Bible reading used to be a chore for me. I tried numerous times to read through the Bible in its entirety, but I’d always get stuck by an Old Testament book that either bored me or confused me. That all changed when I did the Seamless Bible study written by Angie Smith. Through the study I came to realize that the Bible fits together seamlessly. Every verse has a purpose and it all points to Jesus. This completely changed my motivation for reading Scripture, and I love to read my Bible now more than ever. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to look back and recognize that God has pieced my life together seamlessly as well, and just as with the Bible, it all points to Jesus.
As I reflect on our move to El Dorado, I can see God was guiding me from the very start. Throughout my life I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with moving to new places. I was born in Ohio but then spent my elementary years in Kansas and my junior high and high school years in Missouri. I met my husband in Oklahoma where we both attended the University of Tulsa. After graduation we moved to Maryland for a few years, then back to Oklahoma. In Oklahoma I finished up my master’s degree in elementary education and taught a couple of years before becoming pregnant with our first child. Soon after our daughter was born, we moved to Michigan. Our son was born a year later, and I was so blessed to be able to stay home with them. When we’d been living in Detroit for a handful of years, I started to get a real yearning in my heart to move to the South. Something about the slower pace and warmth of the people really began to appeal to me. In contrast to the busy, fast-paced city life, I found myself wanting to raise our children in a small town. With all of the opportunities that Detroit offered my family, I felt like the most important thing was missing. Christ was not the center of our home or our community. I knew in my heart that a move south would draw us nearer to Him, which seemed much more important than what any nationally ranked school or abundance of extracurricular activities could give my children.
Not long after God had stirred my heart, an opening became available to us in McAlister, Oklahoma. My husband was born and raised in Tulsa so this seemed perfect for us. We were so excited, and I was already picking out a house online. However, what looked perfect to us was not God’s plan for our family. When the opening was taken by someone else, my husband and I were so disappointed. We kept looking for opportunities though, and when my husband sent me a text that simply said, “El Dorado, AR?” I was excited to see what Google had to say about the town. The proximity to family was much better than our current location, and I thought the small town and pine trees sounded wonderful, not to mention it was definitely in the South! Much to the surprise of our friends and neighbors, we moved our family to southern Arkansas.
The blessings have been abundant since we moved here. I got a job at West Side and was able to bring my children along with me. My family cherishes this school so much. What an amazing blessing it is! At West Side we draw closer to God every day through prayer, scripture memorization and Bible stories. Our new church has been a blessing too. At our old church, we were outside looking in. What a change it is, to feel like your church is your family and your home. I have become involved with the Children’s ministry, where I love to serve. However, the biggest change has been with my husband. Since moving here he’s been on a mission trip, become a “Stephen” minister, and has continued to say “yes” anytime there’s an opportunity to serve. In every aspect of our lives, God has drawn us closer to Himself. Our home has a different feel now; God has pieced together our life so beautifully and Christ is at the center. I am so glad we took a leap of faith and followed His will all the way down to southern Arkansas.