Thank you for your prayers. God is working. In my naivete, I thought that once we decided to move the hard part was over. The doors to the perfect house would just swing wide open and we would know we were smack dab in the middle of God's will. Well here is further evidence that God's plan doesn't always guarantee easy street. There are bumps on the road and he is holding our hand all the way.
It has been a stressful week or so but the Lord hasn't stopped talking. The lessons continue to be learned in the process. My strong-willed brain is still trying to find peace in knowing the answers even though I KNOW peace is only found in the Lord no matter the circumstances. In some ways I want to share more here so as to document all he has done through this process but really the up and down roller coaster ride of this past week would just be too much for you all to follow.
I will say though that there was a day where things were particularly tense. I felt like my Love was focusing too much on this one thing that a house didn't have. A thing I considered bonus space but he was painting as a must-have. What I first thought was unrealistic stubbornness I suddenly saw through new eyes. God has clearly planted something in my Love that I know He will use for his glory. Perhaps an opportunity to use what God has given us to bless others. I am excited to see what our Father has planned for the next chapter.
My Love is starting a busy month of traveling tonight. Since our house hunting trip wasn't exactly successful last weekend, I am guessing we will be out on the road again on Saturday. We are continuing to trust in God's timing. His plans are not our plans. In some ways, I am fearful that his plans are full of bigger blessings than this modest middle child of a large family needs. We are following our Shepherd's voice and trusting that he knows better for us than we know for ourselves.
I am sitting here laughing at 11:45pm. The house has long been asleep but my mind is awake seeking, searching, listening. I am laughing because God is truly AMAZING! I don't know why I am surprised anymore. He says he can move mountains (I've SEEN Him do it) and yet I still try to fit him into a box for my own convenience. Why am I even shocked when he does big God-sized things to show me his love?
We are still waiting to hear back from the seller on whether or not they will accept our offer. Because we are in no hurry to move, we can afford to wait. And yet I was anxious all day. Anxious to know. Still trying to control the knowing. When am I really going to get this?
I had a great day with the kids. It was insanely hot here but we made the most of it reading and cleaning and playing indoors after some time in the yard with water this morning. My mind was going nonstop throughout the day. Checking my phone. Calling my Love. Looking for calm in an answer. "Have you heard anything yet?" I text him around lunchtime. Yesterday the sellers of the house we want to buy said they wanted to "sleep on it" and we had been told by our realtor that we would probably hear something by lunchtime.
Lunch came and went. We even ate early. I tried not to think about it but somehow my mind went to paint colors and furniture placement.
Then in the middle of it all I got a bizarre email from what looked like a cell phone number. I cautiously clicked on the link and saw a small photo attached. The body of the email (with no subject title) read, "Praying you will abide in him today friend."
OK. At first I didn't know exactly who it was from and then I saw what looked like a friend's chalkboard bedroom/kitchen door in the picture underneath. I decided it was safe to open.
I knew instantly who it was from and as always it felt like God's truth breathed right into my day. How does he do that? I am constantly overwhelmed by how He uses the body of Christ to bless me. The friend who sent me the email doesn't even live in the same state as I do. The Lord has knit our hearts together the last couple years through prayer and I cherish our friendship dearly.
When I saw the scripture reference on the door in my friend's place in this world, I immediately thought about how my Love and I had just read in John 14 this morning and would probably be gearing up to read John 15:5 tomorrow (2 months behind our One Year Bible reading schedule).
"I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me. and I in him, bears much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing." -John 15:5
I wasted a whole day thinking about myself, the what-ifs and possibilities and then God said, "Abide in me!" Seriously did I think I was going to get peace from an answer on a house offer? Peace comes from abiding in the One who is already in me. What was I doing? Hadn't I learned anything through this process of trusting the Lord as my Shepherd?
