Turns Out, He Wanted Me to Stay


The old diner smelled of grease and freshly brewed coffee, an oddly comforting combo as my brother and I shook off the cold November night and slid into a booth. We rarely got time alone to talk, what with him stationed at a naval base in Virginia and me living hundreds of miles away in Florida.

As he added sugar to his coffee and I sipped my hot chocolate, our conversation wrapped around one thing--my new relationship with Jesus. Giddy and convinced I'd go to the ends of the earth for my God, I declared I'd do anything--anything at all for Him

Looking John square in the eyes, I leaned forward. "I'd even go to China if He wanted me to!" At the time, China seemed like the last place I'd ever want to be, so I tossed my daring declaration into the air like so much confetti. Part of me hoped God wouldn't take me up on it, but if He did, I'd go. I'd certainly go.

"Wow, Julie." John shook his head. "Maybe God will send you to China."

I positively glowed.

But over 20 years later, it turns out that God didn't want me go to China. Or India. Or Africa. Instead, He asked me to do something even more radical.

He wanted me to stay.

God wanted me to stay in a hard marriage, when everything in me wanted to run fast and hard.

He wanted me to remain a home schooling mom, while kids all around us waltzed off to school and I craved a quiet, tidy home--and time for me.

He wanted me to remain a loving mother in law even when the love wasn't initially returned.

He wanted me to stay committed to prayer, even when I didn't see the results for which I yearned.

He wanted me to remain: forgiving when I wanted to hold a grudge, kind with my words when I wanted to scream, and on course when I wanted to flat-out quit.

I didn't have to go to the ends of the earth for God after all. It turns out, He simply wanted me to stay.

How about you? Where is the hardest place God has asked you to go?

Picture taken from my driveway, by me.

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WINNER of Sandy Coughlin's inspiring new book, "The Reluctant Entertainer: Every Woman's Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality" is Kelly Combs. Congratulations, Kelly! Please send me your snail-mail address. And thank you to everyone who participated by leaving a comment.

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14 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh wow Julie--this was so beautifully written! I think God wants me to stay right here too--and stick it out, waiting for his plans to unfold even though there are days, I wish my husband and I could pack it up and run away:)

Cheryl Barker said...

It's a toss-up for me. Either to forgiveness and back again (like you, to stay...) or through life-threatening illnesses of family members. Only by His grace...

Great post, Julie. Have a blessed week!

Kelly Combs said...

I love this post Julie! God had made me stay a lot of places I didn't want to go, and I've always grown from it. Ig uess if I did what I wanted, I'd be very small, and God is going to make me bigger.

Great post!

Thanks for the book! I'm excited to win it. I will shoot you an email with my address.

Hester's Heart said...

Oh Julie, your thoughts today are exactly where I am. You must be reading my mind. God is asking me to persevere in ministry despite the firey darts of the evil one determined to discourage me. Bless you, Hester

Carol Davis said...

You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your gift and challenging us all!

Erin MacPherson said...

This is sooo good. It really resonates with me that you said you feel God called you stay in a hard marriage and to stay a homeschooling mom even when it's hard. I also sometimes feel like escaping-- sending my kids off or driving away into the sunset would be fun-- but knowing that this is where God called me to be makes it feel more tolerable. This is a great post.

Deb said...

The hardest place for me to stay is still.

Last November, I thought I was ready to move on with my writing.

So, I asked Him what He thought about my bright idea.

He said, "Be still because the Lord has roused Himself from His holy throne."

Yeah, being still...it's a hard place to stay.

Nice to know I'm not alone.

Sweet dreams.

Lelia Chealey said...

This is awesome! I never thought of where I'm at in my life as it being right where God wants me. I tend to host pity parties often and just the other day I decided to be done with that and just embrace where I'm at. This really makes me think about things differently. Thanks, friend!

B His Girl said...

Hey...it's not over yet Julie. God is known for the unexpected! I thought my home in Florida was 'it'. Currently I am two months into desert life in Arizona. I never thought I would live in the western half of the US. I am a southern girl. But God has me here. There is a time and a season for everything. What's happening with your Bible study? B

ginny said...

What a beautiful heartfelt post, Julie!
God wants me to not get a job so I can help my daughter with the 4 little ones.
He wants me to stay and trust Him for our financial welfare..
He wants me to bite my tongue when I want to argue
He wants me to keep loving my husband, even though I feel I need to blame him for our problems.
Actually, God wants me to completely surrender my all to Him and Him alone.

Melanie said...

This was so very good, Julie.
I can relate in some ways.

Clella said...

Julie, Sorry I am just now reading this. I find it very meaningful to my life. My feelings reflected here in so many ways. Good post. I don't comment as often as I read your posts. blessings Clella

Jennifer said...

Sometimes we think the hardest places are overseas...but in fact, our very own present-day life is where He is calling us to be overcomers. Great point, Julie.

Juliet said...

Hi Julie, yes, at the moment I'm called to stay and be faithful where I am! I'm naturally a big-dreaming kind of person, and yes, I have big dreams for the future, but it's the small steps, the daily choices to stick at what you're doing and keep a right heart that mold you into the person who God can give greater responsibility to. Our pastor preached this just yesterday, from the story of Joseph, and it really resonated in my spirit. Great post!

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