A New Chapter
About four years ago my family and I moved to the Seattle area after being settled in California for 14 years. We moved for my husband’s job, but we would never have predicted the path led by God. There were so many unknowns, financial as well as personal risks riding on this huge decision to uproot our children and all of our lives. But from the very beginning it “just felt right”. I was surprisingly confident amidst the uncertainty. The housing market was terrible. Our house sat for a full year after our move, empty and unsold. We were in a small dark apartment adjusting to rain instead of sunshine. And yet, my optimism and faith in our decision never wavered. Again, it just felt right. We had no idea that we were on a journey toward Christ.
As the months passed I tried hard to not be impatient with the nightmare of our housing situation. Every week the financial burden was real. As weeks turned to months our house in California sank deeper in value. It was hard not to lose faith, but faith in what? During that time my mother kept telling me over and over and over again, “Julie, God’s plans for you are so great you can’t even conceptualize them yourself.” “Hmmm,” I would reply, “I don’t know, Mom, my plans are pretty good” somewhat jokingly. I didn’t know about God making plans for me. She was planting seeds. I began to pray.
Why the move? It’s as if my life had to be stripped away, bare and empty to make room. Room for what? I didn’t know. I left my job, my friends, my connections. We moved to a place where we knew no one. But, there was time to think. Stripped bare of the former “trappings” that can consume one, I was free. No big, beautiful house to help “define” me. No career to define me. Just me. During the quiet of my life, God found me.
His Perfect Plan
Within our first months our then 16-year-old daughter met a boy. He was Christian and full of faith. He invited Bianca to church, and she went. Soon she was going every Sunday. We met his family, and they invited us to join them. Ever so politely we declined. After all, we didn’t go to church. We had tried. However, it didn’t feel right to my husband, so I didn’t want to go if we didn’t attend as a family. Almost every week we got a quiet but vigilant invitation to attend. Finally, Easter came around, and to my shock, my husband said, “Do you want to go to church with our friends?” I said sure.
A Changing Point
So, we went. We were honestly very surprised at how welcome and at home we all felt. Our boys dragged their heals only slightly…soon they were’t questioning our new-found ritual. Finally, after many years of quietly wishing, something was changing in us as a family…it wasn’t just a change in habit, something was changing in our hearts. God was finding a way. Every Sunday we found ourselves in church, our hearts melting after years of distance and of self-reliance. After all, we were hard-working, self-sufficient people who were problem-solving, go-getters. We had been taught to achieve. We didn’t think we needed any “help”.
On the Road to Faith
Every week we were growing in our faith. Each one of us, our children included, were on our own paths of spiritual discovery, and it was magnificent to behold. I joined a Bible study group, and so did my husband. Our children, each on their own, joined their own youth groups in addition to attending regular Sunday service. My husband was reading a pile of books on Christianity and spiritual discovery. I announced to my family that I was going to be baptized. My then 12-year-old came to me on his own and said he wanted to be baptized as well.
We were standing amidst miracles…each miracle held on its own was a great gift to be celebrated…but five miracles… it was almost beyond comprehension. We were each traveling our own wondrous road, simultaneously but individually. God had reached into our family and taken hold. Each day the roots of His love were digging deeper into our hearts, preparing to grow and strengthen us to one day bear fruit.
The Continuing Journey Toward Christ
The most amazing thing is that God has become real. God is a part of my life and my family’s life. There is a strong sense and understanding that He has always been with us, always guiding us. We are each amazed at the power and beauty of life in His hands. There is more serenity and more peace in our house. We all agree that we feel less fear and less worry, and we are certain there is so much more to come on our journey toward Christ.
I have many gorgeous examples of the real change God has already made in each of us. Examples to illustrate how His love has been put into action and service. My elder son chose on his own to spend his entire summer in service on a mission in Ecuador. He reads the Bible regularly and will be awarded the highest achievement in his graduating class for volunteerism. Before finding God, of all the kids I would have defined him as the most selfish. God is at work in his heart on a daily basis.
God has given me the platform of Instagram (and now this blog) to help spread His word of truth and hope and love. I have not one ounce of doubt that my success is completely from Him. I take no glory. Anything that has come from “me” really is due to the generous gifts He has supplied me. All I am, all I have done in my life, has culminated to now, and is for His purposes.
He is alive in all of us, guiding our choices. Today we are His, and we are on His path. This is just the beginning because we know life just continues to get better as we travel on this journey toward Christ.
With love and blessings,