I grew up liking girls. I mean really liking girls. It was apparent to me at a very early age that girls were different than boys. I would chase them around at recess and catch them. Then I would let them go and chase them again.
One of my best friends growing up was a girl. We use to play “horses” and “store” and go sledding in the winter together. I don’t remember the age, but somewhere between ages five and seven, we got married. A friend 5 years older was the pastor officiating, and my brother and others threw leaves on us.
What we saw adults do, we did. We kissed and hugged, because that’s what married people do.
God reaffirmed something in me just this past week at a house of prayer meeting in Fletcher, NC. He told me I created you the way I did for a purpose. That purpose was not to ‘like’ girls, but to eventually marry a beautiful wife and serve her faithfully. God actually created Mary and I to perfectly compliment each other!
More than that, God created man and woman in His image! When he created man, He said something was not good. Do you understand that? Before sin ever entered the world, He said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Women bring a part of God’s image that men just don’t have. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? God’s creation was only perfect once He made women.
Let’s keep women in a place of honor where God designed them. They are made in His image and have specific purposes that men can’t fulfill.
They are not an object to be lusted after to gratify our desires. Yes, God made men to be attracted to women, but marriage is the end result of that attraction. Sexual dysfunction is a primary focus of the devil’s plan as he seeks to steal, kill and destroy you.
And, that was exactly the enemy’s plan for my life...
Pressing my face violently into the pillow, I screamed at the top of my lungs. All the rage, shame and fear had come to a tipping point. It was time to change. It was time to beat this thing. It was time to be a man. Once again, I resolved that this would be the last time. This time was different. I was going to try harder and be better. Of course, I would eventually fail for maybe the thousandth time. And, it would bring me back to the same place again. Despair. Impending doom. A failure.
I grew up in what many would call the middle of nowhere. Binford, ND, “The Biggest Little Town,” was a whole six blocks long and filled with 200 people. My brother and I, along with other kids, would spend our summer days riding bike all over town exploring every inch. When we heard a not so regular train horn blowing, we would race to meet it and feel the ground shake as it went by.
Binford was the kind of place where the whole town would show up to a basketball game. Like many towns around there, they’d have one big summer weekend a year where there’d be a carnival of sorts, a 5K, a rodeo, a streetdance all on Saturday--oddly followed by a city-wide church service on Sunday morning in the school gym. Mom would often tell us to check in every thirty minutes, but we’d ride bike and play with our friends for hours. I’m still amazed when I go back to visit at the city’s peace and quiet. Time goes a little slower it seems.
It was a different time. It was also a childhood experience that not many have had. My parents were both teachers and would eventually both live and teach in that area for 40 years. My dad coached primarily girl’s basketball and even led them to a state championship, which was no easy feat in such a small school. My parents were very hard-working. My dad would teach and coach nine months out of the year and then work 60+ hours/week in the summer painting and shingling houses and barns.
I grew up in a trailer house, as we called it. I didn’t think it was strange, even though the ‘trailer court’ comprised of a total of four mobile homes--most of which were occupied by teachers. It was actually very convenient--half a block from church, school and the grocery store. I’m pretty sure there were times where we didn’t drive anywhere for a month.
So this was my young life, and I didn’t know much of anything else. All of that unknowingly changed one regular summer day. One of my friends had invited me over to play and he was excited to share something. I followed him upstairs, and as he dug under his parents’ bed, he pulled out a VHS tape. I knew enough to know there was a movie on it, so we went downstairs to the living room and put it in the VCR.
Miraculously, I don’t remember anything that was on that TV. What I do remember was numbly sitting and having no idea what I was looking at. I remember feeling physically sick, like I wanted to throw up. And then it was over. My friend and I took the VHS back upstairs and put it precisely the way it was under the bed. Then we went out to play like nothing happened. But, something did. It was my first exposure to pornography.
I actually didn’t even remember this story for many years. I think it traumatized me enough that I pushed it down deep and forgot about it. Through a series of events many years later, God showed me the root of where the devil got in, so to speak.
