“Well . . . there is no perfect house,” she said, trying to manage my expectations. Thirty walk-throughs later, I agreed. Not only was there no perfect house, there were also dozens of IMperfect houses.
One had chartreuse bathroom tile.
Another had pet pee pads strategically placed in all the rooms.
Yet another had wall sconces and a chandelier in the master bedroom.
Several had water damage from the 1,000-year flood that devastated our area six months ago.
Many had drafty windows, old kitchens, and boxy rooms.
I began to grow discouraged. And weary.
|Our old home|
Little by little we made improvements. We installed replacement windows, an updated kitchen, and a new HVAC unit. We redid the bathrooms, stripped old wallpaper from the hallway, and painted the walls the color of a soft grey kitten.
Then David’s mom passed away. Some of our closest neighbors did too. Their homes became rental houses with loud and difficult tenants. A family two blocks away returned home to interrupt a robbery. Gang members shot through the front window four houses down.
We knew it was time to move, but we hated to leave our home.
Sharpie marker lines in the laundry room doorway recorded our daughters’ growth spurts. Yellow lantana grew atop our first-born dog’s backyard grave. My father’s carpentry enhanced our den, kitchen, and backyard shed. My grandmother’s peony plant sprouted annually in the front flowerbed.
The walls stood as silent witnesses to birthday parties, Bible studies, and backyard barbecues. They held memories of profound sadness and exuberant joy. They filtered decades of prayers for safety, provision, and protection, and stood as silent sentinels guarding our little family for almost three decades.
But, like God uprooted Abraham, the Lord also told us to go. "Leave your county, your neighbors, and your father's carpentry, and go to the land I will show you” (Lori Hatcher version of Genesis 12:1).
This is the conversation I had with the Lord one morning:
Good morning, Lord, Thank you for providing for me and my family. You are wise, and good, and generous. Because you’ve led us to move, I believe you’ll also lead us to the home you want us to have. I trust you.
But I also know that you tell us in James 4:3, “You don’t have because you don’t ask. So I’d like to share a few features I’d really like our home to have.
1. A neighborhood where I can walk safely
2. . . . close to our daughter, son-in-law, and grandbabies
3. A pretty kitchen (I spend a lot of time there.)
4. Lots of windows (Remember, I’m solar powered.)
5. Enough space to extend hospitality
And Lord, my husband doesn’t ask for much, but he’d really like a smaller yard to mow.
|Our new home|
He led us to a sweet little house in a safe neighborhood only 12 minutes away from the grandbabies. The kitchen is lovely, there are so many windows I’m having trouble placing furniture, and the floor plan is perfect for inviting people in. And the yard is half the size of our old one (That’s for you, hubby.).
This experience has taught me seven principles for navigating change:
1. Don’t be afraid.
2. Trust God to lead, guide, and provide for every step he leads you to take.
3. Share your hopes and dreams with him.
4. Ask humbly.
5. Be prepared to accept yes, no, or have you considered this?
6. Seek first the kingdom of God
7. Trust that everything else will fall into place (Mat. 6:33).
What about you? Do you sense God may be calling you to somewhere different? Remember that God’s call to Go takes many forms. He might want you to move to the next town, like we did, or maybe he wants you to change jobs. Or minister outside your comfort zone. Or take the first step toward repairing a broken relationship. Or go beyond your “only what we can afford” approach to financial giving. Don't be afraid to say yes when God says, "Go."
One final observation—we discovered that our real estate agent was right—there are no perfect houses. There are, however, plenty of “good and perfect gifts” from the Lord to bring us joy.