Last night I had trouble sleeping. A hymn kept going through my head. As I lay there I was singing, in my head, “He Leadeth me, He Leadeth me, By His own hands He leadeth me, a faithful follower I would be for by His hand He leadeth me.
Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
I kept thinking of the decision we made, as a family, to come to the Pacific Northwest. Looking back I can see clearly the hand of God leading us.
In the spring of 1975 we knew that Howdy would be retiring from the United States Marine Corps after 22 years of service. We had several choices to make as to where we would move next and settle down. Howdy had talked to John and Ann Gimenez of Rock Church in Norfolk, Virginia and they wanted us to settle there. We knew that Joe Roe wanted us down in Gulfport, Mississippi. Then there was Hawaii. We were very involved with Grace Bible Church on Oahu. We had even bought a house in Kaneohe, Hawaii. We could also stay in the Quantico area and live near Manassas, Virginia. We were attending Community Baptist Church and the pastor Aubry Sanders wanted us to stay and help him. Once while visiting Howdy’s parents in Triadelphia, West Virginia, we attended their church, Roney’s Point Presbyterian Church. Howdy was asked by one of the members if he might come back there and lead them. It was not an official letter of intent but a friendly, “Howdy, I’ve heard you preach and we need you here.” Then way out in left field was Portland, Oregon.
We sat at that dining room table all 5 of us, Howdy, our three sons, Tus, Mark, Chris and me. Howdy had his yellow legal pad with all of our choices written in columns. He went over the different choices we had. All three of our sons shared how they did not want to go back to Hawaii, to many problems with the schools, not back to Virginia Beach, been there, did that. Not Mississippi, to many bugs and to hot. Not here near Quantico. Then they all said,” Portland, Oregon, why don’t we go there.” We had never been to Portland let alone the Pacific Northwest. We had met Dick Iverson of Bible Temple when he was in Hawaii. We knew they had Portland Bible College and Howdy could go on the G.I. Bill.
So Portland it would be. I wrote to Sylva “Mom” Iverson and asked for a catalog to the college. In a few short days we received the catalog with all the paperwork that was needed for his enrollment. As Howdy read the PBC catalog he began to weep, it was then that I knew it was the Lord and we had made the right choice. The registrar had begun the process for all to go smoothly. The rest is history.
Psalms 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way.”
I think back as to how the Lord has ordered our steps, how He has led us all the way. Howdy and I both came from West Virginia. He had entered the Marines, did duty overseas in Okinawa and Japan. We married, had our sons and now we were embarking on a new adventure. Off to a new city, new state, new church, new friends and new schooling.
The Lord had and still does order our steps. I don’t like to think of what my life would be like if we had gone to another place. No, this was the place the Lord meant for us to be. I am so happy and at peace knowing that my life and times are directed by the Lord.
Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”