When this journey began, everything seemed so very far off–a distant dream. And today, as I consider all that has transpired–readying the house for sale, Chris applying for jobs as early as a year ago, watching his work in Colorado do three lay offs and Chris was never chosen, our house selling, Chris taking the last lay off by choice, our move to College Station, the last minute rental house, a “camping” supply of stuff the first month and then the next month a second load, still applying and no job, the rental house being quite iffy for us with no job and then the wonder of God working it all out this past Saturday, quite miraculously, too (shared at the bottom of this post)–some of the journey still feels quite far off.
I prayed that the Lord’s hand would be so obvious in this journey that His fingerprints will be left all over it. And they are!
Several things have happened that truly confirm the path we are on (again, not that we have done this perfectly–we really haven’t, but we have tried to walk this wisely and well. Some things we anticipated have not come to pass in the timing we thought. So there are some obvious hang ups–like for instance having an 18 wheeler load of stuff still in Colorado.) But the confirmations are these:
- God provided carpet back in May for our home to go on the market. It happened quite miraculously and wonderfully.
- We had 25 showings, and it did not sell. Then at the last moment, it did sell. You need to know this, this house was in stellar condition and showed beautifully. With our wonderful real estate agent’s help, it was staged. And the kids worked hard every single day this past summer to help keep it perfectly clean to show at a moment’s notice. That, too, is quite amazing, considering there are six of us. And our order slips to chaos pretty fast.
- Chris’ last day of work was August 14th and we loaded the uhaul and moved early morning on the 15th. We made it just under the wire. We traveled all day, for 21 hours in three older vehicles (all with about 200,000 miles on them) without a hitch! Noah and I both really struggled with sleepiness, but somehow we made it for Sunday, a very special day in Chris’ parents lives–their 65th wedding anniversary and his dad’s 88th birthday. On Monday night, we signed our lease, which would later cause both much trouble and, thanks to our realtor in Texas, be our salvation. We moved in on Tuesday–just in time for the final late registration for Tabor and Sydney’s schools. Wednesday, we registered Noah and Kylie. And they all began school the following Monday.
We were huffing and puffing, but we made it! Shew-ee!!
- Another really obvious way we have seen God’s hand is truly in this silence of waiting for Chris to hear from his new job. It has been utterly silent, since we got here–except for two companies that both share the same building! I really have no idea if either of those jobs will materialize, but I know this. I feel confident in the silence that there is something for Chris and that it is just not yet.
- Finally, we have experienced provision that has been abundant and completely undeserved, yet, lavishly given to us. I cannot tell you how it reached down deep in my spirit and confirmed something the Lord spoke to our family, “You belong here. I brought you here. And I will provide for you.” And He has!! He really, really, has. God has been completely obvious to us here. He has made the way, provided and lovingly cared for us.
On the other side of the coin, we have faced opposition from the enemy, as well–push backs, fear and even guilt. My dear friend reminded me yesterday that we seem to be doing so well in the midst of this hard time. On some days and moments, we are! Social media can be such a hard place to frame the whole life. So here is the other side…
Our kids have been quite resilient, but they have also had their own struggles. Just Sunday, one was crying in church, concerned about making friends here. This has cut deeply. It has been hard. They slept the first month on camping mattresses on the floor. They are scrunched together, sharing rooms. This rental is small–too small, really, for our bunch, but it was the only one in the right school zone for all of the kids’ various schools and the only one available on the day we needed it. They have all cried and struggled, at times. Also, some of the stuff they need isn’t here. So we have had to slowly purchase needs for them–not all at once, because there are four of them and we are trying our best to steward what we have. At times, we have felt guilty for subjecting them to such an uprooting and replanting. It breaks our hearts to see them struggle.
