Home-a sacred place
I still remember distinctly driving away from our Woodstock home. Ruby was with me in the front seat and was playing a song on her ipod. “His Eye is On the Sparrow”—very appropriate. And very true.
It was a song I should have played non-stop last week when no hot water was flowing through the pipes here in our new “old” home! The hot water heater had died, gone kaput. It was under warranty, but waiting over a week for hot water was not going to cut it. Call me a wimp (I can just hear my sweet missionary friends sighing and see them shaking their heads at me). I admit, I was not able to function without hot water. I needed it in order to be clean, to wash my hair, to wash dishes. My kids needed it. My husband needed it. So after five days without any hot water and a warranty company moving at a turtle’s pace, I took matters into my own hands and hired a plumber. He showed up with a water heater and realized it was damaged. He returned the water heater and picked up another one; he opened it once he returned to my house and saw that it was also damaged. He decided to go to another store and to check the water heater before coming all the way back to my house. So, four hours after he first arrived at my house, he was able to start working. It took him quite a while to get the new hot water heater connected and working. I had 20 minutes to shower before taking Mack to his first flag football practice. But I was not leaving the house again without a shower. Just gross.
The conversation with the Lord was kind of hilarious. I kept telling Him that I was sure He had a plan. I even waited for someone to randomly ring the doorbell and tell me that they felt impressed by the Lord to install a new hot water heater for free for me. I was really praying about this hot water situation. I also asked the Lord some questions. “Did we buy the wrong house?” I haven’t doubted for one second that we are where we are supposed to be as far as this move to Charlotte and the job the Lord gave Josh. God has made that abundantly clear. But aside from moving to Charlotte for Josh’s new job, did we pick the wrong house? We prayed and prayed about that decision as well. And it happened super quick, yet we both felt this was the place for us. HOWEVER, when things start getting difficult, it is amazing how quickly we start doubting the whole kit and caboodle. As if somehow this was in my control. I asked God to quiet my doubts, clear them from my head, and give me (another) anchor from His Word to help me KNOW that He planted us right here in the city, on this street, and in this specific house.
Allow me to backtrack a bit…..When we were searching the internet for a home before coming to Charlotte to house hunt, the houses we liked were either too expensive or under contract in a day! It was kind of crazy and got me worrying. I wanted to be able to move one time—-not move to an apartment and then move again or rent for a year and then move again. I just really, really was praying that God would open up a home just for us within 5-10 miles of Josh’s office. I was a little too consumed for a few days with how few houses were available in this area. I decided to give myself a break and when I was tempted to look online for houses, I would read scripture and pray about our house. Then, the day before we were going to come house hunt in Charlotte, I decided to hop online and just see what was available. Sure enough, this house popped up that I had never seen before in all my perusing. I sent it to Josh. He said he liked it. He called our agent. At the time she said that she was with a client and would go by and see it later in the day for us. However, her client only wanted to see one of the houses that our agent had lined up for her, so our agent was able to swing by a lot sooner than anticipated. She called me on FaceTime and walked through the house with me. Sure enough, we still liked it and put an offer in and then drove up that next morning to see it. There were other offers on the house, but since we were first we had another opportunity to put in our best and final offer before the seller made her decision. She went with our offer, and we proceeded from there. In less than thirty days we were in Charlotte, closing on this house. In the midst of all of that, our Woodstock home sold in six days.
It sounds so simple and easy when typed out on this side of all of it. But in the middle of making high pressure decisions and praying that the other offers weren’t chosen over ours unless the Lord wanted us to NOT have this house, and making all of the small repairs to our Woodstock home and all of the good byes that nearly did me in, life seemed hard.
Somewhere along the way, because the decision to move to Charlotte seemed clearer than anything ever before, I had adopted the thinking that the move would be easy. Things would be simple and clear and….easy. Now, if I was taking some sort of Christian questionnaire I would have never answered that life would be easy for a Christian who had heard clearly from God on a decision. But sometimes we know one thing, but believe another. So, yes, I was surprised that God allowed our house buying time here to be so “heavy” and “high pressured.” I was surprised that we had so many things to do at our Woodstock house that really took a toll on our last couple of weeks in that city.
And I was frustrated that the upstairs bathroom needed a new toilet and that the hot water heater had to be replaced our third week here and that the chimney either needed thousands of dollars of work/repair or we could get a wood burning stove installed for thousands. We’re going with the latter next week. There are more frustrating little things around here that will need to be taken care of, but that doesn’t mean we are in the wrong house. Just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean now it’s time to doubt that we made the right decision.
There’s this thing called the providence of God.
Dr. J. Vernon McGee says:
“Providence is the means by which God directs all things — both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward a worthy purpose, which means His will must finally prevail. Or as the psalmist said, ‘his kingdom ruleth over all’ (Psalm 103:19). In Ephesians 1:11 Paul tells us that God ‘worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.’ Our God is running the universe today, friends, even though there are some who think that it has slipped out from under Him.”
Sooooo, back to the week when the hot water heater was not working I asked God for more confirmation that we were in the right house. One morning my quiet time scheduled reading was Acts 17. I started this scheduled reading back in January with a group of girls in Woodstock. During our history lesson that day I read about Paul’s missionary journeys and one of the scripture passages we focused on was Acts 17 when Paul was in Greece. THEN, the pastor of the church we have been visiting sent out an email. He challenged us to read Acts 17:26 and Jeremiah 29:4-7 because he was starting a series about “Loving Where You Live.” The first Sunday was going to be about your address and considering the theology behind where you live. At this point, I was like, “OK, Lord. Forgive my weak, feeble self that needs so much of Your patience and encouragement and help.
Acts 17:26 says, “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,”
And Jeremiah 29 is a passage to the exiles in Babylon who didn’t want to be there and were tempted to believe false prophets that said they wouldn’t have to be in Babylon long. God said they would be there 70 years and that they should, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ 8“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.
When Josh returned from a business trip, I was telling him about these verses and how I thought the Lord was really helping me. He shared that while he was away he heard a devotion from Jeremiah 29 on those same verses.
The Lord was obviously speaking to both of us. The sermon on Sunday was amazing. We were challenged to 1) see the sovereignty of God in making this address a sacred place, 2) settle in to where God has you, and 3) seek the peace and welfare (shalom) of your neighbors and neighborhood and city.
The message could not have been any more for us. It was amazing how clear the Lord was and how personal He chose to be with me. I sure did need it. And I am so thankful for His kindness towards me.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.