Saturday, August 3, 2013

How the Seemingly Impossible has turned out to be the Most Blessed Path

+JMJ+

Have you ever felt that you were exactly where God wants you to be?

I'm talking about those times when you recognize His presence in whatever you're doing and know - you just know - that you're doing exactly what He desires for you at that point in time and place. I sincerely hope that all of you have experienced this at some point in your lives. Personally, I feel quite blessed to have had this sensation (and the wonderful peace and joy that comes with it!) on several occasions...but have felt it lately in overwhelmingly positive ways since our very recent (aka one week ago) move to Florida.

I've written before about my husband's job and how it forces us to completely surrender to God's will within our lives. We are not in control of anything other than whether or not Michael accepts or declines any given job opportunity. Beyond that, everything else is constantly up in the air along with several opportunities of varying lengths of time in various locations - making it very important that we prayerfully discern which position to accept and when.

In the ten months we've been married, there were several times we seriously thought we were about to move. Things started lining up and it would seem as if God was opening a door right in front of us as we continually prayed for His guidance. For whatever reason, none of those opportunities panned out (whether their funding fell through, they decided to hire internally, politics were involved, or Michael flat out declined positions that didn't seem to feel just right). Each and every time we moved forward trusting that none of those opportunities would take us where God wanted us to go.

Finally, it's as if the stars aligned and God presented us with a wonderful opportunity - and the timing worked. In fact, everything has worked...better than I could possibly imagine.

Most people would freak out at the prospect of moving 1300 miles when they're 37 or 38 weeks pregnant and/or believe that such a move would be impossible (with only 4 days notice, no less) - but Michael and I were both completely at peace with it. After praying for several months, we finally agreed that this one project seemed to be "the" next one and we moved forward without hesitation.

What was inside our fortune cookies when we got lunch with my mom at P.F. Chang's on Monday (right after our move to Florida was completed)
Since arriving in Florida we've been overwhelmed with how seemingly perfect everything has fit for us - whether it's been timing, apartment location (to everything - Michael's work, the church, the grocery store, etc.), or anything else that will affect our daily lives. We both also feel incredibly blessed to have been able to move a week before Michael's work project begins - because by giving us this week together God has helped us to do almost everything I could possibly hope to accomplish before the arrival of our baby. Everything has opened up and lined up for us as though God really wanted us to be here...and therefore gave us as few obstacles as possible. It's seriously amazing.

As if all of that hadn't been enough to help Michael and me recognize God's hand in all of this, He managed to find a way to make it blatantly known that we really are where He wants us right now. What happened that made it so crystal clear on top of all the countless other blessings, you ask?

Well, Tuesday night Michael and I decided to go out to dinner to celebrate how much we had unpacked. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory then randomly decided to head to the mall for a brief window-shopping visit. I didn't care much to go, but Michael really wanted to walk through Nordstrom and look at some things so I consented. Lo and behold, as I was thoughtlessly looking at a display of shirts and ties I saw someone walk right in front of me. I barely caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye but instantly knew who it was.

The man standing on the opposite side of the display table - looking at the same shirts and ties I was - was none other than Tom Crean...the head basketball coach for the Indiana Hoosiers! I immediately began to doubt myself thinking there was no way that this man was Tom Crean because I wasn't in Indiana. I was far from it. Why would he be in our new city at the mall on a Tuesday night of all places?? But because I have met him in person before, seen him in person multiple times on the court as well as at my parish (he's Catholic!) in college, and on TV, posters, and other media outlets, I knew that I was right. I grabbed Michael and asked him if he thought it was Coach Crean and he immediately agreed with me that it was.

With Coach Crean in Nordstrom (38 wks pregnant)
I pretended to be interested in the shirts for a moment longer then exclaimed, "Coach Crean!" He looked up so I introduced myself as an IU alum and shook his hand. The next few minutes he chatted with Michael and me about how he was on vacation for the week (in our new city - of all places!), when our baby is due, and we discovered that he and his wife got married in Ann Arbor...at our parish that we love so much there! After capturing the moment with a photo and going our separate ways I was flabbergasted...and grinning from ear to ear.

To anyone else this wouldn't have meant much. But to an Indiana Hoosier (unless you're my little sister who is clueless about sports and doesn't have any idea what Tom Crean looks like or who he is unless you tell her), this is a big deal. That's the beauty of how God works within our lives - tailoring experiences and blessings to us as individuals so He may speak more directly to each of our hearts.

Bloomington, Indiana is the city where I spent 5 awesome years in college, where Michael made amazing memories from completing his engineering co-ops and working his first post-graduate job, and the place where Michael and I met and first began dating. Needless to say...we love Bloomington and I l-o-v-e Indiana! For us to run into Coach Crean the first week we moved here was a huge, blatant sign to us both that God definitely wants us here; it's as if He gifted us with this God-incidence to help us realize it more deeply than we already had.

Even though this project is only 6 months (there's always potential for it go a bit longer but we'll see), I'm so looking forward to soaking up every minute of this paradise God has blessed us with! I'm excited to see what He has in store for us in this wonderful place where we'll meet our baby boy face to face for the first time. Maybe it's because I'm still giddy over having run into Coach Crean, I'm still absorbing the fact that I'll be able to take our baby outdoors in warmth this winter, or the fact that our apartment is nearly the same price as Ann Arbor but is undoubtedly a bajillion times better and more spacious...but right now I can only imagine this place to bless us with very good things. :) Thank you so so so much for all of your prayers as we moved, unpacked, and continue to prepare for Baby K___! I'm sure the smooth transition and the joys we've experienced are also due to the amount of prayer we've been generously covered with the past couple of weeks. Thank you again!

"Every outcome of every challenge should reveal how God supplies the grace to make it through the seemingly impossible." 
-Father Leo Patalinghug

12 comments:

  1. Love, love, love :) grinning ear to Eric along with you Stephanie! Beautiful memories being made. +JMJ continued blessings to you 3!

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  2. Beautiful post - brought joyful tears to my eyes! <3

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  3. Stephanie, I just love hearing your joy radiate through this post! God is so faithful, and I love seeing the way he is working in your life and speaking to you. It is so true that he speaks to us all through individual, unique experiences.

    I am so happy that your move has gone so smoothly and that you all are settling in well! Now I just can't wait to hear news soon about your baby boy! :)

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    1. Truly God is so faithful! It fascinates me how He speaks to all of us in such unique ways. I cannot wait to let the world know about Baby K's arrival when it comes, either! We're less than a week away from his due date now and I have a feeling he'll be coming pretty soon. :)

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  4. It's so awesome when you get confirmation that you are exactly where God has intended you to be! Thanks for sharing!

    Ellie
    www.ChoosingPeaceBlog.com

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  5. laughed so hard when i got to the disclaimer about everyone knows who Tom Crean is except Jennie! that's so cool he got married in Ann Arbor at your parish! y'all should just be couple friends with the Creans ;)

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    1. I just speak the truth...and you know it's true! ;)

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  6. What a blessing it is to really feel God's hand in the many events in our lives. Thanks for posting, He is truly speaking to you, and seem to be a great listener. BTW, I've really been enjoying your posts, so much so that I have nominated you for a blog award. Stop by my site and check it out :) Happy Monday!

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    1. Because of Gabriel's birth I've been so far behind! Thanks so much for the nomination!!! I'll do my best to check it out asap :)

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