Monday, January 26, 2015

the one where the end was the beginning

Remember in my last post when I said, "It has been a whirlwind of a 'two weeks,' my friends"? Well. That was precious.

In the six days since, it seems a million new things have entered our lives. Most of all, we had our appraisal on Thursday morning and lost our buyer on Friday morning. (Not because of the appraisal. We're not really sure why.) The end.

I mean, not really, but sort of. We're back to square one, which, oddly enough, was a place we were totally content with being just 3 weeks ago. I keep trying to remind myself of that contentment.

At the beginning of the year, my BFF, Laura, shared that she was going to do Beth Moore's scripture memory challenge and that I should join her. So I did! The basic concept is to memorize 2 new verses a month -- 24 total for the year. You pick whichever scripture you want and enter it on Beth Moore's blog on the 1st and 15th of each month. Next January, there will be a celebration for those who complete the challenge, and we plan to go! :) 

SO my first verse to memorize was 2 Corinthians 12:9...

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

I cannot tell you how many times this verse has come into play since January 1st. It's unbelievable, really. I mean, I can start with the obvious -- "My grace is sufficient." Sufficient. As in, all I could possibly need. No beautiful new house could fill us in the same way. No relationships (sorry, friends). No amount of financial security. No job. No perfectly behaved children. Nothing. Not that these things aren't noble pursuits. But they cannot be THE pursuit. Not one of those things will ultimately satisfy.

And then there's THE WEAKNESS. You know my weakness? "Trust and obey." Control. Structure. Order. Providing these things for my kids. So here I am -- trying to boast in my weakness. This part has really stuck out to me. I need you to know that I am SO NOT CAPABLE of trusting and obeying -- of letting go of control completely. This struggle is oh-so-real in my life. It is my weakness. THEREFORE, I will boast in it so that His power can fill those places and be sufficient. 

I know the things in our life right now are insignificant compared to the struggles of many. I promise I know that. But it feels a bit chaotic for my need-to-control self. Vulnerable. So I'm trying to keep it all in perspective and allow Him to do that for me. I heard this song on the radio last Wednesday and it just overwhelmed me. I first thought of 3 friends, specifically, in 3 very different situations who just weighed heavy on my heart when I heard it. But I've been listening to it over and over and feel I probably needed to hear it, too. It speaks of the "glorious unfolding" that will come if we wait and see what God has for us. I love it. And I can't wait to see what unfolds for us.

If you can't see the video, go here --->

The song is "Glorious Unfolding" by Steven Curtis Chapman. So good.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

the one with the old church song

   Later on God tested Abraham's faith and obedience. "Abraham!" God called. "Yes," he replied. "Here I am."
   "Take your son, your only son -- yes, Isaac, whom you love so much -- and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you."
   The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son Isaac. Then he chopped wood to build a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place where God had told him to go...  {Genesis 22}

Crazy Abraham with his blind faith. I mean, the man is not perfect. There are definitely parts of his story that serve as a lesson of what NOT to do. But in this moment he was so very willing to trust God and obey him completely. Bravo, Abraham. That is not always easily done.

