One year ago, we listed our home for sale. The sell of our beloved home of fifteen years was necessary since my diagnosis of the rare chronic illness Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. By May of 2017, we had no offers on our home forcing us to make alternate plans. Seeking God’s face for what to do next, we advertised our lakefront home on the Vacation Rent by Owners website. To our surprise, bookings flooded our inbox.
God’s faithfulness awaits our surrender.
I cried, no I wailed.
I wailed over my chronic illness, the loss of my job, and our circumstances. I cried over God’s abundant blessings in the form of multiple bookings.
My parents offered for our family to live with them as long as necessary. Our family of four and two Jack Russell terriers moved in with my semi-retired parents and their cat. Oh, the stories I could tell about the cat and dog antics and the kids learning to plant, harvest, and can garden crops.
Our plan was to stay with my parents for the summer and move back into our home before school started. Chris and I calculated God provided enough bookings to pay the mortgage for the next year. God is faithful!
Unbeknownst to us, the Pharisees next door were circling their prey. Our lake neighbors, who we called friends for over fifteen years, were angry with us for renting our home. Not one, but three sets of neighbors whom we had shared many meals together and whom Chris had repaired their homes, cars, and welded numerous items betrayed us during our greatest need for compassion. At the height of our stress, we were mocked, cussed, and utterly double-crossed by people we once respected and admired.
The stress of their Judas kiss flared my illness. I suffered multiple physical attacks of paralysis and severe muscle weakness. In July, I told Chris, “I cannot move back home. The stress on my body is too much and I can’t live there and face their betrayal.” Chris agreed and he immediately called a realtor. Within twelve days of re-listing our home, God delivered two competing full-price offers.
It was extremely humbling to rent our home to stay afloat. But God sees and He takes care of His children. In September, we sold our home to a family who loved our home from the first time it was on the market. Behind the scenes, they were rearranging their finances to purchase our home. God’s hand was active even when we could not see the movement. (I have much more to add to this in another post).
In October, we purchased our new home. We moved from the rural countryside to the suburbs. For the first time 2001, we have a flat yard, high-speed internet, curbside trash pick up, and pizza delivery! Our home is one-level with an unfinished basement. Chris is already dreaming what to build next. We are thirty minutes closer to Chris’ work and closer to medical care and assistance for me.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the trail-head to a 3-mile walking trail, which meanders though our neighborhood. Earlier this week, Chris and I walked a small portion of the trail. Crossing the footbridge over a babbling creek, the trail opens up to a hidden park with two base/softball fields. Turning to Chris, I mentioned, “Rachel will love this!” We continued along the trail, ducking into a tunnel under the main road. A crimson country convenient store emerged into view as we exited the tunnel. Chris purchased a Dr. Pepper and pastry for himself and a coffee for me. Hand-in-hand we walked home basking in God’s faithfulness.
My unexpected diagnosis shook and disrupted our comfortable life. Like a child shaking her piggy bank, eager to grasp the last quarter, I too tried to hold onto things I called MINE. With clinched fists, I selfishly tried to hang onto my career (until my illness was too severe), my security (until I no longer brought home a paycheck), my health (until paralysis and muscle weakness mocked me), and my identity. Finally, I surrendered control.
One of my favorite stories from the New Testament is when Jesus caught a multitude of fish. Simon Peter and his fishing companions were out all night and caught nothing. As they were washing their nets, Jesus was preaching to a crowd on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. As the crowd grew, Jesus stepped into Simon Peter’s boat to teach from the water. When Jesus was finished preaching He asked Simon Peter, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch. Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:4-5). Simon Peter surrendered control and God’s great faithfulness (in the form of fish) caused the boat to sink. Simon Peter signaled for his fishing companions to come help. This fishing crew was eyewitnesses to the miraculous power and faithfulness of God. They surrendered their occupation and life to become Jesus’
first disciples. They “left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:11).
God is faithful. God’s faithfulness is one of the many character traits that define Him. Even when we are not faithful to acknowledge Him,
He is faithful and longsuffering towards His children. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul also writes, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Perhaps your life has been turned upside down by unforeseen circumstances, trauma, a prodigal child, broken relationships, and loss. Me too. Trust me when I say, God’s faithfulness awaits our surrender. Pry open your fists and invite God to take control and watch as His faithfulness floods your life.
~April Dawn White
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