“Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” ~John 13:7
After I came home from China, life seemed dull. I was going to school, but I was working very little hours and most of my friends had already gone off to college. There were not many people my age at church besides my best friends Carley (who I graduated with) and Katie (who is a year younger than I). All of us were so busy with work/school/sports/life that I rarely had time to see them. I craved to build relationships with people my age who I could fellowship with and grow closer to God. Unfortunately, Shell Lake, Wisconsin, with a population of 1,342, was lacking in christian college students. Even at my church, there weren’t many people in my situation, going through what I was going through, and that was somewhat difficult. I knew that I was never going to find that kind of fellowship living in my small hometown, so I looked into moving to Minneapolis, MN. I soon realized, however, that living in the twin cities wasn’t going to be very cheap, and I was basically broke at the time so it seemed unrealistic. There were also some mental and spiritual things I was going through as well; I suffered a lot of homesickness during the two weeks that I was in China, so how could I possibly handle moving away for good? I thought that maybe I would wait until January or February to start thinking about it, because I didn’t want to rush anything or something that didn’t match up with God’s will.
On October 22nd, the third night of my church’s annual Missions Conference, I really felt like God was pressing it on my heart to move to Minneapolis. Obviously I had doubts, I had spent most of my life chasing after things that ended in rejection and disappointment, and I didn’t want to give my hopes up. I went on Pinterest (usually my main source for good scriptures and quotes). I closed my eyes and I prayed, “God, if this really is you, please give me a sign. I’m not going to waste my time and energy dreaming of moving to a big city and starting my life if it isn’t your will, so please give me a sign.” I looked down at my phone and realized that I had accidentally clicked on a pin. It was a sign with the following scripture painted on it:
Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” ~Isaiah 30:21
If that isn’t a sign from God, then I don’t know what is. I became overwhelmed with emotion, thankful that God had given me a sign. So I now knew that God did want me to move, but I had no idea when this would happen, and I was also broke. These, however, were not my main concerns. I had an even bigger fear: telling my parents. What would they think of their little girl moving to the big city by herself? Could they even trust me enough with money? (I’ll be honest, I have a weakness for books and really cute boots) I think that most of my fear came from July when I told my parents that I was convinced that God wanted me to go to a bible college in Colorado. That of course, wasn’t the case, and I felt like I had made a fool of myself in front of them for thinking it was God’s voice and not the beautiful mountains calling my name. I couldn’t make the same mistake again, but through all of the fear, the only thing that came to my mind was Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Much to my surprise, my parents were completely on board and were willing to support me fully. I thought that my mother would be nervous over me moving to a large city by myself, especially coming from a small town with very little crime, but she said something that day that I will never forget. She said to me, “I would feel more peace in my heart if you were preaching the Gospel in Communist China and in God’s will then living right down the street.” She was telling me that even though I was moving to a strange town where there were bigger threats than hitting dear or being attacked by a bear, I was going where God wanted me to go, and that’s what’s important. Dangerous places are safe places.
So there I was, a young soon-to-be nineteen year old girl who set out on the dark road ahead with a fire in her heart and a song on her lips.