How do you begin a blog post that you’ve been waiting to write for two years?
Maybe I should just cut to the chase: As of today, we have the keys to a home of our own again.
Some of you have an idea of what this means to me and my family.
If you don’t know me personally, or if you are new to the blog, you might be wondering what two years can possibly mean for us. Here’s the short version of our story.
My husband Michael and I, along with our three children, have been living with my parents for the past two years. In late spring in 2013, Michael was injured in a terrible chainsaw accident, and then two weeks later I gave birth to our third child. That was a hard summer. Our growing young family, combined with significant ongoing difficulties we were having with our business, made for enormous anxiety, stress, and tension in our marriage. We didn’t know if continuing with our business was what we were supposed to do. Michael and I began to feel a strong call to discern providing for our family in another way. On a rainy morning in July of that year, we made the very difficult decision to sell our business and start looking for an engineering job for Michael. We found a job for Michael in Baton Rouge, where my parents live, and we moved in with my Mom and Dad in October of 2013 thinking that we would find and purchase a new house by Christmas. We brought a few toys and a big suitcase of clothes for each of us. Everything else we owned went into a storage unit located about a mile from my parents’ house.
Michael and I had no idea when we moved to Baton Rouge that the financial, personal and spiritual trials of the next two years would take our breath away at times. The sale of the business and the financial baggage that came with it were drawn out and very complicated. Our story since that fall is full of twists and turns. It has involved paying down debt, buying property in the country to build a house on, then having a change of discernment on building, waiting months for our property to sell, then finally selling the property and saving enough to look for a house.
I don’t know how to begin describing how hard the past two and a half years have been for me and for my marriage. I don’t know how to explain how shaken my faith has been at times. And I don’t know how to describe the grace God has given me to see just a little of what He has been doing with our hard-fought daily surrender to circumstances and consequences and trust.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to each of you reading this post who has prayed for us. Thank you to my friends and family who have supported and encouraged us unconditionally. Your encouragement has been the peace of Christ so many times to a couple who has been humbled to the core.
And thank you, Mom and Dad. Two years is not much when you look at a lifetime…or is it? I will never forget what you have done for us. May God reward you. I am thankful most of all for your confidence–in God and in us. You have trusted that Michael and I have discerned each decision in our lives to the best of our abilities. You have trusted that God had a plan for us and was going to work everything out for us in His timing. I do not put you on a pedestal when I saw that you have lived every day of these past two years choosing in love to let just about everything be Small Stuff. The most beautiful thing about it is that I don’t think that either of you realizes how much grace you have received and have given. It was a matter of fact thing for you to make this living situation work–for love of us. Never once did Michael and I come home to suspicion or disapproval.
I’ve talked to God many times over the past two years about writing this post. My heart’s desire has been that I’d be able to share a happy ending one day to this very difficult part of my life.
And now I’m here. I’m finally on the other side of this valley. And while my life is not tied up neatly in a bow even now, I have a happy ending to share. But like my spiritual director told me over and over again: it’s not about the house.
My happy ending is this: I can tell you that God is good, that He is real, that He loves me, and that He loves each of you and has plans for you beyond anything what you could dream up for yourself–mess and misfortune and broken heart and all.
And I can tell you that never once in this one deep, dark valley of my life did He leave me.
We know that in everything God works for good, with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28
God’s ways are so far above our ways. I see only glimpses of what He has done during these past two years. But the glimpses are staggering to me. This God stuff is either all true…or it’s not. We either trust that He is a master weaver working everything out for the good of those who love Him with a humble and contrite heart (no matter how messed up things are when they finally give things over to Him), or this God stuff is all a bunch of baloney.
I clung to hope by the skin of my teeth time and time again these past two years, and by the grace of God, my hope was not disappointed.
Today my family has a home of our own again. Praise be to God, who deals with us according to His mercy!
And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.” -Sirach 50:22