March 29, 2012

Stay in This . . . House


This time last year, I had visions of a new home. This old one, well, it was getting on my nerves. The carpet was dingy, the electricity, surgey, and the yard, weedy. I wanted to live in a new place, to make my mark on a new neighborhood, to have a bathtub that drained properly.

So I put my house up for sale.

I didn't do it rashly, at least it didn't seem that way. I prayed about it; I talked to people about it; I analyzed my finances and came up with a plan. I even made sure that there was another place I could afford that would meet all my new criteria before I sold this one and left myself without a home. And even though it was possible that my house would sell right away, I didn't really expect it.

I was being realistic, and I was calling it, "Trusting the Lord."

But somewhere along the way, selling my home became more of a burden than keeping my home. Having it ready for a showing at all times was nearly impossible while living with a puppy, and then my cancer recurrence and a busy travel schedule made the prospect of moving feel dreadful. But my reasons for wanting to sell were still there, so I kept it on the market.

Month after month I kept that For Sale sign in the yard because to take it down felt like saying, "I made a mistake." Not just a mistake about the housing market, but a really big mistake about God's will.

My friend Nancy recently wrote about God's providence and the joy of looking back on our lives and connecting the dots in how God leads us. I often have felt my faith swell by seeing God's obvious hand in my life that way.

But when it came to selling my house, I started trying to connect the dots before they happened. Each time I would have a showing, I would imagine that it was just the right time to sell my house and that the circumstances would line up perfectly according to God's plan. When I feared I was dying from cancer, I imagined God's providence moving me to put my house up for sale so that when it sold, my family could have the money to care for me. When my neighbors annoyed me, I saw it as a sign that I was supposed to leave and have newer, better neighbors.

Predicting God's providence is like trying to read tea leaves. Instead of trying to see the future floating in my mug, I needed to just let the leaves steep a little longer and drink a relaxing cup of tea. That seems a lot more like trusting Jesus.

So, in two days my contract with expire, and this time, I'm going to let it. I'm going to let the realtor come and take the sign down. I'm going to throw away the slick print outs that made even me want to buy my house, and I'm going to spend a few days getting used to the idea that God, in his providence, wants me to stay in this house.

Now, about that cup of tea . . . 

Photo by bixentro, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.

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