It all started late one night. I was dreaming up plans for my girls’ future bedroom. Ava was outgrowing her crib and Lyla was getting too big to be in the bassinet. We knew the girls were about to transition into sharing a room, and this meant a big girl bed for Ava. I had an old daybed in storage, which was mine when I was a little girl . The old painted iron and the heart-shaped frame matched the bedding I had purchased the year before and was just right for my girly girl. I was excited for the change, but a little sad too.
It was fall and we had spent the entire spring and summer getting our house ready to put on the market. Eight years and two kids felt like we were outgrowing our 1000 square feet and we were ready to look for something bigger. We hoped that we could fetch a small profit since we bought our home several years before the housing market fell through. After six months of finishing up remodeling, decluttering, stressing myself out, and cleaning, we had three realtors over for valuations. With each one giving their opinion, it seemed that the next one’s take was worse than the last.
So we found out we weren’t moving after all.
After the initial 24 hours of shock, we accepted our fate and began to rethink things a bit. We got lost in all the anticipation we had built for a new move, and talked about it often. The plan was for a smooth transition; not where you drive up the moving van and then just tell your kids you’re moving away. We wanted Ava to be aware of what we thought was going to happen. In part of those conversations was the promise of a new pink room.
I know. You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep. But in all honesty, we really didn’t know just HOW BAD the real estate market had gotten. I decided that since we couldn’t give Ava new room, we could at least paint the old one pink!
It felt good to start planning again. I had spent the last six months trying to remove any personal effects from my house and declutter (all with a newborn baby), and the previous six months in an exhausting pregnancy. A new project was just what I needed. As I started peering over paint samples I began to envision the room coming together and it gave me hope that we were going to be fine in this house. For the long haul if we had to. Not quite sure about more children, but the more I (re)adjusted my thought process, I began to fall in love with our old house all over again. All of the rooms that I had convinced myself “just didn’t work” now had potential.
I started to dream again. And pray more. I realized that through the time I spent stressing over selling the house, I had worked myself into a horrible frenzy of misery, and really, I had been leaning on my own understanding instead of God’s- and it got me nowhere fast. I felt spiritually dead.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, but in all ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” – Proverbs 3:5
A lot was going on. We had recently left our church. After nine years of attendance, our pastor’s message began to shift more and more toward emergent church/kingdom theology. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Tim. 4:3 We would notice a little here and a little there. A red flag would go up, and then we would just ignore it. It was our family after all, we were comfortable in our routine, and most of all, we respected our pastor. I began to grow more and more unsettled and after a while a “spit out the bones” approach just wasn’t working anymore. There were real issues that needed real examination. My husband and I began to pray and research. We asked God for discernment.
I learned that when you ask God for discernment you had better be ready for what he reveals.
We began to research our pastor and his associations and they were more than troubling. Not only were our suspicions confirmed, but we were completely shocked at how bad the reality actually was. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread[a] from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:9-14
We were confident that we were making the right decision to leave. We were no longer blind to the lie and could not ignore what was right in front of us. But still, it was difficult. On one hand, we were SO VERY GRATEFUL to God for revealing the truth to us, but we were heartbroken to be saying goodbye to a church family we had been a part of for so many years.
And then where do you go?
We tried 8 different churches over 6 months. My husband’s job requires that he work two Sundays a month, so I really wasn’t interested in trying a new church with a baby and a toddler all by myself every week. Here’s what we learned: The body of Christ is huge and there are lots of folks and it takes all kinds. We had no idea what was out there! We just wanted to find a nice non-denominational church like we were used to that wasn’t emergent. Finally, (after a couple of scary experiences) we did find a church that is super close and a good fit for our family. -and no emergent theology yet that we can tell.
Our youngest baby was a few months old during this time, and I think I experienced a bout of post-partum depression as well. I’ve never been a depressed person, but I can recognize that I had no energy or desire to do anything that I previously enjoyed doing (Well, shoot, I had no desire to do anything I didn’t enjoy either!) I was always tired, and just felt “blah” all the time. While preparing our house to sell, I had packed away everything that allowed me to be creative, virtually anything that could make a mess: soap business, sewing machine, scrapbooking supplies, paint; all gone.
I think it was safe to say we were under spiritual attack.
No vision, no desire, no peace, no joy. A horrible place to be.
The issue of spiritual contentment is something that I thought I was well aware of in my own life. I know that my peace does not come from things or circumstances, but from Jesus Christ alone. But I looked around one day, and realized the peace that I had with Christ was also put on a shelf while I scrambled around trying to control what was going on within the walls of my home. I had set myself up for failure.
“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me–the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” -Jeremiah 2:13
And I felt so empty.
Hearing “No” to the move was the wakeup call I needed to recognize how small I was. It was a reminder for me that God is in control.
With “No” God had brought me back. He brought me to my knees and He humbled me. And finally, I stopped. I let go and I let God. With a repentant heart, I started fresh that day.
He reminded me of what life’s really about:
He reminded me that all my efforts amounted to nothing without Him. My Savior, My Comforter, My Friend.
“Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:11-13
And that’s how I got my Mojo back. Out came the paint, the miter saw, my smile, and the peace that surpasses all understanding. My house went back to being our home, no longer a showroom that reminded me of all the things I couldn’t have. My heart is now in the right place, at home with my husband and my girls. I’ve got messes all over, but it means I am alive. Alive in Him and in myself.
And here’s girl’s room after I finished painting. I think my husband belches while talking on the video. gag. He’s a gem.