PC150032What do you do when you feel that life has all but passed you by and that all your hopes and dreams seem to have been both stolen or denied based on other peoples choices?

You keep the faith.  You look to the One who called you by name and knows your future and your every tear.  You remind yourself that there is a better day coming even though the storm clouds look darker than the night sky.  You call to mind the promises that God has given – both in His Word and in your personal walk with Him.

It’s no secret that the biggest tragedy of my life occurred just a few short years ago.  My life was suddenly turned upside down and tragically almost everything that I thought was solid in my life, everything that I held dear was ripped out from under me.  Opinions were created and manipulated by people who had a San Ballat spirit. 

I was at a place in my life where I thought that I would never again see the blessings of God in a way that I had seen and had imagined. 

After the move from my previous church, I worked in the fashion industry for some time all the while knowing that God had called me and anointed me for the ministry.  I was, all of a sudden, in a place that meant I had to put into practice many of the lessons and principles that I had preached over many years.  I had to determine in my heart if I was going to trust God with all that I had left and be totally surrendered to Him and His mercy or if I was going to be like so many others and just call the shots myself. 

I chose to do the former.  I chose to put myself into the hands of my loving Heavenly Father and I chose to believe that as I stepped out in faith He would not only pave the way for me, but that He would provide all that He had promised. 

In my willingness to simply serve God and do whatever my hands found to do, I was offered a job driving a truck of thoroughbred horses across the country.  For a man who loves horses, this seemed like a great opportunity.  That was until I had my lessons!  In spite of all my efforts, it became obvious that truck driving was not going to be for me. 

It was during this time that I received a call from the Executive of the South Australian AOG.  They invited me to take on a 6 month interim position at a church in Whyalla (where is Whyalla? I thought!).  In my spirit I felt God quietly, yet distinctly, say to me, “Ted, I wanted to see if you would be willing even to drive trucks for me”.  What an incredibly humbling and exciting revelation.

I found that Whyalla was not only 4 hours from Adelaide but that it was also classed as a desert space!  I was moving from the lush Brisbane lifestyle with my family to the dusty country outback where I knew not a soul.  What on earth was I doing and more to the point, what on earth was God doing?

I moved to Whyalla and my Dad joined me for the first few weeks (I needed someone to talk to!).  Within a few days I was overwhelmed with the realisation of the decision and the move that I had made.  I had not only left a beautiful place, but I had left all that I knew, all who had supported me and encouraged and loved me through my darkest hours.  I had also left behind my most treasured possessions – my boys, Kristan and Harry. 

This affected me dramatically, but my strength, as always, was found in God.  I spent many hours walking and praying and crying out to God, seeking His purpose for bringing me to this seemingly deserted and isolated place.  Very soon I was to discover that God indeed had a plan so much greater and sweeter than I could have ever imagined. 

I had met Kylie when I first arrived in Whyalla – she had set up the house that I was to live in and was partly responsible for bringing me to Whyalla as she was on the church Board.  After a few weeks of watching and listening, I asked her out for coffee.  She went on school camp and we spent the three days texting and getting to know each other.

When she returned, we did go out for coffee.  I told her all of the reasons as to why she should not be interested in me and laid out very clearly all the reasons why we should not pursue a friendship.  I was divorced.  I had 2 children.  I was bald.  I was 42.  I was a minister.  To each thing that I listed, she calmly smiled and told me that none of it was going to sway her from what God had spoken to her heart – I was the man that she had waited for – “the man that God would bring through the doors of a church”.

I was supposed to be in Whyalla for 6 months.  4 weeks into this, Kylie and I were developing a deep friendship and a growing respect.  I had not only fallen in love with Whyalla and the people, but I had fallen in love with a short, brown haired girl with a big smile and a huge love for Jesus. 

I had a miracle from God.  A bitter sweet miracle.  Bitter in that I missed my boys (and still do) terribly.  Sweet in that I had found a woman of character and strength who believes that her purpose is to love me – my soul mate.  That, knowing what I’ve been though, is a miracle of great magnitude.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

It’s not easy, but it is real and it is true.  God knows.  God cares.  God is faithful.

Advertisements