When God tells you to go, you go. I totally knew that was true. But what if you don't want to go? Really, really don't want to? That was Garth's and my question when we felt God leading us to Columbus, Georgia. What if we didn't want to go? What if we weren't certain that's what we were supposed to do? And we really didn't want to go. Like, really didn't want to.
About four years ago we were a happy little family, living a content life in a growing, not so little anymore, town in the heart of Texas. We had lived there for 16 years, had three babies, a job Garth enjoyed, a few business ventures for me, family close by, great friendships and a church we loved. We were pretty comfortable. Until all of the sudden we weren't.
The first time Garth was offered a promotion came about 5 years ago and we dismissed it really quickly, a small blurb in our conversation after dinner once the kids were safely out of earshot. We brushed it aside, honestly, not even taking the time to pray about it. It was for a job in Georgia, and all I knew was that it was far away from family and friends and everything we knew, so I wasn't interested. The second offer followed not too long after and we gave it pretty much the same consideration - none. No specific prayer, no seeking God in what He thought, just our own fleshly need to remain comfortable.
When the third time rolled around and the job offer was once again extended, however, our attention was a bit peaked. Why did we keep getting the same offer? Were we missing something? Was God trying to get our attention?
So we decided to begin praying for and answer from God in the form of a clear sign. I think maybe at one point we may have even prayed for the kind of clear sign that would show up on a billboard, you know, in huge bold print that pretty much says stay or go. We realized we both needed to be knocked over the head with the answer - the same answer, if we were going to follow what God wanted, because we simply didn't know. That night as we prayed, I'll be honest, I really wasn't expecting a super obvious sign. I know, it seems like a huge lack of faith, but that's where I was. And besides, if I'm really being honest, I didn't want any other answer other than "stay."
The next morning was the traditional hurried bustle of kids getting ready for school, packing lunches, grabbing breakfast and heading out the door. As we were leaving the house, Lily, my 10-year-old at the time, told me she had a cool dream during the night. I know now it was God that prompted me, at the time I had no idea why, but I told her to draw it for me. That afternoon, when she got home from school, she headed right to her room and went to work drawing what she had seen in her dream. It wasn't too long before she came running up to me with a big grin on her face, proud of her artwork. And then showed me this...
Whoa. It was suddenly like I had a tiny little billboard in my hands and it was screaming "Georgia." There's a chance I might have panicked a bit. I told Garth and if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure he panicked just as much as I did. The kids were still oblivious to the possibility of a move so Lily couldn't figure out why we were reacting so much to her beautiful little picture...Of a peach,, a flower, the letters CR and water. The peach was obvious - the Georgia peach. The water was pretty obvious too as our family had lived on the beach of a little Georgia island for a year. But I couldn't figure out the flower and the letters. So I began to research the only way I knew how - google. When I typed in Georgia state flower...I'm pretty sure my heart did a flip. The Georgia state flower was a white flower that looked exactly liked Lily had drawn...and the name of it is the Cherokee Rose. CR. What?! What little girl knows the initials of a state flower we've never talked about? The detail was incredible and I had to take a moment to appreciate God's creativity in getting our attention. He didn't just show us the peach, He went into detail to confirm what He was saying...Georgia.
It's funny how well God knows us - I mean seriously, He created us - how could He not? But there is still the game we play, or at least I do..."okay, but do you really mean that? Maybe that's not exactly what you meant..."
After the shock, we tabled the picture and decided maybe we needed just one more sign. Because remember how badly we didn't want to move? I think it's pretty safe to say God's sign to us was clear, and we knew it, but because we didn't want to go, we gave God one more chance to give us a clear sign. Ever been there? I'm not really proud of it, but it was what is was and we asked for another sign.
And then Sunday rolled around. We took the bulletins they were handing out at the door of our church and settled into the pew, ready for a refreshing message to get us through another week. And then God showed us this...
Whoa - again. I know we both noticed it at the same time, but didn't want to turn our heads to look at each other, like it would seal the deal. We knew. It was time to move - because the acronym for the message that morning that God gave us, spelled out MOVE.
I couldn't laugh out loud because I was in church, but inside I was dying of laughter. God took the challenge we gave Him and pretty much nailed it. The sign couldn't be any clearer. I love that He knew where we were and knew we needed the most obvious kind of sign there was. And that He gave it to us - M.O.V.E. It was clearly time for the Werner family to pack up their belongings and head to Georgia. We still didn't understand why, but we knew we needed to be obedient. It was hard news to break to the kids, but they understood as well, when God tells you to go, you go.
Four months later, our house was sold, the truck was loaded and we were on our way. I wish I could say we understand 100% why we are here - but I can't...it was a really hard move. But I do know I can say the move was good for our family and I know it was what we were supposed to do. The kids have made great friends, I'm a part of an amazing ladies bible study, we love our church and it's been a place of retreat in the midst of a crazy travel schedule for me. I'm grateful we paid attention to the signs God gave us. And I'm grateful for a God who loves us so much that He gives us what we need in the way we need it. Every day I ask myself if I'm willing to trust in what I'm hearing from God...and every day my answer is "I trust you Jesus."
And so here we are - in our home tucked in the woods of Georgia. All because of a little girl's dream, a bulletin and an answered prayer.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Behold, I am doing something new! It’s already happening; don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land.” Isaiah 43:19
"Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights." Isaiah 7:11