The 9pm "we should know by" deadline came and went. My Love and I looked at each other and admitted we were in no hurry. We have all the time in the world to wait. Not waiting for someone else to decide for us what God has already written, but waiting on the Lord and his perfect timing. There is peace knowing the truth of his Word.
I decided to come back downstairs after going up to bed tonight. I looked up a verse written on the cover of a journal a friend/mentor gave me for my birthday. "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him." -Lamentations 3:25. I've been reading that out loud to myself for a few days now. I started with verse one and read through all of chapter 3. Verse 37 stuck out at me."Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission?" That is right, people. The Lord is in charge around here. Not me. Not a house seller. Everything happens for his good purpose. It is my job to abide in him. When my eyes are on the Lord, the circumstances of life fade away and he is able to bear fruit through my very surrendered life.
Feeling more ready to return to bed (read: peace of mind means peaceful rest for this tired Mama), I decided to pick up my God Calling to get some advance wisdom from tomorrow's reading. And almost as if I knew it was coming, the very first sentence read:
Abide in Me.
I started laughing. I read on.
"A wonderful future is before you both. A future of unlimited power to bless others. Just be channels. Be used. Ask. Ask. "Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you," and unto those for whom you pray."
I laughed some more. Not because it was funny, but because it was so amazing! God loves us so much that he is eager to speak to our hearts at every opportunity that we give him. Through prayer. Through the reading of his word. Through fellowship with other believers.
Complete peace tonight. Peace in the unknowns. The letting go of controlling the knowing. Peace in abiding in Christ and trusting that his plan and timing is better than anything I could come up with for myself.
I am off to bed now. Tomorrow I'll be waking up before 6am with my Love. We'll be starting our day praying for our church family and reading a portion of scripture written for May 26th but meant for July 22, 2011. John 15:1-27.
May God bless your day.
Pray. Read. Fellowship. You can not afford not to.
It is official. This will be our last summer in this home. How timely that we had so many visitors this season! Even though I know and trust God has big plans for us elsewhere (it has been a long process to bring me to that realization), I still get a little weepy about leaving the home Babydoll was born at and where Bundle Brother grew into a big boy. Our next door neighbors have become surrogate grandparents (even to the dog) and I know they will be heart broken when we have to share the news. But in spite of all of that, we know our very lives are not our own. We have been living in complete peace and rest trusting in our Good Shepherd. We hear his voice calling and it is time to get up and follow his lead.
My Love decided to spend Sunday with a realtor by himself (since the kids wouldn't travel well) looking at homes in the area we desire to live. Saturday night we talked about all the things we would like in a house if we lived in a perfect world. Obviously some/all of the must-haves were negotiable but it was good to have that conversation. Even though I had kind of wished there was someone we could leave the kids with so I could go with him, it actually worked out better (as God's plans always do). He was able to romp around the long day on his own seeing a dozen places and narrow it down to his top three houses.
My parents arrived on Sunday evening during a stop on their road trip. They will be here until Friday. It worked out perfectly that they were here. They stayed with the kids for a little one-on-one time and I drove down to check out my Love's top picks with the realtor on Monday (my 30th birthday). That hour drive down there alone provided lots of conversation with the Lord about this particular day in my life and how it seemed perfectly timed. He is so good!
On my drive back "home", it seemed very clear that one house was THE perfect fit. There were a couple things that would need to be done (ie. trees put in the empty back yard and a deck or patio off the sliding glass door which currently has no access to the back yard) but it is like the Lord took our list from Saturday night and met every need and then some...
So after waiting a couple days to be approved for a loan, we put in an offer last night. Ahhhhh! This is crazy. I have to keep reminding myself that even though this seems so fast it has actually been a long process. The Lord has brought us to this place so we could watch him move mountains (rather quickly). Clearly it is not official yet but we are excited to see when and how the Lord works.
Pray for us. If all goes well, we will be closing before September 1st. Ahhhh! Is this really happening?!?!
