Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Through a Series of Strange God-like Events

Through a series of God events, I actually moved to California almost a month earlier than I was planning!! Most of you know this, but I thought I would put the whole story to paper...well screen). It's mostly for 1. to give glory to God who arranges our lives in spite of our best laid plans (Proverbs 19:21), 2. to make my hasty flight from Michigan a little clearer for those who followed it on facebook and are curious, and C. for me to remember the story in years to come.

Back in January I was still looking for work. I had applied to over 90 jobs, had gone through approximately two dozen phone interviews and had multiple in-person interviews and I had either no peace about the job or they were not what I was looking for or I never heard back from the application. I had even applied and interviewed for a job at David's Bridal. That was an all-time low in my time in the cave when I couldn't even land a job at a freaking Bridal store. One cold, snowy January night my best friend, Sarah, who lives in Los Angeles, posted on facebook that she had an upcoming opening in her apartment for a roommate; who needed housing in LA. Half joking, half serious I posted immediately saying: "Pick me!! Pick me!! I'll look for work there IMMEDIATELY". I opened my job query that same hour (I had only been looking in the midwest or in areas of the country where I know people, like Denver, CO and Manchester, NH, and Columbus, OH). Up popped a job I hadn't seen before at the Child Development Center at Simi Valley Hospital. I was thrilled, but it was marked as only a part time position. I applied for the job anyway, as well as two other jobs: a neonatal position in Madison, Wisconsin and a speech pathology professorship at a local university in Grand Rapids. The neonatal position was my absolute dream job. I had always wanted to work exclusively in a NICU, but it was only a part time position as well. The very next afternoon, at 1:30 to be exact, the director from Simi Valley called for a phone interview. 
Long story short, I decided to fly to LA for a week and interview in person . I mean job interviews these days are like internet dating. You scroll through countless job descriptions looking for just the right one. You start by sending that first, nervous e-mailing and then if you're lucky you get a phone call. But until you meet in person and have that sparkle, that connection, that overflowing peace and butterfly-in-the-stomach moment, you can really be sold any rotten piece of work over the internet. 

It is always curious to me how God likes to be seen and involved in ALL of our plans. No matter how small or insignificant that seem. He likes even better to be a part of the really big things. So He decided to mess with my plans and put his ginormous foot prints all over them. So while I was planning my trip to LA, my college RA also posted on facebook that she was also flying to LA around the same time. I would like it duly noted in the record that A. my college RA lives in downtown Chicago, B. on the L that goes right into O'Hare, and 3. it is always cheaper to fly out of Chicago from O'Hare. I messaged her right away telling her I was also planning a trip to LA, what were the details. For the sake of the story, I'll spare the little details, but in the end I drove to Chicago, was able to have coffee with two lovely teens I met on a missions trip in Costa Rica who were now at college in Chicago, was able to stay with my RA for the night, park my car at her apartment, take the L into the airport with her, and WAS ON THE SAME FLIGHT to LA as she!! Incredible detailing, Jesus!!

The job was everything they said it would be and so much more. The area was gorgeous (and the weather warm, thanks, Michigan, for being so ridiculously cold and snowy). In 17 years the manager had never offered the job on-the-spot until my interview, and now candidate had ever accepted the job on-the-spot until me. It had God all over it.

It's all in the details, really. When I accepted the job, we all knew I couldn't start until April. California is a licensed speech pathology state. I needed to apply for a license...no tests, just lots of paperwork and the one thing all government agencies use to prove you have the right to a license: lots of money. That pushed my start date until the middle of April. Woohoo, I thought, I get a few more weeks in Michigan!! Who wants a coffee date??!!

But that, friends, is where God again steps in and says, "not so fast, I have a different plan." About a week and a half ago Sarah called to tell me that the roommate who was moving out was now undecided about moving out. Her father has terminal cancer and had taken a turn for the worse. I can't blame her at all. Her mother died of cancer a few years ago and now she's taking care of her dad. I would want to have a stable living situation, too. (Please keep her situation in your prayers when the Lord brings it to mind!!) But that left me without housing. So at the very, very last minute, I decided I had to get out here before March so I could hopefully find an apartment before April (I already had a contract with a group of movers for the end of March/beginning of April). A week ago Sunday my mom and I hopped in the car and drove across country together (5 days,  9 states, 30 hours, 2300 miles, one blizzard after-math followed by 1 desert, 5 audiobooks, 1 Enrique Iglesias CD, and more crazy pictures than should be mentioned. Oye). We got here on the last day of February. 

