Thursday, January 31

Be Near

Sometimes you come across something that makes selling a house, the headaches of moving, the daily grind and stress of life seem completely, utterly insignificant.
Yesterday was one of those times.
A few things led up to this realization.
A couple of months ago, I read a convicting book, one that I knew would challenge me before I even opened it. It is "Dangerous Surrender" by Kay Warren, and DO NOT read it unless you want your brain and heart to be stretched, to be asked to think through things in a kingdom way. She has the audacity to expect the reader to apply what he/she reads, not just skim through it and say, "Oh, that was a great book. I think my husband would get a lot out of it! He should really read this." No, she asks ME to change.
Then, last week I read "My Hands Came Away Red" by Lisa McKay, a fiction about a girl who embarks on a mission trip, thinking it will be fun and simple. It is everything but. I can't say any more about it without giving away the plot, but, barely into the first chapter, I already didn't want it to end.
The combination of both of these books and the blog God led me to yesterday snapped me out of my shallow self-centeredness and reminded me that, yes, life is often incredibly hard, often makes us long to quit, often just plain wears us down. But the beauty--the moments where we do see a glimpse of God, of eternity, the total surrender to the belief that He cannot be anything but good-- keeps us pressing through the desert. There is a Promised Land.
So, please read the story of Anthony and Amber (a couple I don't even know) on the blog I found,
They are a young couple with two children, missionaries to Ethiopia,who went through the unimaginable last week. Amber, only 28, died in a car accident. The faith demonstrated by her husband and her church, her own words in her journal rocked me. Please pray for Anthony and their young children, for God to be very, very near to them now. Here are some lyrics from a song by Shane and Shane that speak a prayer for all of us:

You are all,big and small ,
And wonderful to trust in grace through faith
But I'm asking to taste~
For dark is light to you
Depths are height to you
Far is near, but Lord I need to hear from you.
Be near, oh God, Be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good.
Be near, oh God, Be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good ,Our good.
Your fullness is mine
Revelation divine
But oh to taste, to know much more than a page
To feel your embrace...
For dark is light to you
Depths are height to you
Far is near but Lord, I need to hear from you.
Be near,oh God, Be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good.

Thursday, January 24

God is Faithful!

We really celebrated yesterday as we walked away from the closing on our house! It's amazing how God provided...

We found it very easy to get distracted as we watched the value of our house get whittled away over the last 15 months it was on the market. We sold it for almost $80k less than we originally listed it for (which is the price a similar house across the street sold for that same month). As the price declined like a downhill skiing event, we got excited as a buyer made an offer the day after Christmas. Our real estate agent commented he had never seen this happen before. We told him we knew God was confirming what He wanted us to do. ;0)

The buyer made it clear she "had" to live in our neighborhood, and we settled on a price. As many of you know, the appraisal came in much lower than this. Here's where God made it clear it was time to trust Him... the house across the street came out of foreclosure and was now listed several thousand dollars less than our appraisal. The buyer was very aware of this, but specifically said she wanted to buy OUR home, because she said she "felt a special peace" in our home. We now know this was God at work, because He kept our buyer from running to what truly was a better financial deal across the street, and she chose to follow through on buying our home. It's amazing to have someone buy your home who truly LOVES it, and who was willing to listen in awe to our story of how God has been working in our lives. What a gift from God!

We just marvel at how God demonstrated how clearly He directs the things that are out of our control if we allow Him to. We now can rest in Him, knowing without a doubt that it is not our planning that will provide the financial means for us to move to Guatemala, but that our God and Creator of the universe is orchestrating all of this on our behalf. He Who called us will provide for us, and we choose to trust. :0)

Wednesday, January 23

Happy to Be Non-Homeowners!

After 15 months on the market, more showings than we can recall, more price drops than the clearance rack at Target, more hopes-up-then-down than we'd like to feel again, our house is no longer ours. And we are thrilled.
We're so thankful to have had five beautiful, memory-laden years in that home. We began our life there as a family of four, and left it as a full-blown family of five. Jackson's whole life was lived there, and he left it as he would say, "a BIG boy."
God even answered our prayers that the new owner would be someone who loved it and wanted it as much as we did. He is too good.
Thank you all for your prayers. Can't wait to see what our next dwelling place will be......

Monday, January 7

Miracles Still Happen

Yes, they do. And while our closing date is still one week (!) away, here's a little sample of the few things that have happened that, hmmm, could just not be a bunch of random coincidences.
1. An offer was made on our house on Dec. 26th. How often do you hear of that?? In this market??
2. The buyer said she had looked at hundreds of houses and felt a sense of peace when she walked through our door. She knew right away that it was the place.
3. We visited my older brother's church Sat. night. Because we walked in late, the pastor called out our names and introduced us to everybody. Because he did that, a lady came up to me afterward and said she was THE PERSON at the title company handling our closing. Our file was on her desk at that very minute. Cool!
4. Steve and Nate were hoping to go on a missions trip to Guatemala 2 days after Christmas. The trip got cancelled.If they'd gone, Steve would've been unavailable to see the offer, sign the offer, and start packing!
5. We had a garage sale on Friday, and did very well. However, an employee from the local Code Enforcement Office showed up and warned us that having a garage sale sign by the road constituted a misdemeanor (he let us off without any jail time). We had a sale scheduled for Saturday, too, and since we couldn't put the sign up, my dad stood by the road waving it (somehow, it's too dangerous to have a sign in the ground, but not to have a PERSON standing by the road). Because of this, we got SO much business. People coming out of the nearby restaurant after breakfast commented on it and stopped by, and a guy who owned a furniture store came and practically bought us out!

I'm sure we'll have more stories of how personal and good God is, so stay tuned.......