Like me, I’m sure you have come to a crossroads more than once in your life as to which way to go in making a decision. It’s really challenging when both choices (or more!) are (seemingly) good. Ever been there? I have dozens and dozens of times! And, it’s not always family-related. Sometimes it’s a job decision, sometimes health or treatment, insurance/benefits, a potential move, building/existing construction. You get the picture.
I had one such rather challenging decision to make years ago. I was quite young and new to living on my own. It was an emotionally charged time for me. You see, my Mom had been recently diagnosed with cancer. I had just made a move across state lines to start a new job in which I felt called to begin a new chapter in my single life, only seven months prior to her diagnosis. I had prayed a long time about making this job move and had great peace about it, in addition to my family being on board, offering their full support. Doors opened left and right for me confirming what God had shown me. Yet, I wrestled with God more than once after hearing of Mom’s illness, “God, I just know that I heard clearly from You to move forward and take this job. Why, then, would you move me 250 miles away from my family at such a time as this?”
My answer didn’t come all at once. Even at my young age, I knew that this move was part of a bigger plan that God had for me. He physically moved me to grow me up, to mature me, to be on my own and to trust Him to work out all the details. My Mom is the one who confirmed this for me! I knew she struggled with me being so far away once she was found to be terminally ill, especially, but she was selfless; knowing that this move for me was part of God growing me up and that had I stayed home, I probably would never have left home to sprout my wings and fly.
Now, understand, I’m making a lonnnnnnnng story quite short. In a nutshell, as I struggled with my heart being pulled between two seemingly “good” things: this exciting new job in a new city doing exactly what I’d dreamed of doing versus being near my family at such a time as this. In the midst of my inner turmoiI, out of the blue I had been offered a job which would take me back home, near my family. Oh, how my emotions pulled me every which way. The kicker was this job I’d been offered would pay me quite a bit more salary than the job I currently held. I was really feeling torn. I wasn’t making much money anyway, so the hope of making more captured my attention. Complicating things was the fact that some well-meaning families in our home church believed I should be back home, taking care of my Mom during her terminal illness. Now, I’m a people-pleaser to the core, and their opinion rocked my emotional world. My heart was troubled.
This is where the story gets interesting. While I never heard God’s audible voice lay out His perfect plan for me, He certainly gave me direction with the details unfolding before my eyes. I vividly remember asking Him to help me hear His voice above all others. My boss had generously offered for me to go to be with my family as I needed and not to worry about my job, that he would bring in a “temp” to cover me until I could return. Wait? What?! This type of offer doesn’t just happen! I reached out to a couple friends whose advice and wisdom I valued, asking them to pray for me and the decisions I needed to make. What I learned through this process was that money isn’t everything. In other words, the job offer I’d received, while boasting a higher salary, proved to be a “short-lived” job opportunity. In other words, it wasn’t going to afford me the opportunities long-term that I was interested in pursuing. However, I was temporarily blind-sighted by the lure of the money being offered when I really wasn’t interested in the job. Not to mention, I was emotionally wracked over the fact that barring a miracle, I would be losing my Mom.
I’m not saying this job was a “bad” job in any way. I’m sure it would have proven to be a good job had I not already moved away from home. God used my trusted, praying friends to help me weed through this emotional dilemma I was facing. On one of my many trips home, my Mom encouraged me that she wanted me to be where I wanted to be and not take this job I wasn’t interested in only to be back home. I believe God allowed her to see her days were numbered and my time back home wasn’t going to last forever. She reminded me I needed to be where I felt the Lord had led me. She had been my biggest cheerleader when I thought moving away to a new city wasn’t even a possibility for me. God used all these ‘puzzle pieces’ of wisdom to lead me to the decision I made. I had to come back to where I knew God had brought me, despite the distractions in my path. I don’t mean to imply my Mom’s illness was a distraction. Far from it! She was my best friend and the thought of losing her broke my heart. I felt that God had provided me an amazing opportunity to spend quality time with her, keep my job, and still get paid! I was able to work 3 days a week while commuting to be with my family the other 4 days of the week. I was able to go back and forth for 3 months. It was a win-win and I knew only God could have orchestrated this solution!
I believe I had more quality time with my mom during the 4 days of the week I was home then I would have had if I’d moved back to take a new job. It was arranged that I would be closely involved in Mom’s care. I was able to be there for her doctor’s weekly evaluation visits, keep her medical diary, and get all the details of her care and updates firsthand. I took the night shift, sleeping in her room being available to her all throughout the night as she needed me to relieve my Dad of sleep deprivation as he had to continue working, and my sister was trying to graduate high school.
I am still in awe of all the many blessings God lavishly poured out upon our family at such a difficult and sad time. He truly manifested Himself through friends and loved ones in our lives. All of our needs were met by His grace. God truly showed up! He is a good, good God and He loves us more than we can even fathom with our own limited human minds.
What did I learn? Trusting Him throughout life’s most difficult moments and trials will grow and stretch your faith like nothing else. He is the only One able to make sense and order out of a messed up situation. He may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to (or think He should) BUT His Word tells us His ways are infinitely higher than ours. When we ask Him for wisdom, He generously gives it to us. He gives us direction and discernment. I cannot imagine living a life without Him. Life is hard, unfair and senseless at times. He doesn’t rescue us from difficulties, pain and disappointments but promises to walk through, even carry us through these times. He promises never to leave or forsake us.
I want to encourage you to get to know Him and His Word so that you will know His promises for yourself, as well as His character. Hide His Word in your heart. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand if we will allow Him to. He is a gentleman and never forces Himself upon us. Don’t miss out on another day’s worth of divine wisdom and guidance for the problems and decisions that constantly bombard and plague; turn your eyes upon Him and allow Him to shoulder your burdens, as only He can. He alone is faithful.
(Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 41:10, James 1:5, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 2, Proverbs 3, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 9:10)