This post will be a testimony. I want to share with you some stories about my God and my faith. First thing’s first. I read Circle Maker by Mark Batterson in 2017. It prompted me to really level-up my prayer life.
The situation was that we were moving in December. We’d moved before in December so we knew there were many challenges with it. We also had unique circumstances. First of all, we were concerned we might lose money on the house. Next, we were going to be putting the house on the market in October. Not only was that not optimal, if the buyer wasn’t willing to lease it back to us, we’d be “homeless” around Christmas.
So we were in a season of considering what needed to be done about this home sale. I found myself at the beach reading the aforementioned book. Here’s some of Mark’s words I was reading that day:
God does not answer vague prayers…The more faith you have, the more specific your prayers will be. The more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.
I’ve had a few epiphanies like the one I was about to have in my life. One was in November 2014. At that point in time, I would be saying goodbye to my husband for a year in 2 months and I was 8 months pregnant with child #3. Up until that moment, I was very, very sad and very much believing our year would be awful. God made it known to me that he had more for me. That my family was not just to survive, but that we would thrive. And we did. It was a big epiphany. This was going to be one as well
So, I found myself reading the book at the beach. In this moment at the beach I went for it. I consulted with my husband about what his goals were. Then I decided what I would pray for and what I would praise God for in advance. I went very literal and very not literal. So I was praying and praising. I was also literally writing my prayers down and circling them. I was also walking around the house while praying each morning because:
No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Listen, God made me silly so I know he appreciates it when I go all in like this. Either way, I prayed very specifically, very much leaning into my faith, every day. I circled it on paper and I walked around my house. What did I pray for?
- Make $X from the sale
- I don’t want to get into that too much but once I realized that “not losing money” wasn’t a prayer that required much faith and I consulted with my husband, I settled on a number. This number would allow us to pay off our vehicles and be debt free!
- Sell quickly
- I know myself. I try to give it to God but I can be very anxious. So can my husband. I didn’t want the opportunity to be anxious. I asked God to have the sale go quickly.
- Buyer lease back
- I was hoping that the buyer would be able to lease our home back to us until we left in Virginia. In this way, we’d only have to move once, the kids would have less school transition, we wouldn’t have to find a place to rent, we would spend Christmas in our home. Etc.
So, what happened?
- We made that amount plus a little. A few months before, we’d been concerned we would lose money. Now we were able to fully give God glory and tithe and give and pay off debt. Just wow.
- Y’all. The home was on the market for 4 days. Only two families looked at it. The first family that looked at it made an offer and we accepted. Like, there was no market for our house except for the family that God delivered right on time and right in place.
- Here’s the kicker. This family had a lease they were locked into until later the next year so each month we could rent the house back from them was a blessing to us and to them. ONLY GOD.
Home #1 was an incredible faith journey and I just glowed in awe for my God who loves me and who is looking out for me. I was exhilarated, as I always am, to live in the lane of faith.
Fast forward 18 months and we are moving again! But, let me start at the beginning. My husband gets to retire from military service and we get to move on with our lives. Is that incredible or what? Right about when we finished up the above home sale was two years out from the retirement date. So, we began casually talking about this retirement plan.
I won’t take a long time to tell you his ideas for where to retire did not make my heart happy. That’s a nice way to put it. In fact, I was despairing a bit. I happened to be in an Elevation Church eGroup at the time and we all had to proclaim something that we were worried and anxious about that we could surrender to God.
*Side note: It’s hard to give these things away sometimes. It’s hard because we want to worry about them, we want to control them, we don’t want to lean on God for them. There are many reasons why, but those facts remain and they were true for me and for my girlfriends at the time.*
The only thing I could come up with, even though I didn’t want to, was to give up the retirement plan. I’d been pros and conning, having these rollercoaster conversations and rollercoaster emotions. I’d been mentioning it in every conversation, agonizing over all the choices (Wyoming and West Virginia for a few examples). I was really quite over it. What I realized is God had never failed me yet. Moreover, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to change my husband’s mind anyway. At least not in a way that we both “won.” So, I gave it away. I surrendered it to God. I lifted it up each morning but mostly didn’t think about it. Really. It was quite weird that I was able to do that.
About two months after that decision, the unthinkable happened: My husband made the right decision. Okay, that was a joke. Please forgive me. Seriously though, one day he casually mentioned that “Maybe we should just move back to Florida.” I caught my breath. I could not believe he’d said that! Of course that was what I’d wanted but I never thought it was on the table. At all. Had I known, I might’ve campaigned for it! Visiting Florida was on my 2019 vision board! Well, moving there is way better!
In hindsight, it was kind of funny. When we left Florida I had a moment. A little fit. It really was little because right about the time we found out we’d be leaving, Elevation put out the song Do It Again. I decided that was my Virginia song. God had never failed me yet so this was going to be great too. I had to do some work to get my heart in alignment with that belief, but I did it. The joke is that God always knew he was going to bring me back. He always knew he had me covered. I didn’t know, but he did. So here I was worried about living in Wyoming and He knew the entire time he was sending me back to Florida. You’re so funny God. And, new meaning for Do It Again.
