“And He . . . has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” Acts 17:26, NKJV
MOVING IS VERY traumatic for me. I don’t like change. At ten years old I could not sleep the night before we moved. I looked out at the moon and cried, “Why, God?” Now I am married to a pastor, and with every move I cry, “Why, God?”
One move will forever remain etched in my memory: Pennsylvania to California.
Our teenage son decided to stay in Pennsylvania until he finished high school. Our ten-year-old started having nightmares. California was known for worldliness. I was afraid our sons would leave God and the church. Through prayer and the Bible, God made it clear to me that we were to move. But that did not make it easier!
We started looking for a house in California. But rent was expensive, there were no basements (where was I going to store all my junk?), and there was no land with the houses. We were used to living in the country and having a much lower cost of living. Yet my husband’s salary was going to be less. How were we going to afford the house we needed?
We looked and looked at houses—and prayed and prayed—but nothing seemed right. Jerry was already working in California, while I stayed in Pennsylvania until our sons were done with the school year. Finally, Jerry called and said, “Janet, we must find a house! Write down exactly what you want.” So I wrote down my dream home.
When Jerry got the letter, he called me. “There is no way we can afford that kind of home!” “Well, you told me to write down what I wanted,” I replied. “I didn’t mean a dream house; I meant a house we can afford.”
A week later someone offered to rent us their home for a price we could afford. It was my dream house! It was on three acres in the mountains. It was huge, with a basement and a very large garage. We could not believe it.
This house had more storage space than I could ever use. Many times when I went to the basement or garage, God spoke to my heart: “You think I can’t give you a basement in California? I can do anything I want to.” I was so embarrassed for giving God and my husband such a hard time about this move.
God provided over and over in amazing ways for our family. I promised God that the next time He called us to move, I would go without a struggle. I told Him how sorry I was for how I had acted and for my lack of faith in His power.
I had been sure I would hate hot, dry California. Yet within a week, I had fallen in love with California and its people! I am so thankful for God’s patience and forgiveness. Our sons are adults now. No, they did not leave the church or God. They are both passionately in love with God and married to godly California Adventists. But that’s another story.
You know what else? After that first very large house, the houses God has given us have been smaller with each move. It has forced me to get rid of stuff! But it is so freeing to have less. God knows what is best for me.
I’m praying that you too will see God’s love in the changes you face as a pastoral spouse!