All hope and excitement was before us. As the four wheels of our whale-blue car rolled up to Minnesota, so too did my heart roll in eager anticipation to see our future house.
“Bobby!” I exclaimed squeezing and shaking his bicep in the rumbling car, “We are going to see our house!”
As traffic picked up in the city, our excitement peaked with it.
“The next time we will drive up here, it will be when we are actually moving!” my eyes were beaming with thrill and expectancy. “That is, of course, if this rental house works out.” I quickly said, rolling my eyes with the thought.
Of course this is going to work out. It’s all perfect! I thought. I already had begun drafting a title to my next blog post. But, with every situation you set your heart on, you of course, need to admit the option of unlikely and an unfavorable outcome of disappointment. But for some reason, the “not working out” option felt so truly unlikely that it really was out of the equation.
God was clearly leading us ever so smoothly, every step of the way!
Earlier in the week, we were offered an 1880 7-bedroom mansion, which we turned down for safety and maintenance concerns. Then, almost immediately and divinely did “our” house pop up magically on Bobby’s iPhone that sparkled “perfection!”
It was God. He was paving the way. He was providing, and our rental-hunt was smooth sailing. I wanted to brag to the world announcing, “It’s a sign! God is making for us a grand entrance to seminary!”
The unlikely and unfavorable option turned out to be our actual outcome.
Dead end. Disappointment. The rental just was… not us.
What?! How?! This was it. It was all supposed to work out so smoothly. It all felt so divine! It felt so clearly like the Lord was leading us, stress-free, gently, and kindly to our destination. We trusted you, God! We trusted you!
And do I regret trusting the Lord? Was God really leading us to a disappointing dead end? Maybe I was wrong in my assessment of “God’s leading.” Was my eager anticipation and confidence in “our” perfect little house, twisted and immaturely perceived? Was I putting a path into God’s will that was never God’s intent in the first place? Am I being disciplined because I concluded the house was being presented to us on a silver platter (or rather literally, on a silver lake)? Did I assume presumptuously this straight and easy path was indeed sent from heaven?
Where did I go wrong? Certainly the dead end is not God’s fault. God is not to blame for our disappointment.
But, strangely enough, I find myself laughing. Yes. You read that right. Laughing.
I find myself smiling and looking toward heaven with a slanted, humored, grin. I really am an immature amateur when it comes to move-to-new-state ordeals! This weekend proved that pretty comically.
Somehow, I don’t feel the urge to question my motives or morals, nor do I even dare question God. I just feel… humored, quite frankly.
What just happened!?
In literal events, the happening was as such: we saw a rental house we loved (with a park and beautiful lake directly out the back), contacted the landlord, booked a hotel, drove up in a couple of days, saw the rental, was hesitant about the rental, tried to humbly say “we can make it work,” but painfully decided to withdraw our application, and came home. That’s pretty much the nutshell version.
But the spiritual version was much more complicated. We plotted out the entire path straight into seminary, stamped our “God is leading us” sticker on our bumper, and headed out with complete confidence that God was telling us “this rental is it!” It felt like faith. We expected a lot from God. I felt grateful, prayerful, and set my hope on the destination that was before us. Namely: this rental house.
I smile, because all of those things aren’t in themselves bad. I don’t regret claiming God’s leading, nor regret trusting him. Yes, I expected a lot from God. Yes, I ascertained this house to be the Lord’s guidance. But even though the leading wasn’t what I perceived, he still was leading us. (And still is for that matter.) It was the Lord’s will that we went to Minnesota this weekend. It was a fun little loop-de-loop that spun us around but brought us not to an end, but right back to the forward direction. Anyone who has been on a roller coaster gets it. The rattling coaster, going tens of miles per hour, flings you straight into the sky, and flips your entire body opposite to nature. It feels like gravity is trying to move all your organs to your head. The terrifying thrill gives the ride a whole new level and a whole new perspective. It’s a blast definitely worth taking.
I do regret, however, assuming and setting my hope in my bubbled, predicted destination. I wish my hope would have been more on God, then on the house. I wish my boast would have been more on God, than on our special “paved-out” path. I wish I would have been grateful, prayerful, and setting my hope on the big picture of God, rather than the teeny steps that I thought were our end.
I also smile, because it was fun. Loop-de-loops are only fun if you make them fun. If you are terrified of them, then you will throw up, I suppose. So I’m choosing to look at the thrill, rather than the puke. I got a mini-vacay with the man I love, and fell a little bit more in love with him than I was when we left. I got a mini tour of Minneapolis, and maybe just met a new love: the city. I met with old friends and had a lovely brunch. I didn’t have to put a kid to sleep, wipe a bottom, clean up crumbs, or strap a car seat for 32 WHOLE wonderful, blissful hours straight! We have better heads on our shoulders on how to rent a house, are more united on what we are looking for, and spent hours with uninterrupted conversation about houses, God, life, and everything.
Also, a beautiful perk to this otherwise “flop” of a trip, was that I realized just how much I need the church. Just how much I need people. After seeing the house, and Bobby and I essentially having completely different feelings about it, I texted several friends to pray for us for wisdom. Bobby and I prayed, then we discussed and hashed out the decision. After our final settlement of “no” was made, peace was brought, and we went to sleep. In the morning, I realized who did the actual labor of the evening. I realized, it was not Bobby and I hashing it out, scheming and detailing our feelings. No, but our friends who went to the throne of grace on our behalf, did the major accomplishment. Thank you, friends!
Also, a couple of our friends wisely told us that we don’t need to feel rushed into a house. We have a lot of time. And even if our time runs out, and we still don’t have a house, we have other options. Rushing into any big decision out of desperation or emotional attachment, is not a good place to be. So we were advised to take it easy, and, yes, trust God in our “no” too!
I’m happy. I’m strangely happy. I love God, and love the unexpected turns and loops that he gives us, because he knows just what “fun” they are in bringing us back to whole-hearted dependence and happiness in him!