"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." -Psalm 119:105
Working in conjunction with God; now that is my dream gig. I’ve finally found at the age of 29 what I want to do when I grow up, and what I want to be. I want to work in conjunction with God.
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of 3 of them.” -John Piper
This summer I’ve not only seen God doing things in our life but also using our lives in other people’s lives as well! To see how God orchestrates things for our benefit, for others’ benefit, and for his own ultimate praise and glory is unreal. I think everything we do as work and creating on this planet is but a tiny mimic of how God is running the whole show. To see a masterful painter take a blank canvas and create a portrait so lifelike it looks like a photograph, or to see a coding engineer type pages of codes to create a software program or a teacher transform a student into someone capable of doing new things; these are all just pale mimics and shadowy reflections of the attention to detail, care, and creativity that God orchestrates in every moment of every day.
This summer has been long and weird and beautiful and ended up not at all where I thought we were heading or what this season of life would look like. And once again it’s been so much better than I could have imagined.
But in every unknown step, or more correctly, every step I knew I should take but did not know or fully comprehend the outcome that would result, I have prayed and then run down whatever avenue God was leading. I can so relate with Paul when he felt compelled to go to Jerusalem but had no idea why- only that he must go.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
Even then, after Paul went to Jerusalem, he was often frustrated at his delayed imprisonment, and the, from his point of view, “wasted” time that passed by while he was juggled around the judicial system from one court and jail to house arrest to territory. Yet no doubt without that time spent away his words might not have continued to affect people 2000 some odd years later. Paul knew the next step to take, and when the outcome was different than he imagined, God was using it all for his glory and purposes all along.
In a much less dramatic fashion, that’s what this summer has been like for our family, although thankfully without the prison or shipwrecks or floggings that Paul endured. Once again I am amazed at God’s amazing love and grace and the gifts he continually gives us, so beyond what we deserve. We started this summer buying a truck and camper to go live on the road and travel more together, which we did until we got a very unexpected e-mail and phone call for a foster placement that gave us 12 hours to completely move back into our home and get everything set up for a newborn joining the gang.
Having kids is really great at making you grow up and re-prioritize life for all the right reasons. Matt and I were still just babies ourselves in college when we got married and had Jamison. Sometimes people have said they’re sorry we never got to experience the honeymoon phase of marriage or time just the two of us but honestly, I think God had the timing just right on that one. We needed Jamison to make us grow up and take charge of our lives and live intentionally. When Coen joined our family we had to grow up again, putting aside our own agendas to meet the needs of someone else. We crushed it at work to save up a down payment for a house, and bought our first home, a 100+ year old ugly house with great bones and a whole lot of urine stained carpet. We renovated it from top to bottom, still many projects left unfinished, but it’s been a wonderful home for us. It was the first safe home for our boys, and the first place with a backyard for Jamison to tear around in. It’s held countless guests and 5 foster kids, plenty of roommates and lots of parties off the back deck.
Now we have another kiddo, our newest little foster placement. And once again God is growing us up and prompting us to the next step of selling that sweet home.
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt just a bit; I am going to miss the giant backyard and views up river canyon and having no neighbors on any side. I am going to miss the giant tub and farmhouse sink and driveway where Jamison can be found at all hours of the day and night biking and riding her scooter and more often than not falling and scraping up her knees. But that is such a fleeting emotion when I see how God has been orchestrating this all, not just for our benefit, but for others as well.
With our changing family dynamic and reaffirmed priority of adopting and fostering, our family’s needs have changed a lot this summer. Coen is needing much more assistance than we had hoped or thought, and there is a new foster placement with a potential for more. Matt’s job was no longer a healthy or sustainable fit for our family. We are still blissfully enjoying 6 weeks of California’s Paid Family Leave, so we knew we had 6 weeks to figure out a different solution before Matt would have to return to work. We continued praying and praying and putting ourselves out there and God opened up all the right doors and shut down all the wrong ones. The road hasn’t been easy, but it has required some creative thinking which God has orchestrated all to set us up for the next step. An amazing opportunity for Matt and our family came up, and praying through it we realized the best and really only way to make it work was to sell our home.
The weekend we decided to sell the house Matt took Coen away to a wedding in the Midwest. Jamison was on playdates all weekend long thanks to some wonderful friends, and I was left blissfully home alone with Judah for some baby bonding and catching up on some much needed rest. At one point it was just me wandering around the house. Judah was asleep our bedroom, and I walked into the living room, completely alone. I haven’t been alone in our home without a person clinging or hugging or screaming or sobbing at me in, i don’t know, 2 years? It’s been a very long time. And as nice a little break as it was, it also felt so hollow and empty. These walls, without the people inside of them, are just that- walls. If selling them allowed our family and Matt to live and try out a dream and better life for our family, then why in the world wouldn’t we sell it?
So I texted a friend who had been looking to buy with her hubby for a few years. I told her we were interested in selling the house, and within 24 hours we had agreed on a price and shared a realtor to keep costs low for everyone. The best part is they are Christians too, and throughout the entire process we vowed to pray for each other and give each other full permission for each to do what is best for their family. It’s not my story to tell, so I won’t share their details, but hearing from her about what God had been doing on their side of the story and seeing how selling our house to them was equal blessings on our part and theirs was like seeing miracles laid out one piece after another! They even offered to let us rent back the house after the sale until we line up a rental home. We are now in escrow, and while there may be some bumps and hiccups along the way and it might not turn out the way we plan, like Paul we know this is the right next step and where God is directing our steps. We are planning on renting for a few years, and buying another Truckee home when the time is right.
Not just seeing but actively working in conjunction with God, not just passively but actively waiting on God, that’s what this summer has been. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster with new baby and new house and new business all happening simultaneous to one another, but I feel alive with purpose.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
I am going forward continuing to make plans and eagerly expecting God to establish my actual steps and where my plans actually fall or fail. Next up: sell our house to dear friends who will bless us and be so blessed in return by it. After that? God knows and I’m ready for it.