The evening we got in my mom and I spent browsing apartment ads on craisglist and circling potential areas to scout out. Like in 2 Kings 19 I wrote a very, very specific 9 point list of what I wanted for an apartment and spread it before the Lord. I reminded the Lord that HE is my provider and of all the things He had done and had promised to do. I thanked Him for already preparing just the perfect place for me. I reminded Him that I KNEW He was calling me to this area and again thanked Him for providing a good job and the next step in my life journey. Friday, March 1 dawned bright and clear. We headed out in the morning on the hunt. We went first to Simi Valley. I wanted to show mom the hospital and area where I'd be working and we decided to drive about half way back to Sarah's and then start the apartment search. Most of the areas that had cheaper housing were cheap for a reason (I'll spare you those depressing details). I called on several and found the following: most apartments have a common laundry room, I was expecting that, but most apartments in LA come WITHOUT a refrigerator. Quite a few even come without a KITCHEN!!  For a local, this is common. For a midwesterner, this was outlandish. Where the heck was I? A foreign country? You actually have to RENT the fridge!! Most places were not the charming little abode I had seen on the internet (see previous comment about online dating). Half the day was done, finding some pretty sketchy areas and even sketchier housing, we decided to drive back to Simi Valley and look at places there. The first apartment complex we pulled into was very expensive and the high-pressure sales man at the office wanted me to sign on a tiny one bedroom sight-unseen. No thanks. Our blood sugar was dipping. On to In-N-Out Burger for lunch. Across the street was a realty office. My mom had the idea to stop and see if they had any information on rentals. We picked up a local brochure and continued on the search. Eight hours later I had one of the few melt downs in my life. With a body still on Michigan time and one-too-many hours past my afternoon coffee, mom and I headed back to Sarah's. Nothing. Most place I called never even called back. And I never even stepped into a single apartment.

That night we opened the brochure from Simi Valley and started circling potentials. And there it was. The cutest little place I had seen to date. I called right away. I knew it was where I wanted to be. A little one bedroom in Simi Valley, on the east side of the city. It met all 9 of my bullet point requests. Jesus, I prayed, could this be it?? It was late on a Friday night, so I called and left a message. I called on several other properties, but secretly liked only the one.

Saturday morning mom and I decided to drive back to Simi Valley. We had an appointment to see a place at noon, but wanted to get there early to scope out the place. One mile from the beginning of the Simi Valley exits, the realtor called on the really, really cute place I had seen. Could we be there in half an hour?? YEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!! Again, I've gone on long enough, the place was everything I could have imagined. I thanked Jesus for providing for me and for remembering me in that place. 
Through the entire process, God keeps reminding me of being specific in prayer. The four gospels remind us over and over that anything we ask, when asked in faith and out of the right motive, the Lord will give to us. Hear me on this, this does not make God a huge vending machine, where we insert our prayers and out pops whatever we want. But it does remind me that when we are specific in our requests, are seeking the Lord for His will, and remember to ask and thank Him for these things, we actually give more glory and honor back to Him. Anyone can ask Jesus for a one bedroom apartment and find one. But to ask for very specific things in a place where those specific things are very uncommon and almost impossible to have all of them at one place, the only reason those things can all come together is Jesus. It's ALWAYS Jesus!! It gives us stories to share, which is basically what the Bible is, for showing how great and awesome and caring and provisional God really is. I'll prove it. Here was my list:

1. One or two bedroom (it's a large one bedroom)
2. Close to a major freeway (it's four blocks off)  
3. In a specified price range (which I'm choosing not to share, but it is definitely in the range)
4. Plenty of storage with either closets or units (this one has tons of closets and pantries inside PLUS a garage with storage!!)
5. In-unit laundry (there's a stacked washer and drier included!!)
6. Kitchen with a fridge (stainless steel!!!)
7. Off street parking (there is its own parking space plus a garage)
8. High ceilings with either a balcony or a patio (it has a cute little enclosed patio with a storage shed)
9. A pool or fitness room (there is a pool and TWO jacuzzis!!)      

This is not just for me. This is a concept for everyone. What are you praying about? How are you being specific in what you are presenting to the Lord? How can you be as specific as possible so when you see your prayer answered you can give the glory back to Jesus? Are you thanking Jesus for what He has given you and sharing the story with others? It's not being prideful, it's being proud of a Lord and Savior who cares about every little detail of your life and giving the thanks and praise back to Him for it.

Next prayer list: my specifics for my prince ;)


  1. LOVE this! I am definitely challenged by your thoughts about specificity in prayer. Can't wait to see pics of your place :)

    PS- I'm so happy for you that I can't even be bummed that God didn't call you to Manchester ;)

  2. Yay!!! Praise Jesus!!! I love hearing how He's taking care of you, Jules! Looking forward to chatting soon. xoxo Amy