Now I don’t start with this story to gain your pity. My hope and belief is that this story will help many people not only with sex-related addictions, but also addictions of any kind. I’m not a Licensed Addictions Counselor, but I do know the Counselor Jesus spoke about with His disciples before He ascended into heaven. In fact, it’s only at the Holy Spirit’s prompting that I write this story down.
Jesus said you will be my witnesses, and I am a witness to the awesome power of God.
Rest. Refreshment. Reconnecting. These are all things our family has been living in for the past week. At first it’s as if we forgot that God will actually lead us into a place of solitude. Instantly, I had a feeling of wandering around looking for my purpose again. I felt all those old mindsets begin to surface. Mindsets that said if we weren’t working hard and doing things then we weren’t being productive.
However, this time around, we sat together as a family and prayed and listened. And, what did we hear? Not much. Ha! I heard, vacation. I thought it must mean that we could do whatever we wanted, sort of like a vacation. Turns out that wasn’t how God meant that word at all, but I’m still learning how to process what I hear.
Another thing that God reminded me was that we already know what to do: love God; spend time seeking His face and abide in His presence; love the people God puts in front of us. Also, Josh and I both heard Savannah.
So, we headed back south to Georgia. We pulled into Savannah and found a Walmart that would let us set up camp for a few nights. Then, we tried to head to the beach. However, since we have to drive our massive RV around, beach parking proved impossible. We swallowed our frustrations and regrouped at a McDonald’s playhouse. And, that is where the magic happened…
The kiddos are so amazing at so many things, but especially meeting new friends! They instantly began playing with this 10-yr-old girl. Turns out that her and her mom are on an extended vacation. What?! The clarity is starting to emerge. The word I heard from God was “vacation!” How stinkin’ cool is that?!
Savannah + Vacation = God’s plan for our week. We recently heard that God speaks in riddles so that we will ask Him questions. He wants to have dialogue with us. He loves us so much! :)
The mom/daughter duo are from Quebec and speak French. It was a fun (and funny) few days as the kids played and we attempted to communicate. The 3rd day, we invited them to ride with us in our RV to explore downtown Savannah, the Savannah Candy Kitchen and to attend an Irish festival. It was a blast!
After a hot day walking miles in the sun, we started driving back to Walmart. That is when Josh had an inspired idea: Google Translate! We began to learn more about them and their journey. Then, we dove headfirst and shared all about Jesus.
We shared that Jesus set us free, gave us hope and is the reason we travel. She listened intently and then informed us that she was a Buddhist. We continued to utilize Google Translate and converse with her that evening. Just telling her we trust God to provide for us for finances and that we know He loves us.
They didn’t give their hearts to Jesus... yet. But, seeds were planted. In fact, seeds were planted before we even shared. She had mentioned that our kids are so kind and that our family loves well. After we shared the Gospel, she said that our family proved the gospel true.
“...your family proves that love true…”
After all of our adventures, God brought us to Savannah to meet a family on vacation. Josh told her that God arranged for us to meet and that He loves her. We prayed for them, and then we left.
Seeds were planted. We trust God to continue His pursuit of them…
Now that you've read my post, you can keep scrolling for some awesome pictures of the Savannah Candy Kitchen. I don't really eat sugar anymore (it makes me feel like I got hit by a truck!) But, put me inside a fabulous candy shop and I turn into a child again. Seriously. I love it.
God has birthed something in us that we are so excited about! One of our concerns when we left Grand Forks, ND, was a possible lack of community on the road. God promised us that we would have community wherever we went... and we have! However, we still desire to have a team with whom we travel, pray, fellowship, worship, eat, etc. on a regular basis. Well, it's happening!
These are some of the beautiful people we'll be traveling with! In the middle are Trent and Siobhan Walker. We rented the RV from the Walker's after "meeting" them on YouTube. On the right are Jim and Amy Miller. I (Josh) met Jim randomly at Catalina State Park in Tucson, AZ back in December. There's only 4 kids in this picture but there is a total of 12 between the three families!
