If I hadn't walked the dreary darkness of the valley of waiting, the path of eerie what-if's, would I have missed the bright reprieve of these abundant answers? Would I have stepped past the restoration of my hope without seeing it at my feet?
I am still in a bit of amazement.....still taking it all in. Thursday it started - God, and God alone, opened floodgates and we got caught up in His waves.
There was a home I had already seen a couple weeks earlier while Chris was out of town for a discipleship conference he was helping facilitate. I had walked through the home, and handed the owner our family application just because. I had told Chris that it probably wasn't our home because it was right on State Street and that's a crazy busy street to raise a family on. Plus it wasn't in our school district and the option of moving our family to another school had been weighing heavily on my mommy heart. We would have to leave too many friends and relationships that were significant to us. The weird thing, though, was that the owners sent us an e-mail telling us that they were giving us priority as a family, and if we wanted it, it was ours. I didn't want it. Chris had never seen it, but didn't want it either.
We chose to call the owners on Thursday and let them know that they could move forward without us - we were turning down the home. To make the situation even more fun, Chris had just found out that one of the jobs he had applied for was no longer available. It was the one he really wanted as his bi-vocational job. They didn't hire someone else, they just decided that they didn't want to hire anyone at all. They still asked Chris if they could keep his resume for when they wanted to hire, and he would be at the top of the list. Well, no job, didn't help us in the realm of applying for a home. Our time on our knees praying was getting super loaded with question marks and weary requests.
So Chris called the owners. No one answered, so he left a message.
I left Chris and Samuel at the house, and went to lunch at Chipotle. I met up with a fellow Jesus-follower. She is so precious to me. You know those friends that the King brings around you that already know what the journey you're on feels like, and as they nod their heads while you tell your story, you know they totally get it.....and every part of them is cheering you onward. She's that kind of friend. After lunch, she surprised me....made me cry too....and walked me into Trader Joe's and bought me a grocery cart of food. She kept telling me to add more to the cart.....kind of like the King does at times while I pray, "Is that all you need? I'm sure there's more. Go ahead, ask Me. I love showing You how I am going to answer." It was a needed afternoon for my weary heart.
I headed home with a full tummy and a full trunk of groceries, thankful for simple answers to prayer for our needs. The owner of the house that we didn't want called back, and Chris walked out of the room to talk to the guy while I taught a piano lesson. I kept hearing bits and pieces of the conversation and was honestly confused at who he was really talking to. He got off the phone, and I asked him who that was. He said it was the owner, and that we were still going to see the home on State Street on Saturday. The owner had convinced him to come look at it anyway, and had seemed genuinely interested in our story and our family. What? Why?! Chris said, "I don't know, but he's holding the house for us. We might as well go see. It was kind of weird. He didn't want me to say no."
Confused and bewildered looks all together now.
Later that afternoon, we got a text from a dear friend and comrade in the journey regarding a new big chunk of provision for our family. Amazed and overwhelmed, we cheerfully made arrangements to see another home. Friday morning, we braved the crazy rain storms and went to see what we thought was going to be the place we would live. The owner seemed to connect with us and we left feeling like this was it. He promised to let us know by that evening.
We got the call that night that he had chosen a different family. Ugh! We went right back to our knees. Chris and I both had felt an overwhelming stress that day as we had waited for his phone call. Yet, once the home was no longer an option, handed off to another family, Chris looked at me and said, "The weight is gone! I've been feeling hurried, heavy and stressed all day, and now that the house isn't ours, it's gone. Weird!" Ironically, I had been feeling the same way.
There was this new financial provision, but no home to go to. We still had an appointment early on Saturday to see the home that neither of us wanted......but that was somehow staying available to us. Now remember, the North End of Boise is ridiculous with housing. It's super costly and rental homes....well, any homes for that matter, are gone within a matter of days, if not hours. It's pretty weird to have an application on a home that has waited for you, convinced you to not turn it down, and then given you another showing......yes, I know you know where this is going. Stay with me.
Saturday morning, Chris and I met one of the owners there at the back of the home. We shook hands and walked in. Now, what we did beforehand is pretty significant to the story. We spent more time praying and talking with our kids about the home on State Street. We asked God for wisdom - our prayer was this, "Help us not to say no to something You want us to say yes to, and not to say yes to something that You want us to say no to." We also prepped our kiddos with Kingdom conversation. We asked them to pray as they walked through the home. We told them, "Your little hearts can hear Him. Ask God if He wants this home for you. Ask Him to be clear with your heart." The kids all nodded.
