Picking the Right Crossroad

I’m so thankful for what God provided through the many years of living in Fullerton. This was a season (a quarter-century!) when God met us, shaped us, and developed us…as parents, as friends, as pastors, and as His children.

God used people and circumstances to help us grow and change. But after living for many years in one place, your life and interactions take on a familiar and comforting tone. Now that’s not bad – that’s wonderful. I felt at home in my town and with my world.

But God has chosen to bring us to a new place and I realize that He has plans for us…for more growth and change.

I’m not sure I like change. In fact, I’m sure that in the beginning of change I rarely like it. On camping trips, when we first drive into a new campground, I frequently think, “I’m not sure I’ll like this”. It will be different than I imagined, or smaller than I thought, or not as pretty as it looked on the website, or....     

Now, choosing a new campsite is not that big of a deal, but this same perspective can come my way when working through major issues. These same kind of doubts; these same kinds of questions, pop into my head as I wrestle with the consequences of our move and job change. I have a tendency to want to blurt out, “Lord, this is good…but not quite like I pictured.” But to navigate change in a healthy way, I realize that I need to see things from a different perspective.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not sure how far I can trust God. Because when He asks me to make a change, I can acknowledge mentally that it’s good…but my heart so easily can be fearful. And yet this year of transition - of waiting and not working - has been a time to learn more about trusting God more with my heart. Not that I’ve arrived by any means, but I have learned a few things about trusting my God – or maybe it’s that I have a better understanding of His love for me.

So as we faced our move to Oregon, I felt a deep sense of peace; I had a tremendous assurance that God’s hand was on us. So as we packed up our home of 25 years and said our last goodbyes, I felt that God was going before us.

But of course there have been moments when my emotions have overwhelmed me…and I’ve cried. I try to keep my eyes focused on Jesus, but I find them much more easily directed toward my circumstances. The “move” of course was the big change, but there are daily reminders about how so much has changed, and – as a result – I often feel like my emotions are riding on a roller coaster.

I think about the past weeks, and I find myself summarizing my new life in ways like this: we’ve moved from the concrete region of Disneyland to a place of wide-open spaces and beautiful big trees. Instead of wearing sandals in the fall, I’m dressing for rain and cold. I am meeting and getting to know and investing in dozens and dozens and dozens of new people. As the crown princess of the “directionally-challenged”, I’m trying to learn my way around town (and I cannot tell you how many times Rachel and I have been lost on our excursions). And, of course, finding new doctors and dentists and other suppliers of our “support services.”

And after having Bruce mostly home for 14 months, he’s now going off to work again every day. I now God has called him to this place…but I miss him! And it’s yet another substantial change in the rhythm of our lives.

In the midst of these swirling emotion, God asks me to step forward in faith and trust, believing that He is in this change. Believing that He will always bring good from this change. Believing that this change will enable me to grow and draw closer to Him. Believing that He will provide me with opportunities to use my gifts and passions for His Kingdom.

As I ponder this, I realize that my attitude towards what God is doing makes all the difference. As I face the crossroads of fear and faith, I trust Him each day to help me choose the right path. With His help, I choose not to focus on my fear of change…but rather on the potential that comes with change. And I rejoice in the new friends and the new opportunities that emerge from this new place, day by day.

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

- Julie