IN THE BEGINNING GOD… – GEN 1:1
God has always been in my life, as He has been in everyone’s life actually. That is one of the great things about God; He will be in your life even if you don’t believe or even acknowledge Him. My whole life, looking back, I can see God’s hand in it even when I was pulled away and was not having a relationship with Jesus Christ. In each segment of my life, it can be shown how God orchestrated every part of it. And each of the segments had a beginning, and in each of the beginnings… God.
I have a lot of beginnings: The beginning of the world; the beginning of how my parents met; the beginning of my life all the way up to the beginning of my marriage to my beautiful wife, just to name a few. The beginning that I will focus on today is the beginning of my life as a Californian and how it came to be.
Ok, I don’t actually claim to be a Californian, but I do live in California.
And I love it here.
Before God created the world there was… God. That’s it. Then the world. Before I moved to California, there was my world, as I had created it. That’s right, I created it… And God allowed me to do so. He allowed me to create something that would not bring me happiness, that would leave me feeling unfulfilled, always looking for more in many places. He watched as I blindly stumbled through my life grasping on to this or that to complete me or feel complete. He watched from right behind me, looking over my shoulder until one day…
I saw the movie movie, “What If” starring Kevin Sorbo. In the movie, Sorbo plays plays a high end business man, Ben, who had given up a relationship to his girlfriend and his calling to go to the big city to make the big bucks. He meets an angel who tells him about this “What If” plan and that he was selected to see what if he had stayed with his girlfriend and with his calling as a pastor. The angel tells Ben to close his eyes and count backwards from 100. Ben declines thinking it is silly so the angel punches him out. WHACK! Ben wakes up in what could have been his life and the movie goes on from there.
Mother’s Day, 2008, I was talking to my son via text message and WHACK! My life took an instant change.
The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. -Matthew 21:29 (This verse has a deeper meaning in my life now, but you will have to wait for the blog…sorry)
At that time, I had been living in the upper Midwest while my son lived the southwest, over a thousand miles away for over a decade. For years, people, when they found out I had a son, would ask me about moving to California to be with him. I had many reasons as to why I wouldn’t ever move down there. It’s too brown, it’s too expensive, I need seasons… You name it, I had an excuse. And up to the day before Mother’s Day, 2009, if you would have asked me about moving, I would have said no way, I will never move to California. (More about that whole never thing in a later blog).
My son’s mother and I had gone our separate ways, had many arguments in the beginning and then for years didn’t really speak. By May, 2009, apologies had been made, we had put aside our differences and been able to be friendly to each other over the phone not holding anything against the other. Something I am now 100% sure was the work of the Holy Spirit in both of us. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit, the door was opened for me to feel comfortable sending her a Happy Mother’s Day text. After all, she is the mother of my son and deserved that much. I get a nice reply and then…
“Happy Mother’s Day! Oops! Sorry, wrong day…” says a text from my son. We text back and forth, he tells me he’s making breakfast in bed for his mom and I tell him how proud I am of him and then…
W H A C K !
“I wish I could make breakfast in bed for you on your day”
For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
My heart sunk, nothing entered my mind except, “I have to move”. At that moment, I was ready to jump in the car and drive to California. But then I got in my own way… again.
I knew I was going to move, now it was time for me to decide when I would move. (See that, I was going to decide… Riiiiight!) I sat down, determined how much I would need, how long it would take to save up for it and then emailed my son’s mother my plans. We decided not to tell my son right away. Her, because why would she trust me, and myself because I wasn’t sure I could meet my own deadline which was 7-8 months away.
It was towards the end of May and I got a notice that my apartment lease was up at the end of July. I noticed that they had also included in the notice that if I were going to be leaving at the end of the lease, I had to give them 2 months notice. Why would I need that? I was going to be going month-to-month. After all, I still had 7 months before I was moving. Then the thought hit me, “Why not sell everything and avoid the cost of a moving truck?” Well, that changed everything. Next thing I know, I am giving my two months notice at my apartment, letting my friends know that I am selling all my stuff and am moving.
I remember calling my son on his birthday to tell him that I was going to make a trip out his way sometime closer to the fall and I wanted to know if he wanted me to visit for 1) a weekend, 2) a week or two or 3) 3, 4 or more years. I still get teary-eyed just thinking about that moment when he replied “Duh, the last one!” His reaction when I said that this was the plan was classic. “NO WAY! You’re kidding!?”
I constantly trust in the LORD; because he is at my right hand, I will not be upended. -Psalms 16:8
I wish now that I was able back then to give it to the Lord and trust Him as to when I was to move, but I was still “calling the shots.” Or so I thought. It turned out that all the sessions I had sold up to that point would be done by the end of August. So September 1st was the decided date of departure. That meant I would be out of my apartment at the end of July and I needed a place to stay for only a month. I could have rented one more month, but it was camping season and I had a few friends who said I could crash for a few days here and there. Well, I camped a total of zero days and spent the rest of the time with friends. I had either sold or given everything away that I couldn’t fit into my Volkswagen Jetta. On August 29th, I did a test packing to see how best to pack my car. I took pictures so I would know how to repack it in a couple of days. August 31st came so I packed everything except what I needed that night and next morning and on September 1st, I was on my way.
Looking back, I see that the Lord was in control the whole time. It was time for Him to move, and He moved in a huge way. I have also learned that my son had been praying and asking God for me to move closer to him. Praise God, because not only did it physically move me closer to my son, it moved me into a closer relationship with him as well, and, most importantly, it moved me to a closer relationship with Jesus.
But more on that later…