Coming out of the detour
Seven months ago, life took a serious detour…a detour that would change the course of my family’s history from that point forward.
My company offered voluntary severance packages. At least this time, anyway. The previous two layoffs were not voluntary, and we all had the feeling that any future ones wouldn’t be voluntary, either. The company’s offer this time was quite generous, but the catch (for our family, at least) was that for my line of work, we’d have to move…out of state…to find the next job. We had built a good life in West Virginia for the last 13 years, fully expecting to raise our family in one town, one church, one house, and with the same group of friends all the way through high school.
God had blessed us tremendously in West Virginia, but the more we talked about it, prayed about it, and mulled it over…we knew it was time to go. So, I raised my hand and volunteered.
The hunt for the next job started immediately, even though I would stay on at work through the end of February. At first, friends and family were happy for us and wished us well. But as the months drug on, and the few leads I had didn’t pan out…the well-wishes turned to raised eyebrows and mumbled “hang in theres”. No one deserted us, but their growing concern was thinly-veiled.
We felt like we were constantly saying goodbye, but never leaving. It became increasingly more difficult for all of us to tell people, “No news yet. Don’t know where God will take us.” It was wearing on me to stay vigilant over the budget and try to get the house ready to sell, while counting down the number of remaining severance checks. I actually turned down a job offer from a good friend, because we knew it wasn’t where God wanted us next. A few week later, the day after my next best lead went up in smoke, it happened – we got an offer on the house.
We had a solid offer on our current home and no home to go to. Zero job prospects at that moment, and we had 10 weeks to get out of the house. I panicked. I didn’t sleep that night. There was a lightning storm raging outside, but it wouldn’t have mattered…the storm inside was twice as intense.
I don’t specifically remember accusing God of abandoning me, but that’s how I felt. After hours of pouring my heart out to God…finally emptied out…I gave up, and gave in…
“Whatever job you want, Lord. Whatever place you want, just show me where. I don’t care what it is, I just need to know where to take my family next.”
I’m not kidding when I say that I woke up the next morning and found that the exact job I had been looking for…freshly posted and in the state we were most interested in – North Carolina. I didn’t know anyone at that company. I had no contacts or strings to pull. Just a blind internet-submitted application and resume. They called me three days later, and, within two weeks, I had accepted their generous offer.
To call this a coincidence would be naïve. This whole detour journey has been a God-thing. There’s no other way to describe it. Even my non-Christian friends marvel at how well “everything just lined up so perfectly”. Not that there weren’t frustrations and difficulties along the way, but this isn’t a normal, natural story. It’s SUPERnatural, without a doubt.
We’ve closed on our house in West Virginia, and by the time this is posted, we’ll have closed on our new home in North Carolina. We’ve come out of the unexpected detour for the better in a lot of ways…but best of all, we’ve had our faith grow and mature in ways that will echo through the future of our family. The next chapter is just beginning…and I can’t wait to see what God wants to write.
As for this blog, I intend to continue with the once-a-week schedule until the dust settles here a little. I’d love to get back to the twice-a-week format, but we’ll see how God leads.
For right now, though, the back end of Psalm 31 describes just how ridiculously blessed we are. I get a little choked up each time I read it.
How great is Your goodness
that You have stored up for those who fear You,
and accomplished in the sight of everyone
for those who take refuge in You.
You hide them in the protection of Your presence;
You conceal them in a shelter
from the schemes of men,
from quarrelsome tongues.
May the Lord be praised,
for He has wonderfully shown His faithful love to me
in a city under siege.
In my alarm I had said,
“I am cut off from Your sight.”
But You heard the sound of my pleading
when I cried to You for help.
Love the Lord, all His faithful ones.
The Lord protects the loyal,
but fully repays the arrogant.
Be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord.