In my previous post we were waiting to find out about a possible offer on our house. And that was all we were waiting on so that if it was decent, we would accept, and then make an offer on the house we wanted.
Well, the guy came in to make an offer, and it was pretty close to our asking price. And while that is GREAT news, we also got devastating news that no bank was going to finance us to buy the house we want because it is a foreclosure in need of a new roof. Apparently for banks to finance buyers on foreclosures, the house has to 100% pass inspection...
We had only put our house up for sale, because we wanted THAT house. We had only looked at 2 other houses, but they didn't meet the main requirements we needed. So, it was a blow, but my first reaction was just to give it all up and just stay where we are. I mean, if we can't have THAT house, then why make myself homeless?! I could tell that wasn't what Kyle wanted, and really neither did I. But I knew that we couldn't afford a house that size at regular cost. A part of me still wanted to find another house, too, because I had enjoyed the dreams of what we could do with a larger home. But I also knew that more house at regular cost meant more income would be required than we planned on making the coming school year. So it just came down to Kyle and I talking it out, right? We'd talk about what we wanted more and figure it out!
So since I was "feeling" so stable about the whole thing, I thought I would be generous to my husband and bring up this subject. I had played in my mind over and over again an offer, a sacrifice on my part, because I knew how badly he wanted a larger house for our college ministry and for raising our children. So several days before this bad news came, I had settled in my mind to make a "generous" offer to my husband in the situation where we would have to pay more for a bigger home than we had planned.
My offer was going to be that I would continue teaching full-time if it meant we could afford a larger home.
In my mind, I really thought I was being selfless. I thought I was being a big girl who cared more for her husband's wants more than my own.
So when he told me that news that the house we wanted was probably not an option anymore, I told myself, 'Okay, now is the time to offer your sacrifice so he will feel relieved and that I am on his side about shopping for another house.'
So I said it. Out loud. To his face.
And then he responded...
Right then with his response, I knew I had set him up. I knew instantly that it wasn't a real offer. I didn't mean it. I knew in that moment that I wanted to be home more with our kids, much more than I wanted a stupid bigger house for the college ministry and being more hospitable.
His response was the equivalent to him failing me in a major way, although he had no idea. And I knew it wasn't fair of me to have ever brought it up in the first place. But at the time, I really thought, 'This will make me a good wife.' I hadn't paid much attention to the other part of me that was saying, 'But he better immediately tell me that me staying home was more important than a bigger house.'
He didn't say that. In fact, I don't even remember what he did say. I think it was only something like, "It may come to that", or something along those lines.
But as a typical woman who hears one thing when someone said something else, all I could think of was 'We don't have the same priorities anymore. How can we have a good marriage if we don't have the same priorities? How will I be able to respect him when I feel like he tricked me into abandoning my hopes?!'
And I burst into tears. I tried to cry silently, which was stupid because he was sitting across the table from me. No matter how quietly I cried, he has eyes! He, of course, asked me if I was okay. I said that I was fine. He asked me several more times, and I would respond with the "I'm fine" lie each time.
Soon he softly said, "I want you to be home with our kids. That is very important to me."
I didn't believe him for a second, and I told him so. I could tell it hurt him deeply for me to accuse him of what I had been thinking in my head. We talked it through, and I realized that I was guilty of what I had accused him of - I had tried to trick him into a certain response.
I also knew that with the bad news came the true measure of my trust in the Lord.
I hadn't been stressed or nervous a week earlier when we were just waiting to see what would happen! But once I had heard that 2 desires in one day may be no-gos, I withdrew my trust and tried to fix it in my own power.
Why didn't I ask God to calm my heart? Why didn't I ask God to lead my husband in a decision? Why didn't I ask God first how I could actually be a good wife, instead of just wanting to look like one?
So many times we see the Lord as a person, just like you or I. A person that isn't more powerful than myself. Someone that may not have my best interest at heart... and for some reason, we think we can figure it out on our own.
