Monday, November 29, 2010

The Cardinal

I realized I never blogged about the cool ways that the Lord was involved in our move.  This has been such a busy, intense time, but I want to pause and tell the story.

So, let’s back up quite a bit.  When we moved to Houston in 2003, we moved across the street from good friends of ours, in a golf course subdivision.  A few years later, our friends ended up moving to Colorado.  Also, the backyard was small and we weren’t allowed to walk on the golf course.  And if our trash can was in the wrong spot, we’d get a letter.  J  We longed for a home on some land in a country setting, so the children could play outside and dig in the dirt.  But the years passed without our pursuing it, as we watched the economy slow down and homes sit in our neighborhood with ‘for sale’ signs in the yards.

Last November (a year ago), Mark and I were blessed to have some prophetic words spoken over us by an older couple that we’d never met before.  They prayed over us and shared four things that they felt the Lord was impressing on them about us.  They were all right on – concerning the baby we were expecting, a ministry the Lord had placed on both of our hearts, an upcoming time of confusion, and about our desire to move.  Regarding that, they said, “we’re getting that you’d like to move to a new home.  Not out of state or anything, but a different home.  You’ve been cautious for a long time.  The Lord wants you to know He’ll be in the details.”  Wow, that was encouraging to hear!  We had been cautious, so it was nice to have that invitation.

That week, I got online and set up a simple search on a real estate site.  Not many homes came across my email, because I made the search pretty specific - over half an acre, one story (or no bedrooms upstairs), etc.  In early March, a home came across that looked interesting.  We called a real estate agent that friends of ours liked, and set an appointment to see the home that weekend.  The night before, I prayed and asked the Lord for a confirmation.  Knowing that we could love the house, but He could have a different home in mind for us, I wanted His guidance.  I hadn’t thought about a specific confirmation, but a cardinal came to my mind when I paused in my prayer.  So I prayed that while we viewed the home, we would see a cardinal if it was the right home for us.  I hadn’t seen a cardinal in two years, and that was when we were out of town on a camping trip. So, that was my fleece (Judges 6).

The next day, we pulled up to the home and I joked with Mark as I got out of the car “let me know if you see a cardinal…” (I hadn’t mentioned my prayer to him yet).  The house was just right as we walked through it.  At one point, I looked out a back window, and a cardinal flew down and landed on a bird bath in the back yard.  I called my son Pierce over to see it, and Mark as well.  I shared my prayer with them – how exciting to have a confirmation!

We weren’t doing things in the typical order – but we hurriedly did months of house projects, decluttering and cleaning in about a week and put our home up for sale.  Knowing that the Lord would be in the details, we figured a sale would be quick and easy.  We decided it'd be best for me to take the children to my parents’ home in Louisiana for a few weeks, to allow the house to stay in order and sell.  How funny to think that things would be quick & easy.  If we’d really thought about it, we’d have known that things may just be very difficult and slow, because that builds character!  Seven stressful months followed, with many house showings, while homeschooling five children and having a new baby.  During that seven months, we faced very difficult times with our business.  Three times stand out in our minds when buying a home looking downright impossible.  By human wisdom, we would have taken the ‘for sale’ sign out of the front yard.  Yet each time, we watched the Lord clear the obstacle.  How sweet to have a confirmation in order to keep us on the path we were on.

All the while, it was amazing that the home we found didn’t sell out from under us.  At one point, the owner (who was also a realtor) found that the agency that sets up showings was denying all showings on the home!  Our realtor joked with her that her clients were really praying about the home, so we had a lot of power on our side.  The other realtor joked back, “well, tell them to stop praying!” 

Eventually we had a reasonable offer from a sweet family that wanted to buy our home, and we were able to close on both homes exactly 7 months after listing our home.  Mark & I are still looking at each other in wonder – we can’t believe we’re here – in the ‘cardinal’ house!  The Lord truly was in the details, and He used the slow, challenging process to build our faith and teach us more dependence on Him.  He is faithful – always.