For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:10 RSV

 

Forty years ago this month, we decided to move here. I knew it was the right place…because of fireworks and John Denver.

My husband had been working in the corporate world for five years and doing well but our hearts yearned for the west. We were at a crossroads. Should he take that important job offer from a company in Chicago or follow our dream and start our own business out here? If we did, where should we locate?

We had three criteria: a good university (since his business was scientific), a good airport (since he had to travel) and mountains (so we could do what we loved.) You’d be surprised how few places met all three. Bozeman did.

So, forty years ago, we came out here to see the town, to make the final decision. Yes, I was praying for a Sign, a nudge from God.

It was 4th of July. We’d spent the day driving in from a visit with friends in North Dakota. Our kids, then aged 11 and 9, were complaining that they wouldn’t get to see fireworks. To their delight, when we pulled into the parking lot of our motel, the sky over the Fairgrounds lit up. And the car radio was playing a John Denver song I loved.

I knew it the sign I sought; this was the place. God was granting us our dream.

But then we had to walk it out…and that wasn’t easy. We had to learn to “treasure the dream but trust the Dream Giver.” (Dr. Paul Osteen) It became a test of faith, courage and endurance. We spent many sleepless nights. I sweated the bills every month. We looked bankruptcy square in the face at least once. The long hours, the constant travelling took a toll on our marriage and family life. We even lost that first company and had to start a second one.

Looking back, I know it was worth it. As Joel Osteen writes, “In the unknown is where miracles happen. In the unknown is where you discover ability that you never knew you had. In the unknown is where you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed.”

God kept His promises. His plans for us were good…no matter how difficult things looked at the moment. He gave us a better future than we imagined.

Every time I watch fireworks, I remember. And I’m grateful.

FATHER GOD: You’ve granted us a wonderful life in this beautiful place. How glad and grateful I am. Amen.

First published July 30, 2017