The Journey back to France: From Gentle Nudges to Answered Prayers
God’s Gentle Nudges Begin
I had a great job with the State. I was in an amazing location that I loved. I was making a positive impact to my community and I could stay there for another 15 years perfectly content. In 2017, my daughter, Iris, was heading to a semester abroad at a London university. It was a great opportunity for me to show her my favorite spots from when I lived in Europe. It was a side of me she had not really seen before. So, off we went. I was overwhelmed when we arrived in France that I was back in Europe. I had promised myself and God that I would return, but I had forgotten that vow in the years that passed. To my astonishment, I was greeted by locals in France and Belgium who told me I spoke beautiful French. I thought they must be crazy since it had been so very long since I used the language. This was my first nudge.
I shared my favorite spots and memories with Iris. We eventually made our way to my old house in Wavre, Belgium where I lived when I served on the church planting team. Interestingly, that house was for sale. My daughter immediately told me “Mom, you need to move back!” This stopped me in my tracks and I thought that I had, indeed, said I would move back someday. But I had a daughter in college and it wasn’t the time. My daughter continued to campaign throughout the rest of the trip pointing out houses and saying how she could see me living in that house.
Back home, I was driving Uber in addition to my State job to pay my daughter’s tuition bill. I started having people in my car that, when they heard I was fluent in French, asked me what I was doing here, in Wyoming. That was a very good question and, I’m afraid, I didn’t have a good answer.
Then came a conversation about retirement with my Dutch supervisor. When I mentioned going someplace cheap like Thailand or Singapore, she responded that she felt I needed to “go where it feels like home.” Well, for me, that is French speaking Europe. Looking back, I can see I was slowly getting nudged closer and closer to heading back.
The nudges and discussion with my supervisor got me thinking. Maybe I should look for a place in France. But surely, I can’t afford anything, right? I decided I would see what the real estate market was like. To my surprise, I found it was something I could afford. I narrowed down the region and found 3 houses to go to visit. In February 2019, I booked a trip for house hunting. I found a great house with lots of space to do an Airbnb. I thought I could go and be a “life witness” to God by getting involved in the community and ministering to the people where I lived. I had done that before.
I woke up at 2am that morning thinking that the house I just viewed had so much potential, I had to write out an offer. So there I sat, writing out my offer in an email to the French agent at 2am.
The next morning I received a call from the agent. There was a minor negotiation and the offer was accepted. After the acceptance, the agent told me “It’s a good thing you sent an offer at 2am because I had another offer at 8 o’clock when I got to my office. “ Closing was set for the first week in July.
Knowing I would not want to remain in Wyoming when I own a house in France, I turned in my resignation with the State in May. My last day was going to be June 14, 2019. My house was also sold at the same time. I was pretty much ready to go. I figured I would stay to work Uber at the executive level with my top tier money-making Cadillac until September to save up money for the move. God had other plans. The day after I turned in my resignation that car -all of 2 years old- literally blew up. My dependance was in the wrong place.
So now what do I do? Not having that income would make it impossible to get the cash to close on the house in July and I had made a commitment. God provided the funds I was short through a friend and my church. I flew back to Nashville to pick up my daughter’s car so I could continue driving. It wasn’t executive level, but it was something.
Doubts and the Cry to God
My resignation was effective June 14h. My entire purpose for going was to serve God in France. But even after seeing God’s hand in the amazing events that led up to the house, around June 7th, I found myself doubting this direction. I questioned myself saying “What am I doing? I have an excellent job in a great place working with great people. I could stay here and be perfectly happy for many years. Now I am stepping into uncertainty and I have no idea what I should be doing.” That night after agonizing for some time, I laid it in God’s hands and asked Him to “show me what it is that I should be doing.”
Amazing Answers to Prayer
The next morning, I awakened to the overwhelming obsession that I needed to call my old mission board, Greater Europe Mission, back. As soon as they opened, I called. Thank God the lady who answered the phone didn’t disregard my call as being just some “crazy woman” on the phone! I told her: “ This is probably going to be the strangest call you are going to receive. I used to be a missionary with Greater Europe Mission. I just bought a house in France and was praying for God to show me what He wanted me to be doing last night. This morning I woke up with the overwhelming obsession to call you.” I continued “I have no idea why I am calling, but here I am.”
Luckily she ran with it. She referred me to others in the organization and it eventually made its way to France and the Camp of the Peaks (Camp des Cimes). I received an introductory email from the team leader there. He had been given my information to provide housing for a different project. I responded by email with what I did while in Europe before and what I have done since that time. I immediately got a request to set up a Skype call.
What an amazing conversation that was! Come to find out, the team at the Camp had been praying and were in desperate need of someone with my skills, who already knew French! The team leader continued saying the team was doubting that they could find anyone. Then, he said “you come falling from the sky!” He said “If nothing else, this is a huge lesson in faith for my team.”
What an amazing testimony to God listening and answering prayers! He heard all of our prayers from both sides of he Atlantic and somehow, in some miraculous way, brought us together. After discussions with the Central Office and field leader, it was decided that I should come back in full missionary status to serve at the Camp. More to come as the journey continues!
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
”I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. “