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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 3

We signed the lease papers for the home in Arizona! It was the ignition which set off the next string of moving fireworks.

Part 3 of the amazing news I’m really excited to share is different.

This is where the grit hit the gravel and exposed all the feels. I know many of you will relate.

We’d been talking about moving for over a year. But that didn’t seem to soften the blow when we told the kids we’d found a house and were imminently going. It suddenly got very real.

A crown made of diamonds and pearls
Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash
Pearls and diamonds come from irritation and pressure

When I say ‘kids’, I’m talking about my 2 oldest daughters. They’ve both been married and have kids of their own. For different reasons, they and their children have been living with us. They are not currently able to leave California, so they need to find somewhere here to live.

My daughters are very different, and they handle stress in opposite ways. One struggles to get going and the other can’t stop. The latter had been on housing waitlists for months, responded to every ad, and done everything she knew to do for herself and her sister, but still had no leads. Her anxiety was so high she was physically sick.

Could the girls move-in together? Possibly. But in addition to handling pressure in contrasting ways, they also live very differently. One is an extrovert who loves to entertain. The other is extremely introverted, and her home is her haven. Their ideal is to live separately, but near each other.

My husband and I believed God had been waiting on the step of obedience, which we had taken.

God wanted us to act upon that which was in our control before He moved on that over which we had none. We had done our part. Now we were trusting Him to do His.

As the girls noted, trusting was easier for my husband and me. We weren’t looking at homelessness in a month. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure the “good” God had in store was the provision we all hoped for. I’ve heard that God works all things out for good. It is a coffee cup cliché. But those words mean something different in context.

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:27-28

I did not know God’s will in relation to the next temporal living situation for my girls. All I could truly say with confidence was that God wants them to live with Him for eternity. He wants that so much He sent His Son to die a bloody death on a wooden cross, thereby paying the price for their sin. He died and rose again to offer eternal life to me, to you, to them.

The kicker is this – we each must each choose Him for ourselves.

I firmly believe God is willing to forego our happiness to forge our holiness. Eternity is far more important. My heart is learning to be at peace, even when God allows uncomfortable circumstances in the lives of my children.

Not only that, but I must thank Him for their hardships. If those struggles cause my children to choose God’s will and provision for their lives, then they are blessings of the richest kind. My response needs to be gratitude.

Does that sound harsh? Sometimes it sure feels that way. My mama heart would love to coddle them, shoulder their burdens, and make them smile. But the satisfaction would be fleeting.

God has made promises about the eternal salvation of all 5 of my children.

While God has assured me regarding my kids, He has also alerted me that the road will be tough for some of them. I cry typing that because I love them each fiercely. But the time we have in this world is miniscule and eternity is forever… and ever… and ever… with no end. I would rather sacrifice my comfort, and theirs, in this life to secure it for the next.

So, with all this weighing heavily on my heart, I did what I know to be the most productive thing. I prayed. It seemed like a long time passed. It was actually only days.

My husband was submitting notice and securing bids from moving companies. I was preparing to quit my job. Things were barreling ahead for our move and still my girls had nowhere to go. Emotions were through the roof, but everyone downplayed them so as not to alarm my grandkids.

Lettered blocks spelling the word HOPE
Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com
Hope heals

And then… One daughter saw an affordable listing pop up. She was online at the time and the first to apply. It was a glimmer of hope. Once again, we waited.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that God paved the way for her to move!

I’m still exhaling hard when I say that! Praise the Lord! The paperwork came together, the apartment was prepared, and she signed the lease.

We moved the heavy stuff the weekend before last. She has taken the small stuff in several carloads since. She now lives only a mile from my 3rd daughter and her husband.

And not just that…

The rental agent mentioned that she, unexpectedly, had another available unit. She noticed a last name on her application list matched my daughter’s and wondered if there was any relation. You guessed it! It was my other daughter! This is EXACTLY what we’ve been praying for.

But it isn’t a done deal yet. My daughter has challenges in her rental and income history which are likely to discourage a property manager. It will take a real act of God to smooth it over.

And that takes me back to what I know. God’s definition of the good He is working for all of us is related, first, to our holiness and our eternal home. Although I want to grasp this current housing opportunity, grip my daughter’s (and granddaughters’) happiness, and clench their security, I have no control. I must keep my hands open.

With tears streaming down my face, my hands are open.

Open hands, palms up.
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com
Open hands, trusting heart.

Will you pray with me? Pray for God’s will to be done and appreciated, whatever it is. Pray for my mama heart through this process.

And pray for my girls. Pray for their eternal good. Pray for them to desire God’s will – to love Him and pursue His purpose. Ask that He would rain His blessings – physical, spiritual, and emotional – onto their earthly situations.

