The following is a portion of what’s happening in the life of my family. I struggled with even sharing it all….would it be something that’s even worth sharing? maybe it’s just too personal and irrelevant? In the end, here I am typing it for all to read. Hope you gain something from our experiences that might help you or encourage you!
“A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure” (Proverbs 16:9 AMP).
As a natural planner, I am always thinking things through, planning, organizing, figuring out what our next step in life should be. I’ve pretty much figured it all out and I’m ready. Until now.
Listening to God is something that many people struggle with. How do you listen to God? How do you know what you think you hear is really God and not just you? I can’t really answer those questions for everyone, but I do know when I hear the voice of the Lord in my life. Most of the time I am guided by a general sense of “peace” about something. Just a “knowing” that I’m doing the right thing and feeling peace. But sometimes, I truly hear Him speak to me. I can recall these times because they make such an impact.
One of those times was when I was ready to give up my hope of having another child after my first child was born. We had already lost 3 babies and the last one was the hardest. I just didn’t think I could go through it again….maybe one day I’ll tell the whole story, but for sake of time (mine and yours) I’ll just say that in the end, I heard God speak to me. He told me that I would have another child…and her name would be Josephine. Wow. Another child. A girl. Josephine. I immediately looked the name up to see what it meant and I found that it meant “to bless; to add to something as in a blessing” !!
So as you can see, we did have another child (I was pregnant within 2 months) and had my daughter, whose name is Josephine. (I mean, when God gives the name, you don’t argue!….I’m just glad he didn’t say to name her some horrible name!)
Anyway, back to current time….
I’ve always had a plan and although I knew we wouldn’t always live in our house (we move a lot anyway), I didn’t think we would move now. But one day I felt that God told us it was time to sell. After speaking with my husband, we agreed together and immediately put the house for sale. My mom is a Realtor so she was working on the listing papers, but in the meantime, I just posted it on Craigslist. That was April.
By the beginning of May it was under contract….and today was our closing! Needless to say we didn’t have much time to find a house, and honestly, it’s not the best time to buy (great time to sell though).
While searching we were able to find an amazing farm house that I LOVED! LOVED with all my heart! We put an offer on it (with four other people who also loved it) and we lost…..someone else offered more. I was so sad! I struggled with it. Should I just move on and find something else or should I stand and believe that God would make it happen? I kept my eye on it but also looked for other houses. In my mind, I had a plan for what I wanted and why. A farm house, land, room to build on later, room for animals, a place to stay forever.
But in my heart, my spirit, I knew that wasn’t His plan. It was my plan. I knew that my plan was a distraction from His plan….I had felt a leading in a totally different direction over the last couple years but just wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t really know all the details of His plan. That’s what made it hard. I’m a planner…. I like to know the WHOLE plan from start to finish before I start! But God doesn’t work that way. He gives us one step, one piece of the puzzle. Then he says, “Do you trust me?” “Will you take the step?”
While struggling, and wondering, if now was the time to really move in the direction God was leading us….the agent for the farm house called us….the buyers backed out! My mom called ready for me to be excited…but I cried in sadness instead. By then we knew that God had a different plan, and that farm house wasn’t it.
Honestly, I wanted to say I’ll take it! I wanted my plan. It was nice and cozy and well-thought out in my opinion! I saw myself at a crossroad in life. Do I follow my plan and live a cozy well-planned life? Or do I step out in faith and possibly be part of an amazing faith-filled life…not knowing where it will lead?
I drove to the farm house and said good-bye. I know it seems weird to drive to a house you never even lived in to say good-bye, but it was more than the house. It was saying good-bye to my flesh…to my human dreams…. in order to live His dream for me. My desire is to have His desire. Sometimes that comes easy, but sometimes there is a cost.
I was reminded of the story of Esther. (**Disclaimer: I have to say that while comparing this to Esther….I am in no way thinking that my situation is in any way near the gravity of the entire Jewish people potentially being wiped out! But God did show me something through her story***)
When her uncle sent word about the plans of Haman to kill the Jews, he wanted Esther to do something about it by going to the King. Her initial reply was basically NO! She had a great life and she enjoyed the benefits of it. She didn’t want to risk all that changing and maybe even being sentenced to death. It was what her uncle told her next that stood out to me. He basically said (this is my paraphrase) that she could either help or not help but either way, God would accomplish His plan. She could be a part of this amazing faith-filled life and be blessed, or she could say no, and perish. But God would do what He set out to do. That was the same decision I had to make.
Keep my little cozy plan and my little cozy life… and I’m sure God would still love me no matter what…. but I’d live a life of mediocrity. OR I could step out in faith and say, “This wasn’t what I thought I was here for… this isn’t the plan I thought I would have, but I’m willing do change my life for you.”
So….knowing only part of the future (and knowing it would be a different path than I thought)…..I chose God’s plan over mine.
I won’t go into all the details of what we believe that plan to be…honestly, I don’t know all the details, but I’m excited…it’s a bit scary to do anything new….but it’s amazing to realize that God cares so much about each one of us individually! WOW. A favorite part of a song says “The God of Angel Armies is on my side!” What a revelation. Really when we think about that, why do we struggle when He says trust me? Honestly, all our decisions and life events are so small on the grand scale of who God is!
So here we are…sold our house, not buying another one. Instead, we moved into the apartment located in my parents basement. It’s a great apartment (small but great) with a full kitchen, living room, laundry, full bath, etc… The front door opens to my parents amazing back yard complete with covered patio, in-ground pool, landscaping, and grill gazebo. Our “back” door opens up into the HUGE media/movie room with 10 foot screen! While we are learning to live in less square feet, we certainly aren’t roughin’ it! 🙂 Oh and I did I mention that we now have built in babysitters??? YEP.
At the beginning the idea was to live here a few months, but now we know we will stay for awhile. The idea of saving up money for a future business venture (and an amazing change of plans that God is truly leading us into….more later) is just too good to pass up. So we’re here…. not where we thought we’d be, not according to “our” plan, but it’s the right plan and that is all that matters. It’s an exciting life when we choose to live in faith. But, as Paul put it, we fight the good fight of faith. It’s a fight to stay in faith.
So keep my family in your prayers as we run this race with endurance. Pray for us to see clearly the will and the way of God in our next adventure and that we operate in His Wisdom and not our own!
In the meantime, I hope to spend this amazing summer by the pool (now that we have one!) blogging about Christian classical education. I’ll also be working on my son to get him ready to start Challenge A in the fall! Whoo whoo! So I hope you’ll join me and share your summer with me as well.