What a week! The enemy was working overtime on me. Is warfare really necessary for such a small gathering? Sigh.
After my tantrum on Sunday, I finally got the message I needed to hear from the Lord.
"Remember Psalm 23?!?! I have been repeating it for months now. MONTHS!! The message is for YOU and it is time you get it. REALLY get it!"
So last night was for me. It was an opportunity to come full circle in all God has been doing regarding our possible move and the restructuring of our family. Somehow I wasn't getting the fact that my thorn of submission was really about surrendering to the Lord as my Shepherd. Always demanding my own way over His. I am a sheep who is defenseless, unaware of my own needs, easily frightened, prone to wander, and often distracted by pests/parasites. But I can find complete peace and rest no matter the circumstances because I have a Good Shepherd who knows me by name. In fact, I can lie down anywhere without a care in the world just waiting to hear my shepherd's voice calling me to follow Him. And because I KNOW he is Good I don't even need to ask why or where. He will provide my physical needs. He will fight off predators. He will anoint my head with oil. God created me to need a shepherd. I have chosen though to be consumed by the things of this world which prevented me from hearing the Shepherd's voice-- cares that he has told me he will carry for me-- just so I could feel in control. How peaceful life can be knowing I am incapable and he is more than enough!
May his will be done. May I completely surrender to his purpose for my life. May I know real peace and rest as I trust God with everything and in everything. The Lord IS my Good Shepherd.
Thank you for the prayers. I felt them. The talk went well and I was blessed to realize and share all God has done in this small life-changing chapter during the last few months.
Yesterday I needed to get away. I hopped in the car driving down the road not knowing which direction I wanted to turn when I got to the stop sign. I had been busy working on a talk that someone asked me to give tomorrow night at our Koinonia dinner. It is a monthly meeting during the summer for the women of our church to share a meal and fellowship together during our break from structured Bible study. God had placed a mirror in front of my face and I realized I was making it about me. The more I spoke about me and all that has happened this year, the more he showed me I still didn't have it all figured out. "Look around!" The connection with my Love lately has been lacking. Neither one of us was being very loving.
I felt like a fraud. Clearly the Enemy was trying to get in the way of God speaking to my heart. All I could hear was, "YOU CAN'T DO THIS! You shouldn't do this!" Since God had confirmed that he wanted me to share with the ladies all he has done during this season of my life, I knew that message was not of the Lord. So I ran away from home eager to drown out the voices surrounding me. Praying that he would direct me to which chapter of the last six months he wanted me to share.
I stopped at Old Navy (where one normally finds answers from the Lord????) and "shopped" for awhile childless walking out without a purchase. Next door I wandered into Barnes and Noble grabbed a coffee then browsed the store with my Bible in hand hoping to find an open seat so I could get caught up on my daily reading. Instead I found myself in front of the 'Christian Inspiration' section. Three bookcases wide and filled with all kinds of authors. Some legit and others smashed in between books trying to force them to apply to this subject heading. Behind me was the 'Eastern Religions' section. Each book binding read a bold title speaking truth to my soul. My eye caught the one called Devotions for Moms. I pulled it from the shelf and opened up the daily reading meant for July 10th and found yet another reference to sheep. How does God do that?! I haven't talked about it much here, but God continues to repeat lines from Psalm 23 or mentions sheep/shepherd almost daily. I lost my breath but not my coffee. He spoke to my heart...
"Why are you still trying to defend yourself from predators? I have made you defenseless without me. Why are you still trying to overgraze this patch of grass? There are greener pastures around the corner if you will just follow me. Why are you allowing yourself to be all consumed by pests and hunger and thirst? I will anoint your head with oil and provide you with your every meal. Why are you still demanding your own way? Still? Give up already! Humble yourself! Submit to my will! Let me lead you! I am your Good Shepherd!"
OK so maybe I didn't hear all of that from the Lord audibly, but I might as well have. It is like he snapped his fingers in my face and said, "WAKE UP! Why do you think I keep repeating myself? Get this!"
