Today we welcome my sweet friend Bethany McIlrath to the blog. Bethany’s heart to seek the Lord in the midst of life’s struggles shines through her writing. She encourages me to look for his hand at work even when his plans are different from mine, and to keep trusting in the middle of chaos and heartache. Please give her a warm welcome today as she shares a story I know will inspire your heart.
You Brought Me Here Why?
I remember the excitement when the phone call came. “We just have to finalize it, but you can schedule that moving truck,” the Midwestern man’s voice exclaimed. Expectantly, we did.
But the paperwork never arrived. Weeks later, the same voice apologized on the phone. Unforeseen circumstances arose. The position was cancelled. We’re weren’t moving to Iowa. We were moving though… we had to.
Living out of suitcases at my in-laws’ house, we sought work.
My husband showed me a job listing. It wasn’t what was expected. We knew one person in the whole region. But the Lord said yes with perfect clarity and abundant confirmation. One Skype interview and a phone offer later, we were scheduling another moving truck. This one was bound for the unknown of Minnesota.
With just two weeks to prepare and little in the bank, we signed a lease online with high hopes.
The Lord had made the way. We believed it.
Then we pulled up to the apartment complex.
Singing paperwork, we discovered they changed the lease from what we original signed. Shrugging, the woman said “well, yes, it’s more expensive than you agreed to. But you just moved across the country. What can you do?” The deceit stung.
Our lease was cancelled. Tired of waiting, my prayer was “Lord, you brought us here. Why??”
In a new state, 24 hours distant from home, we drove to a storage unit. My in-laws helped us move all our stuff into a 6 foot cement hole. On that October day, the first snowfall drifted down. We stayed with a friend for a whole homeless week, searching frantically.
The Lord provided a place to live within a chaotic week. But not a good job for me. We waited through church challenges, friendlessness, and open opposition at my part time job.
“Lord you brought us here. Why?”
I wasn’t ungrateful. I’ve lived much worse.
But never had the Lord so clearly made a way where there was no way, only to bring me to something I couldn’t make sense of.
Exodus became more personal to me. We’d just left a harder chapter of life. We’d just faced promise after promise of newness, waiting until the Lord said “go.” He parted some unbelievable waters for us and led us through on dry land.
When we arrived, the land stayed metaphorically dry and literally frozen. Life felt parched and biting.
I spent much of my time grumbling like the Israelites in the desert: “now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death” (Exodus 16:3.)
God, in fact, had different purposes.
Since our Minnesota wilderness waiting season, the Lord has reminded me of the “whys” I was too discontent to notice then.
It was in our waiting we learned firsthand about how God gives peace when our circumstances are intimidating. We’ll never forget how He parted the way and the assurance we had, even as I grumbled, that He was with us and leading us.
We learned an awful lot about prayer. Our marriage grew immensely while knowing no one but each other. We met amazing people.
While in Minnesota, we were blessed by the Lord’s provision through miraculous financing, too-coincidental of timing, unexpected gifts, and even the car we are driving today. My husband and I had time with his best friend we never would have if we didn’t live close.
I also learned about the blessing of loneliness. I learned what it is to wake up to mundane circumstances and immediately turn to the Lord. It was in Minnesota God taught me to write my first manuscript and challenged me to read His whole Word for the first time.
It was there I began to make memories with the Lord. It was there I learned the sound of His voice.
I still pray that prayer though- just a little revised.
“Lord, you brought us here. You know why.”
I pray it even when our circumstances seem settled.
Because I know while we’re waiting on God, He’s always both bringing us out and drawing us in.
A grateful recipient of salvation and hope in Christ, Bethany McIlrath can’t keep from writing His praise. She loves joining with others ii testifying about the Lord. Her reflections on God’s Word and character can be found at First and Second Blog and on Twitter or Facebook.