The Moving Game: A Testimony to the Grace of God, part 4

Here’s a quick recap from part three. (You can start at the beginning of the testimony here).

My husband and I were serving as missionaries and were blessed with safe housing, good income, new friends, and our first child. God was taking very good care of us. But, this new community was not somewhere we wanted to stay. It was a two-day drive away from our families and wasn’t the safest area to raise our family. But we couldn’t fathom how we could leave. God had called us to serve there. He led us there.

One morning, we received some unexpected news. Our landlord gave us a letter that requested us to leave the house we were renting. Now, this was not a mean or unfair request by any means. Our landlord had an aging parent and wanted the little house to be available for her. Our landlord asked us to try and be out in three months time. We completely understood and respected the request. It just came as a surprise.

But it also ignited a spark of hope. Could this letter possibly be God’s way of telling us that it was time to leave and move back to our home state?

My husband and I had two options: one – find different housing in the community and continuing serving as missionaries, or two – move back home. The problem with option one was that housing was difficult to come by, and we were getting increasingly anxious to relocate to a safer area for our family. The problem, or problems, with option two, were that we had no jobs and no housing to go to. We had no idea what we were supposed to do.

What happened next was a string of events that, we believe, was God’s clear direction showing us which option to chose. Here are some of those events.

  • When we spoke with our supervisor about the landlord’s letter and about our new predicament, our supervisor encouraged us to move back home. He helped us come up with a timeline and offered to continue our pay two months beyond when we would be moving. He was very much rooting for us!
  • The very night following the morning when we received the letter from our landlord, my sister-in-law had a dream that we moved back to our home state. She had no idea any of this was going on. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
  • When we spoke with my parents about our situation, they offered to let us move in with them until we could secure jobs and housing of our own. I did not ask or even imply that we needed help from them – they lovingly offered it to us.

I know there were more things that happened, but I cannot even remember all of them.

After much prayer, discussion, and thought, my husband and I decided that yes, now was the time to move. We needed to follow God’s direction and move home. We did feel convicted about leaving the mission, but we trusted that this decision was God’s plan for us and that he would continue to guide and lead us.

We prepared to move. Again. We were planning to pull a U-Haul trailer behind our truck and have a moving company deliver our other vehicle. But that vehicle carrier plan fell through, two days before we needed to head out.

Now what?

Again, God had everything under control. During a “just-to-catch-up” type of conversation with a buddy, my husband explained to his friend that we were about to move but that we were in a pickle with out other vehicle. The friend, without being prompted, offered to fly to our home and then drive our other vehicle for us.

Just like that. What a friend!

He arrived, helped us pack, and got ready to spend a night sleeping on the floor only to wake up and begin our two-day journey in the morning. Everything was ready to go. We were exhausted, but excited.

And to top it all off, two days before we made the big trip, we found out we were pregnant again. And that was the absolute final and necessary component that led my husband and I to decide that yes, we were supposed to move home. It was as if God was telling us, “just go already!”

So we did. We made the move and lived with my parents for three months while my husband tried a new job. It wasn’t a good fit. We traveled to visit his parents. We ended up staying with them for eight months! My husband found a job that he liked. We gave birth to our second child. We even found a house for sale very nearby and were able to buy it! All of these events were completely given to us by the grace of God; of that we are very certain.

We love to remember all of these events and share this testimony. It is a true reflection of the way that God leads his children and takes very good care of them.

And, the testimony will continue. Now, we are enjoying our new home and our two children. But my husband’s job will not be a lifelong career (it doesn’t pay well) and we are searching for what to do next. Will he find a different job? Will I return to work? Will we need to move again? Right now, there are new questions. But we trust, and know, that in his time, God will show us the plan. His plan.

The Moving Game: A Testimony to the Grace of God, part 3

My husband and I have moved seven times in four years. It’s been exciting, stressful, difficult, and exhausting. But God provided for us through the whole thing. I cannot help but share our testimony. (To start at the beginning of the story, read part 1 here).

God’s grace was so evident at this point in our lives. We were poor. We were seeking new employment. Our housing situation was uncertain. We weren’t sure what we were supposed to be doing with our lives.

