Faith | Work | Culture

Marion, Indiana
📸 Photo by: Robert Boogar

In July 2020, my husband, son, and I made the trek from Clemmons, North Carolina, to Marion, Indiana, to begin our new adventure as Midwesterners! After being offered a Strategic Communication faculty position at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and visiting the campus of IWU, we knew this was where God was calling us. But if I’m honest, trusting God in this transition was a bit scary.

The first time I drove into Marion, I felt like Coach White’s family from the movie McFarland, USA (based on a true story and one that I highly recommend). Due to certain circumstances, Coach White and his family move to a community quite different from what they are used to. Based on their facial expressions as they first drive into McFarland, you can tell they are not quite sure what to think (and honestly, that’s how I felt when I first drove into Marion…it was so different from the places I’ve lived). It soon becomes evident that they want to get out as quickly as possible.

As the movie progresses, Coach White and his family not only fall in love with the community but also come to recognize their purpose in being there. Even when a better offer comes his way, Coach White and his family choose to stay in McFarland, the place they were unsure of when they first arrived.

Maybe like me, you too have felt like the White family. When God called you to a new place, a new job, a new adventure, you just didn’t know what to think. You understand that this is where God has called you, but sometimes, you ask, “Are you sure, God?”

When it comes to transitions in life, I often like to reflect on the story of Ruth in the Bible. There was a famine in the land, and Ruth lost her husband of 10 years (she also lost her brother-in-law and father-in-law). As her mother-in-law tried to encourage her to stay put in Moab rather than go to Bethlehem with her, Ruth responded by saying, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay…” Ruth was determined to go with her.

Here was Ruth, entering a foreign land where she knew no one. Everything was new to her. At times I wonder how difficult that transition must have been for her.

  • Did she question herself and her decision to follow her mother-in-law to a foreign country?
  • Did she wonder at times if she made the right decision?
  • Was she fearful of what could happen?
  • Was she fearful of the future?
  • Did she wonder if her best days were behind her instead of in front?

Maybe you can relate. I know I can. There were moments when I first got to Marion, Indiana, where I had many of the same questions. Why? Because life was good in North Carolina. We had our church, small group, friends, beautiful home, good jobs, etc. Looking in from the outside, we had it made. But deep down inside, God was calling us, and we knew it. And even though we didn’t have all the answers up front, we knew we had to go, much like Ruth.

If you’ve read the story of Ruth, you know that in the end, God blessed her beyond what she could have imagined or hoped for. She married Boaz and had a son named Obed, and she became a part of the lineage of Jesus!

What can we take away from the story of Ruth for our own personal lives, and how can we trust God in times of transition?

  • You don’t have to have all the answers upfront: God can be trusted no matter where you are. He’s called you for a reason. Though there may be more questions than answers right now, He has you and will take care of you and your family. I’m 100% positive that Ruth probably had a TON of questions without straightforward, clear answers. Don’t let the lack of answers keep you from stepping out in faith when God has called you. In my own life, I’ve learned that many times, the answers don’t come until I surrender and take the steps He’s called me to take.
  • Get uncomfortable with being uncomfortable: I’m pretty confident that Ruth was uncomfortable. She was in a new area, she didn’t know anyone (except Naomi), and she had to figure out how to make money, get food, etc. Her life changed in an instant. Friend, God doesn’t call us to a life of comfort and security all the time. But here’s the good news: on the other side of faith, trust, and obedience to God’s calling and leading in your life, is beauty, peace, and clarity, even when it feels like everything around you is swirling. Allow yourself to get uncomfortable because in the discomfort comes the building of your faith and trust in God.
  • God will use you for His purpose: He has called you to a new place, job, or career for a particular reason. Even though you may not fully see or understand it yet, there is a specific purpose in your transition. He’s called you, and He wants to use you to impact the lives of others. In my move to Marion, Indiana, I’ve had more opportunities than I could have ever hoped for. Who knew that moving to a small town surrounded by farmland would open more doors for me than in the city I was accustomed to and loved.
  • Your best days are not behind you but in front of you: Maybe you too feel like you left behind so many great things, like a great home, community, church, supervisor, company, work colleagues, etc. But here’s the good news, God will not abandon you. Your best days are in front of you; one day, you’ll look back and be amazed at all God has done.

You see, so many of us long to experience God in big and mighty ways. We want the adventure, the closeness, the building of our faith and trust in God. But yet, so many times, we don’t experience that because we are dead set on our plans, hopes, dreams, and comforts when God is asking us to take a step, even when it’s scary and unknown. Why? Because it’s in the scary and unknown times of life that we truly experience the abundance of God, and for me, I will always treasure those moments.

Today, a day doesn’t pass by that I don’t thank God for bringing my family and me to IWU and Marion. Like Coach White, we have fallen in love with the school and the community. Indiana has become very endearing to us. You could say God has shown me that He knows what’s best, even when I can’t always see it.

Friend, I pray that you will trust God in times of transition and, much like Ruth, that you will never become so comfortable that you refuse to move your feet when God calls you. ❤️

 

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