I have struggled a lot, too. I have cried, sighed, groaned and moaned deeply, as well as shutting myself off from everyone, at times–sometimes, not able to even talk on the phone with dear friends, who have called. My heart has felt like it’s been ripped out and stomped upon. On some days, I really wish we were back in our home in Colorado–and Chris was working and finding a job there–for the company with which he was working is not thriving still; we pray for God to restore it and revive it, for the sake of the employees, who have been dear friends to Chris. Truly, if I had known what we would be facing, I would not have agreed to it, at all. I miss Colorado. I miss my friends there. I miss fall, the mountains, our travels and my walks at Fox Run Park. I miss my spin class. I miss my fall clothes, that are in storage in Colorado. Truly, I miss all of our things that make a home feel homey–pictures and such. I miss our church (but I really DO love our church here!!). I miss feeling settled. I’m afraid I will never feel settled again…and that perhaps, I don’t deserve to feel settled. There have been times here when I couldn’t bring myself to even go to Bible study, for I didn’t want to visit with people or be open and honest with them. One of my best and worst qualities is that I am open and honest–my face reveals much, so it is hard to hide how I feel. It is difficult for me to not say how I feel, as well–I am a terrible faker. Also, it has been hard to have Chris home for these three months. If he was retired, it would be different, I think. But it feels wrong to me that he doesn’t have a job and isn’t working. I hurt for him. But also, as an introvert, who comes across as an extrovert, I really need alone-time. For the past six months, alone-time has been a rarity. I need my space…and I often talk aloud to God in the stillness of my home. But this isn’t my home and doesn’t even feel very homey to me. And even if it were still here and I was alone, inside, I am screaming a prayer for God to make this awful ride stop.
Chris has made every effort to make this all seem normal for me–for the kids. He has gone the extra mile for all of us. He has found new outlets to pray and to seek the Lord. And he has even been good at exercising (I have not.). But the whole journey to this point has worn his patient-heart thin. Joblessness is a difficult road. I told him yesterday that he is like that very bright, teachable dog that has nothing into which to pour his energy, so he is a terror–needing occupation in a big way. Chris is a thinker. And he needs to be able to utilize his gift. He just does. Also, he is a wonderful provider. It is hard for him to look at our projected future on the bill application he uses. The future looks dismal and frightening. He is weary, worried and short-tempered, at times. But his resilient heart always wins out. He just cannot stay down, which is why we are all clinging to the hope he brings.
Then this past weekend, we awoke Saturday to a call from our real estate agent here. If we don’t show a job by the next day or pay three months’ rent, we will have to move out by November 18th. So we sent out prayer requests via text and email and Chris and I got on our knees to pray together. God showed up in a big way! We had already scheduled one payment–for November. And a dear family in Christ sent me a text, we would like to pay two months of your rent. We were stunned!! I was asking Chris, should we accept this? Is that right? And Chris told me (from a meme he had seen about God’s provision) that we needed to take the boat. So we accepted. It was a glorious hour! Then we were told, “No, we needed November’s rent plus three more months.” We fell to our knees again. What would/should we do?? The friends, who gifted us, said that we should use it however we saw fit–if we stayed somehow or if we found another place. But then the questions–if we find another place, do we change any of the kids’ schools? They are pretty particular here that you live in the right zone. And then, we’d have to pay all the down payments again AND have to pack and move again. It just seemed like TOO MUCH. By the evening, we had to switch gears and do Halloween things. We shared our update with everyone. And we shared with the parents of Tabor’s new friend, who promised to pray for us. As soon as they left, we got another call from our realtor, we may stay here. As of Monday, we have papers stating that we may. Our original agreement back in August stated that we need to show them our house sold and our bank statement (which we had done) OR have a job. And that little two-letter word made all the difference. The way this played out gave us a very clear picture from the landlords that, though we have faithfully paid and shown them no reason to doubt our character, they do not trust us…and they do not want us here. It is a terrible feeling.
But the glorious thing is this: the LORD provided for us. He protected and shielded us. And He is very much FOR US.
I shared the hard side, so you would understand the whole picture. But the whole picture includes a very wonderful, loving Lord, who has brought us here for a purpose and who is enabling us to walk on our high places of trouble–His plan and out-working of it is quite obvious to us. We are seeing that we can face opposition, and we can fight well on our knees. That is a life lesson that we and our children would not and could not learn any other way. Someday I will say whole-heartedly that even though this has been SO VERY HARD that I would not trade a moment of it for what God has done…someday, I will!
What is next? Well, we hope it is a job–even this week. Then we hope to put an offer on the house we want, move our stuff here and to pay off the other small debts we owe to have a fully clean slate, except for a mortgage. We also hope to be able to give lavishly here in College Station, of our time and our money, as we have been blessed. Will you pray that for us and with us?
Sorry it is so long today. Thanks for hanging in there and reading it all!