From the desk of Kathy Varner…
Do you ever get those tugs on your heart and mind from the Lord? The ones that are so strong and relentless that there is no way you can ignore them. It almost seems like the more you try and ignore them, the stronger they become. I had one of these last Fall. It was in early November when I began to feel a very strong pull towards the Seattle area.
Our son and daughter-in-law had been encouraging us for several years to move up to the Seattle area to be closer to them and our granddaughter. It was definitely something we had considered and felt that when the time was right and it was the Lord’s will, we would pursue it. But of course, in our minds, that might be 5-10 years down the road.
Having just come through my daughter’s wedding, the loss of my mother and having found out that my father had cancer of the kidney; it was hard for me to imagine that this was the next step in line for us. My father had come through his surgery for removal of his kidney and was going through a long slow recovery process. I couldn’t imagine moving away from him at this time. I thought at first that the tugging was just my own selfish desire to move closer to my granddaughter. So I put it at the back of my mind, thinking the timing wasn’t right. There were too many obstacles to overcome, the main one being helping care for my dad. The only other option I would even remotely consider was to move him up to Seattle with us.
But the tugging continued and grew stronger. So I began to process the possibility with my husband Jeff. We took inventory of all the steps that would need to be taken in order for it to happen and realized that there were quite a few. We would need to find jobs in the Seattle area, sell our home in Chico, find a place to live in Seattle, talk to my sister and figure out what to do about my dad. It would also take a financial toll on us to pay to move up there. We decided of course to pray about it and see if the Lord gave us some direction. I had personally been in a transition time for the past three years and was still trying to figure out where God wanted me in this next phase of my life. (I happened upon the book “Stuck” by one of our congregation members and it helped me to see that this transition was normal and could last for 3 years.) So I was still pondering. With all our children gone from Chico and married, Chico really wasn’t as appealing to me anymore. I really missed having our children close. Could this be the Lord putting this on my heart and letting me know that this was the next phase for me? That this path would lead me out of transition?
So after praying about it, we decided to step out of the boat and see what would happen. If God was in this, then we trusted that He would open the right doors. Our first priority was for one of us to acquire a job in the Seattle area.
I won’t bore you with all the details of what transpired over the next 3 ½ months except to say that when God is ready to move, He moves! We had planned on this transition taking anywhere from 6 months – a year. So many of the details of our moving up to Seattle fell into place without us having to even put much effort of our own into it. Both of our work places offered to let us remain working for them remotely from Seattle. Jeff’s was for a short term, but it would give him time to look for a new job once we had moved up. We put our house on the market and it sold in 3 days for over asking price. Our son’s in-laws offered their rental home to us at a highly reduced rental amount. We would end up living in beautiful Bellevue less than a mile from our son, his wife and daughter. This home is the biggest, nicest and roomiest home we’ve ever lived in.
The last issue to resolve was my dad. Because my sister is so close to my dad and his health was still not good, we decided he would stay in Chico near her and I would make frequent trips to Chico to see him and help out. I had decided though not to share with him that we were moving until the time came. At 92 years young he had become quite forgetful and so I knew that I would have to tell him I was moving repeatedly. I must admit that this was the one area that still didn’t feel just right to me. It was going to be extremely difficult to move away from him. I wasn’t looking forward to that. God had been so good in taking care of all of the other details that I needed to trust that when the time came, he would see to this one too.
One of the most important things to remember is that when God is on the move He knows the future. Even when we may hesitate to take a step forward, or may not see what is going to transpire, God does. This is one of the most important times to completely trust Him, when we can’t figure it out, He can and will. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses which is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
I never had to tell my father that I was moving away from Chico. On January 6th, 2015 my dad passed peacefully into the arms of Jesus. God knew all along. As hard as it was, having to say good bye to him forever, I still had a peace that passes understanding knowing that he was no longer in pain and he was reunited with my mom. This reminded me of another verse which is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” I had definitely learned to not lean on my own understanding, in fact I would continue to learn more about that as we made this move to Seattle.
All the pieces of the pie fell into place so smoothly, without us having to make much of an effort on our own part, that we knew that God was at the forefront of this move. In fact it all came together and moved so quickly that by February 18th we were in Bellevue. The only glitch was the house we were moving into wasn’t ready for us but the added bonus to that was we were able to move in with our son and his family for a month or so. They were very open to this and we enjoyed a time of sharing all our meals with them and lots of daily quality time together. God is so good.
Within a few weeks of arriving in Bellevue, Jeff began looking for a permanent job and within two weeks he was employed with a great company that was only a 5 minute commute from our home. God had again provided in a miraculous way.
What we didn’t know, and we were to later learn, was why God had moved us up here so quickly. As I mentioned earlier, we never imagined the move going so quickly and smoothly. From the time we took the first step out of the boat, to being in Bellevue, had only been 3 ½ months.
On April 25th I received a call from our son that they were taking Violet (our granddaughter) to the emergency room because she was experiencing excruciating pain in her left hip. Upon examination and tests, the doctor diagnosed her with septic hip and they performed emergency surgery on her hip to remove the pocket of fluid that had collected at the top of her femur. Jeff and I rushed over to the hospital to be with Jim and Rosanne and offer moral support to them. Violet’s temperature reached 107 degrees while in surgery and there were some touch and go moments. Fortunately God protected her from having a seizure and so there was no brain damage. This would be the beginning of an 8 week stay in Seattle Children’s hospital for her while they tried to fight off the infection. The infection that had formed in her body was MERSA which is highly resistant to antibiotics. They had to try 3 different antibiotics before finding one that worked. While in the hospital she had to go back in and have her hip drained 3 more times. She continued to have high levels of pain, run a fever, unable to walk and have no appetite. But through it all God kept her safe and gave the doctors wisdom in treating her. In fact we found out that her main doctor was a Christian.
So many prayers went up for her. There were five different churches praying for her including Neighborhood. Thank you so much for your prayers. We now know why God moved us up here so quickly because again he sees the future and he knew that Jim and Rosanne would need us close to walk through this ordeal with them.
I am happy to report that Violet is much better. She is still on IV antibiotics but she has been able to stop taking most of her meds, her feeding tube is out, she is walking quite well and the top of her femur bone is healing.
So if you are feeling strong nudges and promptings from the Lord, I encourage to you do the following:
Pray and ask Him for direction and clarity
Take that first step out of the boat
Trust Him even when you don’t know what is ahead
Don’t try to figure it all out. He will reveal His plan in due time
Continue to move forward
Realize that his plan is a thousand times better than any plan we have
Rest in Him
Blessings to you all! I miss you.