Pray that He would allow the heart of the rental agent to be softened toward my daughter’s plight. That she would be approved for the available unit and able to move in before we leave. And that I can move away knowing there is a roof over everyone’s heads. I will keep you posted…

Open hands raised up
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels
Release and find peace

My friend, is God asking you to open your hands? Have you been clenching tightly to something only He can rightly handle? Will you give over to Him whatever, or whomever, it is?

Letting go is hard – some might even say impossible. But another piece of amazing news I’m really excited to share with you today, is that all things are possible with God. He is a God who restores. And He wants you for eternity.

You are precious! You are loved!

“Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.””

Luke 18:27

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:10, 11
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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 2

We left Arizona with happy hearts. We had finally taken action towards what God had been telling us to do. (Here is a link to Part 1 of the story, in case you missed it.)

Our leap of obedience came in the form of rental applications. And it was slim pickins’! There were only 2 possibilities, so we applied to both. One we never got to see other than the photos online. Have you ever rented a house sight-unseen? The other we got to walk through and even speak to the handyman doing work inside.

Man in the crawl space under a house
Handyman crawling under the house to find answers to some of our questions – God bless him!

We knew there were many applicants for both properties, which meant a lot of competition. And my daughters had been applying for rentals back in California – for months – with no luck at all. Add the fact that many people don’t like to rent to someone who hasn’t yet moved to the area, along with some discrimination against Californians, and maybe you can imagine our nerves.

We were on pins and needles. We watched the market while we waited. There were no new rental listings. We prayed and kept breathing. The only hope we had was in God. If He wanted us to live in one of these houses, He’d have to make it happen. There was nothing else we could do. A few days seemed like forever!

One piece of amazing news I’m really excited to share – God gave us a home!

I cannot tell you how relieved we were when we found out that God had worked it out for us. He gave us the one we’d seen, which I appreciated. It was such a miracle under the circumstances! This was a huge piece of our puzzle that God put into place.

The home has some obvious pros and cons, as all do. I’m thankful to be familiar with some of them from our visit. I have a favorite feature and a most dreaded downside.

My favorite feature – the forest

My favorite feature is the view. The house is situated in such a way that other homes are out of sight. The only thing to be seen is the forest of pine trees. And the property line extends way out into the wooded area, so I fully anticipate walking and talking there with Jesus!

Pine trees and rocks
The pine trees behind the house

The serenity of the forest feels like an extravagant housewarming gift from God. He knows how tumultuously emotional it has been for us to pull away from our kids. I expect Jesus, the clear air, and the tranquil view to be a miraculous salve for my heart. It is also a personal touch because my earliest memories are of living, as a toddler with my parents, in a home on the edge of an evergreen forest. Isn’t that just like God?

My dreaded downside – the door

The most dreaded downside is the back door. It is a wooden door. For the 11+ years since we’ve had our little dog, we’ve had sliding glass doors and doggie door inserts by which he could come and go at will. Now he will need assistance to go outdoors. I expect it will require patience, and possibly a good deal of mopping (if you catch my drift), to teach our old dog new tricks.

my pug sitting on the carpet
My dog

In case you’re wondering, I did inquire about purchasing a new wooden door with a doggie flap installed. Apparently though, pet doors are not a good idea near the forest, as they provide access to, not just dogs, but wild woodland creatures too. Yikes – I definitely don’t want that! Hopefully my dog and I will both take to new leash habits quickly.

Disobedience is costly

Getting either of the homes, for which we applied, meant agreeing to rent immediately, and we hadn’t yet given notice to our CA landlord. My wavering and delayed obedience cost us time and money. We had to pay rent in both states for the month of March. Ouch!

God is faithful

God lets us face our consequences, but He walks through them with us. His miraculous (no, seriously – so amazing!) provision on the financial front will be a post for another time. Wow! I cannot wait to tell you about that!

For now, let me ask, are you facing a choice where neither option is ideal? Are you focusing on the favorite features or the dreaded downsides? Are you willing to follow God into whichever journey awaits?

Maybe He is asking you to notice that an open door is a blessing, and that it’s less about the size or color (sliding glass or wood) of the door and more about the opportunity it represents. When one open door is all you need, it is a huge gift to have only one as it removes the responsibility of decision.

An open door with keys in the lock
Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com
An open door

If, like me, you’ve been characterized by dragging your feet instead of jumping to immediate obedience, you may find yourself in a situation like mine. Are you facing a costly consequence? My friend, I am so sorry. I am living that with you right now!

But God is good! We have a new place to live! My slow obedience, the crazy rental market, and all the other hurdles were no match for God’s plan. And this is just the first miracle that God has done since we took our action step of faith.

There is more amazing news I’m really excited to share. We still had to break the news to the kids, who hadn’t yet found somewhere to move. I hope you’ll join me next time so I can tell you all about it!

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 1

Guys, I have news! I have so much to tell you! The short of it is – I’m moving!

