Friday, January 21, 2011

God is in the Details

Speaking of lining up details...just to remind myself, I'm going to list off some evidence of his confirmation & his timing.  I think our first big leap of faith was buying the truck.  There was nothing to say that we absolutely had to do it when we did it, but we knew that we had to buy the truck before we could buy the RV, and we knew that the car (the Oldsmobile) was a wild card.  After our first delay in buying the truck (we were originally going to buy it as soon as we had the sonogram for the baby), the alternator went out on the car & we had to buy new tires.  Plus, the air didn't work unless Steve had just added freon.  In other words, to delay the purchase further really put us at risk for having to shell our more money on the car which we knew we weren't going to keep for much longer at all.  Soooo...we took the leap at the end of October and came home with a brand spanking new Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel, long bed.  And then we knew that we had to start telling people about our plans because anyone who knows anything about trucks knows you don't have that kind of truck without having a reason for it.

Before purchasing the truck, however, Steve & I spent lots of time talking it over, discussing, talking through it with the kids, and we even looked at RVs.  Oh my goodness, the kids loooved looking at the RVs.  And Genna thoroughly latched on to the idea.  For the last however many months, at tuck-in, she requests to pray for the RV.  That may seem little, but to me, it is a constant reminder that this is something we're really doing, and that it is going to impact the lives of everyone in our family in such a big way.  That "small" thing has helped keep this in the forefront of my mind, even when all the other busy-ness of life made it seem like it was just an impossibility.

Anyway, in looking at RVs, we had narrowed it down to two different ones, and originally, Steve wanted one, and the girls & I were lobbying for the other one.  It as a matter of better master/kitchen with reduced space for the girls to sleep & keep their stuff OR a great bunkhouse with individual beds for each girl with ample storage space for their stuff but smaller kitchen.  Even though I love having a spacious kitchen, I really felt like the girls each having their own space would result in an easier transition with all of us being in tight quarters, and even the bigger kitchen could hardly be called spacious.  I mean, this is an RV, after all!  Sooo...Steve realized he was outnumbered, and we decided on the spacious bunkhouse. :)  We determined that the best place to buy it was in Ohio because prices were significantly cheaper, which would enable us to purchase it new, which should equal fewer problems.  And...we determined that we would wait to purchase it until the house was at least on the market, and possibly under contract but before closing.  That was our plan...

Well, a week before Jake was born, Steve was looking on Craigslist, since of course, Craigslist and our family are buddies right now. :)  He saw the same exact exact RV that we were planning to purchase for sale in Flower Mound, right where we live!  This RV is not new, but it was purchased in April of 2010, so it is less than a year old.  Not only that, but the owner was asking a very fair price for it, it included a couple extras that we would have either had to purchase or would simply not have gotten, and it included an extended, transferrable warranty!  He contacted the owner so we could see it immediately, if possible, since I was due to have the baby at any time.  After seeing it, we told him we wanted it, but we really needed to have an uneventful delivery & healthy baby first.  The owner said he would wait on that (even turned down a nonrefundable deposit that we offered) & would consider it promised to us, even if he received other offers (which he did).  The RV is currently getting warranty work done on it, but once the work is complete, we will complete the transaction, and we will own an RV.  This means we will have the RV before the house sells, so yes, we will have to pay to store it, but this will also allow us to use it on weekends & familiarize ourselves with it, while also beginning to load it with our stuff, all prior to having to live in it full-time.  Honestly, given the way all that worked out, I'm convinced God is in the details.

Yes, I still feel a little crazy, sometimes a lot crazy, but I do feel a certain measure of peace about it all...especially when I stop to think about the process of getting from the original thought of maybe, just maybe this is something to consider, to the point that we're at right now.  Steve is motivated & working furiously to make this happen & make it happen in a timely fashion.  And, he's been forgiving of the fact that there's a brand new baby in the house, and this is the time to give my body a chance to heal & recover from the pregnancy, labor & delivery before I have to launch into high gear to do the final cleaning up, clearing out, & packing up to put the house on the market in less than 7 weeks.  Did I mention that I still feel a little crazy??  And yet, there is that peace, too.  Normally after a new baby arrives, I'm a little more crazy at two weeks postpartum, so there must be something to that. :)  After all, God is in the details, right??  

