The Unseen Story


Beautiful Surrender

(Listen by clicking the white play button. You can read the transcript of the story below.)

Hi, my name is Laura Martin and I’m married to Kyle, we have four kids. There are two in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. So we’re in that fun, crazy stage of preparing for college and preparing to launch into a new season.

My faith journey began, actually at a really young age. I became a believer when I was four. I said, “Yes” in my bed with my mom and dad right there and from that point on, I would say, I grew in my faith and my trust and hope in the Lord in a family that was pursuing Christ. I remember when I was six, I was at a missionary conference and the Holy Spirit just spurred me to go forward and to surrender my life to full time missions. 

I was this little girl with a lot of spunk, but I remember telling my mom and they’re like, “Why did you do that?” I go, “I just felt the Lord told me that I need to say yes to being a missionary.” That felt really weird because my dad was a businessman and that was never anything that we talked about, but I remember doing that. That wasn’t something that I lived from, like, I didn’t try to ever make that happen, but it was definitely one of those nuggets in my life that I put back there and just wondered like, what was the Lord gonna do in my life? How was that moment going to be fulfilled? 

My first big step of faith was to go to Taylor University. I remember this moment, my senior year, when I was walking around campus and I was processing getting married to Kyle, knowing as a six year old, I had been called to be a missionary, but yet wrestling just with the fears of it all. The Lord had me climb up to one of those track towers. It was a dark night, kind of windy and I was just talking to the Lord. I was telling Him, “I’m ready to go, wherever You want Kyle and I to go, but I’m really afraid of the finances. Like, I didn’t grow up this way. I don’t know. But You say You’re the God that provides.” And He said, “I want you to let it go. I want you to trust me.” I said, “Okay, I will. I will trust You.” He goes, “Well, I want you to have a marker tonight.” And I heard His still small voice – It’s like a whisper, the Holy Spirit – just say, “That paycheck that you just got in your backpack, I want you to take it out and I want you just to let it go as a symbol that you’re letting go of the fear of finances in your life.”

At that point, I was like, “Really?” And you kind of wrestle with the Lord, like, I’m a senior and that paycheck, I kind of need to get me through the next two weeks. And, He just said, “Do you trust me?” I said, “I do and I want a symbol of this marker in my life to trust You.” So I let it go. I just remember it floating away in the wind, but yet that peace that comes when you’re obedient to the Lord and just trusting Him. 

God is a God who is kind and knowing and faithful. A couple of days later, I remember going to my P.O. Box, in the dorm at this small university and opening up, and I saw this envelope that looks somewhat crumpled, but not destroyed. I pulled it out and sure enough, in God’s sovereignty, it was the exact same check that I had let go of. 

I would only imagine that someone found it on the track field, they picked it up and put it back in the mail. In a still small voice the Holy Spirit whispered, “Laura, I’m a God who provides and I will always provide and I know that you needed that check. So here you go.” So it was like that first time in my life that the Lord, He showed up, like in that way, and in a real tangible way, like, ‘I am your provider, and you’re gonna go places by faith, but I’m going to be the God who provides.’ So that was my senior year Kyle I got married. Eventually the Lord led us to Dallas to come to Dallas Seminary for Kyle. 

One marker, one story in our life happened when we were in seminary…We had just gotten pregnant for the first time and I knew Kyle’s heart’s desire was to go on a seminary trip to Israel for about 24 days. And yet we’d gotten pregnant. Well, we miscarried that child. I remember the pain of that and that moment of not knowing because my dream was to be a wife and a mom, and to follow Jesus wherever He wanted me to go. So in that moment, I was like, “I don’t know what the plans are, but I’m going to trust You.” 

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We ended up going to Israel, and that was a marker in our marriage that the Lord allowed and that I know we needed to plant a seed for Israel. As painful as that moment was, the Lord redeems. About a year later, we had our first child, Maya Joy, who’s now turning 18 this month. 

After [Kyle] graduated, he came to me and said, “I feel led to write on revival for the next year of my life, after graduation.” What every seminary wife wants to hear. Oh, good, you’re gonna write for a year! So, he wrote on Revival and the next year, he finished, I went out of town. He doesn’t know how to cook much so he was like, this is a great opportunity to fast. Well, it was that seven day fast that really birthed the heart behind Time to Revive. That’s the ministry that Kyle and I founded in 2010. But in the beginning part of that, and as Kyle had this vision to gather the church for 40 days, to pray and worship and seek revival and seek unity. I had another child, Nadia Grace, she’s 19 months younger than Maya. 

