A little while ago, as I sat here in the too-early, cold pre-morning darkness trying to straighten out my heart and settle my mind, I wandered over to Billy’s. Not really with my feet walking, but with my eyeballs reading and my fingers plunking. He posted on prayer and concluded with a simple query as to what his readers where praying about today. I commented. Here is what I said. And why…
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind the diarrhea prayer for the ones giving my husband and I ginormous headaches the last couple of days. Instead, we huddled together at the table, amid the dripping tears and ripping hearts, and prayed for His will. And His guidance and wisdom. And peace.
When we were done with mouth words, the heart words continued. God was still listening as the breaks bled and wetness weeped. I finally lifted my face off the table and out of the puddle. My husband offered to get a “snot rag” to clean up the mess. And as I swiped at it with my own sleeve, they both told me we would be okay…
Despite our housing predicament, we keep moving forward. Despite liars and cheats, we keep trudging along. Surrounded by simple country folks praying for us, both back home and here in our new locale, we walk on. Surrounded by prayers shot heavenward, my family rests its collective head together as we seek rest.
Hey, that sounds like a story from His Word. Sounds like a story I have heard before. Sounds like a story of a man and woman seeking God. Obeying God. And giving birth to the reason for the season. Uh, no, I am not saying we are a modern-day Mary and Joseph. No, far from it. I reckon they didn’t entertain the thought of the backyard henries for the troublemakers hot on their trail.
Our little housing predicament history:
– Due to tough times and massive cuts at his mill, my husband was transferred across the state and into its neighbor almost one year ago. I stayed back with our son, our critters and our home. We had an income, a home, and a family—but we also had miles and miles separating us. We lived like this for 10 ½ months. Through the howling winter, blooming spring, and growing summer, we moved forward. Tears and broken hearts littered the driveway every other Sunday when my husband would leave from a weekend visit. Our son started chasing after the car as he screamed for his daddy not to go. Oh, my heart chased, but my feet stood planted.
– An offer came in on our home. Buyers were ready. Negotiations were haggled out and agreed upon. Papers were signed. Plans were made. Trucks were loaded. And we left the place my son was born. The place where my husband and I were born again into His Kingdom. We parted ways with friends and hardest of all, the neighbors who became so much more than friends, and even closer than most family. Oh, my heart stayed, but my feet pushed the gas pedal as we drove off.
– Rental house that smells of cat pee. Horse pasture lacking room for horses to run. A yard too small for dogs and kid to romp. Precious things jailed in ugly brown boxes. Still searching for stuff—my kitchen mixer, my son’s belt, the rest of my clothes, our bedspread, and our Advent books and Jesse Tree ornaments/readings. Where is it?! I can’t find it! Oh, my heart wrenches and my feet start to stomp.
– Two days before the closing of our home sale, it fell through. Thunk! It hit the bottom. We found out they had lied. Not just the buyers, but their realtor too. Then they commenced with personal attacks and accusations. I wanted to turn the tables and prove their lies. Shove ‘em in their face, actually. We didn’t. Instead we counted it up to lessons hard-learned and moved on. Oh my heart ached and I wanted to flee back home, but I didn’t.
– Found a place to buy over here. We had to let them know that since our place fell through, we couldn’t place an offer after all. In a turn of events, they gave us an option to make it work. And God showed us yet another way that was even better. Hearts soared. A little. Just a little because my heart strings were unraveling fast and barely holding anything intact. Knees bent in prayer. God showed us a way to make it work. To leave the cat pee place and get into a home of our own. Inspections, estimates, paperwork, offers, counter-offers, addendums, and agreements. Yesterday, two days before we were to move into our new place (they were so kind to rent it to us while the final paperwork and funding finished), we found out they were not forthright with the disclosures (i.e. they lied, they tricked, they deceived). Big time.
In addition to this ugly turn of events, we got a call that our still-empty, on-the-market, end-of-the-road, piece of solitude home back over in western Oregon froze solid. The cold snap indeed snapped and cracked inside our now-vacant home. Something happened and the breaker tripped and the furnace shut down. Toilet bowls turned to ice rinks before the porcelain cracked right in half. In addition, the pipes also exploded underneath the house. Praise God for our neighbors. They discovered the winter wasteland and went to work fixing and sopping and repairing and replacing.
So, last night, as we discussed terminating the purchase agreement, getting our earnest money back, the potential need for an attorney (and his fees), and the news of our plumbing disaster, my husband and I bowed our heads and prayed. Right on top of the piles of paperwork filled with title report legalese that blatantly displayed the seller’s sneakery, I dropped tears.
We have been fervently seeking God. He opened doors. We went through. He walloped them shut. We stopped short.
As tears fell, I asked for wisdom and guidance. My husband asked for the same, plus endurance and strength. I also thanked God for our realtor. She is not the norm. One day she slipped the words “God is watching out for you” into the conversation. She, too, is praying for us. For this sale to fail so we get our money back. Even though the old farmhouse looked to be part of His plan and we had images of filling the big rooms with orphans, foster kids, and/or adopted kids, it is not meant to be. Not now. Not there.
Prayers have been uttered aloud by our wavering and seeking voices.
Prayers have been uttered in silence by the cracking sound of our hearts.
God hears all of it. All of it.
And the part of me that mentioned praying for a bathroom malady (in my comment to Billy’s post) to strike the liars, was not because of malice. No, I don’t hold that for the scoundrels. I only hold sorrow for their souls. No, what really chaps my hide in the failing of this deal are hours and hours of driving to the old farmhouse and the realtor’s office and the phone conversations and the emails—all hours spent not directly in the midst of my son’s heart and mind.
As much as my heart breaks for the loss of not being able to give our horses room to roam and not being able to find all of our stuff crammed into these mislabeled boxes and not being able to make a house our home in time for Christmas, my heart rejoices in knowing that many years ago another couple and their boy were searching too. In middle of their chaos and calamity, they rejoiced amid all the rankness and dirt of the stable. And they rejoiced in kneeling beside the grungy feed trough holding their swaddled son. And they rejoiced when the raggedy shepherds peered into the midst and gazed lovingly upon their tiny bundle of Salvation.
And so must we.
As I write and share my heart and my family with you, others do it too. In recognition of His beauty all around me during this wondrous season of Advent, I would direct your gaze to linger upon two friends.
See Ann. I found her through a Jesse Tree last year right about this time. Ever since my initial stop back then, I have been an ardent reader of her words. She creates such beauty while mixing her life and heart with His Truth. It is always sprinkled with His joy, and perfected with God’s grace. Ann is my Day 6.
Now, look over here at Claire. She is beautiful, is she not? Her photos. Her heart. Her image. She and I both seek God, but she does it with such exquisite finesse and beauty that I am left awed and wooed. She captures His words and tangles my soul into her thoughts. Tender passion. Claire is my Day 7.
Who can you point to that shines His light in your life this day? Join the 12 Days of Christmas here…