So How Did You Know???

When we first started seriously considering this journey of life on the road, I really stressed to Steve that I needed to know that this wasn't his midlife crisis.  I told him it was really important to me to receive some sort of confirmation from God that this is the direction we're supposed to go.  This was admittedly a point of dispute between us.  He felt like asking for confirmation was a lot to ask, but I cited examples from the Bible where God's people did just that.  They asked for a sign.  Think about Gideon.  And what about when Abraham's servant prayed for a sign to know what girl to choose for Isaac's wife.  I think it's okay to ask God for such things, & so I did.

Soooo...have you ever asked God for something or struggled with him over something & then something happens & you just know instantaneously, deep within, that it was just for you.  It's almost embarrassing at the time because you're pretty sure that others won't understand, but every fiber of your being knows that it was God's direct communication with you.  I'm always a little hesitant to share these moments because they feel so intimate, and I admit that there have been times that I shared that I felt like I was not really believed.  Like I had misjudged the voice of God.  But that is ridiculous, really.  Our hope & trust lies in God alone, not man. doesn't matter if you believe me or not...I will still share my story. :)

Well, remember I'd been praying for confirmation, & also remember that when we ask God for something, it doesn't usually come in the package we envision.  At least, that's usually my experience.  Soooo...we were eating dinner at a favorite Vietnamese restaurant of ours on Saturday, July 31st.  When the girls were done eating, Shanan went & got fortune cookies for all of us.  You know fortune cookies are always full of incredible useful & insightful things, right???  Not!!!  Anyway, when I opened my cookie, two strips of paper fell out, and when I read them, I nearly fell over.  You know how I said sometimes things happen & you just know they're meant for you??!?  The first paper said, "This year your highest priority will be your family."  The second one said, "You desire to discover new frontiers.  It's time to travel."  Now...I realize that you may not feel like that could be your answer to prayer, but it was for me.  I knew it instantly in my gut the moment I read it.  I told Steve, "You are NOT going to believe this!"  His response, "Well, there's your confirmation!"  Seriously, a fortune cookie??!!?  It's laughable, really, because I'm sure that there are many who will think it's ludicrous that I would put any weight in that...except that I just knew.  I do have a memory of hearing another woman's testimony that included an answered prayer via a fortune cookie.  Stranger things have happened, right?  God does work in mysterious ways, and I'm reminded of Hebrews 11:6"..without faith, it is impossible to please God..."  He does not always make sense to my human mind, but that is okay, isn't it?  It was at this point in our journey that I started to feel like this was more than just talk, and in fact, this was really going to happen.  And I admit that I felt more than just a little bit crazy. ;)


That's the best way I know to describe it at the moment.  Over the last couple weeks, a lot of stuff has been leaving this house.  Just this week: the "park stroller," the one Genna calls "my stroller", the green chest from the girls' room that we used for the sheets & blankets for the full-sized bed, some outdoor lighting, and the little Step 2 outdoor playhouse that Shanan potty-trained in.  She took her potty in that little house, & she figured out the whole pooping in the potty bit.  That was seven and a half years ago.  Man, how time flies.

We've also had two garage sales, took a truckload of stuff to CCA, and sold a bunch more stuff on Craigslist -- the crib that we bought when I was pregnant with Shanan, Steve's desk that he brought into the marriage, CD tower, the little red Radio Flyer wagon, the cat--Sunflower, the cockatiel--Lucy, the chickens--gave them to the Jones'.  And there's definitely more, I'm just drawing a blank.  Oh yeah, there's the Little Tykes dollhouse, too.

And just last night, Steve was working on getting a document prepared with pics & descriptions of all of our furniture to sell once the house is under contract.  And the realtor came & walked through the house for round 2, telling us what else remains to be done & preparing us for the harsh reality of what it will look like when our house goes on the market.  Yikes!!!!  The part where the house needs to look like a model home & not actually someone's current residence is intimidating.  Especially since we have 4 kids, one a newborn & one that's two and a half.  But...Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me, so I'm going to hold on to that promise.  This is just for a season, right?  And it is a season that we are trusting God for.  He knows our circumstances, and we trust that he will bring us the right buyer at the right time.  He has been lining up details already, so why would he stop now??


