Seven months ago, I packed up my family and moved far away from what we knew and loved to a strange place — the west side of Washington. As you may have seen on this blog, this transition has been an interesting mix of struggles and blessings.
As I’ve gone through some tough times lately, I’ve wondered, “Did I make a mistake in moving here?”
Then, the answer hit me: who is calling the shots? Is it me? Am I fully in charge of my own destiny? Or do I trust, as a follower of Christ, that this promise holds true:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28
I began to reflect on this and my own circumstances. Yes, I may have made the ultimate decision to move. But God is working through the choices I/we make to ensure that His will is done. In my family’s case, I think my job — which I have resigned effective March 7 — was the tool to get us to the place God wants us to be. Why do I say that?
First, everything about our move was seamless. The first house we looked at renting was perfect and at a wonderful price. We’re in a great school district, and the kids are all thriving in their classes.
Ian has had amazing opportunities over here. He landed a great job at an aerospace manufacturing company, and already has been promoted to purchasing manager. He has been affecting positive change, and has thrived in this place. In addition, he was offered two — yes, two — associate pastor positions with local churches. These are both bivocational, meaning he will still work full time. But this is the opportunity he’s been asking God to provide. We are in the final “review” phase with our family’s choice for these two positions.
But what about my job? I have learned a lot, both in terms of the PR profession, as well as about new industries: cloud computing and cloud infrastructure automation, managed file transfer, enterprise fraud management, terminal emulation, IT power management and efficiency, etc. (Ian likes this because I can finally talk “computer” with him without my eyes glazing over.) But, I have had some struggles particularly in the last five weeks that made me question if I was in the right place. I’m not going to glaze this one over: my work has been very trying and exceedingly stressful.
“WHY?!” is the question I asked God repeatedly. “Why did you bring us to this place? Did I do something to deserve this, because it’s really not cool.”
And amazingly, God’s answer came. It always does, if you take time to wait and listen for it. He said, “You are my will.” What on earth does that mean? It means that I have yielded myself to God’s will and will serve God where He places me. It’s not my will that I choose to live for. I know God has called me/us for a greater purpose. I allowed Him to work through us to bring us to this place (reasons for this path are still unfolding). My job was the tool to get us where He wanted us to be.
Does that mean I was happy where I was? No. In addition, I was stressed because I have a tremendously well-paying job, and not having this employment would be a considerable financial hit for our family. And God (respectfully) received an earful of what I was going through and consistently received a petition to release me from where I had been place. Does God mind when we tell Him what’s on our hearts? Absolutely not! Think about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was before Him and his purpose, but it didn’t make it easier. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22.42) He knew that laying down His life would require complete surrender.
I think God wants our full surrender before He’s willing to reveal His plan. He’s gently saying, “Until you realize you can’t do this on your own, you’re never going to trust me. So you do your thing until you’re ready, and then we’ll chat.” He knows it’s tough to have full surrender — but He’s made it so easy! Listen to this:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
What a promise! He wants us to come to Him with the burdens of our life. And that’s exactly what I did. The beauty of God is that His ears don’t get full — He will listen. And in due time, God will deliver you if that’s His will.
Last week, it became clear that God was going to release me from my obligation. We finally got a renter for our house in Moscow, which is a tremendous financial savings. We had an incredible tax refund (probably triple anything we’ve ever had). And this pastoral position that we’re in the final phase with includes a parsonage (no rent!). All the pieces just stacked up, and I felt God say it was “okay” to move forward with ending my current employment. So I gave my resignation and have been working with my firm to tie up loose ends.
I have to tell you: I have such an incredible sense of peace, and a huge weight has been lifted off me (and not just me — my entire family). It took full surrender for me to realize that in surrender, we gain victory over the things that bog us down and take our focus off Christ.
For today, let me leave you with this message. It’s a great song. Listen to it and take the words to heart, and it gave me strength as I moved to the point where God gave me the freedom to move on.