It’s something I’ve said a few times in exasperation in recent days. “I so want to move to a prairie!”. I know the Lord is more than able to pick us up and move us anywhere He has in His plans for us to be.
But what I really want is to be where God wants us to be. Even if it hurts. Because (I know) “knowing that tribulation (pain) produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom. 5:3-5
What was I wanting to run from? Difficulty, that led to anxiety, that was leading to fear. What was the great difficulty? Our neighborhood. It hasn’t always been difficult. Actually this home has truly been the place God had prepared for us before our family had even come to be. But God KNEW the things yet to come, He was providing.
We purchased this duplex as an investment property. And it was indeed a rental for many years. Joe and I living on double income, in a good sized home, with no children.
Our blessed children came, and my heart’s conviction and deep desire was to remain at home to raise our boys. Joe worked very hard at two jobs for awhile, which left both of us in an extremely depleted state. Accepting this was not healthy or wise or working for the best, my husband made the brave move to downsize to one job and trust God to show us the way. More decisions came leading us to determining how we would keep me at home.
The duplex! We had never imagined actually living in it. And living what seemed like in a faraway land to us. 40 minutes from where we currently were.
God provided our oasis. A place to raise our family and keep me home now for 12 blessed years.
It’s been HOME SWEET HOME to our boys. To all of us. So many treasured memories. A large backyard to have summer BBQ, wading pools, trampoline, and many, many friends!
Not to mention we live much nearer to one of our favorite places the Columbia River Gorge. Where we have spent endless summer days basking in God’s glorious creation with a short jaunt up I-84.
This place was NOT the investment ($$) we had planned for it to be. This has been the place to INVEST into the lives of our children and marriage for the sake of the home not of this world – the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest investment we could ever make. And we are grateful.
Since the day we moved to this place, almost daily I have praised God for bringing us here. Joy, learning, growing, challenges, discipling our children. Winning victories. A dream I had dreamed and prayed in tears for many years, that truly seemed impossible so long ago for many reasons. And yet God had provided and blessed more than I could ever imagine through it all. It’ts not the glamorous dream that the world entices us with. Letting go of our wants and relying only on God, and what He knows what we truly need. And seeing a Loving Father give good gifts to His children. And bless.
I have yearned in recent days of living on a small piece of property. Seeing the benefits there could be of having room for the boys to explore and run freer. A quieter place in it’s own right.
City life has it’s own noise. And the reason for wanting to run (when God has clearly said for now, remain), is the difficulties in the neighborhood.
We have enjoyed the children that flock to our home. Sharing Jesus’ love. Isaac having some boys to play hoops with. Maximus riding his bike with a friend down the side street. Sometimes 10 children out back jumping on our trampoline. The joy of children, laughter. But it isn’t all fun and games in life. And there has been great drama. Children who haven’t been taught to work out issues biblically.
Knowing running to the prairie was not God’s current plan. He worked in my heart to also accept remaining in this place and not have my heart running anywhere else.
Through MUCH prayer, and discussion with Joe. The Lord has given us wisdom in setting more boundaries within our own family as well as those that come. Showing us wisdom in how to guard our family time, limit the traffic time flowing to our home and so on…
I can truly see that perseverance is producing character in my children. Taking our boys to scriptures on these varying relationships. What God says about hanging with fools and the wise. “walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Prov. 13:20. How our time should be spent and how much. And why mom and dad are participating in the majority of play time together. Which the other children seem to love and keep coming back, even with Joe’s strong requirement of order as well as playing hoops along with them.
There are so many layers of issues right outside the walls of this home. And it has been tedious, and required me to be on knees and tears before the Lord of how to proceed to walk in this.
I see the most valuable lessons our boys are getting now, as I actually look to the future to when they are men out in the world, and see the strength the Lord is equipping them with because of this place God has us we call home.
Isaac has been brave to confront two different boys on different occasions on issues that have left him feeling frustrated. Our son, bravely standing up to difficulties and boys much bigger and stronger physically. A child who has had language difficulties, this has been the most amazing display of God’s work to see Him growing our son in character into a man. Seeing Isaac stand up and affect the other boys’ hearts and bring reconciliation. Praise Jesus.
Maximus learning VALUABLE beyond measure life lessons that again I can look to the future and see how at this present moment God is working through these teachable moments to refine our 10 year old in profound ways NOW before he is even a man-so pertinent to what he needs.
In the midst of this. We are tightening down the relationships within these walls. Relationship with Jesus. With one another. Pointing the boys to each other. Brothers. A special love and bond to guard. A relationship with two who believe in the same Savior the most treasured of all.
So we aren’t moving to the prairie. Unless Gods says move. And I’m seeing that through this difficulty that I wanted to run from, that He indeed is producing character and great HOPE !
We will love on the neighbor kids. Walk tightly with Our Savior. Put on our armor. And be strengthened continually in His word. Knowing that on the other side of the door is the world, is sin, and to wear our armor out. As a dear friend shared this perfect word. “sin lies at the door, and it’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it” Gen. 4:7
And when we open the door and go out or invite in, we pray and are seeing and continuing to believe for God to use this place as a continued vessel for investments – Investing in the only thing that matters – the KINGDOM OF GOD!
And now I run… to the store. As a vision of water bottles just came to me. These children are always so thirsty when they get here. Asking for a drink of water in the midst of hard play. They don’t grasp their thirst goes so much deeper. I think a box of water bottles with a label in place “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 sitting outside would be a wonderful offering. And while I may never hear a thank you, and the label may be torn off without much thought (NOW), I pray and believe that the visuals and JESUS in bold will be an image stamped in their minds and one day Jesus will impress that into their hearts mind and souls for all eternity.
So GOD PROVIDES! AND IT ISN’T AN ESCAPE, BUT A PLACE WHERE HE IS WORKING THINGS TOGETHER FOR HIS GOOD IN THIS PLACE WHERE WE BELONG.