This has been a long, extremely stressful, and chaotic time coming, but it has also been miraculous and amazing. I’m really excited to share it all with you! It will take a few posts, so let’s get started on part 1. Let me take you back a few years for context.


Michael and I moved to California with our 5 children in 2013 “for a year or two”. God laughs at our plans, right? By early 2020, we felt like it was time to start praying seriously about where God wanted us next.

We had become pretty rooted in California. We lived in a large house, sharing rent with our now-adult kids, who had also become established here. It was overwhelming to think about all from which we needed to untangle ourselves.

We researched and prayed. One destination after another was added, and subsequently removed from our list. But Northern Arizona remained consistently intriguing. In fall of 2020, we took a road trip to the region and were immediately smitten. Our prayers started to change from “Where Lord?” to “When Lord?”.

Sunset over the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Photo by Arthur Ogleznev on Pexels.com
Northern Arizona is beautiful!

In February of 2021, we called a family meeting. We gave the kids a year’s notice. We told them that in February 2022, dad and mom were moving out! A year is a long time, but it was the right thing to do. Without the portion of rent paid by our income, they would have to move out of the house too. We wanted them to have plenty of time to prepare.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story; God said it and we did it. Case closed. But sadly, I wavered.

Four of our five kids couldn’t move out of state with us, each for their own reasons. And they all had troubles. They needed me! (Or so I wanted to think.) Was I really going to move 12 hours away? I started to doubt whether God had really said… ugh – that sounds exactly like what Satan said to deceive Eve. But I fell for it and I questioned.

Orange wild flowers: 1 Best Kept but Emerging Secret You Want to Know: Northern Arizona
Orange wild flowers in Northern Arizona

We took another trip to Northern Arizona in summer of 2021 to revisit and pray. God was so good. He didn’t smack me upside the head, but He did reconfirm His intention. He was very clear, prompting 3 different friends, who knew very little about it, to contact us and tell us we were supposed to move there. (How intentional was that?)

Our kids looked for their own places to live. Our middle son relocated to Southern California. One daughter got married and moved with her husband before Christmas. Our youngest son decided to move to Arizona with us. But by February 1, 2022, two of our daughters (and their kids) still had no place to go.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but in California, rent is expensive – and prices are still rising week over week. In addition, you must prove you make 3 times the rent to be considered for application. That means you need an income of $6000 a month to rent a place for $2000, which is the average cost of a small 2-bedroom apartment.

I wavered again. My mama heart quivered. Would God want me to leave without knowing my kids and grandkids were settled and safe? I started planning for scenarios that would prolong our move date.

The cheerful Arizona flag flying under the US Stars and Stripes
Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash
The Arizona flag

And God kept kindly, lovingly, gently prodding us to Arizona. We took a third road trip to the area, last month (February 2022). We put our boots (ok, they were sneakers) on Arizona soil and we prayed.

I confessed my wavering faith. God met me, again, ever so faithfully! I have a new Bible reading plan , and it just so happened that my studies while we were there included two distinct stories with messages that jumped off the pages and into my struggling heart.

  1. Laban and Jacob (Genesis 31). Jacob had married Laban’s daughters and they’d had many children. Family life was crowded, attitudes were changing, and relationships were strained. (I could relate!) The decision was made to part ways. It was the right thing to do and still it was messy. Everyone handled things the wrong way. And you know what? God blessed them all. (I’m not sure that could have been more poignant.)
  2. Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 45). Joseph had been separated from his family in traumatic fashion. There was no peace in it for anyone. And yet God made it clear that He allowed/planned it to set Joseph where he needed to be for the good of the whole family in later years. (I needed to remember that, in God’s hands, what seems unthinkable now could turn miraculous later for everyone I love.)

In addition to these personal messages from God, He impressed on us that He was waiting on our obedience. We needed to step out in faith and start the process of moving. Then He would step in to reassure us and work out the details.

We didn’t want to delay our compliance any longer. We spent the next 2 days looking at available housing. We submitted applications. We drove home with peace in our minds and expectation in our hearts. We’d done our part. The rest was up to God.

That was just 3 weeks ago! I cannot believe all that has happened in such a short time since! Let me just exclaim that I cannot get this verse out of my mind:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20, 21 (emphasis mine)

So, there is Part 1 of the amazing news I’m really excited to share. I cannot wait to tell you about all that God has done in the last 3 weeks! I will talk about it in my next few posts.

In drawing this one to a close, I want to ask you – is there anything God has been asking you to do? Maybe it seems crazy or hard or counterintuitive. Let me encourage you to do it! Don’t delay your obedience. Your step of faith might be the one thing God is waiting on before He rains His blessings on you and yours.

If you’ve been in a similar spot, please share! Let’s encourage each other toward faith, love, and obedience. Everything for His glory!

My friends, thank you so much for reading. Thank you for being you. I really appreciate you and I look forward to sharing this new chapter of life with you!