So what will we be doing? We'll be doing exactly what we have been doing, but in a slightly more organized way :) The tentative plan is to all meet up in Virginia near Siobhan's family in late March to start a Gospel Caravan of sorts.
We will have times of interceding for cities, for people to know Jesus, for healing and so much more. We will eat together! This is often an overlooked practice the early church participated in, but it's so good for bonding as a team, and really, a family. We will worship our heavenly Father. He is worthy of it all. We will tell people about Jesus. This is a mandate for all those who call themselves Christians (followers of Christ). Finally, we will disciple. It's obvious that we disciple our own children, but our hope is that we will have opportunities to disciple people in the churches we work with as well as others who travel with us.
"We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds" Psalm 75:1
This verse has really spoken to me (Mary) over the past week. We are anticipating a time when EVERYONE will talk about the wonderful deeds of God because they know that He is so NEAR. He is always closer than we know. In Luke 10, it says to heal the sick and tell them that the Kingdom of God is near.
The point of us doing what we do is so that people will know that God is near, that He desperately desires a relationship with them and has created a way (Jesus) for all people to live in the Kingdom of God.
So, there it is! Many have asked what we're doing in the future, and now you know. We're so excited to continue to live out the simple gospel by inviting all into family. We will have more information in the future about where we will be traveling/ministering. If you are interested in physically being part of this "Gospel Caravan," don't hesitate to contact us!
When we started this journey, we had two things on our schedule. Our first stop was a conference in Northern California last Oct, and the second was The Send in Orlando, FL on February 23rd. Well, those dates have come and gone! We made it five months on the road. So, now what? Well, first let us share about the last two weeks!
We spent 5 wonderful days with our friends the Yanov's in Lynn Haven, FL. They were hit by hurricane Michael back in October, and it was still very apparent! There had been tons of work done in the previous months, but it still looked like a disaster zone in many areas. We were able to help a lady who had just gotten an RV but had no idea how to work it.
After leaving the panhandle, we went straight to Orlando to help with the outreaches and services leading up to The Send. We went out on the streets with people from YWAM, Lifestyle Christianity, and so many other ministries to share the gospel in the greater Orlando area. Literally, hundreds of people got saved and healed all over Orlando. Then, we would get together every night at a local church to worship God, intercede for laborers and get excited for what's coming.
FINALLY, The Send.
JOSH'S TAKE AWAY: It was amazing. There were so many awesome things that happened, but my favorite was seeing my boys, Judah and Xander, raise there shoes in the air as a sign that they would go anywhere God told them for the sake of the gospel! It was so great for a father to see that.
Many people got healed and even saved at the event, but the one that hit me the most was right in front of me. Awhile back, God spoke to us about loving the person in front of us. Well, the guy literally in front of me was actually scheduled for a hip surgery. The short of it -- HE ISN'T ANYMORE!
We asked if the people in front of us wanted prayer for anything. The man's sister said, "He has a bum hip." So, we prayed for his hip to be healed. The sister said, "Well, try it out!" The man squatted and lifted his ankle up his opposite knee. When he did that his head snapped to the right as he said, "I couldn't do that before!" Tears began streaming down the faces of everyone in the group and one of the other guys looks at us and says, "You have no idea what this means... no idea."
We were so overjoyed with God's love and presence, it was a special moment. This happened at the very end of the night, so we didn't get to know them better. However, I had a sense that the man had been resistant to the gospel and possibly even the supernatural healing power of Jesus. It's possible that he reluctantly came to The Send at the request of his sister. Whatever the case, GOD. IS. SO. GOOD.
One last testimony... We stayed at YWAM Orlando base for The Send weekend and got to connect with a lot of cool people. More to come on that in our next post :) However, one great testimony was that normally YWAM Orlando has 150 applications for their 6 month training program. This year they already have 350!! The Sending Out of laborers has already begun!
