I could finally see the wreck from a distance; cars were backed up for miles on this long and curvy one-lane road and when the scene first appeared at the base of a Virginia mountain-side, I gasped–not at the sight but as I noticed the mile mark—3-1-6.
Almost two years ago I had made the decision I was going to move. God had been giving me confirming messages through prayer and scripture and by this time it wasn’t a matter of if…but when. My pending thoughts on moving were a conversation between me and God so when I eventually revealed the news to my friends, family and business partners (about 6 months later), conflicting opinions created controversy.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
It had been a tough year. No, I take that back. It had been a tough three years; periods filled with beautiful peaks and very deep, dark valleys. Pain. Fear. Loneliness. Defeat. The valleys seemed to last so much longer than the peaks and it wasn’t as if moving to a new location would change that reality; however, I believed that the new scenery would help me to see the beauty even in the valley. Needless to say, I wanted a fresh start–somewhere else.
I think so many people are afraid of change because it’s so unpredictable. But isn’t life unpredictable? It doesn’t matter if change happens to us or because of us, it will still happen. I decided that if change was going to happen to me anyway, I was going to embrace it and in fact, create it.
A current and prior health train-wreck and financial train-wreck had left me very hopeless for months. Just because we know Jesus and have a relationship with Him, doesn’t mean we are immune to negative thoughts (or the enemy’s attacks). Actually, I’ve come to realize that the bigger the faith, the bigger the target. So watch your back and be prepared for anything. And instead of delaying the inevitable (change happening to me-as a result of circumstances), I decided to be proactive—and hoped to create something positive from it.
So last June of 2014 I sold and gave away all my belongings (by that point it was just meaningless baggage I wanted to leave behind), moved into a vacant condo (that a friend graciously let me stay in during my transition in Wisconsin) – with nothing but the necessities, and I began my search for a new “home.” I vaguely give specifics of what was happening during that time because the details aren’t important for this particular article. However, please don’t misinterpret the message because the decisions, circumstances and changes were far from easy. Change is never easy. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next, I didn’t even have a plan (not recommended) but surprisingly I was calm and at peace with whatever it would be.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
…And As God always does, He aligned a location (North Carolina), a place to live, income opportunities for financial stability, a church home AND people; my, how He aligned me with amazing people! All in less than 30 days. It was home. (God honors our faith. See Hebrews 11:6)
Now, being eight months into this “fresh start” in North Carolina – a location that had never even crossed my mind when I first thought of moving, but now can’t imagine being anywhere else… I can finally look back and see God’s hand in ALL of it! Praise be to HIM!
I think sometimes we mistake the challenges God gives us as punishment or persecution, rather than opportunity. I spent a lot of time being mad at God because of where my life was at – and never really looking inward at myself and the opportunities for learning or growing from those challenges. Lesson repeated until lesson learned. UGH! I lacked faith. Sure, from a distance it may have appeared that I was faithful, trusting and obedient. But God knows our hearts. And admittedly, my heart was timid, frustrated and scared; and my inaction proved it.
It’s a humbling experience when God’s grace meets our pride (and selfishness) and we finally realize how helpless we are without Him. We’re usually faced with two choices–continue doing the same things as we were – and it will usually get worse, or surrendering and giving Him the power to control our destiny (or destination in my case) – and it will usually get better. I knew I had to start walking in faith and asking Him to show me the way, lead my steps and pave a path…if I wanted things to get better.
And He did!
...But, it required me to take action, to take the first step!
…and walk by faith…
The irony of it all was that the verses that kept popping up in my Bible reading prior to the move all had the numbers 3-1-6 in them! Even the bracelet that I wear today as I write this post is the well known verse John 3:16.
It was as if He wanted me to stop and see mile mark 3-1-6 during the 15 hour trek as confirmation that where I was headed was part of HIS plan (not my own). All the challenges that I used as excuses for not stepping out in faith for so long were now erased when I took the first step…and God made a way–just as He did when He sent his Son to the cross as a living sacrifice for our eternal redemption:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
A life-transforming move to the South may not be in your future (like it was for me) but I pray that you embrace change, walk by faith and trust Jesus who will lead you towards an amazing “final-destination” — in Heaven.