Whenever I start saying the phrase, “I never want to live in (insert place name here),” my husband gives me that face: raised eyebrows, knowing smirk. After 25 years and several moves together, he knows that many of those moves were preceded long before with the phrase, “I never want to live there.”
The statement is nearly a prayer, and many times that prayer has been answered, “Sure you do.” God knows better than I do where I should be, what I should be doing, and where I am headed. Thus, the ever-present second part to my earlier statement, “But, God’s will be done.”
I figure since God created the world and everything in it, He knows best directing my path, and in giving me the desires of my heart. This realization, however, has come from growth and experience, not initial conviction. God has shown me over the years that the goals I had initially established for myself as worthy of pursuit were not bad, but not His best for me at that time.
When my husband took us along on a business trip to central New York, after four hours drive, I said, “I could never live out here. If I see one more farm, I will do myself in.” One year later, we moved to Ithaca, New York, which became one of my favorite places on the planet, and filled with people who helped launch us on the trajectory toward full-time ministry.
A few years ago, there was the possibility of a ministry position in New England that I was convinced God would open up to us: it was near family, came with a home, and, importantly for a lover of all things New York and Boston, was on the train line. When that opportunity closed, I was crushed. After moving so far from family and many friends for so many years, I had my heart set on being back in Connecticut.
Then, Tim received a call from a church in Rochester, New York. We knew Rochester in a sense, having visited there a few times, being not too far from Ithaca. I knew it was cold and snowy there in the winter. “I don’t want to live there, ” I said.
“This is one of the places you ‘okayed’ a couple of months ago,” Tim replied. He knew that every place he would look at as a potential pastorate would have to pass muster with not only me, but our two daughters still at home. “I did?” I had some vague recollection of that, but being in my final year of a master’s program with three children in three different stages of life, my brain power was limited.
So, Rochester it was, and is. An easy move? No. But God knows me, and he gave me gifts to make it easier: my youngest daughter has an awesome high school and has met some special friends; we see our closest friends from Ithaca frequently; I founded a book group with another newbie Rochesterian that quickly filled with awesome women; and we live in a picturesque village along the Eire Canal. No, I did not want to live here. But I do now. His will be done.