After eight years calling Portland home, Dieneke and her husband, Brandon, are taking the long way back to the “mitten”–more precisely, Michigan–to start a new life in their hometown of Kalamazoo. By “long way,” I mean that they are stopping by at Lassen, Yosemite, Death Valley, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon before parking in Kalamazoo at the end of this month.
If you have spent any time with Dieneke and Brandon, you know how much they will be missed in our Grace family. But if you have heard any of the details surrounding their move back to Michigan, you will also know how assuredly God has arranged everything for them. Kalamazoo is just the place he has prepared for them in the next chapter of their life together.
I always knew that returning to the Midwest was part of Dieneke and Brandon’s 10-year plan, but God surprisingly turned that into a 2-1/2 month plan! While Dieneke was with her family in Kalamazoo this summer, she received an unexpected call from a former employer offering her a job. The details rapidly fell into place. It was so much more than Dieneke ever imagined would happen, and in many ways was an answer to the increasingly courageous prayers she has been praying this year.
On her last Sunday at Grace, Dieneke described some of the things she has learned in the last few months. God provides for every detail, even the small things we don’t think of on our own. All of these details come together for the bigger work God is doing in and through us. Dieneke has learned not to make such long-term plans–God often changes them! Instead, we must focus on the day-to-day in front of us, pray boldly for miracles only God can do, then wait for him to do his work. He will do it! This was proved to Dieneke in the way God so beautifully wrapped up their time in Portland and made a way for her and Brandon to return to Michigan.
We never know what is happening behind-the-scenes when we call on God to intervene in our lives. There is usually more than one person involved in the puzzles we seek God’s help in. Dieneke was a wonderful answer to my prayers for a friend in the last few years. Saying goodbye last week was very sad for me, and I know many in our church will be missing Dieneke’s warmth, wisdom and friendship. But I’m certain that Dieneke and Brandon’s move back to Michigan is a wonderful answer to their families’ prayers. Who knows–maybe there is someone in Kalamazoo who has been praying for a friend, and they are about to be blessed incredibly by a beautiful friend named Dieneke!
Isn’t God so kind in the ways he generously meets each one of us in all our needs? We are grateful to him for the good work he has done in and through Dieneke in her five years at Grace, and we are praising him with her for his leading back to Michigan.
Dieneke and Brandon, we love you and look forward to hearing good things from your new life in Kalamazoo!