April 16, 2013

He giveth and He taketh away....

From the very beginning, we saw God in this entire plan.  From the timing, to the job, even in our separation while we made this transition from Texas to North Dakota.  We felt complete peace about Todd taking this job even at the end of my pregnancy. 

To say that the last couple of months have been hard would be the understatement of the century.  I've had to heal from a c-section, take care of a newborn and a three year old, prepare a house to sell, and if I wanted to go anywhere, I had to ready myself plus two, all on my own.  I've been weary, exhausted, emotional, tired, angry, and overwhelmed.  But in all of it - in my weaknesses and weariness and aching for my husband - I've carried on.  For the first time in my life, I really stayed near to God while I was going through something hard rather than distancing myself from Him. 

I lost count of how many nights I sat up late crying out to God about how lonely I was.  How hard this felt and how I wanted to be done.  Could He even speed up time a little so the move would come faster and we could be a family again?  I needed and longed for my Savior in ways that I never have before - maybe because I've never had to.  I've started to wonder if God needed my heart to be this vulnerable and weak and needy so I could not only see Him, but to clearly see that His heart for me was good. 

Will you trust Me?

He asked me this months and months before the call for the job came.  And I only answered yes two days before.  I will trust you God.  You are able...

Since Todd left the very first time there has been one truth that God continued to remind me of.  I am with you!  Through every day - the messy ones where I've lost it with Tommy or never made it out of my pajamas or found myself ugly-crying to a dear friend - somehow, I was reminded of that truth.  That I wasn't alone.  He was with me in all of it.  I gave up control, I chose to trust, and I knew that I knew, He was with me in every grimy detail.

Could I still trust God if Todd didn't make it home in time for Jacob's birth?  I decided that I could.  I could because He knew my heart and knew what was best for me.  I was at peace knowing that Robin would be there if Todd couldn't make it in time - I wouldn't be alone and she would be there to hold my hand and witness the moment my son came in to the world.  But God.....He brought my man to me THIRTY minutes before Jacob came.  THIRTY minutes.  Only God could do that.  Todd was right on time.  And God was with me.

Could I still trust God if our house sat on the market for weeks?  Meaning that it would be even longer until we could be reunited in North Dakota and be a family again.  Our home sold in two days.  And the issues the buyers had with our soil (?!) was put to rest and everything was ready to go.

But then the story shifted unexpectedly.

Friday afternoon, our carefully planned out world began to unravel.  The last few months have been full of preparations to move away, uproot our lives and start anew in North Dakota.  I've been grieving all that I would lose, but I've also seen my husband come to life with the hope of a new job and career.  Even in all of my emotions, I was ready to do this.

Todd received some disappointing news that day, and we were faced with a monumental decision:  take some chances that could prove to be foolish, proceed with our plans to move away and uproot our lives under present conditions - or leave.  Come home knowing that he tried.   

By the end of the day, we both knew the answer was to leave and come home.  Yet, the decision didn't feel good or easy.  The only comfort we had was that we felt God was in Todd's going up there and we could most definitely felt Him in his leaving too.  Todd told me that maybe this job was only supposed to be a for a time and not forever like we thought.  After all, it allowed me to be on the bedrest I needed before Jacob was born and recover as well - things that we wouldn't have been able to figure out realistically with both of us working where we were.

God totally made that happen.

And now He was leading us out of North Dakota.  It was clear we needed to stay and not move away.  The invitation to trust God was there yet again.

Could I still trust God if He brought Todd home?  If he had to return to his old job that he hates?  If I had to find work again too?  And what would happen with our house?  Could I trust him if we lost that too?

Todd left North Dakota immediately after making the decision.  I got on the phone with our realtor finding out what we could do to save our house.  Was that even an option?  Were we bound to the agreement? 

