Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A lesson in Trust by Karen Barnett


“I found the perfect job posting.” My husband, Steve, smiled—something he hadn’t done in months.

“Great! Where is it?” I held my breath. He’d looked for jobs in our hometown. Then in our region. In our state. Things were scarce. We were now looking nationwide.

“Iowa.”

My stomach sank. Nothing against Iowa. It’s a lovely place. I visited once during college, so I knew the people were friendly and welcoming, but born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Iowa seemed far.

I searched the advertisement for faults. There must be some reason this wouldn’t work out. God wouldn’t send me to Iowa, would He? No ocean? No mountains? No extended family? I cried out to Him, Please, not Iowa. How about Colorado? California? Washington? Michigan?

My husband pledged to trust in God's direction, and he applied for the job.

I sulked.

Weeks went by, and Steve sailed through the application process. Sitting in an evening service at my church, I fumed at God. You say to trust you, and then you threaten to uproot me from everything I love. When my toddler fussed, I scooped her up, relieved for an excuse to sneak out. We took refuge in a preschool room. She grabbed a book and climbed into my lap. I opened it.

"And God sent Jonah to Nineveh. But Jonah didn't trust God. He didn't want to go to Nineveh."

My heart broke. I stared at the scowling cartoon figure on the page. Was that how I looked?

I did a 180-degree turn (Well, maybe about 175). Not my will, God, but Yours.

A weight lifted from my chest. I would go. And what's more, I would rejoice in this opportunity. I confessed my bad attitude to my husband (as if he weren’t already aware of it) and over the next few days, God adjusted my attitude. I discovered our soon-to-be-hometown had an amazing library, an aquatic center, outdoor ice rinks, and a city park with a stable of Shetland ponies. Before I knew it, I was dreaming about raising my family in Iowa.

But God wasn’t finished.

Steve glanced up from the computer. “Guess what! There’s a job opening down the road.”

“What?” I swallowed hard. “But… what about Iowa?”

He laughed and shook his head. “I’ll never figure you out.” The job was a perfect match to my husband's skills. Pieces fell into place quickly.

I was a bit confused. Um, God? I don't mean to complain... but what about Iowa? I thought you wanted us to go to Iowa?

I felt a gentle nudging in my heart. It was never about Iowa. I wanted your trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:4-5 (NIV).

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)





Karen Barnett, author of Mistaken, lives with her husband and two kids in Oregon (not Iowa). A former park ranger, Karen enjoys playing on the beach and hiking in the Cascade Mountains. She also drags her family through boring history museums every chance she gets. She’s been published in Guideposts and other national magazines. Her next novel, Out of the Ruins, releases in May of 2014.

Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to manage his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The moment he meets Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows that if he can earn her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie pushes him away--for none other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown--Daniel wonders if Laurie really is the upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, just off the beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous water for reckless rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when she realizes her brother is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie's mind. Yet the people she believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after all.

11 comments:

  1. I love this, Karen! Also...I live in Iowa and it's a wonderful place. Haha!! :) But seriously, I love this...it feels like sooo much of life and faith always comes back to trusting God.

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    1. Melissa--I just KNEW someone from Iowa would see this! Lol! I hope I didn't offend. I'm sure I would have loved it as much as I do Oregon. My daughter is now 11 and a Gabby Douglas fan. She was a little dismayed to discover we missed out on living in the same town where Gabby trained for the Olympics.

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    2. Oh I am not at all offended...lol! I think the people who make fun of Iowa the most are Iowans themselves. I know I do. I love this state, but um, it does have its downsides...like the smell of manure, getting stuck behind slow farm equipment on backroads, endless winters... :)

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    3. Yes, it's the same with Oregonians. Whenever I travel, people say, "Oh, you're from Oregon? I've always wanted to live there!" I can't help reminding them it rains--gray, drizzly, constant rain--for about nine months out of the year. Thankfully the summers are dry and BEAUTIFUL! After three months of constant sunshine, we're always ready for the rain. Then about November, we start grumbling again.

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  2. Such a great post! I think you're right...many times, I don't think He is so much concerned about where we end up as how we get there. He is much more concerned about the state of our heart than the state where we live. Such a good reminder!

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    1. Very true, Lindsay! I've had to learn it over and over. And chances are, He'll still have to remind me again!

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  4. Oh my goodness, Karen! God did the SAME EXACT thing to us with Boston back in '05. Same exact thing. Same exact lesson. And then He provided a job 15 minutes from our home. God was simply asking, "Do you really trust Me? Will you follow Me - anywhere?" I'm so glad we were willing.

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    1. Haha! Sarah, sometimes I wonder if we're long-lost sisters. :D

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  5. Several years ago, my husband and I were jobless within three days of each other. We looked at is as an opportunity and sought employment in several different parts of the country - but nothing ever took. We ended up right back where I was raised, and now our life has taken on a dimension we never could have imagined back then. It was hard to trust Him and move 500 miles without job prospects to stay with my family, but that trust has been rewarded!

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    1. Isn't it amazing how we can see His hand in things when we look back through our lives? If only we could remember that when times are tough. Trust has always been a struggle for me, and God keeps on reminding me of His goodness.

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