In the Old Testament of the Bible, God often encouraged people to remember the great miracles and signs He had done. He would encourage Israelites to have different feasts and celebrate His goodness for the generations to come. And that’s something God still wants us to do, as contemporary Christians.
So I thought I’d share our story of how God worked in our life in this past year and how He has grown us through that. If you don’t know our story, James and I got married in May of 2017. James is from the US and I am from Ukraine. But at the time of our dating and engagement I was living in Germany, as I was attending university there.
Since James finished his college degree in May of 2017 in the US and I was still in the middle of my degree in Germany, we thought it would be best if James moved to Germany following our wedding in May of 2017. We were also praying about it and felt like that’s what God wanted us to do.
James took German courses in his last year of college to prepare for Germany, and he intended to continue learning the language when he arrived.
Since I was a student and not a German citizen, James could not get his residence permit to live in Germany based on being my spouse. The only other options he had were to either get a residence permit with the purpose of working in Germany or with the purpose of learning German or studying in Germany.
Since his German was still at a lower-intermediate level and we figured knowing German would be helpful with getting work, we thought it would be best for him to use the time to learn German and then start working afterwards. So James enrolled in intensive German courses in Berlin.
A few months passed and 2018 was just around the corner. James had reached upper intermediate level of German by that time and started actively searching for work. He sent out applications along with his cover letter for jobs in Berlin.
James graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors, the highest possible grade, in Economics from West Virginia University. Being a native English speaker, he had learned German to fluency in just over a year. And his resume showed many scholarships and different awards he had received for academic excellence.
2018 came, but we didn’t hear any positive replies for some time, even though he was actively applying for jobs. They didn’t even offer him a single interview! We both started to get really discouraged. It seemed like every new application he sent out was pointless, since it seemed like no matter what we did, we couldn’t get any traction in the job search.
During the whole process we were praying for a job for James and asked our family and friends to pray too.
James got really discouraged about finding work in Germany, especially considering that all of his connections were in the US. Finally, James said that if by the end of February 2018 he didn’t get anything, he would seriously consider moving back to the US in a few months. Also, James’ language learning visa was about to end in a few months too, so unless he found a job in Berlin, he wouldn’t be allowed to stay in Germany anyway.
The only problem was, it would take at least a year for me to get a wife visa to be able to come to the US with James. And I still had a year of my university before I would get my degree. So we would have to do long distance for about a year under that plan.
I was really scared of that happening. We had already done long distance for one and a half years before getting married. I didn’t want to go through that again. It was really hard. Just thinking of having to do long distance again would make me really sad. We were still newlyweds at the time!
So I started praying even harder, as I knew that it was God who brought us together in the first place! Why would He separate us now in our first year of marriage?
Finally, when it was almost February and James still didn’t have a job, we decided to share what was happening with our church family in Berlin and asked them for prayer and practical help with finding work in Berlin.
We were blown away by their response! People who didn’t even know us that well, started not only praying for us, but also proofreading James’ resume in German, giving him application tips, and letting him know if there was a job opening they knew of. They helped James to polish his resume and would refer him to jobs he would otherwise not find. It felt like God’s hand was in it.
And then we finally got a positive reply from a firm in Berlin. James got invited for a job interview for an accounting position!
The interview was mostly in English, but part of it was conducted in German as well. James didn’t feel he did poorly in the interview, but didn’t feel he particularly excelled in it either. I remember talking with him about it, and he placed the chance at 25% that he would get the job.
To our big surprise, James received a job offer for this position! Apparently they really liked him in the interview. James also was able to receive a German work permit that allowed him to prolong his residence permit. This meant we could stay together! We were both so happy!
Even writing this now makes my eyes fill with tears. I am so thankful to God for coming through and providing a job for James so that we could stay together and not have to go through the long distance again. God is amazing!
You may not have had such a dramatic thing happen to you in 2018, but there were probably many ways that God worked in your life and came through for you or your family. I would really encourage you to ponder on what God has done in 2018 and look forward to what He will do in 2019.