We opened the back gate......and our hearts began to leap. Things that I hadn't felt as I walked through the home days before began to be on display. I looked closely at the plants in the yard - beautifully landscaped with succulents and flowers and Virginia creeper....plants I had wanted to have in my own yard if I ever owned a home. We walked into the garage and noticed adequate space for our bikes and cars and tools, but also enough space to store the items we were keeping safe for my parents while they lived overseas. As we walked through the home, my heart was excited and hopeful....I saw intricate things that had been on my prayer list that we wanted - things that only I had asked for.....and things only Chris had asked for. People, there was a working fireplace and not only one tree in the front yard for my kids to climb, but TWO! The back yard was not only fenced in, but had space for playing neighborhood children and church families, and gardening space, and a covered and lit deck for hospitality with friends and neighbors.....we can even do our monthly Movie Night at the Reiters for the neighborhood, with space to spare! I nodded my head at my husband as we kept seeing little details of the home that were things we didn't even put on our list, but that the King thought we might like. Seriously ridiculous kisses right on our foreheads from the King.
We got home, asking the owners if we could have one more evening to think about it. As we sat looking out our front window, praying and talking over the home, my daughter piped up and said something that every mommy and parent everywhere longs to hear in the midst of these journey's. She said, "Mom, it's okay if we have to switch schools. I'm suddenly feeling brave!" People, only the King can do that in my daughter's heart!
We called the owners and said yes to the home. We set up a time to sign the contract.
Today, my stomach hurt as we finally met up with the owner to sign the paperwork. I was waiting for the King to ask us to back out....preparing my heart to be obedient and say no to this great home and trust Him again......but He never said no! All I heard was, "Do you trust Me with all of this?" My answer was a resounding, "Yes!" I didn't know how to pay for the rest of our needs, but I knew He had provided this far......so I chose to Hope.
As we signed the paperwork, we asked lots of questions. As he answered, there were a couple more things that my heart began to smile about. Our fridge, and stove, and washer and dryer....we were given freedom to keep and use them. We didn't have to sell them. Small thing to some of you.....it was in the top chunk of my specifics list that I prayed over. Listen, when you find a good washer and dryer, you don't mess around with any lesser brand or unknown machine - preach.
We signed the paperwork and headed home, slightly giddy and a bit dizzy at the way it had all come about. We got a phone call from my dad and mom in Jerusalem. They wanted to hear how everything had gone. They've been holding up our arms through prayer every step of the way.
As we talked through the day, we went over the financial aspects of everything. We had crunched numbers earlier that morning and were still coming up short. One of our huge prayers has been Chris' job as a pastor. We have been a bi-vocational ministry family for the last 5 years. That means that Chris has always been employed elsewhere at least 36-40 hours a week, beyond being a full time pastor for Jacob's Well Church. I have held multiple jobs as well. Our request from the King, that we had written down on paper about 8 weeks earlier, was that Chris would be a full-time vocational pastor within the year.....no part time job needed.
My parents listened and then smiled. Then they began to make us cry. The amount of money that we needed to allow Chris to be a full time vocational pastor for Jacob's Well Church, was the amount of money that God had laid on their heart to give us monthly for the next year. In fact, it was $18 more than what we needed. Goodness! I looked at my husband and said, "You're a full time pastor! RIGHT NOW!!" Tears.
Lots of tears. Lots of "Oh my goodness!!" Lots of "You are kidding me!?" "God is so good!"
We have a home and are moving into it on June 14th. Chris is a full time pastor.....as of TODAY!!!!
People, you can't tell me that this is coincidence. You can't explain it any other way except this - the King of heavens, the Lord of my heart, provided and abundantly continues to do so........He alone has done it!
If I hadn't walked the dreary darkness of the valley of waiting, the path of eerie what-if's, would I have missed the bright reprieve of these abundant answers from the King? Would I have stepped past the restoration of my hope without seeing it at my feet? I walked THROUGH the valleys. I cried tears ON the path. I stand here today, eyes up, and I didn't miss a thing, for Light is warming my face.