Okay, so that was hurdle one. Hurdle number one that I didn’t even know was there. It would be the set up for the rest of this story. Here were some more hurdles:
- Finding the right house
- Moving timeline
- Husband’s future
When we began to look at real estate in Florida, my husband was disheartened. Nothing he saw inspired him and as this will likely be our last home, he wanted to do it as smartly as we could. However, because of that, we decided to go on a trip to Florida to hunt for our home. Remember my vision board? I’d put a trip to Florida on there. Now I got that trip and we were moving there. Thanks God.
So, knowing how picky my husband was, how stressed out he was (career change, move, retirement, nbd) I knew I had to bring this one up to God. Hubs was due to arrive 1.5 days before me. I prayed that God would lead him to a home that felt perfect, that felt like a total win for him. That it was effortless and that me arriving would just entail signing paperwork and then going to the beach.
And so it was. Hubs called me while at this place. He mentioned some of the good things about it. His voice was optimistic (this is a lot for my “realist” husband). I was expecting it from God, but still shocked to hear from hubs. Can you relate? Anyway, he had to go because it just so happened that the builder showed up right then and was able to give hubs a personal tour and talk to him all about their company and so forth. Okay God, just showing off at this point.
We get there, things are great. The house is great for so many reasons and I’m just so sure God picked it out for us. There’s a lot to unpack here, a lot God did, but we must move on!
One of the other things I’d been praying to God about was to help my husband with his career change. I know it is really hard for someone who has done something for 20 years to suddenly have freedom of choice. It’s harder than it sounds. So he was wrestling with what decisions to make: passion or paycheck, school or j-o-b, etc. I mentioned earlier the hurdles I didn’t even know about and this is another. We found out about this new program Career Skills Bridge. Long story short, it’s an internship program the Air Force allows their Active Duty to participate in. What did that mean for us?
We could move in August not December. The kids could start the school year where they’d end it. We’d be able to be home that much sooner. My husband could pursue passion while receiving a paycheck. Now, this program has been around for a few years but it is very hush hush. So, when we found out about it, it was all but impossible to take advantage of it. What would it require?
- The house would have to be available FOUR months earlier. When we’d planned to move in December, we shopped for a house that would be ready in November. And we got it.
- Hubs’ leadership would have to approve the program.
- Our current landlords would have to let us out of the lease early.
All of these things are kind of huge and monumental. Dare I say impossible all at once. So, let’s check in with God.
Hey God, there is this wonderful opportunity that seems hand made for us. We’re so grateful but we have to send you in because this is literally impossible for us.
So what happened?
- The first step was finding out about the home. You know construction almost always goes much slower than projected. This seemed like an impossible proposition. And yet, we went to God and to the builder asking for a timeline. After a week of suspense, they responded it would actually be ready early. Late July/early August as a matter of fact. JAW DROP.
- Alrighty. My husband prepared this long speech about this apprenticeship for his leadership. They are all working very hard on specific stuff right now and letting him go is probably going to hurt. So, the speech and facts and numbers and whatever else were ready. So were my prayers. It’s almost laughable how the conversation went. Hubs didn’t get in five words before everyone was like 100% yes, do it, go for it. HAHA. God, you’re so good. And so funny.
- Our lease was another story. It’s a weird situation that I won’t get into for privacy reasons. Long story short, we prayed and found a way to get out of it and everybody won. That’s great because that’s thousands of dollars we won’t have to pay in rent for a home we aren’t living in.
In the middle of all of this it, quite shockingly, became possible that my best friend might be able to move to the EXACT SAME TOWN as me. In military terms, this is unheard of and hilariously God. She and I got to praying and it’s happening! This was truly just God showing off. This was another hurdle I didn’t know about. We went from not even thinking it was possible (she was going to Germany, Japan or maybe DC?!) to now it’s happening!
God, you’re so good to me. How do you have time for anyone else?
The last and most recent issue was with our loan approval. The bible isn’t joking when it says
The borrower is slave to the lender. -Prov 22:7
Let’s make another really long story short. Dealing with lenders isn’t easy. I believe they’re nice, they mean well and so forth. It’s still awful. This is especially true with a VA Loan because there are many extra requirements. We did have an issue come up where we unexpectedly might not be able to qualify for this loan. That meant we’d either have to go through it all over again with another company or give the house up, both excruciating options from my perspective.
At first, for some reason, I tried to outsmart things. I got very nerdy, researchy, documenty and so forth. Although that probably didn’t hurt, the way it was leading clearly showed me that God was showing me I needed to rely on Him for this win as well. Everything lined up in such a way that I could only give credit to God (I did give our lender a well-deserved thank you). As you can imagine with all of this moving/planning/retiring/etc, I’ve been very stressed. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had a really rough few days. After I saw the situation for what it was, one that I had to turn over to God, things improved. I prayed, I meditated, I praise music’d. I went all in. I turned it over and I got peace back.
Then, today, I woke up and knew I’d get a call from them this afternoon with the good news. I also knew I’d give God the glory.
So, when I saw that number on my phone, I got on my knees and thanked God for the good news first. I heard it with my faith first. Then I answered the call and heard it with my ears.
These two home stories are a few of my testimonies. God is so good. I love having a relationship with Him and, as counterintuitive as it may seem, I love relying on Him. There just is no better way to live fully in my opinion. These big moments have helped me rely on Him habitually in the small moments. This isn’t exactly a call to action type of message. I do hope that you get the joy and satisfaction of depending on God. Of praying and being changed inside out.
Happy Fierce Faith Friday!