"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Answered Prayer

"I have learned that waiting is like wind. It appears to be nothing, but it is a nothing as shapeless yet vital as breath. Waiting molds us, changes us, makes us ready in some way that is hard to grasp." -Roots & Sky, Christie Purifoy

I have so much to say that I don't know where to begin. I have so many pent up thoughts, feelings, emotions, stories... that I'm not sure how to articulate the full story into words right here in this blog. It's also an extremely personal story of our life the last few years, and I do feel that some of it should be kept just for us and for me.

But... guys... we're moving. I finally feel that I can share at least that much. Two years ago when we took our house off the market after not a single offer, it felt as though this moment might never come. There was anger and sadness and frustration and so much disappointment. And we had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and trust in God's better plan. Trust that He knew the bigger picture, that He and only He could see the future... and trust that His future was better than what I had conjured up in my head. We also had to wait and wait patiently. And waiting and patience are two things I struggle with in every area of life. Just ask my husband. :)

"And though we can't predict his specific plans, the fact that God will work everything together for good is a completely predictable promise." -Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst

But about a month ago, we accepted an offer on our home. The home we'd bought as newlyweds but never intended to stay in for quite this long. Whereas last time we tried to sell our home, it sat on the market for six months before we pulled the plug on the idea, this time we waited just three weeks for our offer to come in. Those three weeks felt a lot longer, probably because we'd already gone through this process once, but really, we feel so blessed that it only took that long this time! We were told to expect at least a four month process, as that is the average in our area and in our price range, but the traffic coming through our house on a regular basis for those three weeks was intense, and we had some serious lookers even before our first offer. Our open houses were a lot busier than the open houses we held two years ago, and I've witnessed a number of other small little signs that prove to me that God's hands have been in on every little detail of the process this time around, and that if we wait on God's timing, that's when prayers get answered in big ways. He just wasn't ready for us two years ago, and looking back, I know He was right.

But it hasn't been easy.

For the last three years we have felt confined, trapped and stuck in a home that quickly grew too small for us. A home that we fell in love with as a newlywed couple with just one baby and dreams of more. Who wanted to abandon apartment living and start to live like grownups. Who at the time, wasn't real concerned with size of house or an open floor plan, but only longed for three bedrooms, a cute little living room and a garage - with at least a little bit of grass space to call our own. I sometimes cringe that we have been so negative about our current home for the last few years. It was exactly what we wanted and needed in the early years, and it's been good to us. We just stayed in it a few years longer than we ever intended to, and unfortunately the resentment about that fact took hold in our hearts more than I'd like to admit - instead of the gratitude we should have been feeling to have a roof over our heads that we could call our own. But - for the last few years we have been dreaming of a different space. A new neighborhood, a bigger backyard, an open floor plan to host family Christmas and Super Bowl parties and winter birthday gatherings. And every Christmas for the last few years, though we love the day and the month and the celebrating, there's been a private sadness in my heart that we haven't been welcoming people into our own home for gift opening and Christmas Eve dinners, but instead packing up our car with gifts and entering their homes instead. And there I cringe again at how that sounds, but I can't hide it because God knows it anyway, and I might as well fess up to it.

So in these last two years, I've had to do a lot of praying, a lot of reading and a lot of work on myself to not get hunkered too far down in my own disappointment and feelings of failure. It's hard when other's lives seem to be moving forward and your own life feels as though it's stuck in limbo. But now on the homestretch of this journey... with a closing date and a move just over a week away... I can say that it was worth it.

"And who knows if... what looks like it's falling apart - is actually falling together?"

Because as Lisa-Jo Baker once wrote, when I walk through that front door and into that great room of our new home, with its giant brick fireplace wall and its picture window into a backyard I once only dreamed about, I feel as though I am "standing on the holy ground of answered prayers."

About two years ago, Lisa-Jo wrote a blog post I swear just for me. She wrote it and published it right when we were about to take our house off the market without a sale. Massive disappointment settling into my own heart, Lisa-Jo was on the other side. Her 10-year wait to buy her family home had finally come to an end, and she was moving into the house of her dreams. And she penned these words and I have saved them all this time, "Waiting is not doing nothing. Waiting is some of the hardest and most faithful work that we can be called to do. You are not alone... I think we can be well and be sad at the same time."

And to bear my soul and my heart here a bit, I have indeed been well and sad at the same time. And He has drawn me closer throughout this season. He has grown me and stretched me and challenged me. I have cried out in anger at Him, I have asked Him why, I have struggled with comparisons and envy and learned sides of myself I'm not real proud of. And yet He has been faithful - before the wait ended and now and always. And I now stand on the holy ground of my answered prayer and with a relationship with God that is stronger than ever. Not because He gave me the desires of my heart. But because He was there for me during all the times he answered my prayers with a 'no.' And this ground that I now stand on is not perfect ground and there is work to be done in and around it and I am admittedly very, very tired from our journey over the last several months. But the work will be a labor of love, and I am grateful for it - so very grateful. As Pastor Dave once taught us, even Heaven itself will be a place where God will give us holy work to do - much like he did for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But I'm learning that some work is filled with its own kind of joy.

And oh, how I can't wait to sit beside my Christmas tree and fireplace in December and hang those stockings on our mantle and leave cookies for Santa on the hearth and welcome family into our home to unwrap presents and drink hot cocoa and know that this is what He had me wait for. He was working in my waiting. And He gave me more than I expected because He is good and He loves us so and all along I just needed to trust Him when He whispered to me all those times, "Be patient. It will be worth it. Trust Me."

When our realtor, Luke, called me earlier today to tell me that the final hurdle to cross to make the sale final - had indeed been crossed - I burst into tears. Poor Luke! There are seasons of life when you don't realize how long you've been holding your breath until you're finally able to release it.

More to come - eventually. I've got a lot of boxes to pack and a new chapter to start!
"Though waiting often feels like a placeholder we impatiently long to be done with, it is beneficial. We get to know God, love Him and others more, and grow in humility and holiness. By not giving up and letting God determine the how and when, we experience divine encounters with Him we might otherwise miss. -Wait and See, Wendy Pope