Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cry fest

Hi. So, I had a little cry fest the other night with some of the only people that I feel I CAN cry around. Side note: When I cry I feel like I make an ugly face, particularly in the mouth area of my face, and I don't really know what to do with my hands. I ended up poking my nose repeatedly and thinking "Why the H... am I poking my nose?" I'm not a crier. Most of the time when life gets stressful, I am prone to laughing attacks. But, I think I was in the midst of coming to some realizations, and those are sometimes hard.
Micah and I committed to praying for a couple days for God's will and direction with the whole house sale thing. But, when I sat down to pray, I had absolutely nothing to say. I sometimes think that prayer needs to be this thing that is all nice and sweet and mooshy and leaves you and God feeling better about your relationship. But that isn't true for human relationships, and it wasn't true here. Instead, I was surprised when I began telling God that I am frustrated and angry. And it made me cry to be so honest with God and, also, to be that honest with myself. I realized as I continued to pray that I get it. I let my house be the thing that consumed me. That thing that got my heart. And now, after everything that I have invested, I am being asked to give it away, and not only give it away, but give it away and sacrifice my credit score! But, I also came to the realization (while I was telling God how frustrated and angry I am) that giving the house away represents something bigger than a bad credit score. It means for me that there is no longer anything holding me here. And that forces me to face the much bigger sacrifice of having to say good bye to friends that are like family, and watch my kids make those same sacrifices.
Praying for God's will is a funny thing. Because sometimes I just might not want to know. I ignore what I hear and keep praying for a different answer. Or I just get confused! How do you really know? That's when God makes it exceedingly clear, I guess. Or he did for me. Here's how: right after praying that morning (when I was fuming a little bit), our family devotions ask "why do you think people are sometimes slow to step out to serve God?" Or next day topic "The search for God's will" where it says "our job is not to hunt for the secret will of God, but to do what God has clearly told us to do." (Riiiight.) Or, I open a Francis Chan book (same day) to a quote that says "I think dwelling on God's plan for the future often excuses us from faithful and sacrificial living now. It tends to create a safe zone of sorts, where we can sit around and have "spiritual" conversations about what God "might" have planned for our lives. Thinking, questioning and talking can take the place of letting the Spirit affect our immediate actions in radical ways. God wants to see His children stake everything on His power and presence in their lives." So, there you go. I know that God's will for my family is to start thriving churches in the city of Seattle. God's call was very clear, and he continues to pull everything together...up there. The only thing keeping us here is the house.
So, we've decided to stake everything on Him and we've begun the process of a short sale. It's crazy, I feel pretty relieved. There is no more question on what His will is in this process...because I'm sure this has been it all along. I just didn't want to hear it, because it went against what I thought I knew of God and what he would ask of us. But, I also was reminded (in another devotional) that He did ask a man to marry a hooker once. So, He's not always so predictable.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stinkin' house order to get a wiggle on up to Seattle, we need to be freed of this stinkin' house! And there is soo much history in this house, its hard to explain! But, I'll try...with bullet points, because bullet points are awesome.
Over the last 6 years:
  • we bought a 1500 sq. foot house with an additional 1500 sq ft of unfinished basement and a huge yucky yard. Being the visionaries that we are, we totally saw the potential and pretty much started remodeling and landscaping right away
  • We built a room for Zeke and E.J. in the basement (they were sharing a small room with Hannah)
  • We knocked down an old outdoor brick fireplace, chiseled the mortar off of the bricks (they had dates on them that I wanted to 1954...those kind of dates, not the fruity kind), and dug and re-layed a winding path to the front door (but first I took a sledgehammer to the old cement path and hauled that to the back yard) and we planted grass seed around our path
  • Boys moved into their room but then got the boot back into Hannah's room to allow for a young couple moving to the area to live with us while they searched for their own place to live...(they stayed too long).
  • First mow (and first break from the couple that were living with us)!! Micah yells from outside "hey! come smell this!" (Note to self: don't smell stuff that is bubbling up from underground and pooling all over your new grass!)
  • septic system overflowed...(we were under the impression that we were on city sewer!!)