Thank you for your prayers. I know many of you who were lifting us up today didn't even know the details behind the situation. The Spirit does though and He intercedes on our behalf.
Last week, God was faithful to remind me that we are in the Air Force. The very next day, the Air Force came knocking. My Love was contacted by his superior about a golden ticket job opportunity that would begin next summer. Although it would be a great experience for his overall career, my Love really felt that it wasn't the right time. He is just getting into his new leadership position and really feels like he could make a positive impact on the mission he is supporting. My Love was expected to have a confident response prepared for his meeting today. Even though he knew he didn't want the job right now, he also understood the greater Air Force could have asked him to take it anyway.
We prayed for God's will.
After communicating to his superior about how the mission would be affected by his impending transition (compounded by the moves expected by others as well), the AF needed him where he was for the time being. Amazingly the colonel agreed. My Love will be staying where he is for now but will probably be considered for the job again at a later time which he would welcome.
Thank you for your prayers. God continues to knock our socks off. We are trusting him with every day and are constantly reminded of how much he loves us.
Now as far as the if/when of our move...the jury is still out. ;)
This morning my Love and I read the passage in our One Year Bible meant for May 16th. We are terribly behind... God's timing is perfect though.
1 Samuel 18:5- "Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander in his army, an appointment that was applauded by the fighting men and officers alike."
OK Lord. We trust that if you desire for my Love to take on this new visible position next year, he will do it successfully and for your glory.
1 Samuel 18:13- "Finally, Saul banned him from his presence and appointed him commander over only a thousand men, but David faithfully led his troops into battle."
OK Lord. We trust that if you desire for my Love to stay in his current position longer, he will do it faithfully and for your glory.
My Love's meeting is at 11:30am (EST). He has inexplicable peace about it. May his words be His words. May the response be of God's choosing. May our hearts be willing and ready to accept the decision made for us.
And in His faithfulness, God added this verse just for me from Proverbs 15:24- "A wise person is hungry for truth, while the fool feeds on trash."
Stir me to first meet my needs with your word, Lord. May it be the only thing that satisfies my hunger for your truth. Don't let me settle for trash!
Thank you for your ongoing prayers for us. I am pondering this verse shared to me by my sister this morning. We have joy, peace and hope in the Lord today.
"May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope." -Romans 15:13 ♥
As I lifted my first cup of coffee to my mouth this morning putting my hope in its ability to wake me up after only 5 hours of sleep, I was listening to my Love read from God's Word about all that happened in the valley of Elah. Then I remembered that today was Tuesday and I was planning on giving this whole day to the Lord. "I'm sorry I forgot, God," I said in my head. I wondered if I would find confirmation in my God Calling devotional. Was my decision to surrender every earthly need today in prayer about me or was it really God-ordained?
Since we have had company the last couple of days, I was a few days behind in my reading. On the entry meant for July 3rd, I read this under the title Spiritual Fullness:
"My children, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." That is satisfaction. Only in that fullness of spiritual things can the heartsick and faint and weary be satisfied, healed, and rested. "Lord," we cry, "to whom shall we go but to Thee." "Thou preparest a table before me." Bread of Life, Food from Heaven."
WOW! How did he do that?!
And then as if that weren't clear enough, I read this entry for July 5th (today):
"I am with you all the time controlling, blessing, and helping you. No man or woman can stand against My Will for you. A whole world of men and women cannot do this--if you trust Me and place your affairs in My Hands." Are you kidding me God?!?!?!?!
Tomorrow my Love is going into a very important meeting. The outcome of that meeting will give us some clear answers into how God wants us to spend the next few years. Today we pray so tomorrow we can have complete peace.
On the entry meant for July 2nd, I read this today:
"Does the way seem a stony one? Not one stone can impede your progress. Courage. Face the future, but face it only with a brave and happy heart. Do not seek to see it. YOU are robbing Faith of her sublime sweetness if you do this."
