This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Standing Firm/Staying Put (Part Three)

Part One & Part Two

Since the moment I stepped into this duplex I have been trying to figure how to move out again.

But we've decided not to move.

In this home for almost five years God has drawn us back to Him. He has shown us what and who (and WHO) is most important. He has given us opportunities to repair a lot of damage we created. We have gone from in debt over our eyeballs to most likely being debt free by the end of the year. How’s that for a Christmas present?

He has given our sons some stability even when circumstances were less than desirable. He has allowed us opportunities for our sons to find and expand their talents. He has allowed us to homeschool—something we’ve not wanted to compromise on.

In this home we have seen joy, even in the worst of times.

In this home we have learned about contentment.

And I think we (I) have a few more lessons to learn.

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Since the moment I stepped into this duplex I have been trying to figure how to move out again.

But I am not.

And I am okay with it. At least most of the time. We are pretty sure we will move. We have a target city, although since I’ve opened my mind about staying, I’ve opened up about the location of our future.

This place is where we are going to stay a while longer for a few reasons:

First, while I dislike the neighborhood, it could be worse. It is a known evil.

Second our landlord is easy to get along with. While she’s not great about making this place a palace, she minds her own business and not ours.

Third, the rent is cheap. It would cost us double to rent elsewhere for about five hundred more square feet.

Other thoughts are: it is within walking distance of a bus line, grocery store, library, pharmacy, our insurance agent, gas stations and some doctors’ offices. When you share a wall, either in a duplex, townhome, apartment, whatever, you take chances with the neighbors. We sit out with ours quite often and chat. So again, it could be worse.

We have decided to make this place comfortable. The money that we would have spent moving (deposits, utility changes, etc.) we are going to use for some much needed storage solutions. We are going to save for new appliances. Hopefully the ones we have will last the rest of our time here. We could buy them if we had to, but moving appliances is hard on them and hard on us—I am really getting older!! The last move about wiped me out. I fell down a tiny flight of steps and took three weeks to get over it. And still had to move in the meantime.

We decided to paint if it will make me happier. And you know color does help moods. I’ve taken a good look at what it would involve to paint and maybe it would be a good idea—not easy, but a good idea.

I’ve been reading a lot about people decluttering and minimizing. I never thought I could do that. I’m a packrat, I mean crafter. I love books, I love stuff. But if I don’t get rid of some of this I will have to move it when the time comes. I’ve decided to quit buying things that I don’t need right now. Except books. I mean I am going to quit buying things.

We didn’t come to this decision lightly. Since making it, there have been many incidents that have caused us to rethink our choice. We feel like we are being tested.

But I’ve seen what it looks like when GOD wants you to move. You can try to thumb your nose at Him, but if you allow Him to work it seems to go much easier and the rewards...well they are of God's choosing. I'm finally to the point I'd rather have God's good choices for me than my poor picks.

So for now…We are staying put, standing firm.

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Coach Jenny wrote a wonderful post that mirrored my thoughts and blessed me to read. I encourage you to check it out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Standing Firm/Staying Put (Part Two)

Part One

Yesterday I started to tell you about why I am not moving even though I really want to. Even though I am watching other people move and I think it is exciting.

The story starts not almost five years ago when we moved in here, but almost sixteen years ago when we got married.

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When we got married we were not in a good financial position. We tried to avoid our obligations. We lived four miles south of this house. We both had jobs at least 45 minutes from home. We had one car.

Young, newly married, I am embarrassed to admit, very irresponsible, living like two adult children we made a really big mess of things.

And then we ran away.

After three years of marriage we packed up and ran to another state to live near my parents. We both took extremely low paying jobs, but, hey—could it be any worse than the cost of living where we were?

We were about to find out.

One of my major irresponsibilities was a beautiful Morgan show horse, Beau. I was working 40 hours a week in the ophthalmologists’ office to pay the regular bills and at least that many hours at the horse barn where I kept him to pay for his upkeep. It was not a good recipe for a stable marriage. A marriage spent in a stable, maybe, but…yeah it was a bad pun.

Anyway…we ran, horse in tow. And we landed for two months (November and December) in a cardboard box shack clapboard house straight out of Little House on the Prairie. I kid you not. I was really stupid and didn’t take photos. But it was built before the turn of the century. The walls were lathe and plaster and about two inches thick, maybe two inches. We only paid $50 a month for it. It had no furnace. My father bought/loaned us a portable furnace that sat in the dining room. Did I mention--November and December?

Housing improved a little after that we lived in three different farm houses in less than three years. For a short time we lived in what was my favorite place. (The big white farmhouse.)

Then we moved nine hours away, bought a house we never should have, only to manage to sell it days before it was foreclosed on. (The ranch--loved the house, just had no business buying it.)

Then with the boys we moved back and lived with my parents for three impossibly long months and then moved into a tiny (about 900 square foot) duplex--the four of us.

Then because of a job situation, we moved here. I didn’t want to leave where we were. I threw one several of my impressive fits. Still, my husband came, interviewed, got the job and looked for a place for us to live. He found this place and rented it. Because of finances I never got a chance to see it until we pulled up with the moving van.

Here we were--spiritual baggage in tow, debts in hand, worse off financially than when we ran away in the beginning.

About four miles away from the place we ran away from.

I could hear God say, “Here is your second chance. Do it right this time.”

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Promise I'll finish tomorrow!

Julie
Standing Firm/Staying Put: Part One

Monday, July 28, 2008

Standing Firm/Staying Put (Part One)

My friend Jenny--Coach Jenny--is moving. I am so very thrilled for her. I have read her blog and watched everything that has happened in her life to get her family to the point of moving. God opened doors and windows, told them to be patient, and boy oh boy, when He said, “Move!” it happened fast. And they have been obedient. Read her story, it’s so encouraging.

My sister is moving. I am happy for her. Probably happier than she is. She does not want to move. But she’s pretty sure this will be a good thing for her children. She and I have talked about the Rich Mullins song that says, “I’d rather fight You for what I don’t really want, than take what You give that I need…” Yeah, we are there.

I’ve watched doors slam closed to keep her from going one direction (the direction she preferred) and open to point her in others. It has been goose-bump evoking sometimes how everything is working out.

Two people who I care about are moving.

And I am not.

A few people who have gotten to know my through my blog know that I really want to move. I’ve been praying and hoping and planning to move for quite a while.

But I am not moving.

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Since the moment I stepped into this duplex I have been trying to figure how to move out again.

It’s true. What I wanted to write was, “Moving has been on our hearts for a while.” But that is not true. It sounds so much sweeter, but it just isn’t so. My husband and my sons, especially my sons, have been content with the space. I’m the one who wants to get out of "Dodge".

I’ve bucked and whined and thrown countless tantrums to God about this place. It’s ugly and old and ratty. I don’t like the neighborhood. I don’t like the layout. Not enough bathrooms, not enough storage, too far from this, to close to that. And God has patiently listened to all my complaints and did not budge. He has not moved (or let me move) one inch.

So imagine my surprise when out of my mouth came, “I think we should stay at least another year.”

My husband and I were having a conversation, one of how many I’ve lost count, about the pros and cons of moving. He’s heard my complaining almost as often as God has. He was saying that if it was that important, we could consider moving at the end of summer.

Imagine his surprise when I mentioned staying.

I don’t know who was more shocked, him or me.

Tomorrow I will start at the beginning; not almost five years ago when we moved in here, but almost sixteen years ago when we got married.