MARY'S TAKE AWAY: All I can say is that, at this moment in time, we have no idea the impact and eternal significance of that day. Without a doubt, it is the most significant event we have ever experienced as a family.
Honestly, I would say that it wasn't an overly emotional event for me. The sun was HOT and the little girls were NEEDY. We didn't have enough snacks (God bless the Yanovs for sitting by us and sharing their abundance!) and the food in the stadium was EXPENSIVE (can you say $15 for a sandwich and chips?)
However, all of that stuff is just life. And, life often tries to rob us of the moments. That was not the case at The Send. We were spiritually present and we were 100% committed to the eternal ramifications. The day consisted of 4 focused segments: High schools, Universities, Neighborhoods and the World. It was fantastic hearing about how God is moving in these areas where we so often see only the negative. Personally, and as a couple, I feel God is preparing us to be sent to the neighborhoods and to the world.
Jesus has come to move across the nation and to bring hope and life. We are so excited to be part of this amazing time in history.
We would implore you to be part of this move of God. There will inevitably be some who sit on the sidelines and miss out on how Jesus shows His love to the world. Don't let that be you! Talk to God and tell Him that you will do anything and go anywhere to bring the gospel. Because, in the end, that is all that any of this life stuff is really about.
It's all about Jesus.
"Monday started the 24 hour prayer and worship leading up to The Send (thesend.org) on Saturday. This week is called, "The Flood". People from many different organizations and churches have descended on Orlando, FL to flood the streets with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's so exciting!
Yesterday we went to a very busy shopping area to show people the love of Jesus. I was talking with one of my friends who just got back from the Philipines. He took his family of 7 there, and saw people come to know Jesus. His group also witnessed miraculous healings!
We were talking about how many see a family as a hindrance to sharing the gospel. Our day was about to prove that wrong.
We had been in a few stores, talking and praying for people, and decided to go to Chick-fil-A. All four of the Hoeckle kids and one of my friend's kids went straight to the play area. We sat around a large table in the middle and prayed together for direction.
During the prayer, I felt like I should go into the kids area. I did and I immediately met a 5 yr old boy named Ethan. He began showing me all his "ninja" moves. Then he flipped me off. He looked at me and raised his middle finger high in the air. I was speechless and as if I didn't notice, he explained, "I'm showing you my middle finger."
Now, a 5 yr old kid learns this stuff somewhere, so I felt an urgency to share quickly with him. I hadn't seen his parents the entire time and I had visions of an angry parent coming in to yell at me. I eventually talked to him between kicks and jumps to ask him if he knew Jesus.
He said, "Oh yeah, I know all kinds of stuff about Jesus. I go to Christian school."
I replied, "Well, you keep learning about Jesus, because He's awesome. OK?"
It was then about time to leave and I walked out and waited with Mirabelle, our youngest. An elderly lady commented on what a cute 2 yr old we have. If someone talks to you, this is always an invitation to talk with them. So I did. I asked her lots of questions about her family and found out she only knows where 6 of her 7 grandkids live. I asked her if we (at this point it was Xander, Judah and I) could pray for her 9 yr old grandson. We did and she was very thankful. The love of the Father is a precious gift.
My friend was praying for a family on the other side of the store, and Mary was praying for an elderly man near the back corner. I went back by her, thinking she was almost done, when I saw a guy with a scowl on his face... sitting as far from the play area as possible. He was covered in tattoos and piercings and could possibly inflict fear into more than a few people.
As I'm praying about what to say to him, my ninja friend walks up to him and grabs the drink on the other side of his table and smiles. I say hi to Ethan as he walks back to the play area and turn my eyes to the man I now know as his dad.
Any fear I had was now gone.
"Hi, how are you doing? Is that your son?""
"Yes," he replies as his face changed from scowl to confused.
"He was just teaching me ninja moves in the play area," I said.
He began to laugh and I had an open door to share Jesus. This hard man's heart had a soft spot and the Holy Spirit knew it.