I don't need to see what the future holds to be able to have the faith to face it with a brave and happy heart. No decision made by others will get in the way of God's will for our lives. Today I choose to hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Thank you God for meeting me right where I am at this morning. You are more than enough. Get ready to hear an earful today. I am eager to be satisfied only by You.
Today I am thankful that I was able to go grocery shopping all by myself after payday, bring back lots of food in our reusable bags, and fill our pantry and refrigerator with plenty to eat. We do not know hunger.
Today I am thankful that I had mounds of laundry to wash and fold and put away, that the machine is still going (and works) after dinner, and that even though our baskets were overflowing we still had clothes in our drawers and closets. We have more than enough.
What are you thankful for today?
Matthew 6:31-32 NLT31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Daily this past month, my Love and I have been praying to God about our future. We decided we wouldn't pursue all the possibilities and just focus on God's will. We felt that if he wanted us to move, we would move. We have never done this before. God was gearing up to do some work.
The process has been amazing. Mostly because it has been a process. And perhaps because it didn't play out how I first thought. I originally prayed that God would reveal the same answer to us both. I was worried we would come away from a month of prayer and have "heard" different answers. Every morning we would ask God to open our eyes and ears and hearts to however he chose to reveal his plan to us.
Quickly I heard his voice. I shared it with my Love and he interpreted my intention of including him in the process as having "the answer". We learned along the way. Some messages from the Lord were just meant for ourselves.
The message right off the bat that I heard the Lord tell me was "I will be wherever you are!" Breathe. There is peace in that truth.
I thought I was being open minded but perhaps I was praying that my Love would hear the right answer. My answer. Life would stay uncomplicated if we just stayed put. No moving hassle. Not stress with uprooting ourselves from our church and community. I honestly had a hard time believing that God would take us from a church that we have grown so much in and developed so many strong lasting relationships. I wasn't emotionally ready to leave all that.
Days went by and through various means, the Lord clearly told me "I am not going to give you the answer." Wait. What? How can I control it if I don't tell my Love what to do? You aren't going to give me the answer? How will I know we are on the same page or that my Love actually heard the answer from you? Breathe.
The Lord started doing a huge work in me. I realized that this whole process of having to make this decision for our family was foreign to us. God designed marriages and families to have a certain order and it was clear ours was not quite there yet. It was time for a shake up. When I initially asked my Love if we could not focus on the moving part of the decision and just focus on knowing God's will, my reasons were selfish. I believed if my Love started getting online and searching for the perfect home and community he would get caught up in a snowball and we would go rolling down the hill (literally) until the house was bought and paid for. I wanted to put the breaks on that process and control how the decision was made: emotionally by faith. Then one day I realized after God told me that I was going to support my husband's decision for our family, that it didn't matter HOW God revealed his will to my Love. He could just as easily use facts and numbers and finances to make it clear to the mind he created. Just because I didn't need that info doesn't make the process of the decision wrong but just different.
God started doing big things. Later I did come to my Love and told him that God wanted me to let my husband make this decision. I mean, in a very strange way there isn't a right answer. We would be blessed if we moved. We would be blessed if we stayed. The process during this past month became more about restructuring God's plan for our family and less about making the right decision. After several talks, I felt like my Love had heard all my points of view and concerns. There was nothing more I needed to add. The decision was going to be his. And the Lord would tell him in His way and timing.
After a couple of weeks, we put the kids to bed and I asked my Love if we could talk. "Where is your head at? Are you leaning one way or another?" I questioned him. "When are we going to know the answer?" Even though I knew God wanted me to surrender control of making the decision, I was still trying to manage the knowing part. Clearly I just needed to let it go. "It is not like there is a timeline for when I will know the answer," he said. I realized I needed to just keep living my life, connecting with friends, serving my family and Lord. The peace was already there and I was blocking it out. Breathe. This is my life in this moment. Knowing what is coming a few months from now doesn't do anything to change the now.
