As a coach’s wife, I never wanted to move, but we needed to go wherever the job was. I eventually ended up loving each new place so much that I wouldn’t mind it becoming our forever home. That was never more true than in the last place we lived. We were there for 8 years and I put down some serious roots.
But, another job opened up and we had to leave. I didn’t understand why God would take me away from somewhere that had changed me so profoundly, a place that brought me closer to him. Even though I have come a long way, I was under the impression that there will always be room for improvement. Honestly, I started to think that he had made a tremendous mistake in moving us away.
Can you imagine that? Thinking you know more than God? Well, I did.
It wasn’t until one Sunday a few months after we moved away that I realized my self-centeredness. Even though we moved hundreds of miles away, I still watched Sunday service every week at our old church. On this day, they were asking for donations to revitalize a recreation center in the inner city. This wasn’t just an ordinary good cause to me, this was for the city I had built the last 11 years of my life around. I worked in that inner city helping kids and families, so this *must* be for me. I felt that it was a sign that even though we choose to leave, I could still support the church and the city that held my heart.
But when I went to click the donation button, in less than 24 hours into making this request (I watched it on replay first thing Monday morning), they had more than doubled their ask.
That is when it hit me. There was a message for me in this, but it wasn’t what I thought or what I wanted. They didn’t need me. That church certainly didn’t need me. The area didn’t need me. And I guess that I had gotten everything that I could from it.
God didn’t get it wrong, I was just needed somewhere else.
There’s this story in Mark’s gospel that helped me to understand this better. It’s at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He started teaching and healing in Capernaum. He starts to become pretty famous. More and more people wanted to hear from him, needing something from him. After Jesus took some quiet time away to pray, Simon found him and tells him that everyone is looking for him. Simon is directing Jesus back to Capernaum so He can do more good.
Mark 1:38 “Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Through prayer, Jesus understood that it was time to move on and grow his reach.
Can you imagine if he had just stayed in Capernaum? I am sure every single citizen could have used his attention. But what would our lives be like if he didn’t follow God’s guidance? There would have been plenty of good to be done if he had stayed, but Jesus knew great meant leaving.
The same was true for me. Would it have been good if we had stayed? Sure. Could we have kept doing well ourselves and good for others there? Definitely. Our whole family was flourishing there, so we could have kept on coasting. But would it have been best? Not according to God’s plan.
That realization was over three years ago, and I am just now discovering what I am needed for in our new home. Part of the prolonging was my fault. I nursed the broken heart for a little too long before I decided to figure out what I was needed for. Then I tried to go too big because if I was taken away from a place like that it must be because I was meant to do something on a large scale. That only lead to frustration, exhaustion, and setbacks.
Once I finally gave up trying to figure out the big picture and just focused on saying yes to the little things, that’s when the movement started to happen. One yes to help with an event turned into meeting some new people who connected me to some other people who then asked me to help with something else, etc etc.
I now know that God was taking His time because I didn’t have the infrastructure within me to get to where I was needed until I spent the time doing the little things to build it.
The difference between good and great is through following His way, not your own. It has taken me the longest time to realize that it isn’t just the what, but it also includes the how and the when. It was only in continuing to move forward, instead of dragging my feet and doing what I wanted, that I was able to see this. I’m still waiting to see where the next step will take me in our new area. But one thing’s for sure, I’ll stop questioning if He actually knows what He’s doing.
Jess Gilardi is a head lacrosse coach’s wife living on the East Coast. They have three young kids and have been living this life since 2004. She was a mental health therapist in the school system before becoming the full time chaos coordinator for the family (a.k.a. stay-at-home mom). Jess started writing, hoping that by sharing her stories and lessons learned, she can help others learn “the easy way.” Connect with Jess on Facebook and Instagram