As I reflect on my faith journey that I began as a little girl, I am reminded of a loving, always present, good, good father. If faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, then I trust that the only one I can put hope or faith in, is Jesus. He is the only hope that never lets me down. He, alone, gives me the assurance about the things I cannot see. He has never left my side. I have journeyed through many seasons with ease and I have also encountered many seasons that have encouraged great growth and endurance in my faith.
One of these great, faith-building seasons began in 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. I was working as a nurse and my husband, Skyler, was an assistant principal. We lived an hour and a half from my family, were deeply rooted in our church, loved our house and neighborhood, and our oldest daughter, Elsie, was in Kindergarten. By early Spring that year, Skyler’s job was in jeopardy due to budget cuts, doors were closing in Tucson, and in an adventurous spirit, Skyler started looking outside of Tucson for jobs. In a whirlwind of five weeks, Skyler was selected as a new principal in the Canby school district. We were moving from sunny Arizona to – where is Canby, Oregon? I had never even visited Oregon before!
Throughout this following season, I was on my knees as the journey unfolded, asking over and over for more faith and hope. It is now easier to look back and see that my faith was encouraged and strengthened in so many ways. Here are quite a few examples:
When we encountered trouble finding a place to rent in Oregon because of our two dogs, in faith, we packed up anyway. A week before we arrived, our realtor found us a cute rental house on a Filbert orchard.
When we had to make all new, local friends, because we didn’t know anyone here in Oregon, in faith, we prayed for friends. On our third day in Oregon, we met Trista, a mom I recognized from the school visit, who had little ones our girls’ age. She took me under her wing, introduced me to amazing new friends, and helped settle us into the area. We are still deeply rooted and connected to this community of amazing families.
When our house in Tucson wasn’t selling and the market was declining rapidly, in faith, we prayed for favor. When we had to keep lowering the price, took a huge financial hit, and paid both our mortgages and rent for eight months, in faith, we prayed for provision and finances. God provided us with a buyer AND a bigger house on more acreage than we thought we could find and afford. We love our home and we don’t take it for granted, but use it to bless others.
When Skyler had to stop driving 16 months after moving here, due to blindness from a genetic eye disease, in faith, we prayed for healing. And in faith, we see how God moved us near Portland, where the one most promising research study is taking place on Skyler’s rare eye disorder. In faith, we also see and praise the Lord that we live on mile from the school where he works and God continues to provided transportation help, as needed. In faith, we still pray for complete healing.
When faced with my hope for more children and the discouragement and sadness from two miscarriages in March 2011 and March 2012, in faith, we stepped out and went through the foster care classes. Franklin, our first newborn, arrived 10 days after my second miscarriage. Then, while caring for our second newborn, I got pregnant with Kinzie, our third daughter – and she is a joy! We continue to foster.
When faced with replacing our church family, in faith, we prayed for a new church home. We tried many churches the first few months in Oregon. One day in October 2010, I saw some pictures from a trip to Rwanda that one of Skyler’s staff members had taken. I found out she attended Grace Chapel. We came and have never left. God provided a new church family, many new friends, and a place we can partner in ministry.
In faith, I can look back and see how I didn’t know what was around each corner, but God did.
I can see how I depended so intimately on God’s direction and provision as I was pushed beyond my comfort zone. In faith and obedience, God expanded my ministry capacity while I reprioritized and built in margin to invest in others. Most importantly and in faith, God put me in proximity with those He has called me into relationship with. I needed to be fully reliant on him without knowing how it would all play out. I just had to trust. I had to keep walking even when it was scary, yet I never felt alone. I always knew that no matter what, Jesus was there and that was all I ever needed.
Nikki Rudolph, her husband, Skyler, and three daughters, Elsie, Jolie and Kinzie, have attended Grace Chapel for seven years. Nikki partners in Groups ministry and Kidventure. Her family lives on a farm in Hubbard and she loves to cook, bake, garden, read – and is crazy about babies!