Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
As a child, my family and I went to church every single Sunday. The only way your butt cheeks were not going to be sitting on one of the many scratchy seats that were lined in a massive sanctuary, was if you were sick. Thanks to my top notch immune system, I rarely missed a single Sunday service.
As I got older and started high school, I started to become a little more independent in my decision making. One of those decisions I had started to make, was not to go to church. I still believed in Jesus but the thought of going to church every Sunday started to be cumbersome because I had been forced to go my whole life.
Once I became a Senior in high school, I starting getting involved with a group of boys that went to a local technical college. Majority of them were not from Ohio and were pretty rough around the edges. I mean, they were aspiring Diesel Mechanics in Downtown Cleveland. What else could you expect?
I was just a skinny, blonde, high school girl and they were greasy, vehicle fixing, cigarette smoking, beer chugging neanderthals. Back then, I thought they were cool. They were the kind of people that I had never really seen or experienced before. I had always been sheltered by my parents within the church walls. These boys had a wild streak that I found utterly fascinating.
As time went on, there was one boy out of the group that I had decided was the best neanderthal of the bunch (LOL). He was cute, had his own car, a couple of tattoos, a bad attitude and a Boston accent to top it all off. We will call him Earle (just for all you Dixie Chicks loving fans). For a naive high schooler just starting to explore what else the world had to offer, this was a recipe for disaster.
We had moved to Indiana together and I had found myself in an extremely unhealthy and toxic relationship with a person who constantly made me feel insignificant, worthless and broken. The worst part? I let this go on for 5 years. Five years of me foolishly accepting apologies that were supposed to be followed by change but always fell through.
In the summer of 2015, my brother took his own life. I packed up my things and headed to Cleveland for the week.
While I was there, my brother’s mentor who was a long time friend of my parents from church, said he wanted to speak to me before I headed back to Indiana. He said that God had laid it on his heart, to tell me something.
Please keep in mind that I have always believed in Jesus and believed that he was my Lord and Savior. I had simply taken a wrong path and walked away from practicing my faith but had recently started praying about the situation I was in and to help get me out of it.
We met at Starbucks and he cut right to the chase. “Grace, God has been telling me that you are going through some hard times. He wants you to move home. While I don’t know what they are, He has big things waiting for you here.” I instantly started crying. I hadn’t told a soul about what was really going on in my life, let alone my brother’s mentor.
When I returned to Indiana, my brother had been buried for 2 days and I was obviously still emotional. I walked in the door and Earl asked, “How was it?” What kind of question is that? That is a question you ask someone when they are trying a new cheeseburger off the McDonald’s menu, not coming back from a siblings funeral. I started crying and the next thing he said was, “Grace, it’s been a week already. Get over it and stop crying.” Unreal. Can you even believe that narcissistic response?!
The next day I sat and seriously thought about what I had been told in regard to moving home. I had no idea how I would do it though; I would have no where to live, no money and no job. I also had a dog, a small car, a ton of stuff, and a lease on an expensive apartment. So I prayed. And then I prayed some more.
My sister came forward and said, “I wish you would move home. You could bring your dog and come stay with me. You could watch my kids and I will give you some money until you get on your feet.” Okay, God! This was a start. Now, I had to worry about breaking my lease…
Earl and I were supposed to be heading to his homeland, Boston. His dad was getting married. The plane tickets had been booked for several weeks but to my surprise, he would pull the biggest curve ball on me yet. I was supposed to meet him after work one day to pack my stuff and head for the airport. Instead, 2 hours before I was going to leave work, he texted me saying, “Maybe we need to take a break and I should go to Boston alone.” I tried calling and texting back several times but..total silence.
I left work and headed back to our apartment to find that he had packed up his stuff and left. To make an extremely long and emotional story short, Earl had decided to drive to Boston. But that wasn’t the only surprise. He had made the executive decision to take my “best friend” a long for the ride.
Talk about ripping your heart out! I cried and cried and cried. But then I realized something. I realized that this was my door. The door that I had been praying for. I wanted out of the terrible relationship I was in, which he ultimately ended due to his actions. When he returned, he graciously agreed to sign the lease of our apartment over to himself. I then took a leap of Faith and headed back home. I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was truly going to pay my bills but God had gotten me this far, He will take me the rest of the way.
When I had gotten settled in back at home, I found myself employed at a Christian based company. A company whose CEO and President was a gentleman that I knew from church, and had been friends with his kids. As if that wasn’t enough, I was also reunited with an old friend. A friend who is now my husband and the father to my child.
God DID have big things waiting for me!
Was that the way I wanted to leave Earl? No, not really. I could have done without all the crying and heartbreak (LOL) but God had other plans! And while I couldn’t see it at the time, those plans ended up being SO much greater than I could have ever imagined. I am thankful for my experiences because they taught me to not only trust in God but to follow him.
God is always listening and his timing is truly perfect! If God had not intervened in my relationship and put me through that situation, I probably would have stayed and believed all the apologies and promises I was fed; just as I had tens and tens of times before. I believe, that God knew my soft heart and knew exactly what needed to happen for me to leave and never return. He opened those doors for me and I took them.
God won’t always give us the easy way out. Sometimes we have to struggle but as long as we trust and rely on God, He will see us through in His way and His timing. Of course it’s nearly impossible to see that when we are in the midst of something hard but once it passes, we can clearly see what God was doing for us! Regardless of your struggle, big or small, don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep believing and relying on God.