I noticed Maya wasn’t acting like herself, very shortly after Nadia was born. I remember going to several appointments and not getting the answers. After a round of blood work, I remember getting the call to go to the Children’s Hospital and go to the oncology floor. I had never really heard the word, like, I didn’t know the word oncology. That’s how my 26 year old brain and life experience had led me. So Kyle and I found ourselves on the 10th floor at Children’s Hospital in Dallas for several days, waiting to discover what was wrong with our daughter, and why she was so sick. Why, why is she so unhealthy? 

I remember having a moment on that 10th floor looking out the window at Dallas and having my Abraham/Isaac moment where you just, you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. You don’t know if she’s going to be well again, you don’t know why she’s sick in the first place, but just saying to the Lord, “I trust you. Here’s my child, and I need to surrender her fully to You, her life, her future, my future as a mom.” And just surrendering that and trusting that a good and faithful God would give me the strength to get through whatever I needed to get through. 

They diagnosed her with a rare blood disease called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Very few, I think it’s like eight in a million, children get that a year. It acts like cancer and you treat it like cancer. So for the year that Kyle was walking out revival for the first time in our ministry, in our marriage, and in Dallas, we had a daughter who was going to chemo treatments every week, and a very young infant baby at the same time. That was where my faith increased. 

James 1 says, “Consider it joy whenever you face trials of any kind, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, so that you will be complete, mature and lacking nothing.” 

I remember clinging to that verse during that season. Like, consider it joy. You know, later I would read Psalm 16 “In My presence is fullness of joy.” And I know that when the Lord calls us to seek His face, that’s the only way that we can walk through those seasons with hope, and with faith. 

By the grace of God, a year later, after rounds of chemo and steroids, our little two and a half year old was fully healed. We had no more Children’s Hospital appointments and it hasn’t come back, which is a miracle. It was all over her body and God healed her. So my focus on the Lord in those seasons deepened in a way that I just have to trust that that was His plan for our lives. Even if the enemy meant it for evil, the Lord completely redeemed it and created us all stronger through that. 

My story was always at home and how the Lord was refining me and holding me and keeping me. I remember, as a young mom, just having the Bible out on the kitchen table. Kyle would travel quite a bit and I wouldn’t have time for these hour-long sessions in His Word, but I was like, “Lord, I know that You’re the only thing that can carry me right now.” And, you know, I go back to that check story of letting things go and trusting Him. Letting go of my own expectations of my life, letting go of what I think my plans are, or what Kyle thinks they are, letting go of even budgets or what the worldview is and saying, “God, You are the same God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

I love that song that’s out there right now, like, “You are the same God. The same God of Moses. The same God of Jacob.” That’s the kind of God that we see when we’re in ministry as God has called us to different cities around this nation to pour in with a heart of evangelism, with a heart of discipleship. But like, that’s the same God that moves in our homes and in our families as we talk to Him. And it’s when I slow down and just seek Him, that’s when I can see Him work in my life. Those are the unseen stories of His goodness, and His faithfulness. 

You know, Time to Revive has been around since, like I’ve said, 2010. There’s been a lot of nights on our knees. There’s another chapter in my life, another story I wanted to share. We did city ministry for so many years, and we had spent a large amount of time in Indiana doing “Revive Indiana.” We went back there one Fall and I stayed home with the kids again, I don’t always travel. Kyle called me that week and he said, “Laura, our leadership team has been talking and we are feeling called to study through the word of God for two years.” And I just kind of was like, “okay.” Which is how I respond a lot when he says, like, the new season or a new thing that’s coming up. And he’s like, “Yeah, someone had a dream. It led us to this conversation. And in Acts, Paul, he paused ministry, and he studied in solitariness for two years, and he lectured day and night on the Word of God and from that moment, the Gospels went out to Asia and to all throughout the ends of the earth.” He goes, “So who knows what would happen if we say yes to this and we study the word. So, I’m gonna do that.” 

