My Life Felt Purposeless, Then God Moved
Jennifer, Wisconsin, USA
[as told to Then God Moved editor Adira Polite]
Seven years ago, I realized I wanted to do more than make money to pay the bills. Like many, I wanted my life to matter. Around the same time, I became hyper-aware of God’s command that believers live by faith. While reading Scripture, I was struck by His displeasure with the children of Israel, who continually doubted God’s ability to provide for them. In Psalms 81:16, God said He would have fed them “the finest of wheat,” had they trusted Him.
Of course, I believed that God could provide. But, I was leading the quintessential, I-have-it-all-figured-out American life. If I encountered a problem, I turned to myself, my parents, or my friends. I wasn’t giving God room to provide. And I wanted to! I wanted to be able to tell others, “Hey, I have a story that proves that my God does the impossible.”
So, I started praying for a chance to live by faith. I’d been praying for some time when I saw a friend’s Facebook status: “Anyone interested in an overseas job? Message me.” I went for it. “It’s teaching English in Moscow, Russia,” she replied. “Can I give my boss your information?” I said yes. The next day, I received an email from her boss: “Hannah says you’re coming to Moscow and want to teach. When will you be here?”
My nerves kicked in. Russia seemed bigger and scarier than the adventure I’d envisioned. Fortunately, I eventually realized that this was the answer to my prayer. Here was my opportunity to depend on God for everything. I got some pushback from my family, but I knew that this was what God wanted. So, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Moscow.
The faith training began immediately. The guy who offered me the job stopped communicating with me once the visa process began. My missionary friends encouraged me to go anyway and I did; I boarded that flight on total faith with no job lined up at all! It was crazy. But God is so faithful. He took such good care of me. And I ended up loving it. I still love Russia so much.
I prayed pretty much non-stop during my year there. I had to! Life in Russia was a 180-degree turn from the life I’d known before. There were so many issues that I couldn’t even begin to work out on my own and He always provided.
For instance, a few weeks before I was set to leave Russia, my job ceased unexpectedly, leaving me unable to pay my bills. But of course, God came through with a one-day job that covered all of my remaining costs. He did incredible things like that on a regular basis. And He also answered even the simplest prayers, like “I have no clue where this building is, can you help me find it?”
Honestly, I really miss those God moments; it’s harder to find them these days. There’s so much “noise” around me here in America. That said, I’ll never return to the American way of life. I don’t want the I-have-it-all-figured-out lifestyle. I don’t want to trust myself over God. Why should I? I’ve seen for myself that God can do anything; not just for the people of the Bible, but for me, today. And I also know that He’s pleased when we depend on Him. God wants to take care of us. And He will — if we let Him.
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Jennifer (@jenmariephotog) is a freelance photographer in Wisconsin, USA. View her portfolio at jennifermariedunlopphotography.com.