11.08.2016

the taking away


I love the way the leaves are piled on and around the car like snow <3



I've tried to keep it somewhat private, but we've been house hunting for a year. Over a year, actually. And it has been nothing short of a mess. In March, we put an offer on the perfect house for us--a little brick cottage with black shutters. We had never felt so much peace about something. The sellers were leaving every appliance we needed, down to a lawn mower, and wanted to sell to a young family. They alluded to the fact that they were going to accept our offer over all the many others, only to reluctantly change their minds when a cash offer came in right before the deadline. The night before my birthday. I cried for days. I could hear our realtor trying to hold back tears on the phone. She was as crushed as we were. We had already lost several houses, but this one felt personal on some level. Like the ideal house and situation had been dangled in front of us on a string and then snatched away. Every other house has been lost in a bidding war, had mold in the basement, or sells before we can even walk in the door. Houses here are selling in 2 hours. Our unaffordable rent is going up at the end of the month, again, and every effort we have made to buy a house, change jobs, move out of state, etc., has been met with a firm "No." We have tried everything. I've been feeling claustrophobic in my own life, because it feels like we're locked in a closet and can't get out. I could write a book on how 2016 has been the most difficult year of my life, and the house hunt isn't even half of it, but it's the best representation.

In the Bible, Job talks about the Lord giving and the Lord taking away. I am in no way comparing my life to Job's, but this year (really the past two years) has been a large Taking Away. On Gracie's first birthday, we said goodbye to my parents as they moved 500 miles away. We have lost our support system, our stability, the hope of financial security, our peace, our dreams, our hopes, and many times our (well, my) faith. I have lost family members to death and distance. My faith has been stretched to the breaking point more times than I can count. We have been hit on all sides, and discouragement and despondency have nearly eaten me alive some days. The post I wrote about it 6 months ago still rings completely true. James has been working 6 days a week and often doesn't get home until Gracie and I are in bed. We haven't been out just the two of us since before Gracie was born. I have been at my wit's end more often than not. The bad days have far outweighed the good.

After walking away from another house recently (ok, last night), James and I sat on the couch and shared a bowl of macaroni and cheese while Gracie fell asleep upstairs. Tears were running down my face as I explained that I don't understand how it's possible to have hope anymore. God has made it abundantly clear that right now we are unable to change our own lives, inspirational Pinterest quotes be damned. He has us firmly rooted in this position where we have no choice but to rely on Him. It could not be more clear, as every effort we've made to make any change has been swiftly shot down. We talked about the story of Abraham, and how God promised he would give Sarah and Abraham a baby, even though Sarah was well past her childbearing years. He asked them to trust Him when nothing made sense and logic told them not to believe, like when Job's wife told him to curse God and die. What's the point of faith anymore, when everything seems so bleak? But God eventually blessed Abraham and Sarah with Isaac. He restored Job.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie." Psalm 40:1-4

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him..." Romans 4:18

For the first time in a long time, I felt true peace and comfort after thinking about the story of Abraham. James always has the right thing to say, and reminding me of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac was just what I needed. We are not at the end of this difficult stretch. I have no red ribbon to tie this story up with. All I have is the hope of Abraham that I'm firmly clinging to, and what perfect timing with Christmas right around the corner. Another reminder that our Messiah has come, and will come again.

20 comments:

  1. Sometimes, when we feel we have no hope, is when we we MUST turn to Jesus. Our whole focus can be on Him that way! I will be praying for you guys:) you're such a sweetie and I love your honesty!

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  2. I LOVE YOU! I'm so sorry your heart is broken. Lost dreams can be devastating! You know the job angst and finding a purpose that I struggle with! I feel like I need to find something perfect that will fit me and the fact that I want to be able to be at home when we start having kids. But I'm just as clueless (maybe even more so?) as the day I stepped off of college campus for the final time.
    You know my boy story from high school- I was devastated! But even in the midst of it all I prayed and fasted for my future husband for years before Ryan showed up. Looking back, I prayed those prayers still having the wrong person in mind but God gave me even more than I could simply fathom with Ryan! It was worth the wait- like words couldn't even describe. I thought I was missing out on something that was so perfect for me. But God made me, He knows what is perfect for me and we have to trust that "no" or "not yet" really means "I have something bigger and greater and oh my goodness, I can't wait to show you, my child!"
    I love you and will be continuing to pray for you. I know it's not just the house, but a culmination of things. You are fighting the good fight and being prepared for God's plan that is absolutely GLORIOUS!!!

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    1. I remember that story so well!! And I'm so glad I was able to walk through so much of that with you. You give me so much hope <3 <3

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  3. I don't think I could say anything you didn't say yourself. I really hope this season ends for you soon, but I'm glad you've found something positive on it.

