Have you ever doubted that God has your best interest in mind? Have you ever struggled with understanding why He allows certain things to happen in your life and lets other things that you want to happen just fall away? I know I have. As much as I am doubtful, I know the truth. Even though sometimes I struggle with it as much as the next person. The reason why I know? It’s the story of a house.
About a week ago, my best friend and her family moved into their very first home. As she was texting me updates, and taking me on virtual tours of the moving process, it brought me back to when my family was on the verge of making a move to our very first home. Even though I was excited to be a homeowner, the thought of moving rattled me. I had several of our belonging packed in boxes. Our dresser drawers were empty, the paintings and photographs that decorate our home had been taken down and packed away. The kitchen cupboards were mostly bare save for a few things I still needed in order to cook meals (because take out can’t happen every night). Everything that made our house a home has been stripped bare. I felt so overwhelmed and stressed in that situation – everything was in upheaval. These seemingly small things were important to me. God cares about the little things in our lives. And he orchestrated the entire move for us, down to the features of the house we live in.
When we were looking for our very first home, it was a bit of an intimidating process. We had a specific budget, and specific requirements for a house, as does anyone who is looking to buy a house. But these specifications were tailored to me. Not my kids, not my husband, but me. We knew when we bought this house that it wouldn’t be our forever home. As much as I dislike moving, we knew we would have to do it again. Because when we first started looking four years ago, we knew I’d one day be in a wheelchair. So we knew we’d need to one day be in a single level home. But back then, we really just wanted a home with less stairs.
It’s not easy to admit that it’s difficult to climb stairs. In the house we rented, there were two sets of stairs. I had no idea that I would think so much about stairs before Lipedema took over my body. But before we bought our house, I was having trouble going up the 2 flights of stairs in the home. I’d spend most of my nights sleeping on the couch because climbing the stairs at the end of the day was just out of the question. So we wanted to find a house that had limited stairs, and whatever stairs might be in the home, there needed to be a landing so I could take a break.
We looked at lots of houses. Some that my husband loved. Some that I loved. Some that we hated. I remember my husband feeling particularly jazzed about the possibilities of one home. It was a large, empty house with a beautiful kitchen and living room. Hardwood floors, gorgeous bedrooms and natural light. But the stairs to the basement were difficult. I remember wandering from room to room in the basement, aimlessly following the real estate agent as she and my husband chattered excitedly about what could be. But the whole time they were talking, I was stressing about how to get back up the stairs. After the tour I told my husband I didn’t want to live in a house where I couldn’t be in any room at any given time. I didn’t want to own a home I could only use half of.
So we kept looking. And then we found the house – and it was beautiful. Only ten stairs in the house with a landing in between. Adequate space for everyone. A playroom for the boys. Hardwood floors and lots of natural light. When the realtor led us out onto the deck, I gasped. I hadn’t thought about decks when we were searching for a house. I know to many people the deck is what sells the house. But it hadn’t crossed my mind. Until I saw a deck that didn’t have a standard staircase like every other deck in the neighbourhood. I saw a deck that had a few stairs, and then a landing. A deck I could easily walk on and ascend and descend the stairs without an issue. And the best part? It was nestled right between the two schools my children would attend, a five minute walk to either one.
After the tour, we were both excited. We knew it was the house for us. So we put an offer in on it. And it was turned down.
I admit, this is where I struggled. Why would God show us a house that fit every need that we had thought of, and every need we hadn’t thought of – and then take it away? I wrestled with this. I cried about it. We looked at other houses, but nothing seemed to match up. One listing we viewed was right behind the house, with the backyards facing each other. I knew I couldn’t live my life there with the reminder of what was right in front of me.
Two weeks passed, and I waffled between believing in His goodness and despairing over not getting the house. Finally, I realized what I was doing and repented of it. I remember praying Jesus, I know You love me. I know that You have a plan, and I trust in you. Forgive me for being so hung up on this disappointment. Please, please help me let go of this house. Immediately afterwards I felt like a weight was lifted. I still didn’t have the house, and we had looked at several others but they all fell short of what we needed. Still, I made the decision to lay it at His feet and not pick it back up again.
A few days later, the phone rang. It was our realtor. She asked us if we were still interested in the house. It took me a few minutes to realize what she was saying. The homeowners had reconsidered our offer, and decided to accept it if we were still willing to buy. Just days after I let go of the bitterness. Just days after I released my disappointments. Just days after I realigned my heart with His plan.
We got the house.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t truly trusting Him. I wasn’t really leaning on the promise that He had a plan for our life. I wasn’t believing that He knew my needs and was going to provide for them. I wasn’t living what I knew.
Sometimes Christians can get discouraged. Sometimes we move away from the things we believe. Our thought process slips away from being confident in Him to being confident in ourselves. When that happens, we lose focus and stop trusting. I know this because it happened when we were looking for our house.
But the good news is this. Even when we fall short, even when we stop trusting Him, He doesn’t stop loving us. He doesn’t stop working in our lives. He is always leading us, guiding us, providing for us.
So take heart. Look back over the places in your life where He has provided for you, where He has shined through a particular difficult situation. Think about the story of a house. And be encouraged.