About two years ago, Jesse and I found ourselves in the blazing heat of a fire that put our faith to the test. We had been renting a house- a charming bungalow- that I just loved. From the original hardwood floors throughout the interior to the grape hyacinths that adorned the backyard in Springtime, it felt like an answer to prayer. This quaint and cozy house affectionately became home to our family and we felt immeasurably blessed to live there.
I had prayed to God for years to give us a home of our own. But no matter what measures we took, the door kept closing again and again.
You see, Jesse and I had overcome many obstacles to reach this point in our lives. We endured set back after set back before we reached two pivotal life goals- obtaining Jesse’s teaching licensure and home ownership. For years, it was nothing but battling one dead end job to another within seasons of living with family and in tiny apartments. We sacrificed our living situation in order for Jesse to finish school. Finally, it was in March of 2013, that we moved into our beloved bungalow.
But even though we were overjoyed to finally live in a house, it was not officially ours. There was still a battle ahead of us. While the owner was satisfied with having us rent the house in the beginning, he soon desired to remove himself from the liability and sell the property. In all our best efforts, we struggled in our attempt to purchase the place we had called home for the past year and a half.
The owner became impatient for us to secure the mortgage and eventually listed the home for sale in March of 2015. I can recall those disheartened days when I had to make our house presentable for perspective buyers that were coming to view our home- each one posing a potential threat of our eviction. Despite unconstructive advice to leave the house a complete mess for showings, my convictions would not bring me to disrespect the owner’s wishes in that way, as hard as it was for me to feel as though I was participating against my will.
We would have to lead our family out of the home we dearly loved and desperately wanted to keep while the showings took place- each one feeling like an eternity. Every time we watched from afar as strangers pulled out of our driveway at the conclusion of their showing, a great sense of uncertainty lingered within our hearts.
While we were fighting to keep our family in our home, we were hit with heavy news in late May, which pushed back our efforts to secure a mortgage once more. Jesse’s school district was undergoing building consolidation that resulted in the non-renewal of his teaching contract for the upcoming school year.
Not only could our house be sold and taken out from under us at any moment, but we now had to scramble to find a new source of income. In the midst of what felt like God fighting against us, we soon discovered He was really fighting for us.
Jesse quickly searched for a new teaching position, but while several local schools were hiring, nothing was opening in his favor. One day, he approached me with the notion to apply to schools farther away. If offered a position, I realized our family may be required to move.
I was immediately resistant and not ready to give up the fight and relinquish the home I had earnestly prayed and longed for. In a desperate effort, Jesse pursued the long-distance positions with an open mind, while I kept pleading that God would not uproot us and keep us planted right where we were.
One morning, I was driving my kids to the library and began to talk to God. Within the parameters of my mind- a space where only my quiet thoughts exist and only God can hear- I cried out, “Jesus, I need you. I can’t do this alone. I’m not ready to walk away from this home. I don’t have the strength to endure this. I don’t think I can take much more. I’ve wanted a home for so long. Why is this so hard? It’s a battle too much for me to bear.” At that very moment, my daughter, Joanna (who was only 4 at the time), simply uttered these words in her small, sweet voice: “It’s ok, Mommy. Jesus fights all our battles and He always wins.”
“From the mouths of babes, you have established strength” (Psalm 8:2). God spoke to me from the mouth of my 4-year old, who didn’t audibly hear my cry for help or realize the profound encouragement in her spoken words- words not from her own wisdom, but completely orchestrated by God.
I was so overcome by the presence of God, I had to quickly pull the car over to re-gain my composure. As I sat there with my head on the steering wheel, weeping tears of remorse and tears of joy at the same time, I knew God had heard my plea. And He boldly answered me through a most innocent vessel. That defining moment, right by the side of the road, changed the course of my faith. I peacefully released all my questioning worries, thoughts of doubt and yes, even our home into the hands of Jesus.
God reminded me that His plans are always higher than my plans. His ways are not my ways. But most importantly, He reminded me that I don’t have to fight my own battles. I can surrender my will to a Mighty, Sovereign Lord who stands in my place and fights on my behalf. So I prayed, “God, forgive me for my lack of faith. If it is your will that we move, I submit myself, our home and providing resources into your hands.”
God doesn’t need our permission to fulfill His will, but He does desire that we trust in His will.
Exactly one week later, Jesse was offered a teaching and coaching position that brought our family to Cleveland. Even against all the prior adversity we faced in obtaining a mortgage, God quickly opened the door for us to buy a home- a home that was newer and larger than the home we left behind. He fought for me- and He victoriously won the battle for me. Through this journey, I grasped a little more of the divine authority and power of God, His provision and even the route He chooses to speak to me. And I have been truly humbled ever since.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” -Jeremiah 33:3
The Humble Homemaker