Sometimes life is like falling off the side of a mountain into an abyss. You fall and fall . . . and fall. Trials stretch into years. Hurts never quite stop aching, even under their calluses. But other times life is like a roller coaster. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, we’re gonna die! Oh, we’re OK. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Another hill!!!! Oh, it’s OK. We spent the fall living life of the second sort.
In Part 1, I introduced the little dream farm we found in August and the mad dash to throw the hip-deep clutter of eight people into plastic bins fast enough to get our house on the market before the weather turned frigid and all real estate buyers went into hibernation/holiday freak-out mode. But the stager we’d hired said a lot more about getting ready. There was furniture to rearrange and furniture to send on vacation to a storage unit (good-bye sewing machine table and piano . . . ). There were flowers to plant, and there was paint, fresh paint in trendy colors to be applied here, there, and everywhere. And of course there were all the things we hadn’t finished from our emergency kitchen/great room remodel.
We decided that we needed to hire someone to paint and finish up the remodeling if we were going to have any chance of buying the little farm that fall. And so our house became a work site, and I started spending as much time as possible out to avoid having to supervise the children around paint and drills. (You know your house is crazy when spending the whole day shopping with six young children sounds easier than staying home.) I remember coming back one day from IKEA, the back of the van all full of new accent pillows and duvets the stager had recommended, feeling so much peace that we were doing what we were supposed to do. I told my husband how happy and calm I felt just trusting the Lord, following His leading.
Late at night, we went on Zillow again to look at the pictures of the farm and dream. That’s when we saw it:
Not for sale.
It was gone. Just like that, it was gone. Our house hadn’t gone on the market yet, but we had filled up two storage units with plastic bins and furniture and spent a pretty penny on painting and finishing trim and curtains and duvets and flowers and accent pillows. And now the dream was gone.
Had we really heard from God? Were we really following His leading? We couldn’t be absolutely certain, but yet we couldn’t have done anything else. The overwhelming peace we had felt had pointed only one direction, toward a little farm that wasn’t for sale.
Test #2: Trust. Would we trust when it all seemed ridiculous, when we’d just had a frantic and expensive race to nowhere? Could we say, “Thy will be done,” when ours so painfully wasn’t?
I went to bed feeling hollow.
And then the roller coaster reached the bottom of the hill.
The next afternoon, our realtor told us the farm was still for sale. It was just a computer glitch that it wasn’t showing up on Zillow. Oh. Heart attack. Whiplash. Problem solved. Boom.
Life is so often not like that. Plans fail. Doors close. God asks, “If I took this away from you, would you still trust me?” This time, He only asked the question. Then He gave the thing back. And strangely, it made me trust Him more for the times that He doesn’t give the thing back. Because I saw that He is so perfectly in control. He is not boggled by our world, so if He chooses not to solve something the way I want Him to, it really is because He has a better plan, not because He had an oopsie and circumstances spiraled beyond His reach.
Stay tuned for part 3, in which strangers see my worst getting-six-kids-ready-for-church messes ever.