Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unto The Hills

Have I ever told you the story of how I came to be here ~ on this street, in this house, I mean? It’s a favorite and I feel as if I tell it or at least refer to it once a week.  In any case, for prosperity’s sake, I’m recording it here as well as expanding some of my insight.

A few years back now, between the sudden downward slope of the housing market (which hit us from all angles, being that my husband owns a stucco company) and the (husband’s) heart attack, Terry said, "I think we need to sell our house."

These were piercing words to me at the time. Not only did they come in the midst of my dad’s final year (as he contended with terminal lung cancer), they mixed in with my pre-existing fears about the emerging market conditions and would become the prompt of recurring discussion, even as more and more trial and trouble stirred at our feet.

This was our home, our hideaway, our refuge from the rest of it. We’d drawn the plans; we’d literally labored in its construction; we’d blended our families into it; we’d weathered so many storms there already. It was my art, my masterpiece, as I’d taken such time and care in decorating every last niche. And God was telling my husband that we needed to sell it?!

God was telling my husband that we needed to sell the house.

Our talks went on for about a year, surfacing now and then amongst the many other waves of deep distress roiling 'round us. Each of us, it turns out, was praying for God to change the other’s heart about whether or not we should leave that place...until the strangest and most accidental thing occurred. I can just about see, as through a dim haze, that moment when I prayed - and quite before I realized what I was doing, mind you - that rather than change Terry’s heart, God would change mine. I asked God to make me into the supportive and trusting wife that my husband deserved - even if it meant leaving my home.

Oh, that I could tell you here and now about all that God did to get us from there to here! And I mean the practical, legitimate, tangible ways that He paved the road before us. I think, however, it will be necessary to keep some back for later tale-telling. The summary: we live now in a house that’s nearly half the size, with ceilings one foot lower, having central heat and air but lacking all those other centrals, having not a scrap of granite in the place ~ a fairly rectangular house on a street that is not a cul-de-sac in one of the town’s older neighborhoods which has likely never had a set of covenants.*

Let me be abundantly, screamingly clear: I feel no sad longing for that former place. I am grateful, to be sure, for God’s provision and for all that He taught and allowed us to accomplish by our being there. But it is here - where pirouetting in my living room, I can see every far reaching corner of this home - that I am overcome by emotion.  My joy, satisfaction, gratitude, comfort, and peace in this place, this home which God has provided - all are beyond measure.

But this is where new insight begins to emerge.

As sparkly as I may have looked had I just packed up at Terry’s first impartation, I halted his progress at Haran.  (See Genesis 11:31-12:3)  I have to tell you plainly that I have no regrets about it all. Terry and I are both aware of God’s working even through my stubborn interference with His plan and we’re grateful for every bit and measure of the whole experience.

The question I must ask myself is, "have we yet reached God’s promised land for us?"

I’m not implying so much that we may be called to move again, though I also can’t deny the possibility. I just don’t ever want to hold us short of His promises again. The next time that He says "Go," I want to do so more quickly, more readily, with more certainty and trust.

Our former neighborhood was an ideal terrain for walkers. There was a wooded park at the center with trails leading out to every level street and it may have been the one thing I lingered over when leaving. It’s taken me some time to regain my walking habit, partly for legitimate reason and partly for sorry excuse - but I am back at it, at last. And I measure my morning walks now, not by miles or by steps, but by hills.

There is a street adjacent to my own and from which quite a number of steeply inclined cul-de-sacs extend. I started my walks by going just around the block but now every couple of weeks, I add a hill. Increasingly, my legs are stronger, my endurance is greater, my confidence is improved, and my ambition is to go further and higher.

photo source:  ninbra.tumblr
This is how it works as we follow God into His promises, how we go more readily at each call. One step and then another and then at a quicker pace. Lack you any certainty that you can make it to the promised land, look up into those hills. From there your Help shall surely come.

*We are blessed beyond measure.  I pray never to forget those who live in so much lesser abodes or who may not have homes of any sort.