Many of you have heard me tell the story time and time again how 13 years ago today, Dan and I left my parents driveway in Ohio to head to Florida. Dan and I had been living in Pittsburgh, PA for him to finish out his 2nd AA degree. We were seeking the Lord as to where He wanted us to move. I knew it wasn’t just for a job, but for the right church. It was for God to put Dan and I to be under a ministry to help us grow up in the things of God and to prepare us for what He had for us in ministry.
While driving home from work one day in the Pittsburgh hills I heard the Lord say to me, “You’re going to Orlando and Dan is going to work at ***** company.” I remember going home to Dan and telling him this. I remember his response, “That would be great but ***** company hasn’t hired me yet.” So we went on our quest to continue to try to figure out what God was doing and what he wanted. Several job possibilities came and went in that season. Dan graduated, our lease was up, and we didn’t know what else to do so we moved all our stuff in my parents’ garage in Ohio thinking it would only be for a few weeks, and moved in with them. Four months later: we almost moved to New Jersey, there were some possibly California, almost moved to Cincinnati, Dan had to turn a job down in Columbus, then there was the Wisconsin company who took one look at Dan’s resume and swore they couldn’t afford him, and he was second in line at a job in Boca Raton. Out of sheer desperation we drove down to FL. He got as many job interviews as he could including one at ***** company. *****company loved him but couldn’t hire him yet. On our way back through the state, we got a phone call on my cell phone. A small startup company in Orlando wanted to interview him before we left that area. Travel rumpled, unshaven, and a little weary Dan and I drove to this guy’s garage for an interview. That man wanted to hire the Dan on the spot. We drove back to Ohio and began to pray.
This is about the time we found out our oldest daughter was going to make a surprise appearance in our lives. Fairly newly married we were in no place in our minds to be starting a family. It wasn’t until months later that I would find out that I could still get COBRA insurance from my former job for prenatal care. We panicked, but new our options were slim. We had to make a decision and we had to do it quickly. The guys’ garage startup wasn’t *****company, but it was getting us to the right location. We were going to leave Ohio to Orlando, Florida.
I’d like to tell you 13 years ago that Monday Veterans Day Morning that I was full of faith, and was sure this was the right choice for our lives, but I was scared and nervous. I puked with morning sickness all the way to the Florida line I think.
We left Ohio on a Monday, got to FL on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning we woke up and began calling local churches we wanted to check out in the area. Knowing very little about Orlando, I had called my church in Ohio to see if they knew of any good ones here. They went through a directory of affiliated churches and gave me a few names. I had a couple I wanted to check out too. Freedom Tabernacle (Today, it’s Freedom Life) Church was the first one to answer their phone. We set our plans to attend a service that night.
On Wednesday night as we pulled into the parking lot I wish I could tell you that I prophetically knew we were walking into a divine appointment. I didn’t. We were just going forward with the doors that seemed to open.
When Pastor Arthur took the platform and took one look at Dan and I he began to prophesy that “we were not tumbleweeds and God had moved us down to FL” The prophesy is quite lengthy, and I’m paraphrasing but needless to say he read our mail. At that moment we knew we’d found the church God had called us to. We knew we’d found the right covering.
Dan worked out of that guys garage for a couple months, then after a transition or so he went to work at ***** company. In a swoop of divine timing that only God can do nine months later, the insurance for that job would kick in on a Monday and we had our oldest daughter by C section on that same Thursday. It all worked out. Dan and I still shake our head how it all did. It was something only God could have done.
Every time I tell this story, I am so overwhelmed by God’s ability to place people and get them where they need to be for the seasons of their lives. Of course you have free will and you have to let Him do this in your life, but I have certainly seen that happen. I set here 13 years later in the midst of some other transitions, but I am almost in tears. Because I feel in this season we’ve run the race God put before us. I am not proud at us by saying that. I know how many times I wanted to quit. But I am honored at the grace of God that He saw the end from the beginning.
We always in life seem to cry to God and want all the answers. Dan and I didn’t have all the answers when we came here. We just knew we needed to go. It wasn’t an easy decision, it was brutal, but we did what we knew He led us to do.
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
I often have preached about Joseph. Joseph knew Jesus was the son of God. There were so many prophesies concerning Jesus, but it wasn’t like Joseph had access to all of those. It wasn’t like he sat in the manger next to a newly birthed Jesus with a large scroll saying, “Next we need to move to Egypt then Jesus is supposed to be from Nazareth, etc.” All of those prophesies came into being because God led them place to place. They were fulfilled because Joseph and Mary were obedient to the promptings of God and he led them where they needed to be going.
That same God that led Joseph and Mary, that same God that led Dan and I through that very difficult season, is the same God that can do the same for you. He is no respector of persons (Romans 2:11) I hope our story encourages you today. It was a good reminder to me of what God has brought us through. Be encouraged. God is intimately concerned about your life. Be open and obedient and He will direct you to the places He has called you to go.
God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!