|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.