In a miraculous instant, all of our questions seemed to be answered. My former supervisor from a previous job had just offered BOTH my husband and I jobs serving as missionaries. We would have income, steady work, housing, and purpose.

So, we packed up a U-Haul trailer and embarked on a the two-day drive to our new community. Our bank account was so meager that we had to borrow money from a family member just to rent the trailer and make the move. (I had been employed full-time but wasn’t earning much). We were extremely grateful for the help.

Once we arrived in our new place, our income situation changed immediately. We paid back the family member, started saving, and started being able to pay off some car loans and student loans. Praise be to God! He truly provided this for us.

We were also blessed with our first child during this time. And although I did struggle with some postpartum depression, we were so thankful for a healthy child and to become a little family.

The very first apartment we moved into was…. not nice. I mean, run down, dirty, gaps in the window seals type of an apartment. But it was pretty much the only place available in the town we moved to, where the local industry was growing like crazy and housing was so hard to come by. The rent was also ridiculously expensive.

Again, God provided. After just a few short months of living there, we met a local lady who owned a little “guest house” adjacent her own home. She offered to rent it to us at a much, much more affordable price. The home was clean and safe. We were so thankful! This little home was a much better place for our soon-to-be family of three.

We served as missionaries for two and a half years. We were extremely blessed to meet amazing people and be witnesses for the Lord. We paid off a lot of debt and saved. We started our family. There were countless blessings that God sent us during those two and a half years.

But we knew that this community was not somewhere that we wanted to stay. We felt it wasn’t the safest area for raising a family, and I was quite homesick (and dealing with the postpartum depression). I wanted so badly to return to my home state, but couldn’t see how that could possibly happen.

Guess what? It happened. And it all started with a letter from our landlady asking us to leave.

I’ll talk about that letter, and a series of other events, in part 4.

The Moving Game: A Testimony to the Grace of God, Part 1

The contents of this and the subsequent three parts have been swirling around in my mind for some time now. Basically, my family and I have moved a lot: seven residences in the past four years. And one of these moves was a big one. (I’m talking a cross-country, U-Haul trailer-in-tow type of move in which our destination provided no stable income and no housing of our own… and we had a baby on the way). It was almost unthinkable. Yet throughout these transitions, the grace and provision of God was so clear and so profound that I cannot help but share this story.

In order for me to fully explain the depth and overwhelming nature of God’s goodness to us, I’ll need to give some backstory. (Read: sit back and relax ‘cuz it’s going to take me a few paragraphs to set the scene).

I’ll have to take you back to my senior year of college. One month before graduating, I had a solid lead on an amazing job possibility. The only factor that made me even have an ounce of hesitation about accepting this position was that the job would take me far away from family and friends to a US state with which I was not very familiar. But I prayed and prayed about the prospect and felt that God was leading me to try out this new adventure. So, four months later I was scouting out apartment options and embracing my first “real” post-school job.

My experiences working for this start-up Christian ministry were many and varied, and I learned a lot. But that’s a post for another time. What you need to know is, I developed some amazing friendships and worked under a fantastic supervisor. Nine months after I started working, I was already saying good-bye and heading back to my home state. My husband and I had gotten engaged during that time. I left the job in June; we were getting married in December.

One year later, we were six months into our marriage. My husband had completed his first year of graduate school and I was working. We were living in a state that was a good day’s drive from our home state. The plan was for my husband to continue his schooling, and find a good job at the end of this arduous educational experience that would provide fulfillment for him and the means for us to have a family one day.

Well, plans changed. We decided that this higher education route wasn’t the right thing for us, and we needed a new plan. The problem was, we were “stuck” in a funky situation. I was the only one with a job, and it didn’t pay well. (I mean, we were living paycheck to paycheck and were digging into our wedding money to make sure we had food in the refrigerator). It didn’t help that we both had tuition debt and I was still paying on my first ever car loan. Since my husband wouldn’t be attending school any longer, we also had to leave the married housing on campus where we were currently living and find somewhere else to live… in this unfamiliar city where we had absolutely no ties.

So, we found ourselves embracing the dilemma of securing some housing, making enough money, and determining where and what in the world we were supposed to be doing with our lives.

What happened next was truly an extension of the grace of God, and a lesson I will never forget. Read about it here.