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  4. I'm so sorry you are going though this.

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  5. I was so hoping there would be a happy ending at the bottom of this post. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I will keep you guys in my prayers and I hope God makes His plans clear to you soon.

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  6. Oh my dear. My heart has been burdened with so many situations lately and I assure you I will be on my knees in prayer placing your family at the throne of grace as well. I'm so thankful that he was able to use James to give you hope, peace, and comfort. <3 I recently went through a series of disappointments, to the point where I actually wondered if God was punishing me for a decision I had made. It was one of those things where I made a call that I kind of knew was selfish and then all hell broke loose and created one heck of a domino effect. I literally cried out why!!! Do I deserve ALL this?! My goodness. I deserve so much WORSE and the fact that I was even blaming Him is just shameful. Praise God that he quickly opened my eyes and set me straight and reminded me of all the grace he's shown me. I just want you to know that you are not alone when it comes to your faith being shaken. Thank God for his mercy to us in showing us the truth and giving us peace in heart breaking situations.

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    1. Oh Brittainy! I understand that all so well!! I've questioned so many times if I'm being punished for something when I KNOW that isn't the case. We're in this together, girl.

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  7. I struggle with being able to have perspective while I'm right in the middle of a trial - it seems like sometimes all you can do is hold on, and then the perspective comes afterward? Hang in there. I'm really sorry about the house and everything else that has made this such a hard year.

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  8. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. I didn't realize the rent was going up again! While I have no answers for you, I am confident that God will work it out. I wish when asking for clarity from Him it was an instantaneous thing. From experience the why of some of our situations never come. It can all feel very hopeless at times. I'm praying for you guys, if nothing else just for some peace!

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  9. Oh, Michelle. This breaks my heart. My brother and his wife rent in the Dublin area and they're terrified to even look at houses. You are so right about the 2 hour listings. I will pray for you, friend. The right pieces will fall into the right places at the right time for you. I just know it.

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  10. A friend of mine lives in Minneapolis and spend a very long time trying to find a house. Houses were selling so fast and having 10+ offers almost immediately, but they eventually found something they love. Sometimes, as much as I hate it, I appreciate a firm NO from God. Like, okay door closed. Thanks for asking but nope. It's like, okay there must be something better. Something you have picked just for me. I'm believing that for you too.

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  11. I am so sorry, friend. I feel this on so many levels about this year (and especially last year). I don't really have any words of comfort that would actually make you feel better, but the fact that you have already come so far in your faith as to trust the process is incredibly mature admirable.

    ...But also, I vote you treat yourself to wine. And ice cream. Because this sucks.

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  12. I'm sorry Michelle. I am praying for a light at the end of this tunnel for you. It will come and it will be bright. Hugs.

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  13. Virtual hugs and lots of prayers coming your way! I cannot imagine how hard it is to go through all of that. My family just spent 3ish years trying to sell their house so they could move into a smaller one and take care of financial stuff, and after a long and hard and painful journey, God pulled things together and where they're at now is better than anything they had imagined. I don't say this in a frivolous, "Oh, just know that God will have sparkling rainbows and butterflies soon" way, but to show that I've seen some hardship in the housing situation, know that it is HORRIBLE, but I've also seen God work incredible blessings during and after those sorts of trials. So even if it feels like everything is crashing and burning, God is doing some incredible work in and through you. I love how we can hold close the stories of people like Abraham, Sarah, Job (love Job!!!), Naomi, and reflect on how God is calling us to trust Him in the present moment with everything. And, like you said, this is such a powerful place to be in as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus so soon!

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  14. when I enter periods like this, my mom always reminds me that God didn't promise me rainbows, he promised to shape me into HIS vessel, not something I want...not my dreams, but his. I never want to hear it when she says it, but after further contemplation I always thank her. Life is a struggle, we are boats on a raging sea in a sinful world, but at least we do have an anchor to fall back on...

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  15. This kills me. I know how hard this house hunt has been for you, and I am SO SORRY. I still have hope for you and your family that there's something amazing right around the corner that you never could have imagined. You're stronger than you know. Hang in there.

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  16. I am so sorry the house buying process has been such a huge discouragement. It's so stressful, especially when you really NEED to move. And dude, you guys need a date! If you ever need someone please let me know! It'd be great for Patrick to hang out with someone his age. I'm dead serious. We'd really be happy to do it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Courtney <3 You are so sweet. We actually got to go out on one a few weeks ago and it was magic! But I think we definitely need to get Patrick and Gracie together! She needs more little friends in her life.

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  17. Also, thanks for sharing those verses and for the reminder. Praying for miraculous peace in the midst of the waiting.

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