When this journey started nearly two years ago, I had no idea what it would entail. It seemed a long-off vision of something that would happen someday. Little did I know it would be the biggest life lesson from our Lord that we’ve ever experienced: we are unwrapping His gift, one piece of tape at a time.
And if you are wondering, God uses a lot of tape! He’s child-like in that he wants to make sure and certain that we do not get a peek at all until it is time. And y’all? I think it is just in time for Christmas.
You see, my God knows me well. He knows I like corny. He knows I love Christmas. He knows that we are “Chris-Smith” (spoken with a lisp) and Holly. He knows, too…we don’t like to wait. We are eager to follow Him where He leads And we can boldly jump in the stream of His leading. But we are also quite child-like ourselves. And we love a GOOD, drawn-out story. He knows I want to be a person of faith–that over the years I have read all the true stories of Corrie ten Boom, Elisabeth Elliot, George Mueller, Brother Yun and so many more–and I have prayed to be more like them.
But you know? To be like these giants of faith, you have to be willing to take GIANT steps…and you might be pressed beyond your ability to endure.
And we have been! One thing I do know, we are not any of those people. We are us. And God has a specific story to write over our lives (and yours, as a matter of fact). And it is a beautiful read from beginning to end– yes, even that part…and yes, that one, too. It all makes for WONDER.
It calls back to those coming behind us in this climb of Everest in the snowstorm…saying, “Keep Going! This Ends WELL!”
And it does, my friends. It really does.
That is one thing I have said over and over and over to our kids. This is hard, yes. But it ends well!
So let me share with you our bits ‘o tape, just a snapshot of them, from the last year:
*We needed carpet to put our house on the market, and it was miraculously provided. I believe this one thing made our house sell-able.
*Chris got a bonus from his work that allowed us to do some major repairs over spring break. And we knew that getting the house ready for sale was what it was for!
*This piece of tape is a hard one to really be “happy” about…but it is a blessing. We were able to put our things in my cousin’s storage building, while it was staged to sell. All of that and a good bit more are still there. I daresay, this is a piece of tape that will come ’round again for us to finish the deal really soon. But it has been a good/bad, happy/sad for sure.
*The house didn’t sell ’til the last minute, so we could enjoy a lot of “lasts” in Colorado with friends.
*Provision covers several pieces of tape, a whole wad, if you will–we have been given provision in every way from many directions. I could line item them for you, but like Mary, I would rather ponder these things in my heart and not empty the gifts of their meaning and value. But trust me, as a family of six, with no income since October, we are taken care of through the end of this year. And that is a miracle right there.
If this pondering idea confuses you, I challenge you to hold back sharing one blessing on facebook or with a gathering of people this week Rather than that, hold it close to your heart, thanking God. I daresay, you will then understand. Sometimes sharing our blessings waters them down. So keep them close and be discerning about sharing them. Some people need to hear it and multiply it…and some simply do not.
*Friendship has been something we have found to be SUCH a lifeline during these months. We have friends from before kindergarten to new friends today, who have walked this journey with us and they have prayed and encouraged us so! Some have even shared with us the privilege of praying for them and encouraging them right back!
*The schools and our church here have been such safe and happy places for our kids to land….in so many ways, we have not missed God’s provision over their lives here. Though Noah, our oldest, has been the one to struggle the most here, even so people have sought him out to encourage him and talk with him. He is not hopeless. And I think it is because of these behind the scenes people, who have handed him light on the darkest days.
*Connection with people has been a huge piece of tape–because we knew Rene, we connected with Megan and because of Megan, we have a place to live (and have not been evicted due to no job back on November 1st). Because of our Sunday school, we have laughed so hard, I think it took about 50 pounds of stress off our backs. We have also been humbled in the beautiful way they have ALL cared for us! Then there is Megan again, who introduced me to Hailee, a college junior, so that instead of focusing on myself and my worries so much, I have looked outside myself to mentor her this semester. Each time we met, I know the Lord put us together for this time–for He often laid on my heart words for just Hailee. It blessed me, too, to see that He is still at work, even in the silences that we have endured these past three months.
God is so good at giving us friends and connections. We need one another, you know?
*Connection through facebook and my friend Elizabeth: I was able to begin a 15 hour a week part time job through mid-February with TestingMom.com as their social media manager, which could lead to a longer term and more hours. I am so blessed to have my hands busy and help my family in the process! Also through facebook and my friend Sheila, I have a couple of designs that I am working on for Tyler in Alberta. Creativity is something that keeps my heart stirred and happy–a gift to me…and occupation for my mind, as well.
*Connection again and our wonderful Sunday school, which has truly become a family to us here…has led to the reason for my post today! Thanks to two people from our Sunday school (and the long-term prayers of ALL of you!!), my Chris has two interviews this week. The first one is an informal get together tomorrow morning to see if Chris is a fit at their expanding company. The second one is an interview on Tuesday with an R&D company.
Who ever heard of people hiring before Christmas? God is so wonderfully able, my friends. We are trusting Him completely.
For this and so much more, we are opening and watching this unfolding journey and seeing it as a GIFT from God’s hand to us. I will share more soon, as we know it. The gift is almost open, but there are still some hanging on pieces of tape–no tearing this gift open in a hurry. Slow and steady wins here. And I’m okay with that.
Love and Merry Christmas to you all from all of us!