Not in the Cards

So. Cryptic post yesterday, I know. Here’s the lowdown: Caleb dared to dream big and go for a position within his company that we’ve been praying would open up for a long, long time.

…He got shot down. Pretty much. (And I am an amazing singer.)

This particular job opportunity would have taken us out of Oklahoma and settled us in Birmingham, Alabama–a mere 4 and 1/2 hour drive from our parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. When the territory opened up, we immediately began researching cost-of-living expenses, schools and colleges. We gathered a list of all the good neighborhoods; hopped on to scope out the housing market. Checked out all the million-and-one cool things we could do in Alabama. Calculated the costs of taking weekend trips to Pensacola.

The whole thing seemed more than perfect. I found a ton of reasons to support our agenda of moving back south and east. I prayed hard that God’s will would be done–flippantly assuming that His marching orders would involve us being Alabama-bound by January.

As usual, God has other plans.

I remembered a clip from a movie called “Facing the Giants”, where this lady who wanted a baby so, so badly, promised God that she would still love Him even after her 100th negative pregnancy test. Minutes after this statement, a nurse rushed out and gave her the exciting news that the negative test was actually positive–God had honored her and had given her her heart’s desire! Since I am so slick, I tried the same thing: “Oh, how I love you God, no matter what. Even though I want to be close to my sisters and my mom and dad but you won’t let me. Even though you’re always trying to shut me down. I really do love you anyway.”

It didn’t work as expected.

I tried not to be disappointed. I tried not to cry. I tried to trust God, but late in the afternoon I finally gave in and just let the tears flow. I was heartsick. The pull to move back has always been strong, but never so much as it has been here recently. We were so close this time! God, it’s been 8 years in Oklahoma already! It never even rains here! Everything is brown and flat! We have to align the planets to make a trip to Florida! I have a new nephew that I probably won’t get to meet until next summer! I want to see my parents more than once a year! I want my kids to know their extended family!

Turns out, you can’t manipulate God. He sees my heart and He knows when I’m being selfish and spewing empty prayers. He knows what’s in store for me. I needn’t try and push so hard for something that’s just not His desire for us right now.

I calmed down and asked God’s forgiveness. It didn’t bring on the relocation I’d wanted, but just before my evening run, God brought rain–awesome, drenching rain–to our town. And then God gave me a touch of the deep south by blessing my run with a choking humidity and a stunning lack of breeze. As I struggled up and down the mini-dirt bumps of the old abandoned, old abandoned golf course, I knew there would have been a good-to-excellent chance of me dying on a run through the killer hills of Birmingham.

We’ve been so blessed in Oklahoma. It could be that we’re just not ready for our marching orders. It could be that we are best used right where we’re at. The thought of leaving our Christian brothers and sisters wrenches my guts in the most gut-wrenching way. We may be in Oklahoma 10 years down the road. We may be called to move even farther away from Florida doing something totally different from what we’re currently doing. Something might open up in the next several months. Caleb’s boss could change his mind. I just don’t know.

We are constantly being blown away with all the things God is bringing to the table. Even when we cannot see the big picture, may we always be grateful for the opportunities we do have, the places we do go, and for the people who are put into our lives.

About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

2 responses to “Not in the Cards

  • birdonthestreet (@birdonthestreet)

    I have SO been there–I thought for sure we were going to Las Vegas in 2005 and instead we ended up in Arkansas. It was a wonderful experience for me and thank goodness Charlie was born in a place with such an amazing heart center. I like that saying, God has three answers to prayer: “Yes”, “not yet”, and “I have something better in mind”

  • Joell

    Oh girl! AMEN and I so feel you on this!! On several levels! On the “being far from our people” level. On the “trying to help God in His planning” level. Yep. I get it. Though I love and trust God completely, in my human-ness, I still want what I want. I am so thankful He knows best and He knows the entire picture of the past, present and future, and that He brings all things under His control. AND He loves me enough to give me His best, in His time!

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