All that to say, my Love says he is still 50/50 on what to do just yet. These past few weeks, God has brought me from a place of refusing the idea to looking forward to the future with expectation. Because when you are in the Air Force, there will always be another change around the corner.
An interesting thing that God has done this past month is communicate to us that he doesn't want us to make our decision based on any one single thing. He will be with us wherever we are.
Days after we started praying about the topic lots of things started going wrong with our house here. Leaking pipes in dining room ceiling, leaking kitchen sink, mice, mold growing in our closet ceiling from a leaking roof... In some ways you start looking into every situation as a communication from the Lord when you are praying about something really specific. Does this mean we should move? And unlike anytime during the past two years, our landlord IMMEDIATELY started fixing all the problems. Pipes under kitchen sink had been dripping into a bowl since NOVEMBER and was now being completely repaired. Dining room ceiling fixed. Basement carpet was restretched finally after it flooded SEVERAL times last year. Mice were caught (well I guess my Love did that himself). The whole roof was replaced (to prevent further leaking). All the siding was replaced (which looked fine but now looks great). When we came back from Tampa, the mold in our closet ceiling had spread. That was cut out, repaired and our entire closet was painted.
I mean knock-your-socks-off "I will provide" kind of God stuff. OK Lord. We won't make our decision based on poor house maintenance.
We knew we would have to adjust to life with my Love commuting. I feel foolish making a big deal out of this since EVERY ONE commutes in our area. But like my mentor/friend told me recently, "but this is new for your family," and I liked how that sounded. That is right. Others might be used to it, but this is new for us. My Love has never had to drive more than 15 minutes to work in the 8 years we have been married. We have lived through all kinds of work schedules (long hours, lots of traveling, deployment, nights, weekends...) but he has always been close by. We are still adjusting. And of course our gas bill will go up. His commute now takes an hour one way but since it is against the flow of the direction most people are going he thankfully doesn't have to sit in stop-and-go traffic. It is just the sheer amount of time he is driving on the road that stinks. With family visiting, we still haven't really got into a groove yet, but I know we could if we stayed here. Anyway, he is having to fill the gas tank more often. But God had a timely answer for that too. As of July 1, today, we have paid our LAST CAR PAYMENT on the Volvo. That is right people. She is all ours. Six years later and she still looks brand new-ish. Good thing I love it because I will be driving that car into the ground. So what that means is now we have a car payment to put into savings every month to offset gas prices. I mean, we could use it for that if we wanted. Isn't God's timing perfect?! OK Lord. We won't make our decision based on a stressful commute or an increase in gas money. You have provided.
See what I mean. There really isn't a right answer. He will bless us if we stay and he will bless us if we go. I just needed to learn what it means to surrender my will for the Lord's and trust that my husband is capable of making a life changing decision without me controlling it.
Through this process I have come to know the Lord's peace unlike I have ever known. How is that even possible? Giving up control is actually more freeing? Definitely. God is healing wounds in our marriage and moving us into positions that I think we both longed for but didn't know how to get to exactly. Had it been by our own effort, God wouldn't have been given the glory and it most definitely would have faded. It has in the past. I have also come to have a contentment in this home (enjoying the neighborhood and property more than ever before) but equal excitement about the possibility of making a new and different home our own.
As of right now, our current landlord wants us to sign another year lease after we explained to him our situation. I think we are OK with that. When my Love gets orders for the job he is already working at, we can break our lease and move with 60 days notice when the time is right. Please continue praying for us. The Lord is faithful and I know he will lead us by the hand to wherever he wants us to be. Today we are enjoying the sunshine and low-ish humidity. We are expecting more family to visit this month and my Love has work trips planned all over the world throughout the summer. We are thankful for the now. The tomorrow is in His hands.