God had other plans. A few months later, my husband lost his job, beginning a domino-effect of changes. He applied for every local job he knew of. His brother and best friend started encouraging him to come work with them in Iraq as a contractor. My mom offered to let us move into her basement (half a country away in Missouri). Someone offered to buy our house. My mind raced at the possibilities and choices.
I prayed and prayed for God to give us a way to stay. Even after my husband and I made our plans for me to move our girls to Missouri while he was in Iraq earning the money that would get us back on our feet, I prayed to stay. I knew that it seemed to be where God was leading us, but I liked comfortable. I didn't like change.
As the date drew near for me to leave my home, I still did not have that "a-ha moment" when I just knew this was exactly right and I desperately wanted that moment. Across the globe from each other, my husband and I chose to fast and pray together. Late in the day, I felt no different than when I woke up that morning. In the quiet darkness, I curled up on the couch with my Bible and Esther study guide. My study led me to Esther 4:14 which reads,
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
Starting to feel like this was the moment I had been praying for, I read the verse several times. This could be my time also, but for what? The next verse from my study guide took me to my knees.
For in him we live and move and have our being. -Acts 17:28 (emphasis mine)
Tears ran down my face as the realization came over me that God had just spoken to me in a very loud voice. I know God does not always speak to us this way, nor should we expect Him to, but He did this time and I was compelled to move. On July 14, 2009, with the help of my family and friends, the girls and I moved from California to Missouri and started a new chapter in our lives.
Five years in a foreign land has blessed our family beyond belief. My husband came home from Iraq on leave and got a job nearby. He is now self-employed and gets to take the kids with him to work. Through our new church, we have been able to give to our community in a way we have never experienced. Our family has hosted neighborhood movie nights and a car maintenance ministry. We have participated in overseas mission trips, loved on kids at an orphanage, served meals at a shelter and volunteered at a pregnancy center. Our kids have enjoyed living on a farm, getting to know my parents and helping to raise the animals. The biggest change is that we have added a son to our family - a sweet boy that we adopted from the Taiwanese orphanage where we volunteered. Although he's a big part of this God story, he has a pretty incredible story to tell another day.
In the last five years, something has stood out to me over and over again. Comfortable is good, but being where God places us is better. I have learned to redefine comfort as being in God's will for my life. Do we miss what we left? Certainly. That's why we go back to visit. But then we go home, ready for the next adventure.