Think back over this story:
1. I wouldn't have went in the play area if I didn't have kids
2. I wouldn't have talked and prayed with the elderly lady had Mirabelle not been there
3. I had no idea how to get at a hard man's heart without first meeting his son
I would say without a doubt that children only help in sharing Jesus. They lighten the mood. They can create an instant commonality. They have childlike faith! They're a blessing.
You can do this with your family or with a friend. It just takes time, some prayer and a willing heart.
Hey, family!! I just have to take a few minutes and tell you how AWESOME God is!!! Friends, family and more friends!! We have been traveling through the US for 4 ½ months and have been connecting with people all along the way. It is so fulfilling for us to have these relationships with people; relationships that are more like family than friends.
Our journey right now is to join our lives, wholly and completely, with the people God puts in our path. God has given us “family” all over the place, and our family keeps growing. Jesus speaks of this, “...No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present time: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--along with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life” Mark 10 29-30. We have claimed this passage for our family as we have left everything behind to follow the direction of God for our lives.
And, he continues to come through on his promise! Seriously. At every stop along our travels for the past 4.5 months, we have seen deep relationships form.
Family. It has been incredibly simple to connect our hearts with the people that cross our paths. So simple. There is no other way to describe the deep love we have for these people except, God. God has orchestrated our journey in order for our lives to intersect.
Today we are fighting self-doubt. Today has been another day we have found ourselves asking, “What are we even doing?” I mean, we have so much fun traveling around and seeing the country with our kiddos and our friends, but the feelings of self-doubt can rise up strong against us.
And, today is one of those days when we are fighting those feelings.
We are currently in Mobile, Alabama and the southern drawl is strong here. There have been times over the past couple days when we have had to request that people repeat themselves... 😆 It's exactly like you imagine it is for us NoDaks.
Also, the humidity is no joke (we sweat in 63°) and there are all kinds of bugs, alligators, sharks and snakes just ready to pounce on the unsuspecting victim of curiosity. Haha… Not 100% accurate, but we are watching the trails vigilantly when out on nature walks.
Okay, back to the ugly little thing called, “doubting our purpose”…
First, we have to talk about what our purpose actually is. Is our purpose in life to travel around, see the sights, eat good food and have a grand ole time? Absolutely, NOT! That may be fun for a time, but it will quickly leave us bored and longing for more.
Our purpose is always Jesus. Always. Every time. Everyday. Every second of every minute of every day. Our 3-yr-old, Mercy, so eloquently stated recently, “Everything is Jesus.” And, we wholeheartedly agree.
Everything is Jesus. Our lives have 1 mandate; 1 purpose: to give GLORY to Jesus.
So, what does that look like hanging out in the bayou on the border of the Gulf of Mexico folding laundry in our RV with the AC blasting?
I believe it looks like Colossians 3:2 “Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.”
Jesus continually pulled himself away from the crowds and the miracles and the excitement of life to be alone with Father God. If Jesus spent extended periods of intimate alone time with God, shouldn't we expect to do the same?
Let me give you a few examples of this mom of 4’s “alone” time with Jesus:
We LOVE, love, love the moments in our lives where it is evident we are speaking truth into people's hearts; like the time I stopped on the streets of New Orleans to give a young girl, all alone, my money and a mama-bear hug. Those are seriously the bomb.com💣 moments. But, those moments are small snippets of our life.
The majority of our minutes are spent in other more mundane activities. Activities like the ones mentioned above.
But, that's ok because we are making a conscious decision to focus on eternity in the normalcy. We are choosing to, right now, focus our minds on Jesus and let Him intimately speak to our hearts.
Our purpose is the kingdom of heaven.
Our lives are all for the glory of Jesus.
EVERYTHING is Jesus.
Here I am, sitting on our couch, which is also our bed, in our 40 foot RV. Our 2 little girls are beside me and they are chomping on a mixture of peanuts and raisins like little chipmunks. The weather today is rainy and grey, which significantly helped these 2 little chipmunks take long naps.
