I can hardly believe that we’re already into the second week of 2015. Where does time go? The Bible calls life a vapor in the book of James for a reason. So temporary. So ridiculously fleeting.
As one year passes and a new one unfolds, the last couple of weeks have been a time of reflection for me. For us, 2014 was a year of digging so much deeper in our faith. A time of letting go. And of abandoning ourselves.
Some of you will recall that we moved to a lower altitude after being advised by numerous doctors that high altitude living was too hard for our sweet Harper. We had just moved into our dream home in the mountains and I finally got what I had longed for since we got married—my country home. We moved in and slowly began renovating our foreclosure and made it a place that we loved. I was in house heaven.
Just seven months later, after nearly losing Harper to pneumonia, we took a few things that we knew we needed (with our realtor assuring us our home would sell quickly) and headed to a lower altitude. Because it’s just what a parent does for the sake of a child who struggles. If I had to make the same decision again, I would. In a heartbeat! Harper has done so much better at this lower altitude, praise God!
Knowing with all my heart that it was the right thing to do certainly did not make it easier for those first few months.
Not knowing a single soul in the place we now called home and being separated for six months while Anthony commuted until he found a job in our new town, God began to stretch my faith like never before.
It was HARD! I cannot tell you how many times I begged the Lord to let us go back to Egypt. I had a new understanding of the Israelites who constantly looked backed—longing for what was. I looked back too many times to count. I questioned. I doubted. I begged God for the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day to show us the way forward. I hated being separated from the man I love so much. I struggled with not having any of my stuff. I longed for the comforts that I once knew. And I felt like I was failing. Big time.
We have to keep moving forward in order to enter the Promised Land.
With all of our earthly belongings either staging our mountain home or in storage in another town, we slowly learned how to live with very little. After several months of sleeping on air mattresses, our wonderful church reached out and gave us real beds. Never before did I appreciate a comfy bed so much as I did that first night I climbed into a bed that I didn’t have to blow up most nights or wake up on the floor in the morning when the thing deflated. Oh, the things I took for granted!
And the Father began to do a much deeper work in my heart.
A season of pruning had begun as the Master Gardener gently began to remove the things in me that needed to be rooted out.
With reluctance….and eventually acceptance, I slowly began to embrace the Refiner’s Fire.
“Refine me, Lord Jesus. Remove the impurities and the things that hold me back! Teach me Your ways.”
The comforts of the world.
The little luxuries that I had come to love a little too much.
The things I held onto.
The things I “needed.”
The stuff that once seemed so important to me…suddenly…really didn’t matter.
The beautiful home that I longed to have back…
…it gradually became nothing to me when considering eternity and focusing on what truly mattered.
Piece by piece the Potter began to mold my heart and shape our future—without us even knowing it.
Last January we moved out of our rental home and into another temporary house until we could finally settle into a permanent home. If anyone had told me exactly one year ago that I would still be in this home—with all of our possessions still in storage–I would have said no way! I figured (and hoped) maybe three months here. Max.
But God, in all of His wisdom, had other plans.
I intentionally stepped away from blogging and sharing my family as much as I had in previous years. I needed time with my Jesus. Time to realign my priorities and seek His face.
I needed time to be still.
It took nearly one full year to finally sell our home. But when it did sell, we struggled to find a permanent place to settle our family here. Months and months of house hunting, putting in back-up offers on homes that would work for our large family, and eventually losing a home we had a contract on left us feeling totally worn out….
…but with a deeper sense of KNOWING that God is who He says He is than ever before.
Faithful and True.
The Great I Am.
Our Almighty Father.
Our circumstances never changed. But our hearts did.
It took seventeen months of not having our material possessions for me to realize that if I never, ever had them again, it would be perfectly okay.
Without us even realizing it, God began to strip things away. Looking back, He did that just for ME. The Refiner’s Fire is always for our good. Even when it’s painful. Even when it’s hard. Even when it makes absolutely NO sense at the time.
Oh, the lessons He has taught me and the truths He has shown me in this valley!
Slowly but surely He aligned our heart’s desires with His and we began to see His bigger picture unfolding—His plans and purposes for our lives becoming as clear as daylight.
With hearts wide open and our lives completely and utterly surrendered into His hands…
…He has spoken.
That country home that I have longed for?
It no longer matters.
The comforts of this world?
We have learned to live without them and no longer care to have them.
In 2014, He taught us, molded us, stripped things away, removed the dross, pruned these vines, and prepared us for what is to come.
And in 2015, we’ll take the biggest leap of faith we have ever taken as a family.
We’ll abandon it ALL, follow Him with everything that is within us, and lay our lives down for the sake of the ONE whom we adore.