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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This post is part of the September blog chain with Our theme for the month of September is “Coming Home.” Please visit the links in the right column to see what my friends have to say about “Coming Home.”


Twenty years ago we left our home in New York, packed up a house and two young children and headed west. Jim and I had lived in California when we first married, but since then we had acquired 13 years of marriage and two small New Yorkers.  

We had no idea where we would land in California; only that we wanted to return and begin the process of once again making a home, closer this time, to our family members we had left on the west coast. 

We soon found that—amid a declining real estate market—a group of new homes were being auctioned for sale. That seemed like a novelty. No real estate agents; no dragging young children through endless homes, keeping their hands off the tantalizing possessions of home owners.

Eleven empty, brand new homes were available to look at, bid on and move into. All were in a neighborhood in the small town of Rocklin—barely important enough for an exit off the freeway between Sacramento and Reno.

But was Rocklin where God wanted us to be? Was Rocklin where God wanted us to raise little Douglas James and Nicole Taylor? 

Amid the anxiety of moving small children cross-country; looking at homes in a town we knew nothing about; and having to make a decision within a few days, I was a wreck! I stressed and stewed; fretted, frowned, and ground my teeth. Then, the night before the auction, I did something novel.

I prayed…leaving it all to God; asking that He would make His desires completely clear to us.

The next morning, we left for the auction. I was at ease. We didn’t have clear direction. Rather, we headed for the auction not knowing if we would even bid on a house; much less get one. But I was at ease because I had released the worry to God.

In the car, I told Jim that I had prayed over the decision. Then I confessed I had also asked God to give me a “sign;” something to indicate His will in the matter.  Jim proceeded to tease me about wanting signs from God, but I could tell he was relieved to see me so relaxed after my uncertainty of the previous days.  

We decided to drive past the homes one more time before heading to the auction. As we neared our turnoff, I began to pay attention to the freeway exits. 

“Atlantic Avenue,” I read aloud. 

“Hey, it’s a sign!” said Jim. 

Still hoping for a clear indication from God, I asked, “You mean, it’s a sign from God because we’re moving here from the Atlantic coast?”  

“No,” Jim answered. “I just meant that it’s a sign—you know—a freeway sign.” 

I laughed and decided not to take things so seriously. 

Then we saw the next freeway exit sign before our exit. The enormous green sign declared:  

Douglas Boulevard

Taylor Road.

Jim and I stopped laughing abruptly. These two exits reflected the names of our two children: Douglas James and Nicole Taylor. 

God didn’t give us a sign. Rather, He threw freeway exit signs in front of us at 65 miles per hour.

When we arrived at the auction, we purchased a home within 45 seconds of bidding, never hesitating, never worrying that we had made a horrible mistake.

We lived in that home for 12 years before moving three-quarters of a mile away to our present home in Rocklin. This year we celebrate 20 years as Rocklin-ites and thank God for bringing us to this place, filled with lifelong friendships, a church filled with faithful believers and two decades of joyful living. 

Jesus told us that “Unless you people see signs and wonders…you will never believe.” (John 4:48)

But throughout the Bible God does show His people signs and wonders. Did God give me a “sign” or were those freeway exits a coincidence?

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I gave up my worry and asked God to guide our decision. He did.

And it was good.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding us. Thank you for providing us with the strength and understanding to see where you want us to go—whether by signs and wonders or the gentle leading of our hearts. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you ever felt that God had given you a clear sign directing your life?


Dave Pardoe said...

Wait, so you named your kids after road signs? :-)

Great post, I love seeing how God can bring even the smallest items in as indicators. Just think He had those road signs put in long before you thought about moving, He knew you would need them back then.

Linda Yezak said...

What a wonderful story! The only way God could have made it clearer to you is if He'd spoken audibly to you and your husband as you were driving.

Isn't it comforting to leave everything to Him?!

Cindee Snider Re said...

These "Coming Home" stories are so heartwarming! Thank you for another great post, Carol! I love the way God "speaks" to us in ways we cannot mistake, ways that stop us in the moment and let us know that He is there, that He is God, willing and able to direct our steps as we're willing and able to listen and follow. Blessings to you!

Victor Travison said...

You have a unique method for finding real estate! Congratulations on following God's "signs" to your dream home.

~ VT

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Dave, Linda, Cindee & VT - thanks for the comments. The "signs" truly were encouraging. But the lesson learned was to give it up in prayer.

MGalloway said...

Fun least the signs didn't say "Wrong Way" or "Do Not Enter". :-)

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Mike -- LOL! Now those would have been SIGNS!

Shawneda Marks said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it. Great reminder to pray and leave it all to God.

chris vonada said...

Carol, this is awesome, I thoroughly enjoyed your story!!

Ok, to answer your question... yes, just yesterday in fact! You may recall I wrote about "Showering God with Glory, Gracedrops and the Puddles of Blessings" ... I wrote this the night before, and in the morning ran through a pleasant rainshower with a beautiful full rainbow out in the distance ahead of me... as if He Himself was encouraging me forward. Truly miracles NEVER cease!!

Adam Collings said...

This was a great story. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Carol.

From Carol's Quill said...

Thanks Shawneda and Adam.

@ Chris - running through a rainbow? Yes, extra puddles of blessings.

lynnmosher said...

Oh, how I love it when God drops little nuggets of confirmation in our paths! And prayer always takes us the Father. So glad you found home and love it! Great post, Carol!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Lynn - thanks! God leads us home.

Tracy Krauss said...

Sometimes the signs aren't obvious and sometimes they are ... like you said, you'll never really know for sure, but the point is well made that we must release it to God.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Tracy - you got it, girlfriend. Release it and trust God.

Jack Brown said...

God is soooo good...
keep on trusting Him.

biiiig hug


Sheila Odom Hollinghead said...

Great story, Carol! I didn't tell the whole story of my moving on my blog, but I dreamed I was going to Montgomery and got lost. I stopped at a gas station and asked the attendant, "I'm lost. Do you know how to get to Montgomery?" The man said, "Why do you want to move to Montgomery? Opp is right down the road and everything you want is in Opp." The next morning I told my mom, "We're moving to Opp."

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Jack - thanks for the hug.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Sheila - Welcome to Opp! Great story.

Jami said...

Sometimes I think "signs" are God's confirmation to us so that we know that we're definitely headed in the direction that He's wanting us to go.

Thanks for sharing your story, Carol. It's a good reminder to just "let go, and let God"!!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Jami - well said!

Christine Henderson said...

Right now we're waiting for a sign as to what house to rent in Texas. The house hunt with us being together only by phone and internet isn't going as smoothly as planned. Hopefully, the green lights will shine brightly tomorrow.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Chris - Glad you made it to Texas safely. California misses you.

Nona King said...

When God wants us at a place, things rock, roll, and shake, don't they? For me, though, He likes taking his time and working on my patience and trust. But oh the blessings after!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Nona -- sounds like God's shakin' things up in Washington, too!