Following God’s Call to Gothenburg

By Julie Czochara

YMCA of Gothenburg Health, Branch Executive Director

Have you ever had to start over from the ground up? That means selling or giving up every material possession except the necessities and leaving family, jobs, relationships and everything you held dear behind to start something new.

I have done this three times! I am not saying this for any kudos or that poor girl or anything like that. I am saying this because sometimes if you listen, there is a call on your life that is so much bigger than what we see in the natural.

In May 1981, I was newly married and ready to be a wife and hopefully mother someday. It was planned before our wedding that we would leave New York and head west to the Bay Area of California. My new husband had a job as a race car mechanic, and I would find a job when I got there. It was all set. Everything we had was packed in a small Chevy Monza, and we towed the smallest U-Haul trailer they had. It was exciting until it was real and we were on the road.

I was scared to death, but I never said anything for fear that my new husband would be disappointed with me. So I smiled and made my way, got a good job and it was all wonderful until it wasn’t. I was great on the outside but struggled on the inside. So I did the only thing I knew at the time and medicated with drugs and alcohol.

Two years later, I suffered the loss of my mother along with a tragedy that would change my life forever.  Sometimes, however, tragedies change you for the better. This tragedy caused me to trust Christ as my Savior. I stopped drinking and doing drugs and developed a relationship with my sister that is a friendship like no other. Fast forward six more years and a daughter is born, infidelity strikes and divorce happens. Trusting God was not easy in these times, but it was crucial and I knew it.

So again, selling all we had except one suitcase of clothes and a couple of boxes of memories, my daughter and I set out to leave the life we loved in California to move back to New York. The first move and second move were much different. The first time I left New York to serve my husband. The second time I left California to move back home and follow a calling that God had placed on my heart.

And now as a single parent with a 5-year-old, we ventured back to New York to be with family. I had no car, no job, and we had no home of our own. We lived with my sister and life continued. It was a struggle but we were at peace with God, and I knew that he would take care of us. We found a church, I got a good job, we moved into our own apartment. God is good, God is faithful and life continued.

Nine years go by, and I was comfortable as a single parent (I never dated by the way). I go on my first date with a co-worker and 11 months later we were married. We buy a house, we start a successful business and send my daughter off to college! We decided that we are now ready to move someplace warm like Florida. We sell our business, we put our house on the market and then, a job opportunity comes up in of all places Gothenburg Nebraska. WHAT!

I had been asked several times over two years to take a position at the YMCA of the Prairie, but I said a heartfelt NO! Funny thing though, when God says yes something happens and all I could hear was a little voice that said, “Here I am Lord, send me.”  So goodbye warm Florida and hello Nebraska! We sold everything but just a few items to sustain us, and here we are exactly 5 years later in the exact place that God has called us to for such a time as this!

Like everyone else, my story has so much more, but we will save that for next time. Until then, “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” — Proverbs 3:56

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