How many times must He prove Himself before we - especially I - freely trust Him?! I mean, in Hebrews chapter 11 alone, is a list of times God was faithful. Times He accounted people undeserved righteousness, kept someone from experiencing death, saved a family and animals from world-wide destruction, inspired a man to leave everything he knew to go to a place he didn't know, caused a 90-year-old woman to conceive a child after being barren all her life, saved a baby from the mass murder of his people in Egypt, provided a way of escape for an entire people group so they would no longer be enslaved or killed, conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, gave and kept promises, and even stopped the mouths of lions from devouring His child. And for those that were not protected from hardship or even death, still He provided an eternal home in His incomprehensible presence! Scripture doesn't stop there! Then in Hebrews 12, it implores we as believers to remember these past testaments of faithful provision and to be inspired to run the race, throwing off sin, and seeking the Lord - for anything I may face is nothing in light of what Christ put Himself through "for the joy that was set before Him". He endured the cross, and even the shame of the cross, so that I may be reconciled to Him. So that He may intercede for me.
And all I can focus on is me, me, me. I want to be home with my children more. I want my husband to say and do and feel the way I want. I want the selling of our home and the buying of another I really want to run smoothly and without complication. I want, I want, I want.
But just as much as I KNOW God is who He says He is, my first reaction is to panic. It is to take back all I had given Him previously and say, "Never mind, I got this one."
God WANTS to take care of His children. He LOVES to forgive us. He LOVES to provide for us. He LOVES to teach us, strengthen us, and show us who He really is.
All of this started me thinking about something that had happened the day before. Emersyn had taken an ink pen and written all over the inside of my car door. When I saw it, I was definitely not happy about it. I asked her, "Where is the only place we are supposed to write with a pen?" She immediately answered with great big crocodile tears, "On pay-puh."
She knew not to write on the door, because it isn't paper. But she wrote on the door anyway.
But what crushed me completely was the next day, the day we had received all this bad news about the house. We were driving home, and she said, "I'm sorry I write this." as she pointed to the car door. I immediately teared up, because even though I had fully forgiven her the day before, she still felt like she wasn't forgiven.
I said, "Baby, thank you for being sorry for doing a no-no, but I promise that I am not mad anymore. We still should only write on paper, but I forgive you for writing on my door. You don't have to be sorry anymore. I forgive you."
She cried again but said, "Okay, Mommy."
How do I prove to my daughter that I am not going to hold every one of her wrongs over her head for the rest of her life? How do I make her realize that I love her no matter what she does, even if I would prefer her to behave otherwise?
Since that day, Emersyn has said she is sorry every day for writing on the door. And every day I explain to her how I forgive her completely.
The night of the bad news and attempt at manipulation of my husband, I remembered all of this happening with Emersyn in the car, and I caught a glimpse of how much God wants me to know that He is in control and trustworthy. He wants me to see that He truly LOVES me, no matter what. He knows best for me, no matter what. He knows my desires - the good ones and the bad ones - and my needs. I may not be a little girl who fears she hasn't been forgiven, but I am a woman who fears she will not be provided for. I am His child, but I fear some days that He won't be the Father He promises me He is and always will be.
And how much more does it break God's heart since His love for me is so much deeper than my love goes for my daughter... and believe me, the latter is much deeper than I even know.
God is immeasurably trustworthy. Beyond understanding.
And in my finite brain, I keep trying to hold my universe together with my own two hands.
He holds galaxies and cells together, every single one. He created every eye shape, knows the number of hairs on every head, and will never change.
And in one piece of bad news, I mistrust Him.
Why? Because just as my daughter's limitation of understanding of my love for her inhibits her from being free from the bondage of guilt, how much more does my limitation of understanding how good God is keep me from feeling free and secure to truly rest in Him?
I don't have to have my way. I don't have to manipulate my husband. I don't have to worry about where I will lay my head at night.
God has it all in His hands. Without effort, He orchestrates all things "for the good of those who love Him".
But if I love Him, I will obey Him. To obey Him is to trust Him.
"Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."