I love days like these when they are mixed into a sunny life. Days designed to make us rest. Just stay inside and enjoy the cozy closeness of togetherness. Actually, this has been a season of rest for us. A time to learn how to live in beautiful harmony as a family of 6 traveling full-time around this great country.
We are thoroughly enjoying our adventure in the RV. We see life emphasized, confined here in our 320 sq feet of living space.
And, boy do we have areas that we need to grow!
We have felt that our family is in the process of building a strong foundation. A strong foundation that will be able to support our lives in the future. Foundations are so very important, as we all know. The strength of a foundation determines the size of structure it can support without collapsing. And, we believe that our foundation for our family needs to be strong. We believe the future our family is going to walk into is going to require a strong and firm foundation.
One way to test the strength of our foundation is to apply pressure and observe where cracks form. Pressure can come from all sorts of places: external influences and internal ones. For example, let’s say your "driving house" breaks down in a small Mississippi town. We don’t know people in this town and we sure as heck don’t know how to fix a diesel anything! How are we going to respond? Does anxiousness seep in and bring tension to our relationships? Do we blast the worship music and keep our minds focused on eternally significant things? Is there a crack in the foundation of our lives that needs to be inspected?
Another example is when people we love are diagnosed with cancer. We have been crying out to Heaven to see diseases bow their knees to the name of Jesus. Then, we hear of another cancer diagnosis. Do we choose to continue contending for healing of all sickness? Or, do we faint with weariness and retreat back? Does our foundation need attention and work?
We want to be able to walk in the wholeness of the glory of God. That is a lot of weight. That requires our foundation to be solid and uncompromising. So, we ask God, our Father, to reveal the areas of weakness in our foundation and to repair those weaknesses. Sometimes, a lot of repairs are needed and the process is extensive and intrusive. And, when working with a heart of flesh, the process of repair is often painful. It is painful to walk through the healing of old trust wounds. It is painful to walk the journey of overcoming fear and anxiety.
But, who wants to stay trapped in that crap anyway???
Not me! Not my family!
So, we embrace the process of revealing and repairing the cracks in our foundation. We embrace the process of building a sturdy foundation so that we can fully carry the weight of glory our future is going to bear. We embrace with expectancy the time spent in building a strong foundation.
Because after expectant waiting, the reward will come. We are constantly looking forward to the reward of seeing the full glory and goodness of the Lord while on this side of Heaven.
Love you all,
I’m officially a Social Worker!! After 12 years, I am a LCSW! I still have no idea why...haha… But, seriously. People inevitably ask what I’m going to do with the license now that I have it. I don’t know! I do know that I was supposed to get my Master’s Degree back in 2006. I had prayed about it and felt peace about continuing school. So, I did.
Then, life happened and I had babies and coffee shop responsibilities and never gave the licensing part of my degree much thought. Until 2 years ago. I began feeling like I should maybe, possibly, apply to get my license.
The beginning of 2018 was when God began to increase the sense of urgency for pursuing licensing. So, I did. I completed all of the application process and in Sept I took the licensing test.
No school for 11 years; 1 month to study 1 book I borrowed from an old classmate; 1 failed practice test; And, I was ready!! Ha!
I went to the test center completely trusting that my Father had led me to this place and that He would come through for me. He totally did!
I completed my background check via mail since we were already living in an RV and were somewhere in the middle of Cali.
Today, I checked my status and it is official! LCSW.
This is a reflection of how my life is led by my perfect Father God. I try to listen as he gently leads me along His purposes for me and for His glory. One step at a step; one foot in front of the other; not too fast and not too slow. I believe He will bring the next part of the journey to me just as He has done with all the other parts.
I am excited to see what that next piece of the puzzle is and I’m extra excited to share it with you!!!
Hi! We're the Hoeckles.
We're a family of six living full-time in an RV. We are inviting you to join us as we live life to its fullest and empower others to do the same. Welcome to the family!