I could never live in Seattle.
I’m positively certain I said or thought this phrase quite a few times in the past several years. Little did I know then that God seems to really enjoy a challenge.
I think my primary reason was the weather. The first time this phrase came out, I was in Portland for college (I *think* the first time around). I was having difficulty with the amount of rain that happened up there, and from what I knew, Seattle had even more cloudy days and rain than Portland. I’m Florida-born and California-grown with a family that hails from Hong Kong. Cold weather was not in my blood.
Yet, somehow, I ended up in Seattle.
And I absolutely love it up here.
This move was a difficult decision. I had my heart set on Hong Kong after I graduated and had planned this for years. Then I thought about going home to Southern California so I could be with people I knew again. But God seemed to like having me in the Pacific Northwest.
In the past few years, I’d grown much, and I knew deep down that a lot of it had to do with being away from the place I called home for over twenty years. Oswald Chambers said, “When ‘important’ individuals go away we are sad, until we see that they are meant to go, so that only one thing is left for us to do—to look into the face of God for ourselves.” I guess in this case, I was the one who went away from my important individuals. And what can you do when you’re 1200 miles from home except seek God for yourself when no one else is around you to tell you what to do or believe?
This move shaped my trust in God greatly. There are so many factors regarding Seattle that I had to hand over to Him: how long I have to wait for what He’s told me to wait for, when I’ll find a job, when I’ll find community, when/if I’ll apply to grad school.
Waiting for all these things were wearing on me after a month plus of being up here. I started applying for jobs before I even graduated, which means I started late April or early May. And nothing. My resume is impressive, and I wrote a professional cover letter for each job I applied to. I’m certain that if you go through my sent mail folder, you’ll find at least 200 emails where I’ve sent my cover letter and resume out. Not to mention the applications I sent separately.
How was this going to work out? I started to question whether or not God really brought me to Washington, or if it was something that I chose on my own, and He’s not blessing it. But every time I go out and drive, I can’t help but worship Him for His craftsmanship in putting this city, this state together. The mountains are amazing, and the lakes are gorgeous. Put a city amongst all that, and it’s just breathtaking up here. I absolutely love being in Seattle.
It’s just really easy to start questioning things when you don’t have a healthy community to build you up. The people I knew up here were all either thirty minutes south or thirty minutes north of me. And while that distance really isn’t bad (being a So Cal native and all), it is when you can’t afford the gas to travel out that way all the time. I had been going to a community group from church for a few weeks, but I was the youngest there by at least a decade and in a completely different stage of life. While I loved the people, I just couldn’t call them up and try to hang since they’ve got kids they’re homeschooling and families they’re caring for.
Jobless with no faith community. It was starting to get pretty dark for me. I was discouraged in every direction.
But I figured, if the enemy wants me out of Seattle so badly, I must be doing something right.
So I kept praying. I kept holding on. I kept searching for God in Scripture. I kept reminding myself that God works for the good of those who love Him. I kept holding onto the truth that God rescues us.
My favorite verse in Scripture is Jeremiah 1:19: “‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the LORD.”
Then I was given some options for other groups that had more people in my age range, and I found it: my community group, my new family. I wasn’t even sure about going to this group when I looked over my options. It almost didn’t happen. But a group I was checking out that week changed their night, so it freed up Wednesday to see this CG. And I’m so thankful that happened. They took me in right away, and by the end of the night, I had phone numbers and an invite to a birthday party for someone I met just a few hours ago.
One out of four things were taken care of.
And suddenly, I had five interviews the following week and then some. People kept calling and emailing me to schedule me to either interview over the phone or come in and speak to someone. I asked Dan for some prayer the weekend before all these interviews came, and he responded with such an encouraging message: that he felt the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit and that God was on the case for me.
The next day, I interviewed for two places, and the day after that, one of them offered me a position. It’s August now.
And what’s better, they offered me a position just in time for me to go to my old roommate’s wedding in Wisconsin. I’d given up on being able to go. I’d resolved myself to skype dates after she moves to Austria. And God gives me a job just in time for me to pull my savings together to go see her one more time. On top of that, I got a ticket for nearly half the going price.
If all this wasn’t God, I don’t know what it is.
Two out of four are now taken care of. They were the two more urgent needs. God has impeccable timing, don’t you think? Truthfully, I would never have chosen to go back into hospitality. It was the last job I ever wanted to get after quitting my position in Portland and moving to Seattle. I guess that’s why I had to wait over a month before I got a job; it takes a while for your pride to cool down so that you can see what a blessing this line of work can be. I was also afraid of comparing my new community group to my old one in Portland. I really loved that one, and I guess I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to be in a new one. I’m glad I was wrong about that one. This group has been amazing, and getting to know the people has been such a blessing.
As far as waiting for what God’s told me to wait for and waiting for grad school, I’ve been learning patience for more pressing matters, and God came through on those in the end. My future is secure in the hands of the God who created the universe, me, and Seattle. I anticipate that my time here in Seattle will be fruitful, and I will continue to fall in love with this city and its people.
I still can’t believe God’s timing on it all. In the moment I thought that I couldn’t be stretched any further else I break, God steps in and answers my prayers and delivers me from all that came against me. The difficult times will always come. There will always be opposition for God’s people. It is guaranteed.
But it’s also guaranteed that God will be with us, and He will rescue us.
This last month and a half has shown me this. I will trust Him because He is trustworthy, because He has shown His face, because He has delivered me.
I’m excited for what God’s got planned for me in this new city.
featured in WitnessLA September 2013