An Everyday Story About Trusting God
It wasn’t what we wanted. It would only be for a little while-or that was the idea. It ended up being eight years. The plan after college was to move to southern California. Instead, we ended up moving back to Wenatchee, Washington, our hometown.
We had our baby daughter by this time. We both wanted to live in a big city, and Derek wanted to take an opportunity to run with a track club in Santa Monica. He had done well with college track and we both had Olympic dreams for him. But he set those dreams aside when he couldn’t find work in California. Camping out on a friend’s couch (as many athletes do) wasn’t really an option, now that he was a family man. A job was a necessity.
It wasn’t for lack of effort. He tried really hard, but he’s a tech guy, and this was the same year the “dot com bubble” burst. It seemed like God had different plans for us. Humbled, and a little heartbroken, we moved into his parent’s basement, while I substitute taught and he worked at a home improvement store.
Wenatchee is a wonderful place, and we had family there, so we were not in dire straights. This was more a matter of things not going our way- and how we were going to handle it. This is a story about trusting God in the everyday.
At first, we thought our stay would be so temporary that we lived out of suitcases. Our household stuff was packed away in a friend’s garage, back in our college town. Eventually, we rented a U-Haul and brought everything back to Wenatchee, moving into a little duplex.
Every spare moment, Derek was still sending out resumes and applications. We didn’t make efforts to establish friendships or participate in the community, because in our minds, we would be gone soon.
It almost felt like, in deciding to be happy, there in Wenatchee, it would be an admission of defeat. So we both were unhappy- until one day, three months after we had been back, as I was driving my car, it felt like the Holy Spirit said something to me.
It came out of nowhere, not audibly, but strong and vivid in my mind, someone asking me to trust Him, saying that I could choose to be happy and accept the situation, or I could go on being miserable. It was a dramatic turning point for me. I told Derek about it, and I asked him to consider changing his thinking as well.
It took a little longer for Derek to come around, but he did. He started applying for not just jobs in California, but also a better one in Wenatchee, and that’s where he got one- in Wenatchee. He got involved with the running community. I joined a mom’s group and made some good friends. We volunteered our time at church. We put our roots down in our community. We didn’t know how long we were going to be there, but we decided it didn’t matter.
Years went by, and our desire for big city living never went away, but still we were happy in our little town. Eight years later, we moved to the Seattle area, where we are now, and where Derek took a job he never would have gotten, had it not been for the experience he gained during his time in Wenatchee.
Eight years would have been a long time to be unhappy. We would have missed out on so much that God had for us if we hadn’t allowed ourselves to accept what God had for us in Wenatchee.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to know when to persevere and when to acknowledge that the closed doors I’m seeing might mean that God has a different plan. This was one of those times. The knowing happened gradually. But what I learned in the car that day, when the Holy Spirit mercifully intervened, was that I didn’t have to know, in order to be at peace. I don’t have to know the future. I can choose to trust God today, wherever he has me. I can say that I know more now, than I did before this experience. God used this hard thing to teach me something I don’t think I would have learned in any other way.
My story is an everyday type of story, nothing dramatic, but I hope that it will illustrate for you, the secret of contentment, which I’m still learning. I too, want to be able to say with Paul, these words….
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
- Philippians 4:11-13