Five years ago I travelled back to my home state of Washington, to take my Dad’s ashes back home, and to spend some time with friends and family on both sides of the great state of Washington. The moment I saw Mt. Rainier from the window of my plane I realized that place will always hold a part of my heart. I enjoyed time with friends then, in my hometown of The Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco & Kennewick) and spent the last part of the week with family and friends on the WEST side of WA…while enjoying the Pike Place Market, Puget Sound, Downtown Seattle and the islands.
When God called me away from that place, and He truly did “call” me away, I thought I was leaving the mountainous and art-souled “heaven-on-earth” for the unknown dry, flat prairie. I will admit that the differences in fashion, design, art, coffee, geography, politics and people are stark between the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. The differences, in fact, are so stark that it’s almost like moving to a different country going from one to another. It took a while for my family to adjust to the differences, it took ME awhile to adjust. I wondered just what God had in mind for me…little did I know.
But God knows what he’s doing. My choice would have been to never move from the PNW, but God knew that I would fall in love with the Midwest. He knew that I would revel in the rich history, the beauty of the seasons, and the warm hearts of the people. He knew that up-rooting me from Seattle and planting me in Anderson would lead to the publishing of much of my choral music, would place me in the center of loving congregations, would introduce me to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination, would provide for me and my family the necessary comfort and support needed through some very difficult times, and would finally lead me to a time & place that I describe to everyone as “living the best life I’ve ever had”. I didn’t foresee any of those things…God did. My trust in Him has grown because He called me away from my comfort zone.
Do I still love the Pacific Northwest? Yes, who wouldn’t? Do I still miss my friends and family here? Of course. But I haven’t lost the PNW…I’ve merely gained a wider, fuller experience of life because I love where I am also.
If we are who we claim to be, followers of the Most High God, we will be “called” out of our comfort zones. When we remember that we are children and don’t know everything, when we trust our Father to know more and be more than we could ever be…then we can say, “Yes” when He asks us to leave what we cling to.
It is a hard thing to leave what you love. It is a difficult physical task to step out of familiarity and step into the unknown, but if you trust me, then hear me when I say…Father always knows best. God’s bottom-line is that all of His children would experience the joy. And although that joy comes from a place within and not through circumstances or surroundings, God knows what we enjoy more than we do and would have everyone “living their best lives.”
Take care to listen when He calls this week…and “fear not”, God knows your heart better than you.