Trust in the Lord with all your heart… and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5–6
When the decision was made years ago to move Focus on the Family from Arcadia, California, to Colorado Springs, I knew it was a positive change for the ministry—yet I did not welcome it with enthusiasm. I felt I needed the support system we had developed in California. Our friends there saw us not as ministry leaders, but as just “Jim and Shirley.” We’d been in one another’s weddings and had babies together. For years we’d had them over to celebrate the Fourth of July with barbecued hamburgers and games in our backyard. I grieved to leave this safe and loving circle of friends, and to say good-bye to my parents and both of our children.
In Colorado, I continued to wrestle with feeling sorry for myself and missing home, family, and friends. Yet I still prayed for the Lord’s direction. One day I was standing in the bathroom preparing for work when I felt His presence. “Shirley,” He seemed to say, “I’m not concerned about your happiness; I’m concerned that you are in My will, and My will is that you be in Colorado.”
From that point on a new peace filled my heart. The lingering feelings of discontent left me. Though I still miss my roots and friends, I now can see God’s hand in it all. I have stretched and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Over the years my old friends have moved, too. Only a few of those couples still live in that area of California, and we see our family almost as often now as before.
When you are discouraged about your kids, your career, your lack of friends, or anything else, don’t let it stop you from speaking to God. He will encourage you as you seek Him: “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
The Lord may not answer you as specifically as He did after my move to Colorado. He may not give you the answer you want at all. Yet He loves you and always responds with your best interests in mind. That’s encouragement you can count on.
-Shirley M Dobson