The tulips shone brightly in the morning sun as I opened the window blinds, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Tulip bulbs are notorious for slowly fading and eventually dying out. But this one bulb that I had rescued from alongside the road many years ago had actually multiplied to become 3: Three-in-one. The significance was not lost on me. These were a gift straight from Heaven for me this year.
You see, this is the last springtime that we will be living here, in our Wisconsin “House and Garden of Prayer.” We had prayed many years about what we would do when the upkeep became too heavy for us. And this winter as my husband faced a terminal diagnosis himself, after my own years with chronic illness, we heard the whisper of our Lord:
Now is the time you have been praying for. I have been preparing a new place for you during these difficult years.
And so sometime soon this summer, we will be moving into our daughter and son-in-law’s “Mother-in-law’s suite” or “Daudi-Haus” as the Amish would call it. We will be closer to my husband’s medical system, and closer to our older son and daughter-in-law’s home, where my husband recovered after his recent surgery. Even our Alaska kids made a visit here this spring and helped us to begin the sorting process. What a joy it was to pass along some of my much loved jewelry to our dear granddaughters. Much prayer has been offered by all three of our children and their families. We couldn’t be more grateful or feel more blessed.
But I must confess that the overwhelm is still waiting outside the door, knocking for me to let it in. I am not sure how I will handle the move, either physically or emotionally. How will I downsize from an entire home to one room?
Then this month’s chapter of Our Story met me precisely in the midst of my worries. This is not the first time that we have downsized, packed our possessions, and moved into someone’s home. No, you will see as you read this chapter, how God asked deep surrenders of our family almost 40 years ago. While the future may feel hazy for me now, God continues to remind me that every time our future was hazy, HE always met us there, and carried us through to His own fulfillment.
As my morning devotions landed in Isaiah 33 this week, I found my prayers coming forth as a poem uttered from His Word. It was a different way to write a poem, but a way that I have often found myself praying, as the Spirit brings Scriptures to my mind.
He met my overwhelm with His overwhelming promises.
He Will be the Sure Foundation
I say my times are in your hands (Psalm. 31:15) So therefore teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12) And yet my heart quivers and quails, cowers before the approaching terror (Proverbs 3:25, Isaiah 54:14) They say of me where is your God now? (Psalm 42:3, Psalm 3:2) O my soul why are you downcast within me? (Psalm 42:5) I will yet HOPE IN GOD (Psalm 42:5) For there will be times of steadiness, riches of God's deliverance (Isaiah 33:6) The zeal of the LORD will accomplish all this (Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 37:32) For in awe I wait: YAWEH IS MY TREASURE ~~ZION'S STOREHOUSE~~ (Isaiah 33:6)
Your prayers and fellowship across the miles have meant so much to us these past months. When I think of the many ways that God has joined us with His Body, I am astounded. And my heart so longs to pray with and for each one of you.
Will you join me today?
Dear Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ Son of God,
Thank you for the gift of Your Trinity, 3-in-one, pouring over our small, earthly lives. We are in awe of Your great love for us. We long to be able to express our gratefulness for Your presence in our lives. But our words fall so short. And so we speak back to You the very words You have given to us. We admit that we are overwhelmed by the terror that we feel. But we acknowledge that You are the true hope we cling to. We wait expectantly, watching for the glorious way that You will fulfill Your own purposes in our lives. And we gladly proclaim “it is the zeal of our great God who has accomplished the saving in our lives!” Oh Lord, will You meet my dear friends in the moments of their days now too? Shower over them Your gracious hope and mercy. And together we will bow before You and lift our praises to You alone. You are the lifter of our heads.
In the name of Jesus we pray,
Chapter 4.~~1986 – 1987~~
If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.
We had left the Minnesota Children’s Pastor Position when God once again called us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him. This time the calling led us and our two young boys across the country to Southern California. We thought that the curriculum we had developed for those middle-school-in-betweeners was the reason for the call.
“Wow! What a great ministry this curriculum could be!”
“You should get this published; it’s made such a difference in my son’s life. Others need to know how helpful this could be!”
With those thoughts of well-meaning friends echoing in our heads we began our journey to California. In so many ways we appeared just like the “Beverly Hillbillies” of our childhood TV fantasies. We loaded our small Toyota hatchback with our few important belongings, tied a large cardboard box on top with those things that wouldn’t fit, and squeezed our family of four inside the car to travel across the country for our new life. But we didn’t strike it rich, and we had no mansion that would belong to us.
In fact, we had given away most of our possessions, and sent the few pieces remaining via moving services to arrive at the friends’ home where we would stay. It was total culture shock for this Midwestern couple who had never even vacationed outside of the Midwest.
And it was nothing like the fantasies of ministry and publishing we had imagined either. God closed one door after another, until we were left broken and confused. Why move us across country when there was no hope for publication, no job that could possibly support us? We had stayed with kind people who invited our family into their home, but they had no idea how to help this depressed young couple with two young children. And then I got pregnant. The questions suddenly became very personal.
As we prayed about our questions, we listened to our families and friends back in the Midwest and decided that the curriculum could have been published just as easily in the Midwest as in California. We asked God to help us find some kind of restoration as we moved back to Minnesota.
But the questions that had begun to surface on the other side of the country would only prove to overflow when we moved back to the Midwest.
Where is God when He closes all the doors? How do the purposes of God fit in with broken dreams and unanswered longings?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 NIV
Is His Word trustworthy or not?
Are you facing unanswered questions in your ministry and faith walk?
Are there Scriptures that are causing your heart to tremble?
Perhaps those questions are the very place where God is calling you to follow Him.