It seems some key ingredients to making decisions for me include: -Reading my Bible and watching God's character in my reading -Asking trusted friends/family for advice and to pray for me and to report any thing they see or hear as they do (words or visions or verses from God) -Time away from distractions in prayer and journaling (visiting a friend completely alone in Raleigh for the weekend: check!) -Asking then expecting God to speak however He wants
This is what we did this past week and a half after thinking through if we should snatch up this plot of land (that has already begun the footprint of the house). We knew we didn't have a lot of time with this particular caul de sac spot.
We weighed it all: location, trees (lack thereof), community, schools, the emotional toll of the current 1920 house needs, the freedom of new construction (with a builder who does craftsman style wood work!), the investment of our home and life in our current place....
and let me tell you - this is not between a new city or Bowling Green - it's within 2 miles of our current house in BG! But when you live in a small city - the charm is being walking distance from friends and downtown and the university that I work. That's been SO sweet.
Turns out bikes are an option, too ;)
So - we are building!
A few things God spoke these past 14 days:
-Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of the man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." I have always wondered if this was a man planning his own build-his-own kingdom-kind of ways, for selfish ambition....and then God establishes his steps out of discipline. Turns out all commentaries point to a man who plans his way for God's kingdom and then God will establish the steps (however He sees fit) to get there. It's a loving son or daughter who wants to be in God's plans and then a loving God who responds by establishing each step. Can apply to SO much of life! Which stroller should I buy? Which guy is the one? Which peanut butter should I eat? If we want to know and please God in it....He will establish steps. Choose in faith unto Him. Listen as you go.
I felt like it was my Dad's voice saying something like (as he often does): "Oh Baby Doll, I'll help you get there. Don't you worry about a thing. And, remember, it's not your house. I gave it to ya." (with a wink and a smile)
God also gave 2 friends separate visions about our family and our house specifically. They were pictures that showed me understanding that nothing is mine. My house. My kitchen bowls. My old church pew. It's all His and He uses His stuff and houses and beauty to bless as He sees fit. These pictures were what helped me open my hand. And to see that in an empty hand.... I actually held everything.
There may or may not be a fortune cookie involved. That may be too much for everyone right now....so you can ask me personally. (If God spoke through wacky burning bushes and clouds....nothing is off limits....)
I have had the sweetest fellowship with God in my grief of letting go of our 12 years of work. He knows. He is not taking it lightly - isn't His redemptive work important in our lives - one that He does not take lightly? Doesn't He love to take crumbling marriages, houses, relationships and put in the hard work of restoring? It is not flippant or light work - and it is valued. He knows and cares and will walk with me through it.
Jesus quotes Isaiah on His work of redemption:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
The photo above is one of many pages in my journal.....as I was away in a North Carolina coffee shop on a rainy southern afternoon...and I listed that God is my foundation and my home and the One who will hold my hand in it.
I am breathing so very freely right now. I am absolutely sure this is the next move. If you would have asked me 2 weeks ago if I would EVER consider moving - I would have said NOPE, next question?
Another large piece has been Rob wanting to be released from the emotional weight he carries as he maintains our home. We have remodeled and fixed and knocked out walls and painted and sanded floors and roofed and built a deck and remodeled a bathroom and added a new one and and and......for over a decade....and we love it. But we are in a place right now in life where he wants to be a dad who can play not on busy Main Street....but in a caul de sac with neighbors.....with pick up football games and riding bikes freely and loving our kiddos and other's kiddos well.
May your decisions be made with others, open handed, with tears and joys, with God in it all, with release and freedom and joy.
(Let's get designing! Anybody love Chip and Jo Gaines? I think Rob and I would like to partner with them...... I am going for Farmhouse Mod for our next canvas.)