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"Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
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God's Perfect Plan
by Karen Harper DeLoach
"I want to go home, Karen. I want to move back to Georgia. I miss my family, and I miss the pine trees."
My hand stopped in midair as I clutched a bowl of mashed potatoes with stiff fingers, unable to set it down on the table. My mouth was open, but no words came out. What was he saying?
Two seconds passed before a rush of panic set my mind into motion. "What are you talking about, Bill? You have a great job. We just redecorated our house. My family is here!"
My husband was adamant. "We'll sell the house and everything in it. That way we can pay off our bills and be O.K. until I can find a job back home."
I was not only scared, I was mad! We had been married five years and had worked hard to buy a home and fix it up. Bill had advanced with his company and made good money. I didn't want to start all over again from scratch. We had a two-year-old son to think about. And, let's face it; I was a shy momma's girl. I was close to my family, had gone to the same church my entire life, all my friends were here. I loved Bill's family, but I didn't want to move to Geo rgia!
I dug in. "No way!"
I just knew this had to be a hasty decision. There was only one thing to do. I'd sic God on him! I started praying. My mind was made up. There was no way I would move to Georgia unless it was God's will.
Boy, did I have a surprise in store for me!
Bill wanted to move within the month, so I had to have a fast answer.&nb sp;Like Gideon in Judges 6:36-40, I put a fleece before the Lord. I prayed that if it was God's will for us to move, our house would sell quickly. If it didn't sell quickly, we would know it was not God's will to move to Georgia. Simple!
Our house sold within two weeks. How about that for a quick answer?
I was devastated, but I knew I could never be happy outside of God's will. Bill didn't have a rash impulse, as I had thought. It was time for me to recognize it and submit to him as God had intended all along.
Our first year in Georgia was a financial, physical, and emotional nightmare. I picked my way through an obstacle course of seemingly impossible-to-overcome problems. Through it all, I learned to trust in God.
Looking back through the thirty-two years of living in this small Southern town, I am so grateful that this was part of God's perfect plan for me. I love the small town life. The friendships I've made are precious to me. God has developed gifts in me and given me opportunities in ministry that I would not have had anywhere else. He's taught me unique-to-my-life lessons through good times and bad. I have lived a life here that I would never have experienced in my home town. There is true peace and contentment in submission to God's purpose f or our lives.
It is ironic that almost forty years before I placed my fleece before the Lord, my Grandmother had done the same thing. My grandparents accepted the Lord as their Savior at a brush arbor meeting sometime around the early 1930's. Shortly thereafter, Grandpa Harper told Grandma, "We're goin' a-preachin.'"
I must have inherited my stubbornness from Grandma. She dug in her heels, too. There was no way she was going to take her four children, leave her home and their crop in the fields, and become a poor preacher's wife. At least she knew what to expect being a poor farmer's wife.
In his quiet way, Grandpa kept the issue in the forefront of their conversations. Finally, Grandma told him, "There's only one way we are goin' a-preachin.' If somebody comes by here and buys our crop where it sits in the field, then we'll go."
The very next day, a man showed up at their front door. He told Grandma he wanted to buy their crop right then, while it was still in the field. He paid them cash money, and they never saw him again.
Shortly after that, they went a-preachin.' My grand parents never had much in the way of worldly goods. More often than not, they were paid in plucked chickens or smoked hams, bushels of garden peas needing to be hulled, or freshly baked apple pies. But as they ministered to poor hurting churches throughout rural Oklahoma for over forty years, they blessed many lives, won souls for the Lord, and fulfilled the purpose which our Heavenly Father had planned for them before they were born. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
I take comfort in knowing that I was not placed in my family or in this cozy corner of my world by accident. Rather, my very existence is God-planned. We can see by the verses in Jeremiah 1:4-5 that we were on God's mind before we were even conceived. Our pasts, our presents, and our futures are known to God "...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" (2 Timothy 1:9).
God created each of us. He has a special purpose for each of our lives. As we lay aside our own desires and submit to His perfect plan for our lives, our path may not always be smooth. But, in the long run, we will enjoy the contentment of a fulfilled life.
Karen Harper DeLoach
Karen is the author of Thirty-one Years and a Stumble. She is co-author and compiler of Musings, Meditations, and Memories of One Slightly Dysfunctional American Family. Her stories have been published in God Allows U-Turns: American Moments, Women Alive Magazine, 2TheHeart: People Who Make a Difference,church publications, and e-zines, including 2TheHeart. She works with her husband at their shop in Statesboro, Georgia. To read excerpts from her books, please visit her web site at http://karendelo ach.tripod.com/.
The Letter Box:
Editor's Note: I was surprised and delighted at your email responses to both Bruce's poem and Mike Segal's story about "doing the right thing". I learned from our readers that most often, the little daily kindnesses that we practice are always the right thing and Mike&rsqu o;s story really got our online family thinking about that! Thanks Mike, for prompting this chain reaction and thanks to our readers for responding!
You are so right, it's the little things that are the most important. Like the time my mother came to stay after she'd had a stroke. A lady I didn't know very well travelled across town on 2 buses to visit and bring mother some flowers, picked from her garden that morning. She only stayed about half an hour, but I have never forgotten her kindness to someone she had never met, and to me, whom she hardly knew.
Margaret Drysdale, England
Your story reminded me about how my mother always taught me to "go the extra mile", which really means just do the right thing when opportunity presents itself. Sometimes it's easier to keep to ourselves, but when we reach out and make a little effort to help others, it makes the world a better place. I thank my mother for this lesson and I thank you for the beautiful reminder. God bless you in all that you do.
Gerald, a fellow Texan
Oh, how your stories always bring such a peace to my day! I especially was touched by Michael Segal's story "Do the Right Thing"! If we all lived our lives this way, think of how the world would be!
Sincerely, Janie L.
Bruce, What a wonderful poem! The message is truly inspiring. We need to remember that we are special and not let the opinion of others convince us otherwise. Kinda like the saying I knew as a kid, "I'm OK cause God made me and He don't make junk." Keep on writing. May God bless you and your work.
What a beautiful poem. My father passed away almost 30 ye ars ago but I still can hear him telling me " Two wrongs don't make a right" and "someone might be as good as you are but no one is better than you" Those words have helped me a lot in my life. Your poem is filled with good advice. I look forward to reading more poems from you. Great Job!!
-Jane L., Virginia
Bruce, your poem, A Father's Advice, as read on Too the Heart, touched me deeply. It speaks so much wisdom to people who are searching for answers, peace, or whatever. Reminds me of my journey through life. Thank you so much for sharing with us. May God bless you as only He can do.
Making a difference, one story at a time!