Trust and obey. There's an old church song for you -- one that has been playing over and over (and over) in my mind for the past two weeks. And it has been a whirlwind of a "two weeks," my friends. I've been told I'm kind of wordy, so I'll lay this out in bullet form to try to save some verbiage.
  • Wed, Dec 31 - Got a call to show our house. Slightly annoying on NYE, but okay. Part of the process.
  • Sat, Jan 3 - Call for another showing. Extra annoying because we're getting ready to have Jackson's birthday party, but it works.
  • Sun, Jan 4 - Yet another showing. (Someone's interested!) This makes it less annoying.
  • Mon, Jan 5 - Our realtor calls to say WE HAVE AN OFFER ON OUR TOWNHOUSE. A good offer. (For those of you who are unaware, we were not in a good place to sell. Our asking price was sort of a dream. Or a miracle. Definitely a miracle.) We counter-offer, nervously.
  • Tues, Jan 6 - Our counter-offer is accepted. Boom. Closing date set for Feb 6th.
  • Thurs, Jan 8 - We start looking at houses because, well, see above.
  • Fri, Jan 9 - Inspection on our townhouse. Anxious.
  • Sat, Jan 10 - Find two houses we love. Make a million lists to compare.
Let's pause here. I can't stick to bullets for long without feeling it needs a little narration. The two houses we were comparing were across the street from each other. Both new construction (the last two lots left in the area they were developing). Darin has a dream of living outside of the city limits. I don't necessarily share his passion in this area, but I'm not against. So because of my desire to have a happy marriage, I lean towards this goal of his by default. I do, however, have a limit of how far out I truly want to be. Distance to things we drive to often is something to consider... Mady's school, our church, Darin's office, the YMCA, family and friends. But these houses were the perfect mix. Outside city limits, decent lot (which has proven difficult to find in our area at our price range), still in a neighborhood, field behind the yard to not ever be developed, pretty country drive to get there, yet only added ten minutes at most to any regular drive we make. Perfect compromise. The difference in the two was a bonus room, an extra half bath, and about $200 a month. Ouch. I spent all day Sunday convinced it was smarter in the long run to get the bigger house. I didn't want to feel like we'd grown out of the smaller one after a year or so. I told Darin my thoughts and everything on his face said he just wanted me to be happy. (He's a good one. Also, I think he knew he got his yard and country either way!)

But Monday came. Monday always brings a dose of reality, doesn't it? I had some serious quiet time on Monday and felt certain God was directing me. He reminded me how much he cares for me. He reminded me of the promise he had given us a year ago when he told me to quit my job. (My what has happened in a year!) He reminded me that he is the Provider - not just necessities, but sometimes even the specific desires of our hearts. Do you know what my desire has always been for our house? I bet some people could quote me saying, "I love our house. I just want another bedroom, a yard, a garage, and our own four walls."

And the smaller house had EXACTLY that. I've always loved the features of our townhouse. It has great storage. It has great space. It has the makings of a thoughtful builder. This house had all the same things that I love PLUS a bedroom, a yard, a garage, and its own four walls. And, here's the kicker -- We could live in it for almost the exact same amount we pay monthly now. WHAT? That's provision. Specific provision.

So I cried a little, prayed a bunch, and called Darin. We made an offer. Back to the bullets...

  • Mon, Jan 12 - Offer made.
  • Tues, Jan 13 - Counter-offer received, offer ACCEPTED. We have a house! Set to close on February 24!
  • Wed, Jan 14 - Inspection report requests on our townhouse received. Nothing big! Easy. Now all we lack to hold our breath through is the appraisal.
  • Thurs, Jan 15 - late night. Our realtor calls to let us know it's possible our buyer's funding is about to fall through. WHAT.
  • Fri, Jan 16 - waiting...
  • Sat, Jan 17 - waiting...
  • Sun, Jan 18 - waiting...
We felt confused. That's the only way I can think to describe it. I think I've only covered half of the things so far that we were sure God had orchestrated. You guys. It had been unbelievable. Thing after thing after thing. For it to all fall through? 

But God answered. Not necessarily the answer we were hoping for, but he answered. He asked us to be quiet. To wait patiently. To trust and obey. And he asked us this over and over from Thursday to Sunday. It showed up on a friend's social media first... --->

Then in prayer. In Sunday school. In every verse we read or song we heard or encouraging post we saw. Wait. 

So we're waiting. Right now we believe the closing date on our townhouse will not be lost, but extended by more than two months. It's very possible that once we get the final word on that and ask to extend the closing date on our new house to match that they will say no. I have no idea. But we are waiting. And praying. And trying very hard to just trust and obey. Because this - 

   When they arrived at the place where God had told Abraham to go, he built an altar over the wood. And Abraham took the knife and lifted it up to kill his son as a sacrifice to the Lord. At that moment the angel of the Lord shouted to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
   "Yes," he answered. "I'm listening."
   "Lay down the knife," the angel said. "Do not hurt the boy in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld even your beloved son from me."
   Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering on the altar in place of his son. Abraham named the place "The Lord Will Provide." This name has now become a proverb: "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided."
   Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven, "This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your beloved son, I swear by my own self that I will bless you richly..." 

What are you trusting God for?