We were obedient in praying the prayer above, not really understanding what the implications could possibly be. After years of teaching youth Sunday School, building relationships with so many kids that we still talk to now, years later, Ken and I had a feeling that God had plans to use us in a larger way. We longed for God's blessing, and we naively felt that by enlarging our territory, God could use us to just impact the world. What really happened was an enlarging of our territory that was quite unexpected, and our lives were truly the ones that were impacted the most.
On September 10, 2001, I started the day like most others. The only difference on this day was that I was planning to meet my mom for a birthday lunch. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) Cassie and Kylie were happy-go-lucky babies who traveled easily and would enjoy sitting in a restaurant with us. Around lunch time, Ken called. He said that he had been called into the general manager's office. They had offered him a transfer, and they needed him in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We laughed about it, sifted it around, and then decided we would pray that if that was God's will that He would put the pieces together.
Well, it sure didn't take Him long. Within an hour, we received a call from our real estate agent that they had shown our house, and that we had an offer on the table. It was lower than what we were asking of course, but it was an offer. Again, we decided that we would pray that God would give us direction, and we came up with a figure that we really needed for our house. We told our real estate agent that we had decided to counter their offer and told him we had a plan, although we didn't tell him the amount. He actually joined us in praying that God would show us His way. Within hours, we were sitting at our dining room table with contract in hand, the exact price that we had mentioned in our prayer right there in bold print.
God had begun to lay out his plan. My head was spinning. The very place that I called home was at stake here. I had grown up there. The church where we were was the very one where I met Ken, where he proposed, and where we married. It was also where we had dedicated the lives of each of our 4 children to the Lord. There were teenagers there that we loved dearly and never wanted to leave. The comfort and security of that familiar place was something that I will never take for granted again.
That day, my life began to change. We were excited because we thought that maybe it was just the enlarging of our territory we had prayed for. "God must have something big for us to do" is what we thought. Again, we were so naive. We saw the world through rose-colored glasses, maybe for the last time ever in our lives.
Now, having said that, I see how God has brought us through so much and blesses us still today. I am thankful for my friends here in South Carolina. It took me about 7 years to let go of the idea of going back to Mooresville. Actually, if I'm totally honest, I still entertain the thought occassionally now. I am wiser now though, and I know that it wouldn't be the same. Too much has changed there, and too much has changed in us.
God enlarged our territory as we prayed. He has blessed us. His hand has been with us. Evil has grieved me, but He has been there to pick me up. September 10, 2001 was the beginning of an adventure I'm still trying to wrap my mind around, and at times I just decide it can't be understood. God does know His purpose though, and I know that He has placed Godly people in our lives. He has given us friends that have become like family to us. He has blessed our girls with good friends too, and he's grown them spiritually and taught them so much. He has brought us closer as a family. For all of these things, I am grateful.
As strange as September 10, 2001 was, September 11, 2001 was horribly stranger. It was the day we went to Spartanburg for the first time. It was the day our nation changed forever. It was a day when we almost turned our car around and went back home to the safety and security of what we knew. It was a turning point in our lives marked by the horrific tragedy that rocked our nation as we heard the heart-breaking news begin on the radio. We sat and wept in a silent restaurant while everyone watched wide-eyed as the horrors unfolded on the televisions on the walls. Our journey began with tragedy, and we feared that it may be a sign of things to come, but we stepped out in faith believing that God still had a plan.
It has made me leary of stepping out in faith. It has made me careful about making changes. In fact, it has made me fear change at times. When I used to think of stepping out in faith, I thought of steppin onto a puffy cloud where God would carry me gently to where I need to be. I now know that sometimes a step of faith sends you hurtling over the edge of a cliff, falling faster and faster, unable to get your breath, until God reaches His hand out and stops you just in time. Without His hand, I would have hit that rocky bottom. In fact, I wonder if I did hit that rocky bottom, and maybe He just picked me up and dusted me off. Either way, I walk a little differently, I think a lot differently, and I never take a moment of comfort for granted. Most of all, I rely on God's hand, because without it, I would be broken at the bottom of a cliff, unable to ever get up again.