Monday, October 6, 2008

When the Lord Calls You to Move

Acts 17:26 (NIV) - From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Two years ago this fall, the Lord led us to move. We moved from my husband's childhood home area (actually, the literal land - we subdivided a parcel from his mother, and built a home, pictured above.)

Nothing, but an impression from the Lord, prompted us to move, really. Yes, there were things that prompted us to pray about it - finances being the main thing. As I've written before, our oldest son has asthma, and because we did not have prescription coverage (meds were to the tune of $200-300/month!), our budget was in the red every month! And it wasn't in the red because we were tithing either. That was simply out of the question. Other than that, we lived by loving family, my husband had a wonderful job, we attended a good church, and we all had dear friends.

Over the years, at different times, my husband would want to move, then I would - but never at the same time. My husband didn't want to up and move us without us being on the same page, and I respect him greatly for that. I too didn't want to push him, during the times I felt I wanted to move. It was something we kept in prayer for several years. There was no real clear YES or NO from the Lord. Then one weekend, the same exact afternoon, the Lord impressed upon both our hearts, quite heavily, that it was time to move.
It didn't make sense, the housing market was already terrible. The real estate signs went up around us, but were not coming down, as nothing was selling. The next week when we met with our realtor, he said, had we put our house on the market just six months before, we could have listed, and most likely received, at least $50,000-75,000 more. Gulp.

Although we had fear at times, and many gave advice to not move then, but to wait (their reasons being that it was foolish because the housing market was so terrible and we would be loosing money), we just took the next step anyway, trusting in the Lord, and we put our house on the market, listing it at the lower price our realtor suggested.

Let me rewind a little - a headhunter had been pursuing my husband, to the point of annoyance :) After a few years, my husband had to finally ask him to leave him alone, and Brian did so at my husband's request. That was about six months before we were readying the house to put on the market. My husband remembered Brian, and called him back, saying he was ready to see what was out there. My husband gave him the area where to look (he gave him a WIDE area about a 5 hour radius really) - and don't you know, there was a job opening in the exact area where we were hoping to be.

In a matter of two weeks, our house sold (full asking price, I might add), and my husband had the job (the salary was an increase from where he left - because the cost of living here is considerably less than where we left, it was as if he received a raise). Our Lord took care of us, and blessed our act of obedience, far more than we were even hoping.

There were bumps along the way. Our initial contract fell through. We had literally just dropped our children off with my sister so we could go home to pack without the children under foot. We had just left our home inspection for this home, and were so excited! Then our realtor called with that awful news. This was a Friday, and my husband was set to start his new job on Monday. We felt sick. He already was committed to his new job, here, three hours away. That weekend was a blur. Honestly I don't even remember if we actually packed. The tears flowing on Sunday evening as my husband left were heavy, and our hearts were broken. We started doubting the choices we made. After praying, and literally begging to God, my husband said goodbye to me and the children, with heavy tears by all of us (the kids too, that was SO hard). Honestly it felt as if we were saying good bye forever.

The housing market was worse than it had been just a month before. There was no way our house would ever sell. EVER.

One-half hour after my husband left, on a Sunday night, after 8 p.m., our realtor called again. He had a new offer. I told him, he better not be joking, because we weren't in that kind of mood. He was serious praise the Lord! Thank God for cell phones, as I was able to call my husband. I'm not certain, but I think it made the drive, and him starting his new job the next morning, much easier, it certainly did for me.

It wasn't easy or perfect from there on out. I had to say goodbye to my husband during the week for a while. I had a 4 year old, 2 year old (who turned 2 when Daddy was away), and a 6 month old. But with the Lord it was possible, and we learned to lean heavy on the Him. I learned an important lesson that has helped me - while with the Lord all things are possible, its not always comfortable - its possible.

