you to have many homes everywhere, not just one little apartment in one American state.””
“I want you to have ALL the love from the friends you will make and the people you will help around the world, and in particular to experience the TWO loves that will never leave you–Mine first, and then your own. Isn’t that a whole lot more of everything than you have been asking for, Lisa Maria?”
“Your provision will follow your purpose. Take no scrip for your journey … The way you traveled to Charlotte is exactly how you will travel the world. You cannot get on a plane always knowing where all the money is going to come from. Where’s the fun in that?”
“Wherever you go IS YOURS. For that moment I put you there, and for no longer. Home is where I am in you, and as I go with you, your home will be wherever you go.”
Somehow, after this I tossed down the phone, exhausted, and managed to fall fast asleep. But the impact of that word would stay with me for over a year.
I returned to the U.S. a few weeks later and sold what was left of my possessions. Then I hit the road again, this time in earnest. Little did I know that word would take me, penniless and possession-less, through five different countries and over 2/3 of the U.S. before landing me at last in the sand-and-concrete jungle of Dubai. And every time thereafter, for about the next 365 days, whenever I asked God if we could finally hang up the suitcase, He would tell me, “Just keep moving.”
Everything I will tell you about after this follows from what happened in that Tuscan villa.
If only those old stone walls could talk!