Wowww! So much going on over here. The blog is outdated & needs to be updated with new pictures and a new theme for our family, but right now I just need a place to process all that is happening in our world. goes on the market in 7 weeks from today, and I have a 2 week-old baby boy, a 2 1/2 year-old handful of charm & mischief, an almost 8 year-old helper and an almost 10 year-old helper. Did I mention these girls need schooling, too, and that's my job? And there's more cleaning out, packing up, tidying, organizing, and did I do??!!? Wowww...I have to keep reminding myself that when God calls us to do something, he always equips us for the task at hand. I'm excited about this journey...daunted by it, too...but definitely pumped about the radical changes occurring/about to occur in our lives.

I was asked by a friend what sparked this idea of abandoning all that is familiar to us here and hitting the road with my family in an RV for the next year(s), and what I hope to gain from it. I'm copying & pasting my answer here because it was a good exercise for once again, sorting out & reminding myself why we're doing this.

A couple years ago while on vacation, I met a family doing the same thing. I mentioned it to Steve as a point of curiosity, & that was it. Then last year, out of the blue, he mentioned he'd been thinking about it & doing a little online research about it, & wondered what I thought. And I shocked both of us by not being opposed to the idea; in fact, I was excited about the prospect. He told me he was prepared to drop it if I wasn't on board with it, but since I was, we began to do further research & really pray for God to confirm that this was or wasn't his leading. I feel like God has indeed confirmed his blessing over this new path, & we are moving swiftly ahead.

As for what I hope to get out of it...there's several things. I think the biggest thing is learning to truly trust & rely on God. Doing this is a huge leap of faith, and while it feels scary, it also is peace-giving to feel like we are really following him. That's exciting!

Secondly, I'm looking forward to really strengthening my marriage. I anticipate that the first couple months of our adventure will actually be pretty challenging as we adjust to being together all the time. In the rat race of life, with Steve working a full-time job, working additional hours to try to provide well for our family, plus pursuing health goals & hobbies, not to mention house maintenance & church volunteering ...add to that four children and me as the homeschooling mom, it is so easy to be too busy for each other. The end result is that naturally, without conscious effort, we drift apart emotionally. I don't think we can do this without unity, and I don't think it's possible to do this without strengthening our marriage, which will ultimately strengthen our family. To me, that is a win-win, even though it involves some challenges & people looking at us like we're crazy (which oddly enough, most people have been very supportive of our decision).

In addition, we really hope to instill in ourselves & our kids a love for experiences over things. A love for "stuff" runs in the family, and I really don't want our kids to grow up with that struggle.  I hope to instill in our kids a love for God, first and foremost, followed by people and experiences.  

So, there you have it...I don't ultimately know where God is leading us. I really have no idea where we'll end up & where we'll be in a year or two, but I know that for now, we're stepping out of the boat & answering his call.

I think that really does sum it up. Sure, there are other things we hope to gain from this experience, but these are the primary things that I feel like God has drawn my attention to. It is a little scary, sometimes a lot, to consider leaving all that is familiar behind, but I cannot wait to see what God is calling us to. In the meantime, we're praying that God gives us exactly what we need for the journey ahead.

Immediate prayers:
1) strength & endurance for the work that must be done in the next 7 weeks leading up to the house going on the market
2) supernatural ability to keep our house in "show condition," despite 4 children, homeschooling, & did I mention...brand new baby & a 2 year-old???
3) the right buyer at the right time -- if God has called us to this, then he will provide, plain & simple. He absolutely knows our current circumstances (see #2 above) & that is not insurmountable to him, though it is overwhelming to me.
4) supernatural ability to quickly sell off the rest of our belongings/furniture after the house sells
5) peace & unity in our household, between me & Steve, between us & the kids, during this crazy time of transition.
6) continued confirmation that we are following God's lead, both in direction & timing.

I can't wait to come back, look over this list, and see examples of how God has answered each & every one of these requests in his perfect way & perfect timing.