My family and I have recently, literally traveled around the world and ended up 500km from where we set out. We felt called for something away from where we lived in Tasmania. And when the opportunity arose to go to Mexico to teach at a mission school there, we jumped at the opportunity. We never made it about us, and our intentions were to make a difference in the lives of others, so it had to be what God was calling us to do – Right?
We didn’t have the finances to support ourselves, as the school didn’t pay salaries, so we were hoping that we could do something on the side to make a few dollars for us to survive, but that didn’t seem to be the way things were going to work out. Obviously there were questions. We started wondering why things didn’t work out the way we would have liked them to. Ultimately we weren’t doing this to make our lives more comfortable. In fact, it took us right out of our comfort zone! So we kept questioning God’s plans for us!
After spending a month in Puerto Escondido, we had to make a decision. We had limited finances and we were in a place where we weren’t permitted to work. We have 2 young, awesome boys who we also had to think about. They need a good education and they have high aspirations as far as their sport is concerned, and we have always wanted to provide them with the best opportunities. There were times when we felt that the plans that God had for our lives and the opportunities we wanted for our boys, were going in different directions. My wife, Bev, had a strong feeling that we needed to go back to South Africa, where all our family lives. We hadn’t seen them for 6 years! So we flew to SA, contemplating whether we should make a life for ourselves there. Having spent a month in beautiful Port Elizabeth, we felt that we needed to return to Australia.
After long goodbyes, but feeling at peace with our decision, we boarded a plane to Brisbane and were plannning to live in the Gold Coast. Money was really running out now and we needed to find some source of income. Fortunately we had friends there who were actually ex neighbours from our days in Port Elizabeth, who were very helpful. But jobs just didn’t come. Again the questions started. Why would God take us around the world, bring us back to Australia where we felt we needed to be, just to run out of money and let our boys wonder whether it is such a good idea to trust God to provide and to direct our paths?
At the point when things were getting desperate for us, we were both offered jobs in Darwin with fantastic salaries. We felt that this must be it! God had heaard our calls for help and He had provided us with jobs where we were earning more money than ever before. We were going to buy a house and settle. But neither of us were settled, happpy or content in our jobs. The boys were seriously struggling to settle at school! Again the questions started. God, why would you send us around the world, provide us with more finances that we need and still we are not at peace? We were starting to wonder whether we would ever be happy!
We then sat down one evening and made a unanimous decision that we needed to go to a place that we could see ourselves enjoying life. Where we would fit into the lifestyle and where we could enjoy our love for the outdoors and for sport. Right there and then we settled on Melbourne. Having traveled there on numerous occassions, we knew the city and loved everything about it. As soon as I secured a job there, we started making plans to move. A month later, and here we are. We have secured a great school for our boys, I love the school that I am teaching at and we absolutely love this place and feel completely at home. All we still need to do is find a place to rent and we believe that it will happen within the next week.
The past 9 months have been exciting, scary, uncertain and exhilirating all at the same time. And here wee are – 500km away from where this amazing journey began. But the lessons that I have learnt over the past few months have been invaluable and life-changing. The first thing that I have realised is that life is there to be lived and enjoyed. That doesn’t mean that everything will always be enjoyable. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t step out of our comfort zone. But we cannot merely just go through the motions and exist. Life is too short not to seize every moment and not to chase adventure. God created us with enquiring minds and with adrenaline in our bodies. There’s a reason for that. We need to use both!
Through all these experiences, I will never again doubt that God is always there and He is for us. When we put our faith in Him, He always comes through, even if it is not in the way that we might have expected.
And finally, I have realised that God uses every single event in our lives to grow us and teach us, if we let Him! No matter what you might be going through at this very moment, it is all about growth. Instead of being angry at God and shaking your fist at Him, rather ask Him what He wants you to learn from each experience. That’s what I’ve been doing and it has made a world of difference. Now, I no longer see difficult situations as being unfair and feeling sorry for myself, but instead I see them as opportunities to improve myself and to become more like Him and less like me!
So, remember that God wants to use you and He can use you no matter where you are. So, why not go where you know you will enjoy being, and allow Him to work in you. It’s great and I wouldn’t change my life for all the money in the world. God is good, He is faithful and I plan to make Him known wherever I go.