I probably watch too much HGTV. It seems to have made me believe that I am an expert when it comes to home renovations and that I am pretty much capable of completing whatever creative construction project I can dream up. I am not afraid of power tools, whatever it takes to get the job done. We had this crazy idea at the beginning of all of this that maybe flipping houses would be fun…kind of a hobby. After all, we have skills. We could totally do it. Let me just say, 5 weeks in, NO! No, no, no. Just no. There will be no “renovating for fun” in our future. Days 1-5 of full time reno were great, then reality set in as did the physical pain of doing the actual work. (Somewhere along the line I got older and my body doesn’t handle what my brain thinks it’s capable of.) Chip and Joanna Gaines we are not! But, with the placing of the last piece of wood flooring last weekend our renovation status has officially been downgraded from DEFCON 1 to DEFCON 2. That just means now we have a massive amount of “small” projects to attend to. The major ones have all been completed. Well, kind of. I still see work everywhere I look.
Have you ever had a change of heart on something? Like something so big that you just said “Nope. Never. Not for me,” and then suddenly one day found yourself staring it directly in the eye as a possibility saying “Everything I thought I knew was wrong.” Personally I think God has a sense of humor and our “never” is basically like a dare to him. We say never and He laughs and says “We’ll see. That’s what you think.” Then He proceeds to turn your world upside down, so up is down and down is up and some days you don’t know if you’re coming or going. I’m kidding. It’s not that bad…most of the time. (But basically, to be safe, never say never if you really mean never. That is super sound theology for you by the way.)
In a nutshell, that’s how I ended up sitting here in my “never house.” Here is where our story (More With Less) continues…
November. “Call me before you get on the plane. I just had the most insane thought and I can’t help but feel like it has merit.” That was the message I left for Phil as he was headed out of town for a few days. Minutes later he called me back (he may have wished that he just ignored me) and I posed one of the most outlandish questions to him that I have ever asked. (That is really saying something too!) “What if we bought Mom and Dad’s house? I know it’s crazy and you know how I feel about that house and I know how you feel about it but I really feel like this is where God is leading us. This change of heart about their house has to be a God-thing because I would NEVER have even entertained the idea if it came from my own head. Don’t answer me right now. Just pray about it over the next couple of days and let’s talk about it when you get back.” I had to get those words out really fast before he said, “No! You are a crazy woman!” and hung up on me. This house was the opposite of everything we were looking for but we prayed and we talked to our “knowers.”
(These are the people in my life who know me and can tell it to me straight when I am being ridiculous or affirm my good ideas. These are the people who help provide insight and the wisdom that James 1:5 talks about. These are the people who speak Truth into my life. My “knowers” are the ones who handle my moods and tears, and whiny baby fits, which the grown up in me calls “venting.” And at the end of the day these are my favorite people to celebrate with. My “knowers”…I love you!)
Anyway, one afternoon I felt drawn to stop by the “never house.” It was sitting empty and I sat on the back deck begging God for some direction. I felt crazy for being there and even more insane for considering the house. (Again, really not my favorite place and night and day different from what we had and what we were looking for. We are talking cabin in the woods vs. cute cape cod situated in a quaint downtown.) But as I sat praying and listening this phrase kept repeating in my head. “The desires of your heart.”
So, I went with that…the desires of your heart…and opened up my bible. It lead me straight to Psalm 37 and a passage that I had already fallen in love with. A passage that was already wrapped up in Run and Be Still, tied inexplicably to this new idea blossoming in my heart, and speaks of “the land” over and over that God is promising to give. That did it. Message received. Everything clicked for me and I knew in my heart this was where we were supposed to be. I will tell you, on this day, my eyes were opened to see this house in a way I NEVER had before. It was going to be ok. This place could be home. For the four of us it made perfect sense and absolutely none at the same time. Clear as mud but with a knowing in our hearts.
The rest, as they say is history. Our Realtor called on a Thursday morning about a month later to show our house that afternoon (of course, right?! because we lived in a constant state of readiness for buyers-NOT!!) to a couple who was looking for a house that was nothing like ours located in a different neighborhood about 30 min away. But on a long shot he was showing them ours anyway. With some aerobic cleaning and creative “stuffing” I managed to pull it off, the house was ready, both dogs were taken care of, and I even baked some Christmas cookies for the potential buyers with a shameless note welcoming them to our home and thanking them for taking the time to look at it. (Don’t judge, my “never house” was waiting for me!) They looked at 12 houses in two days and on Saturday afternoon we signed the papers. Our house was sold! (They said the cookies were what did it.) GULP!!
Clarity comes with passing time. And it wasn’t until last night that realized that “the desires of my heart” hadn’t come out of left field. I was shocked to read these words (even though they were mine) from September’s post More Than Good Intentions. (Back before this whole crazy adventure even began!)
It’s a terrifying realization when you accept that you would be willing to walk away from your current life, answering the call of “not my will, but thine, be done.” Because these are not my dreams, these are God’s dreams for me. It’s when you look around and realize that there is so much that you haven’t seen before when viewed through the eyes of Jesus. It’s when you realize the discontentment you, your husband, and children have been fighting could be for a bigger purpose and you pray for their eyes to be opened to all that you are now seeing.
And that brings me to the second part of this. If God has been tugging at you to do something but you’re hesitant because you aren’t “ready,” it doesn’t make sense, or you don’t have your 36 point plan drafted, proofed and put into place with the end game strategy fully defined, welcome to the club. John Ortberg says, “…’feeling ready’ is not the ultimate criterion for determining the places you’ll go. God says, ‘I have set before you an open door,’ not ‘I have set before you a finished script.’ An open door is a beginning, an opportunity, but it has no guaranteed ending. It’s not a sneak peek at the finish. If it is to be entered, it can be entered only by faith.” We had more than our share of raised eyebrows and whispered suspicions from others as to what we were doing and why.
I will tell you though, from my very type-A personality, it’s ok not to have all of the answers. It isn’t easy, but it’s ok. And for us, this isn’t “They lived happily ever after in their cabin in the woods. The End.” This is just the beginning and I have absolutely no idea where the path on the other side of this door will lead.