You know, one of the coolest things about being 56 years old is being able to look back over your live and see the many times that God has left his fingerprints.
The God story that was the most life changing for me surrounded our decision to move back to Minnesota from Georgia, where we had spent sixteen wonderful years. My husband and I were very happy living in Georgia. He had a great job with Delta Air Lines, I owned a retail store, and we had a side business resurfacing concrete. We were blessed to be part of a great church, and enjoyed our community of Christians. We had recently completed construction on our new home, and life was great. And then, it all changed. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and subsequently passed away nine months later at age 39. While back home in Minnesota for the funeral, we ran into a close friend from our past. This friend reconnected us with another friend, the owner of a manufacturing firm in Superior, Wisconsin. This chance meeting would change our lives forever.
When we returned to Georgia, Delta Air Lines was facing bankruptcy. In the process, they were seeking employees who had other employment opportunities, and asked that they consider leaving the company in order to provide security for those who did not. As it happened, the friend who owned the manufacturing firm had been in contact with my husband, and began making job offers for him to return to Minnesota. We truly never considered any of the offers, since we not only had security in our situation, but we could not afford to walk away from the financial obligations of our businesses. We prayed about it, and felt that we needed to explore what Gods plan was for us. We felt a strong urging from God tugging at us to move back to Minnesota. After flying up here and looking more closely at the company and its offers, we began to discuss what would need to occur for us to move back home. The company had already agreed to our needs; salary, benefits, moving expenses, and temporary living means were all acceptable. What needed to occur, however, was the sale of our businesses, which seemed a daunting task. We took this to prayer. We prayed ourselves, in our small groups, in our church, and through our prayer teams. We felt God was telling us to move, but we didn’t know how this was going to happen. The day after we decided to pursue making this move occur, we both went to work. After I opened my store, the first customer who came through the door informed me that if I were ever going to sell my store, that he would be interested in buying it. When I went to tell my husband about the offer that evening, he informed me that during his morning coffee break, a co-worker had told him that if he were ever going to sell his concrete business, that he would be interested in buying. Both businesses were sold on the first day!
During our small group meeting that week, we all prayed. One of the guys in our group said that, “if God wants you to do something, you can do it the easy way, or the hard way. Right now, God is making it easy.” This is one of the first times I can remember God telling me to do something, and my husband and I obeyed. We obeyed without the need to know why. We moved here, and everything was going fine, but we were missing the connection we had to our church community. For seven years we wandered from one church to another, but never felt the connection that we had with Community Christian Church, in Georgia. At Easter time, in 2013, my husband and I sat at our table and said that we were going to church for Easter services. We felt that we needed to find our church home, and that we had looked long enough. We had two churches in mind, and one of them was The Vineyard (recommended by a friend). We had driven by The Vineyard before, but felt that is was too large to be considerate to our spiritual needs. Oddly, I chose to go to the other church on our list, for no other reason except that it was closer to home. Easter morning, we got in the car to go to services. My husband looked over at me and said that he felt we were supposed to go to The Vineyard. I agreed to go… and when we walked through the door, we immediately felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. We looked at each other and said, “I think we found our home.” We have missed very few services since that day, and have been serving regularly for the past 2 1/2 years. We feel very blessed to part of The Vineyard community. Every day the Holy Spirit leads us into more and more ways that we can grow in faith. Its now been ten years since we obeyed Jesus and moved back home to Minnesota. We are still following Jesus, and letting him lead the way. Why did he bring us here? We still ask that question. But, it doesn’t matter. When it is time for Him to reveal that to us, we will know… or will we?
Terry and Greg Strom