Back in the spring of 2008, my now ex-husband and I were presented with an amazing opportunity to move from Arkansas to Salt Lake City. I felt the Lord’s hand ALL over the details. Every single thing fell right into place. We nearly doubled our salaries, the house we JUST built sold relatively quickly, and a new job fell RIGHT into my lap.
As we were pondering the move out west, I got a call OUT OF THE BLUE from my CompassLearning rep. They were looking for an account executive in the Kansas City area and he thought I would be a perfect fit for the role IF I would be willing to move to Kansas City. When I explained we were nearly certain we were moving out to Salt Lake, he quickly said, “We’ll hire you and you can live in Salt Lake!” I literally about fell out of my chair. Here we were moving across the country and I had a job offer before I even left Arkansas! And before we had really even told our parents we were moving! At the time, I was an assistant principal in El Dorado and just assumed I would look for an administrator job in Utah, continuing along the path of school leadership. Never did I dream of leaving public education and going to work for a software company! But the offer was too good and since I had been a CompassLearning customer for the 7 years prior, it was a perfect fit! I was already familiar with the organization and a lot of the field based team. So I jumped.
The way everything fell right into place was completely unbelievable and obviously had God’s hand all over it. I don’t remember being scared in the least but only crazy excited about the new adventure in front of us. We could snow ski every weekend for cryin’ out loud!!!!
Little did I know that in 6 short months after the move to Salt Lake City, the beginnings of an affair started the unraveling of my marriage.
Along with my new job, came weekly airplane travel. It was incredibly exhilarating and I thrived in my new sales role. Each Monday morning (sometimes Sunday evening), I would hop on a plane over to Denver (sometimes Casper, Gillette, or Cody, WY or Oklahoma or Arkansas or wherever I was working that week) and return home Friday evening. It wasn’t the ideal situation (for a marriage) but we had a massive mortgage and you have work your fanny off to keep up with the Joneses, yes? So it was worth it, right?
On July 5th, 2009 my world came to a screeching halt when my ex-husband shared some news that rocked me to core. News I never saw coming. News that was supposed to happen to OTHER people! Not ME! News that would take me into a pit so deep, I begged God to take my life. I couldn’t see a way out. My storybook life, my ‘perfect’ world, had just become my worst nightmare.
I cursed Utah. I cursed leaving Arkansas. I even cursed God.
Why Lord, WHY? You SAW this would happen and yet you let EVERY DETAIL fall into place for this move?!? You increased our income exponentially and gave me a new job I love! I don’t understand!!! God, you KNOW I won’t survive this. God, if you had NEVER allowed us to move to Utah, I would still have my marriage. This wouldn’t be happening!!! I just want my life back!!
It was OBVIOUSLY a BIG MISTAKE to have moved to Utah.
The next few months were a blur. THANK JESUS I had a job where I didn’t have to “report” to an office or a classroom each day at 8 am. I remember working from home for about 2 weeks. I remember spending HOURS on my face, FLAT on the floor, crying out to God. I repeated the conversation above with Him OVER and OVER and OVER. Why God, why??? You could have prevented this!
You know, it’s funny… Life shifts us into OUR Plan B, when it was God’s Plan A all along. Of course, He didn’t create the circumstances surrounding the failure of my marriage, but He was already holding my heart on my wedding day because He KNEW what I would face 12 years down the road. He was divinely placing people and circumstances in my path all along those years to prepare me for this very moment.
Take my friend, Lori who I met in a bible study in 2002… She had walked the SAME path I was forced to now walk. I NEVER dreamed in 2002 I would need to reach out to her for DAILY sustenance and spiritual guidance just to simply function. When I cried to her and told her how I wished we had NEVER moved to Utah, her response was priceless. She said, “Sara, it didn’t matter if you were in Utah or Arkansas. If there was evil in his heart, it would have manifested no matter where you lived.” And then suddenly, I began to realize it wasn’t Utah’s fault I was in this boat. It just happened to be the location where Satan chose to drop a proverbial bomb on my marriage.
Then, I would blame myself. I should NEVER have taken a job that forced me to be away from home on a weekly basis. If I would have been present, this NEVER would have happened. But THEN, I started to understand…God provided me with my amazing job at precisely the right time because He SAW what was coming. He wanted me to be able to fully provide for myself and also enjoy my work. He hooked me up because He KNEW!
I could just cry as I type this. Who am I that He is mindful of ME? He loves me SO much that he started preparing me YEARS in advance for the greatest trial of my life.
Over 7 years down the road from that fateful day, I continue to marvel at the goodness of God. He truly has paid me back double for my trouble in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE (just as He did for Job).
My friend Lori told me about the book Wrecked by Jeff Goins. I read it and it changed my life. I followed Jeff on Twitter and ended up in Guatemala with him and 20 other strangers and fell in love with a country and a people who desperately need the hope of Jesus. I just returned from my fifth Guatemala trip and would go MORE if my schedule allowed. I have friends there that are family and I love them with every ounce of my being. I have a precious sponsor daughter I get to SEE and HOLD every year and bathe her with the promises of Jesus for her future. Random or divine? If I wouldn’t have moved to Utah, this never would have happened…
On that first trip, I made THE most amazing, lifelong friends. Friends I could call and they would get on an airplane with a moment’s notice and fly to wherever I needed them. Friends that encourage me and love me right where I am.
My career has continued to grow and thrive and I LOVE what I do SO SO much! The Lord began preparing me around age 6 when I was determined to be a teacher. (I basically turned my grandmother’s spare bedroom into a full classroom complete with chalkboard, gradebook, bulletin boards and a teacher’s desk. I played school EVERY afternoon once I got off the bus.) I still travel weekly and I can’t imagine doing anything else! I’m so in love with my company, my customers and the large number of students I get to serve EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I often have to pinch myself because I can’t believe this is my life! Random or divine? If I wouldn’t have moved to Utah, this never would have happened…
I’m not the same person I was in 2009. I was a “things girl” back then, and REALLY loved to keep up with the Joneses. No one knew of the struggle in my marriage for nearly two years because I was afraid of admitting my life wasn’t a fairy tale (because that’s what everyone thought). I SO LOVE the person I am now (boasting ONLY in Christ for His mercy and grace). The Joneses? Furthest thing from my thoughts. What you see is what you get. No desire to please anyone other than my Father. And honestly yes, my life is pretty awesome right now. The Lord is fulfilling some crazy, awesome dreams (one He placed on my heart in 4th grade) and is TOTALLY making good on ALL of His promises. I am more content than EVER before in my life. Random or divine? If I wouldn’t have moved to Utah, this never would have happened…
So moving to Utah? IT WAS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME! It took YEARS for me to see things from this perspective. It took buckets of tears, hours upon hours of prayer, hundreds of books read, counseling sessions, a life coach and a LOT of hard work. By the grace of God, I have conquered the greatest ‘mistake’ of my life and have watched it yield the greatest blessings imaginable. My pain has been redeemed. I am filled with abundant joy like I’ve never known. And I’m grateful on top of grateful for every single thing above zero. He who holds my heart sustaineth me.
From the bottom of my heart, Utah…thank you.
If you are walking through a trial, please be encouraged and know the Lord is already there! He’s not surprised or caught off guard. He SAW everything you would walk through and is equipping you for victory! Take a moment to reflect on your life. What opportunities or connections has the Lord placed in your path for THIS moment in time? Are you grabbing ahold of them? Don’t miss a blessing because you are focused on a mistake. I’d love to hear YOUR story of how a mistake turned into a blessing OR how you STILL struggle with a mistake. If you feel led, please share in the comments below.