It was difficult to leave family and friends. With family though, you know you will see them again, but with friends, you just never know. I had moved before. Where we lived was not my childhood home area. I knew the reality of moving, and that despite your best intentions, you don't always keep in touch. I remember a very dear friend of mine, who is a missionary in Central Asia, told me that I would be surprised at who kept in touch and who didn't. Boy were those words of truth. There are some I was certain I would always keep in touch with, that I haven't heard much, if anything, from. No one is to blame, their life continued as did ours. Yet others, who I didn't even realize I made much of an impression, have kept in contact. What a blessing. And yet again, there are others, that years can go by, and when you meet up again, its like no time has passed at all, and you just pick up where you left off. To me, its those people that are the greatest blessing. No guilt, just pure friendship. Its not even that you e-mail or call much at all, but its just that you are kindred spirits, like family, and you just understand the busy-ness and different seasons of life and love eachother through it all.
And here we are, nearly two years later! We actually made all the contracts in October and November, but didn't actually move until December 22 :) That was interesting, our house was in shambles, boxes everywhere, but we quickly made neat our family room, put up a Christmas tree, and put up some Christmas lights outside. I'm so glad we took the little time to do that :)

The Lord has been good to us, and we sure have learned much since we've moved here. For one, I have learned the absolute importance of having my heart at home. Period. I was so busy where I used to live. I was always going to this and that at church, going here and there visiting friends, and honestly, my family came last. That was a sin I believe. Moving forced me into being home and being busy here, not everywhere else. My family and I have only benefited from that. I wish I learned that lesson long, long ago.
I'm including another picture to show our new roof - see above to see the difference!
It feels so good to have the house buttoned up before winter!
Acts 17:26 (NIV) - From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Going back to this verse, there have been times, where we think we should have taken our time and looked around the whole area. There are certainly cheaper places to live even 10 minutes from here. But in seeking the Lord in this process, He opened the door for this exact home, and we believe that with our whole hearts.

We used to be totally involved and immersed with Christian families. This was a blessing, no doubt, but it also took my focus off of the hurting world around me. As we were visiting churches, our neighborhood and community reached out to us first. They are not Christians. I was able to get to know what average Americans worry about and struggle with without God. I feel sad for the many years where I was overly busy with Christian friends alone, and didn't have any time left over to reach out to the hurting world around me, friends and family alike.

So, we KNOW, WE KNOW, God has us here at this exact place, even if its for the one family next door. I have not had any earth-shattering theological conversations with them, but our prayer is that God would use our life as a witness, and open doors to conversations. God has already answered our prayers in that respect and we look forward to seeing where God leads as the years go by.
Thankfully, in the two years we've lived here, we have found a wonderful church home. There are many differences from where we came. Not that any are better than the other, but the Lord again, watched out for us, and led us to where we need to be. Because we are more surrounded by non-Christians, we need our church family more than ever to help us turn our focus back on God to make it through our days. What a blessing this has been. The preaching and teaching is nothing but straight out of God's Word. Many do not come from a Christian upbringing, so their walk with the Lord is serious and so much appreciated. They do not take their eternal life for granted, as I had for so many years. They do not forget from where they came. Every single week people are asking Christ to be their Savior, with nothing but the gospel being presented to them straight out of the Bible. Not the latest Christian best sellers, no fancy programs, just the simple Gospel and truths from His Word. Again, its right where we need to be, thank you Jesus. We have grown in Christ more than any other time in our life, and its not because we're involved in more Bible studies, or programs at church. In fact, its the opposite. Its been truly and simply sweet with all glory going to God alone.

I don't know where God has you today. It may have nothing to do with moving, but maybe my story here can help you see that sometimes you need to pray for several years about something. Maybe it is to listen and obey the Lord's impression (make real sure it is perfectly in line with Scripture - God will never lead anyone to do anything contrary to His Word). Perhaps it is to follow the Lord's leading to make your heart be at home. Only you can seek the Lord when it comes to you. It takes getting your life very quiet sometimes in order to hear Him. When it came to this move, I had been forced to be at home more than ever in my life. I had recently had my daughter - she is only 17 months younger than her brother. It was then, when I had nothing to do but be at home, that I began really hearing the Lord. That is still how it is. It takes turning off the TV, getting up before my family (I fail at this often!), and just "being still, and knowing that He is God" (I paraphrased Psalm 46:10) when I hear Him the most. Its always worth the sacrifice.

I pray this week we can in fact be still and know that He is God and look for nothing else.

I also pray that we can take joy out of the simplest of things, like my boys did this weekend with the leaves. There is MUCH to be learned from these little friends of mine :) (and boy do they have the greatest Daddy :) Last fall and this, he just keeps one big leaf pile so there is always one to jump in :) What a great man he is :) )


danielle said...

hey Jen! That was a great post! Loved all the pics! Even though we miss you guys, we are happy that you are in a good place and happy to be there. We know we can always visit you!
Love you all!

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow