Time has passed since I wrote today’s devotional. A new chapter of my life is presently unfolding.
That unfolding started when my youngest daughter announced that she and her husband were leaving Pennsylvania and moving their young family to Texas. Her announcement ended with a question. “Mom, would you consider moving to Texas and getting a place near us?”
Shocked, I told her that I couldn’t foresee that happening. Moving seemed senseless, other than that it would place me near her, affording me the pleasure of watching my youngest grandchildren (aged 5 and 7) grow, just as I had witnessed my other grandchildren grow up.
As a seventy-four-year-old widow and a Pennsylvania resident of forty-plus years, I was settled. My life boasted of good friends, a church-home, and loved ones who lived a short distance away.
The fact that my daughter wished for me to move to Texas was sweet, but the idea unsettled me, igniting within me an odd feeling of uncertainty. For weeks, I futilely tried to dislodge it, but her invite “would you consider moving to Texas,” echoed daily in my mind. Infrequently, I would wonder, What if I would go? Fear always interrupted, nagging, “Don’t even think about it—you’re too old to take on a big move…it’s too risky; it’ll be too much for you, and it’ll set you back financially...”
One day, as I pondered fear’s remarks, God interrupted, planting Matthew 19:26 into my thoughts. “With God, all things are possible.” I felt my fears melting, a readiness birthing in me that encouraged me to consider—perhaps—my relocating was God’s plan.
For the following two months, I prayed to discern God’s leading. Gradually, I began to sense within a soft nudge—as if I were receiving a God-invitation. It offered me the freedom to decide whether to go or to stay—to choose what I deemed best—and assured me that God would bless my choice.
The freedom of choice, although liberating, intensified my decision-making. “If I could only hear a valid reason for totally uprooting my life and going to Texas, that would help.”
So, I prayed, “God, is there a valid reason?” I was surprised to hear God whisper this brief answer. “To flourish!”
The words instantly lifted a veil revealing a sad truth. “Flourishing” did not define my existence. “Dry as a desert” did. Sitting in my chair, Bible in hand, I continued to see self-truth. I regarded the unexplainable restlessness, the discontentment that I had held secret for so long, which was draining the life from my soul, as proof that I was not thriving.
Much later, in retrospect, I would understand how I played a part in my soul’s demise. Hadn’t I shrunk from many opportunities that had come my way because I habitually heeded what fear and doubt told me was or was not possible for me to accomplish?
However, when I heard God speak of flourishing that particular day—I believed it as truth, helping me to decide. “YES, God, I will embrace this new opportunity. I will go to Texas,” I said, quickly adding the caveat Moses spoke when God asked him to move forward. “If your Presence does not go with [me], do not send [me] up from here” (Exodus 33:15, NIV).
God never stopped me but instead opened one door after another (like my Pennsylvania home selling before it went on the market), each step one of confirmation.
My move and settlement in Texas, has shown me that the road to flourishing requires my keeping my heart open to new possibilities and opportunities. I’m learning to face the challenges they bring with faith by practicing what does not come naturally to me—to be brave, to have courage—and to trust God implicitly.
That’s a lofty goal, but in pressing toward it, I sense the joy of a soul at peace—flourishing in the light of God’s presence.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”