Basically what I found out was that we were at the mercy of the buyers.  They would have to agree to terminate the contract, but it could cost us greatly.  If we terminated the contract on our own, we could face a potential lawsuit.  Todd and I made the decision to do what was right.  If we had to go through with the sale, then we would go through with the sale.  And according to our realtor, the buyers  really wanted our house.  In fact, the house hadn't even appraised for what we were selling it for and they still wanted to go through with it - paying for the overage out of their own pocket!  When I found out that news, I knew it would be a miracle if we could stay here.

Saturday morning as Todd was making the long trek home, I was sitting in my living room wondering if I was going to lose this house on top of everything else.  I sat there sobbing thinking of leaving here and having to find a place to rent, my mind reeling with possibilities and fears and disappointments. 

Can you trust Me if you lose the house?

I wanted to say yes.  But, this house.  My home....

I was on the phone with our realtor half a dozen times.  She was doing what she could to negotiate a deal with the buyers to let us out of the contract so we could keep our home.  As I sat there waiting for the phone to ring that last time, I surrendered in prayer, "Lord, this isn't our house.  It's Yours.  It's never really belonged to us.  I would love to stay here, God.  I love this place that You provided.  But if you take this house away, just like the job, I will still trust You.  I will be okay.  I trust that You have something better in mind.  It's just a house and I can make another place home if that's what You have for us."

And then the phone rang with the news.

The buyers agreed to terminate the contract.  They were very understanding about our situation and even agreed to accept only half of what they had put into the house in regards to fees and inspections - a sum that we were not expecting at all.  They had the right to ask for every penny, yet they didn't.  They didn't have to terminate the contract, but they did. They didn't have to be gracious, but they were.  Needless to say, I was blown away.

Later that morning I was in the shower sobbing with emotion.  We lost this job and we got to keep our house.  All of it felt amazing.  A song came to mind and I began singing the bridge to a worship song called "Blessed be Your Name."

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful.....
Blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place.....
You give and take away, You give and take away
Still my heart will choose to say, Lord Blessed be Your Name!

It was in the shower, tears streaming down my face that I sang my heart out in worship and meant every word.  I praised Him for giving us the job.  And I praised Him for taking it away.  I praised Him for letting us keep our house and should we have lost it, I would have praised Him for that too.  He is the Giver, the Taker, the Knower of our needs, the Great Provider.  He is trustworthy.  He is the Great I AM.

I don't think I've ever been able to praise or thank God for a loss before.  That's never come easy for me.  Yet as I have journeyed with Him these last few months, He has strengthened and deepened my faith in ways I never could have imagined.  I knew that I was able to praise Him for taking this job away because of the work He has done in my heart. 

Losing this job means I'll need to find work again.  Even though I had wanted to stay home with my boys, I'm okay heading back to the workplace.  I feel grateful that God enabled me to have skills that I do so that I can work.  And to be honest, I'm not worried about finding employment because He knows what we need.

After all - God provided a job for Todd so I could be on bedrest and have a real maternity leave and a much needed break from working full time.  He brought my husband home thirty minutes before my son was born.  He has paid every bill and met every need.  He sold our house in two days and gave it back to us just as quickly.  I'm pretty sure He has the perfect job lined up for me soon too.

Needless to say, life has been a bit of a whirlwind.  None of this was expected or planned, yet we know we are right on time, right where we are supposed to be.  Planted and rooted right here.  Deep in the heart of Texas.  Home.
The prayer of my heart is that as a married couple and as a family, that we may always need for God.  It's in our neediness where we come to love and to trust Him.  And it's there where we find peace, contentment, joy and life abundant.
By the look on the face of my oldest son, I'd have to say we are experiencing life abundant indeed.  

A lost job.  A lost dream.  And a deep faith, a deep trust, and a wild ride with the God of the universe has our hearts, our home and our smiles filled with complete and utter joy.  To know God is to truly know what LIVING really is.



  1. That's a lot coming all at once! Glad Todd is home and that home is still home for you.

  2. what an amazing change of events God has brought your way...above all, I'm glad that you & Todd and your precious boys are all under the same roof!

  3. Every thing works out in the end! Congrats :)