So we just shifted our whole ministry and for two years, Kyle taught through the word of God. He did about a 29 minute teaching every day, and then our fleece that we threw out to the Lord, as we were doing this, we said, “Lord, if You give us 12 students in Indiana, then we will do this.” Well, He brought, probably by the end, it was about 150 students! They met out in a barn, Kyle would record all the teachings here in Dallas, and then one week out of the month he would go to Indiana and teach the men in person. That was what we call Revive School. 

The story in this, for me, goes back to a moment where Kyle, after he got home from Indiana, he goes, “and you’re going to close every video.” And I was like, “Oh, I am?” And he’s like, “Yeah, that’s kind of what we were thinking, since you close a lot when I speak if you’re with me.” It was seven days a week, every week, like for 365 days out of the year. 

So I started that first week, and I closed out each of the videos and I just came back to Kyle and I said, “This doesn’t feel right. This is going to be, this is not feeling right for me.” I’m like, “I want to step out in my faith in this, but I can’t do this for two years.” And so we prayed, him and I in our living room and the Lord brought to mind, well, He gave me the words like, “Lay it down.” Because I think in the world today, sometimes you can elevate certain things, right? Like, ooh, if I close, if I’m on video, then that makes it, that’s bigger than something else. And the Lord was like, like, “Just lay it down.” 

I remember laying it down and Him giving me the verse from 2 Peter, actually, 1 Peter 5:6 and it just says, “Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time. Casting all your cares on Him because He cares about you.” And I remember just saying, “Yeah, I want to lay it down, Lord, so that whatever, You will be exalted through anything that You call me to do.” 

I was sharing that with Kyle and he goes, “Well, I heard the Lord say you need to write.” And I was like, “Really?” He goes, “Yeah, you’re up early every morning reading the Bible, journaling. Like, why not just write what you’re journaling about?” I was like, “Well, that’s like journaling. Like, that’s just me,” you know. But we prayed about it and I said, “Okay.” So I said yes to writing a devotional every day through the word of God from Revelation to Genesis for two years. 

The Lord is so sweet in His timing for His plans for when He wants you to say yes. After 12 years of having kids at home, that was the fall, that Jude went back to school. So for the first time in 12 years I had an empty house. And the Lord called me into this season of just spending time with Him, and His Word, and delighting in His scripture. I got to sit and hear His voice and write. 

I remember longing for a season like that. It was for the students that were online. And I also was like, I wouldn’t be writing. And I would just say, “Lord, allow this to speak to my heart, like, I’m not doing this to perform, I’m not doing this for a book, I’m not doing this for an audience. This is what I want You to speak to me about Your word, and how it applies to my life today.” 

For those two years, the Lord took me and our whole team on this journey of studying His word. We ended that in 2019, in December 2019. That was just what we did. We didn’t know how the Lord would use it, but we just did it in obedience. We laid down any of our own ambitions really, or how we wanted to make it work and we just studied because that’s all we had time to do. But in His sovereignty, on the last day of writing, I remember getting a call from a publisher. They said, “We want to publish what you’ve been writing on this two year journey through the word into a daily devotional.” So that was one fruit. 

Now here we are, I don’t know about three years removed, Revive School has spread to 78 different nations around the world. We have almost 20,000 students that are reading, and studying, and being discipled in the Word and that was in our weakness, we said yes. We were obedient to do what He called us to do. So that is just a huge like, praise the Lord moment. 

You know, in Psalms 1 it says, The psalmist writes that we are to “delight ourselves in the word, delight ourselves in the law, and you will be like a tree planted beside the water, and you will bear fruit in season and out of season.” When I was done writing, that’s just what I felt like. That verse came to life for me, because there I was planted beside water, living and alive because of His Word in my heart. You just don’t know, like, that’s His desire for His people, to be with Him, to be in relationship with Him. His word feeds us and He loves us so much. 

People often ask, “What did you learn from that?” And I’m like, “How great is our Father’s love? His love is deep and it is wide.” Yes, there are times of hard and we don’t understand, but yet God is there and He is strong and He is able. He just wants us to sit with Him and to delight ourselves in Him.

People often ask, “What did you learn from that?” And I’m like, “How great is our Father's love? His love is deep and it is wide.” Yes, there are times of hard and we don't understand, but yet God is there and He is strong and He is able. He just wants us to sit with Him and to delight ourselves in Him.

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