When I have shared these posts from the chapters of Our Story, remembering the ways that God led us through our years of ministry, I have usually seen a correlation between then and now. However, this month’s correlation is a little more unusual than most. So I am saving the current update until after the following chapter. Be sure to read all the way to the end if you want to hear about our surprise this month.
While we are preparing for our move, the walls are empty now, in both our current home, and in our future place. As I paused and looked around one morning recently, I felt the Lord’s nudging to find expression for what He had placed within my heart:
The Barren Walls
The empty rooms
And the barren walls
What is it they are saying?
Listen to our stories
Hear the laughter
and the tears
Pay attention to the figures
from the mists
you will recall ...
Set down roots
the LORD had spoken
Settle in the land
I called you to.
Your work will be your prayer
as the years unfold and spin.
I will break up your flinty ground
in the gardens of your heart.
I will array your rooms with beauty
by the singing of MY heart.
And when the years are done
the rooms seem stark and bare
You will look inside your soul
and find that nothing's lost.
I have stripped away the outer
to fill the inner even more
FULLNESS OF MY SPIRIT.
You are HOME
inside MY heart.
Chapter 6. ~~ 1990 – 1993 ~~
If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.
As we struggled along with the small graphics business, my husband was offered a job in the city where our parents lived, about an hour from our small town, and we began to prepare for that move, little knowing the catastrophe that was about to explode. The owner of that business was involved in shady dealings and tried to blame my husband for his legal troubles. Miraculously, God rescued my husband from being dragged into those dealings, and he was offered another job in the Chicago area. So, once again, we found ourselves packing everything we owned and moving our three young children, this time to Illinois.
The suburbs of Chicago were never someplace we would have envisioned for ourselves. We had set aside our ministerial credentials while we were in Ohio, and we thought those doors were closed. God took His lessons deeper in our hearts as He asked us to see that true ministry is not bound by a building, an education, or credentials. No, true ministry happens wherever the love of Jesus is shared among hearts that are hungry. And my own heart had grown so hungry during all of our moving.
The neighbors in our suburban condominium complex were now becoming the hands and feet of Jesus to me. As we shared babysitting, and as we prepared meals when someone was sick, God brought cheer to my day and sent me searching the Scriptures to meet us all with a word from Him. I didn’t realize that hidden in my ordinary, everyday moments, the God of the Universe was bringing His heart of love, the very heart of Jesus, into my relationships.
And my husband was walking out his own miracles. Working for another printing company, he became aware of yet more dishonest dealings. The owners of the company became disgruntled over this employee who refused to lie for them and join in with their illegal practices. So they tried to fire him.
Three times he was scheduled to be let go, but every time something happened that caused the owners to stop. My husband went to work on one Monday morning, expecting it to be his last, when his co-worker arrived to tell him that she would be the one leaving instead. Strangers had come to her house over the weekend and offered her cash for her house that was not even for sale! She shared her excitement with us as she told us that her heart’s hidden desire had been to move away from the city and be closer to her family.
Living so close to the edge once again brought us into that deeper place of fellowship with God. The raging of the storm around us had uncovered our own heart’s longing for safety and security, only to find that nothing in this world can bring what God can provide. And sometimes He provides through the face of a stranger on your co-worker’s doorstep. Praise arises in the most unlikely of places when we begin to open our eyes to His mystery.
If the Lord had not been on our side—let Israel say—if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.Psalm 124:1-5 NIV
Into that place of trembling praises, a new job opened up for my husband, but it was suddenly shut down just one week after he had begun working there. We were left with no income at the same time that we had to move from the home we were renting. At the last moment, just weeks before we had to move, God opened up another small townhouse on the other side of the same suburb. As we tearfully packed our things, and prepared to move our family yet again, my husband found work as a Temp, filling in at graphic design jobs as they were available.
A new level of trusting took us deeper into the heart of our Faithful Lord. Our questions and doubts were brought even closer to the surface. Would He really make the rough places smooth?
Isaiah 42:6 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.Isaiah 42:16
Are you facing uncharted territories ahead of you?
Have you set your feet down only to have the ground tremble beneath you?
Could this unfamiliar path actually be the place where God will light the way before you?
Throughout our years together, whenever my husband and I would share the story of how his job was rescued when strangers made a cash offer for his co-worker’s house, invariably we would get the same response: “Who even does that??” And we would nod our heads and smile, knowing that somehow God had made a way when there was no other way.
But we always wondered if our friend really understood the miracle that had taken place in her life.
And then the miracle happened in our life.
As we had prayed this spring about moving, and as we struggled to understand how we were to follow God through this next season of life, both my husband and I felt very strongly that it was the Lord who was calling us to sell our house and prepare to move in with our daughter and son-in-law. They had also felt God’s prompting as they had prayed together. And our two sons had joined us in praying for God’s guidance as well.
But as so often happens in my weakness of flesh, one night a few weeks ago, I began to doubt our choices. The renovation at our daughter’s house was nearing completion, and we had not located a realtor yet for the selling of our home. The contractor who was doing the renovation work had looked at our home and was considering buying it himself. But we had heard nothing, and I cried out to the Lord, “Where is the confirmation that You have always given us? Where is the specific word that You always spoke to us during every other time of moving?” In the quiet of pausing, I felt the Lord asking me to just rest, and He would give me a gift in the morning. Such a strange answer to hear, but I laid my worries at His feet again and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, as I drank my coffee, my husband asked me to pause as he opened an email that had come to his work computer the afternoon before, after he had finished working for the day. As we read the note together, we realized that the contractor had sent us an offer, a cash offer, for just the amount that we had needed for this home.
“Who even does that kind of thing?”
Our loving Father does.
He delights to give good gifts to His children. Even to His doubting and trouble-tossed child who can’t see the way ahead.
If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?”Matthew 7:11 TPT
We suddenly have a closing and moving date of July 9. And so I may be quiet here during this next month. I am so thankful for the “re-blog this” button that I have been able to share with my dear friend, Anna Smit, as she has been posting the chapters from the book that she and I have written together, “Arise and Shine, Beloved You are Mine.” And I hope to be able to continue that in the weeks ahead.
But until the Lord frees my time more fully, I would love to pray with you today, my dear friends.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We bow before You today, and we acknowledge that we are so humbled in Your presence. We become full of doubts and worries so easily. And yet, You delight to show us Your amazing, glorious miracles. How can we ever thank You enough? We are in awe again, and we are so full of praises to You. Truly, there is no one greater than You. Truly, You are the Lord that we so long to walk with. Will You hold our hands during these heavy days through uncharted territories? Will You lift our head every time we fall? And will You help us to worship You here, in the very middle of these miracle-laden places?
In the name of Your son, Jesus, we pray,
I am linking with #RememberMeMonday