Monday, July 02, 2007

God's Providence, Part 3

Since God is the creator of marriage I believe that the spouse you are married to is the person that God intends for you to be with until "death do you part." For those, Christians or non-Christians, who do get divorced, I believe that happens out of the sin and hardness of their own hearts.

With that said, I believe that my marriage to DearHubby was providenced by God and this is the story of how God worked all things out so that a girl born in Hawaii would meet and marry a boy born in Illinois and live in Southern New Jersey...

How I ended up on the East Coast from Hawaii:
- From Hawaii to California: My dad was in the Coast Guard and he was stationed to California in 1986.

- From California to Connecticut: I became a Christian the summer before my Senior year in high school. The Lord instilled a passion to grow more and more as His disciple and I was afraid that if I went to college close to home that my parents and my environment would hinder this passion to grow. As I searched for a college, I looked for the college furthest away from home. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, Connecticut, seemed like a good school because it had a humanitarian mission, saving lives, and all 4 years of schooling were paid for. I applied to it hoping that I would get accepted and I did. I left for the Academy soon after high school graduation in 1993.

- From Connecticut to Pennsylvania: I praise God for the opportunity to attend the Academy as it challenged my faith greatly! There were only a handful of Christians in my class and the whole world-view that the Academy taught from was very secular. I was really challenged to jump into the Word and cling to it. I was a flag girl in the Academy's competitive marching band and we were on one of our competitions in Washington D.C. We were given the opportunity to tour the city and I ended up in a little coffee shop. While there, I ran into a missionary who was on furlough. I don't quite remember if it was a single missionary or if it was a missionary family, but I remember being so encouraged and inspired. A heart for foreign missions work was sparked in my heart by that conversation. It was my second year at the Academy and the third year was the time to start on focusing on your major. I entered in pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree. I didn't think my dad was such a big influence in my life, but I guess he was. He was an Electrician's Mate in the Coast Guard and so the "natural" major for me to pursue was Electrical Engineering. Well, there were only 4 spots open for the Electrical Engineering major and everyone else were weeded out and asked to change their major. I was not one of the cadets who filled the 4 spots. When I was informed that I needed to change my major, I felt a loss of purpose at the Academy. I entered in wanting to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree, but with that "stripped" away from me, I didn't see any sense to stay. At that point, I had also been attending a church outside of the Academy. I had heard so much about a great engineering college that was affiliated with this church and my interest in foreign missions work just grew that much stronger. As the end of the academic school year approached we needed to plan out our summer duties. This was the turning point of my Coast Guard career. I needed to make a decision...Did I really want to be a Coast Guard officer or did I want to go into foreign missions work...Neither decision was wrong and I fervently prayed about the decision. As I received my first choice for summer duties, I made the decision to leave the Academy. None of my classmates knew until the last day... When I told my parents about my decision, they were not very happy. My dad especially was very disappointed. He was not yet a Christian at that time and if I told him that I wanted to pursue foreign missions work he would not have understood at all. In addition, he was very proud of my attendance at the Academy and was proud to share that with the rest of his Coast Guard colleagues. I think my quitting was an embarrassment for my dad. So I stayed in Connecticut for a few weeks before going home to reassure myself that I did not make a bad choice. Well, I went home and immediately started applying to colleges. Of course, my first application was sent to Grove City College, the college I heard so much about at church. Since I would be a transfer student, I was put on the waiting list. In the meantime, I found a similar school to Grove City College. When I contacted the Chair of Engineering he informed me that they just got their ABET accredidation, which would "validate" an Engineering degree from that school. I applied and got accepted. I left for Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania in August 1995.

- From Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: I considered changing my major to Biblical studies when I transferred to Geneva College to get on a track towards foreigns missions. However, when I looked over the requirements for Biblical studies I would have had to start college all over again, another 4 or 5 years. If I continued on with my engineering studies, I could graduate in 2 or 3 years. I initially put myself on a 2 year plan and carried 21 credits my first semester. I also had to find a part time job to pay off the interest on my student loan since the loan was taken out in my name. It was a very stressful time and after that first semester, I decided to put myself on a 3 year plan. Since I would have "extra" time, I decided to add a minor...I could have added a Biblical studies minor, but I decided to add a Music minor instead. By this time, I think I expected to get into foreign missions work by marrying a pastor and I had seen many pastor's wives as piano players in the church. I had a little bit of piano playing experience and so I decided that I would improve on those skills. I was getting much feeding from my Bible and Humanitarian classes and much feeding from my church. I think that's why I decided not to add the Biblical studies minor...Well, when graduation time came, I was still an available single woman. I had a huge school loan to pay off and decided that I could not go into foreign missions work while owing this huge debt. Therefore, rather than pursuing a foreign missions career, I decided to pursue an engineering career. I went to 3 company interviews. 1 of the companies was not interested in me. 2, however, were and I was offered a Manufacturing Engineering positions from both companies. The first was in Beaver, Pennsylvania and the second was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The one in Beaver was appealing because it was close to my first home church and I would be around people that I knew. The one in Philadelphia was appealing because it was owned by a Christian man and had a Christian based mission statement. The salary offer was very similar and so pay was not an influential factor at all. I was really inclined to stay in Beaver, but for some reason, I chose the job in Philadelphia. My mom stayed with me after graduation to help me search for an apartment in Philly. We found one just 5 minutes away from my job. After our apartment search, I went home for a time and then flew back to Philly the last week of July 1998 and started my job in August 1998. I met my DearHubby to be the day I started.

- From Philadelphia to New Jersey: DearHubby and I married in August 1999 and immediately started looking for a home. We decided that living in an apartment was just a waste of money. We did all of our house search through the internet. DearHubby wanted a home on some property. We found one here in Southern New Jersey with 18 acres. When we came by to look at it, it looked like a lot of work, but it was the first house that both DearHubby and I were excited about. It was on the market for about $105,000. We offered $80,000 because there was a lot of termite damage. While we were negotiating purchase price, there was another buyer who made a higher offer and it seemed like we would not get the house. We're not sure what happened to the other buyer, but we later got another phone call where the owner's purchase price was lowered to $93,000 and we would also get about $21,000 back at the table for termite treatment and to install a septic system. We thought that was an awesome deal!!! We moved into our new home on Thanksgiving Day 2000. We have been in this home for 7 years now, still working on those renovations. We've added DearDaughter to our family since that time and now a second one is on the way.

It's so neat to see how God worked all these events out to get DearHubby and I to where we are now. We're excited to see where He'll lead us next.

Next week, I will briefly write about DearHubby's journey, at least up to when he got to Philly.

If you'd like to share a Monday Memory, please join me here:

1 comment:

Nina said...

Just noticed this post . . . . perhaps we could have a conversation about the devastation of divorce when only one partner wants the marriage to work and the other one chooses to destroy the relationship. You are so right . . . . divorce is always a result of sin, but it does happen to some of us even when we have tried for many years to figure out how to make it work. Interested in chatting? Nina

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