  • We got some money (from the old lady who used to live here) to be hooked up to city sewer...and were able to bring the lines in low enough to put a bathroom in the we cut into the concrete floor in the basement for that! (Micah and my dad caught one of the concrete saws on fire and almost passed out from the gas fumes in an enclosed area)
  • We framed a bathroom and closet, built and tiled a big ol' shower, tiled in soaking tub and the rest of the bathroom and did all the plumbing...eew.
  • We rebuilt stairs
  • We framed a master bedroom, an office, another bedroom, a laundry room, a studio, and a family room into the basement, and ran electrical
  • We slapped up sheetrock (we super sucked at that skill) attempted to mud and tape (super sucked at that skill too), and eventually hired someone to sheetrock/mud/tape the rest of the basement
  • We painted the entire basement (then I repainted...its what I do)
  • We payed someone to lay carpet in the basement, had to let him go then hired someone else
  • We pulled up carpet (from every room including the bathroom) upstairs and painted (then I repainted everything a few times)
  • We tiled the upstairs bathroom, then retiled some more stuff in that same bathroom.
  • We built a deck outside, a pool pad for an above ground pool, raised veggie garden beds and a dog kennel (for Bob)
  • We layed grass, pulled it up, planted some stuff that died, pulled those up and replanted grass in the front yard
  • We painted the entire exterior (that kind of painting made me insta-grouchy, though)
  • We put on new garage doors
  • We painted and added new trim and handles to the kitchen cabinets and poured concrete counters.
  • AND, we planted a church.
So, it's complicated. We've gone ahead and built our own little heaven on earth! We've made ourselves a home with everything that we thought we wanted. It has allowed us to give our staff (on more than one occasion) someplace to stay. It's allowed us to cook, entertain, counsel or just welcome friends and neighbors. And, with all that's already been done, I can still dream about the next house project I'll be starting on, which color I'll paint next and on which wall! I think that its pretty clear that my house has gotten my heart. We've invested 7 years of our time, energy, and money. We've sacrificed Saturdays (our 1 day off) evenings, vacations and entire summers. We've sacrificed precious time with our kids that we can't get back. We've sacrificed financially, emotionally and physically. Its been the source of so many arguments and frustrations between Micah and I, that there is a residual "funk" when it comes to anything house related!
At a pastor's conference (yes...I had diarrhea about it) in January, the speaker had asked the question "what are you willing to sacrifice so that others might hear the good news of Jesus?" I KNEW that it was going to be my house! And in my head, I thought that I would have no problem with that. I believed that because God is huge (and bigger than our stinking economy) He would sell it, most likely for MORE than its worth so we could pay off ALL our debt. He'd have no problem selling it in a down market and maybe even bring a couple people to squabble over it in a bidding war...because then there would be no question that it was God moving us along. And all I had to do was let go of it. Not so much! As I thought about how great I was that I was willing to sacrifice my house, and how God should really be pretty happy with me, I realized I wasn't sacrificing anything.
I came to realize that sacrifice isn't just letting go of something to get something else. It isn't giving something up only if God shows up in a huge, miraculous way. Sacrifice is just giving without a promise of some reward or replacement! And for me its a little painful. It means I have to face reality about what's really gotten a hold of my heart, and then give that up!
So, here I am. Trying give up that thing that's consumed me and gotten my heart. The house has shown 3 times in 2 months. The first 2 God used, I think, to get me to start thinking about sacrifice. SO, we lowered the price to a price that'll pay off the mortgage, our realtors, and buyers' closing cost...nothing more. No paying off debt. No looking for awesome house #2 to sink all of our "talents" into. And today (the 3rd time), I'm pretty sure they were smoking doobie. They didn't even stop for a walk through because they didn't like the area!! We live in one of the most sought after neighborhoods in Vantucky! Pfft! The next step is a short sale. And I'm surprisingly ok with that. I do trust that in all of this, God is huge and knows me, my family, and what we need...when. He sees the big picture and his timing is perfect. And I'm excited to see how it all unfolds. I know that He is a loving Dad who wants the best for me, even if it means ripping things away to get at my heart. Ouch.

So I wait to be moved.....