My husband use to ask me when he was traveling to LA for work, “Hey, you want to move to California? The weather is just perfect out here!” To which I would always reply without hesitation, “No. I like the change of season.” California wasn’t really a place I even felt the need to visit. I wanted to see New York, the Caribbean, and other places but just never had the desire to visit California. Obviously, I was coming from a place of ignorance.….ignorant of the mountains, beaches, canyons, amazing sunsets, and nearly perfect weather, to name a few things. “Seasons” was what I was worried about? How can I put this?? Seasons smeasons.
Furthermore, I never wanted to live near the ocean….only visit. I loved to visit! But, that was plenty for me. Yes, I know…I’m strange. But, the ocean is big and unpredictable and the ocean air had done strange things to my hair in vacations past. However, those of you who have seen my nearly daily pictures on facebook of the sunset from the peek-a-boo ocean view that I now enjoy, can guess what’s coming next………….. Visit, Smisit!
When it comes right down to it, though, what “I” wanted was not the only thing holding me back from relocating across the country to a place I never even cared to visit. I had children to consider. Children that were loved by so many and so rooted in Tennessee. I knew they would adjust but I just hated the thought of them having to say goodbye to close friends and family and all of them having to say goodbye to the kids. I could already picture in my mind them graduating with their group of buddies and growing up with cousins. Honestly, I didn’t want to say goodbye to that safety. I feared the thought of them having to find their way in a sea of completely new faces. We all hear the horror stories of kids growing up in big cities, what they are exposed to, etc. So, I could see the potential dangers in this sea of new faces. Like the ocean, it too was vast and unpredictable.
Texas, I was convinced, I could deal with. That’s where my husband, Steve’s, company was headquartered and that’s where the bulk of his weekly travel came in. Texas is much like Tennessee and not too far and he was traveling pretty much every week. I had told the Lord repeatedly I’d move to Texas if He worked it out. I mean, I was being pretty cooperative! But, He never did.
I remember when this California company first called my husband about a job. It wasn’t right for him. Which, was a relief because, surprise, surprise, I wasn’t on board. I had all of those thoughts and fears running through my head. But, I remember a couple of days later, it was still on my mind and I was in the car and felt the need to hear a good Word. So, I turned on the radio to AM 640, the local station for sermons and news. David Jeremiah was on. I love David Jeremiah so I thought, “perfect”! 2 minutes into it, that “perfect” turned into, “really, Lord?” as he began to tell about his decision many years ago to move to California from Ohio, I think it was. Imagine that. He talked about his long running resistance to it and his preconceived notions picked up from the media that you can’t raise your kids in California. To which he added, obviously that’s not true. His wife actually had to be the one to point out how he was trying to control everything and was dismissing the leading of the Lord. I think he had been asked by several to make the move and she finally said something to effect of, “if God Himself came down and told you to go, you still would come up with an excuse.”
Over the next weeks and months, there was more and more travel with my husband’s job and the quality of life had sort of dwindled as the travel increased over the years. I knew he needed the Lord to intercede in some way, as did the rest of the family. There has always been a possibility of a move in his line of work. So, I finally got serious and told the Lord, “Fine! If you want me to move to Texas, I will move to Texas. If you want us to pick up and move somewhere totally different, we will do it but, I’m tired of limbo. I want us to be on the path you want us on, wherever that is.” He is patient but boy is He funny. 2 days later, the California company called again with another job opportunity.
So, after a long cross country ride, here we all are, by the ocean... in California. Who’d of thunk it? God. That’s who. As my friend Kim reminded me today with the passage she used in her blog today from Psalm 139:16-18 (www.celebratinginchstones.blogspot.com), that God has thought out all of our days. That includes her children’s….and mine. We may be caught off guard by something but nothing takes Him by surprise. And His thoughts toward them are way better than anything I could’ve dreamed up for them. My job is not to plan out every detail of their life and make sure it’s pain free. My job is to teach them to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, with all of their soul, and with all of their might. They need to realize that, like the ocean, life is vast and unpredictable. So is their God. The difference is, the “oceans roar and tumble at His name”. As I heard Beth Moore recently put it, (paraphrasing), “ We can refuse change, refuse to go with God, close ourselves off in our living room and choke to death on a ham sandwich. The safest place you will ever be is in the will of God. If we aren’t careful, we can protect ourselves right out of our calling.” That’s not what I want for them. But, if I want them in His will, they have to love & follow Him. So, it makes sense that I would first have to practice what I preach before them.
I must admit, I love California. Now, I can’t lie and say that every day is rosy. When you are as rooted and involved as we were with family, friends, church family, etc. and are transplanted to a place with no familiar face in sight, you are going to have some bad days. All in all though, the kids have done wonderfully. The middle school boys that I was worried about have actually done better than Jude and I. But, my real peace comes from knowing without a doubt that this is where He wants us. I don’t know for what purpose. I don’t know if it is for Steve, myself, Peter, Preston, or Jude or something beyond us. I’m learning to not even speculate when it comes to God and His plans. I may not even see it in my lifetime. I just finished a bible study by Beth Moore, Law of Love, out of Deuteronomy. So, the fact that Moses never got to set foot into the promise land is on my mind. But, he got to see it. He didn’t know exactly how they were going to possess it or when. But, he knew that they would because His God said so and His God had been faithful to him. Before climbing that mountain, knowing he was going to die, he blessed his people and told them their God loved them (Deu 33).
I want to be a blessing to my family and an encourager. Hard to do that when you’re stressed and crabby, engulfed in negative thoughts. So, I’m learning to enjoy each day as it is given and enjoy the peace of being in the will of God for today without wondering what tomorrow may bring. Yesterday, I told Peter that he would have to study for his science test coming up on Friday. Peter says, “you are assuming we are going to live until Friday. We were blessed with another day of life today but….” He’s a funny fella. He was kidding but only partially. Just an example of how our life here together gives me new meaning to the phrase, “too blessed to be stressed!” We are all together every night. Plus, I can see some magnificent scenery from the park and the grocery store, with mountain and ocean views.
Now, don’t think that we are picture perfect and our life is perfect….we are far from it. But, our life together is still far better than anything I could’ve ever thought of or planned myself. So, the next time you are tempted to say, “wait, Lord…that’s not what I had planned!”, can I suggest maybe taking a deep breath and consider saying instead................“Oh, plan sman.”