On the evening of August 30, 2016, Stephen and I took what we thought was the last big step to launch our family’s transition from Texas to Tennessee. Our house was officially on the market. We braced for a quick sell and looked forward to making plans for our move. The only other time we’d sold a house, we had 4 offers by day 12, and everyone we knew kept telling us that this house would probably sell even faster. We had no reason to think this step would drag out for over 3 months. Nevertheless, day 12 came and went, then month 1, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving. Then, it happened. After 95 . . . NINETY-FIVE . . . days, 4 price drops, and almost 40 showings, WE GOT AN OFFER!
As you know from my previous posts, by this point my brain, heart, and even body are completely exhausted from the toll this one step has taken. It also wasn’t the most cut and dry process to finalize all the contract details. So celebrating didn’t come quite as easily as I thought it would. But still we gave thanks to a great God. We slept a little harder. We recognized that this was the release we had been waiting for, whether it looked the way we thought it would or not. So it should only get easier from here, right? Not so much.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Boy, are we learning this lesson in a real way. And yet, I’m proving to still be that stubborn, hardheaded, pouty child I revert back to when things don’t go my way. Every morning for 95 days I prayed for that to be the day we got an offer. We finally get an offer and at the first sign of struggle, I start whining and complaining. “Well that’s just great, all the houses we liked are now gone . . . but we need to be up there before our Texas closing date because Stephen has to start back to work on January 3rd no matter where we are . . . blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Nevertheless, we came up with what we thought was a good plan, then the bottom fell out when on day 99 we got the call that every seller dreads. Our buyer’s financing had fallen through so she had to back out of our contract. Well, super!
You can imagine the flood of doubt and questions that came rushing in almost immediately. At this point, any confidence I had developed in our ability to tell the difference between God’s voice and that of our flesh is shot. Is this the enemy trying to wear us down, or is the Lord continuing to build our faith? Is Satan pulling out all the stops to break us, or could this be God trying to tell us that we’ve been mistaken this entire time?
I went to bed that night so discouraged. The next morning during my very forced time with Him – because let’s face it, I didn’t have a whole lot to say to Him after the stunt He had pulled the night before – wouldn’t you know it, that the verse for an online devotional I read every morning was Proverbs 16:9. After a good 15 second long eye roll, I just threw my hands up and said “Okay God. What’s up? What in the world are you trying to tell me here?” I sat there for a while . . . nothing. A little while longer . . . still nothing. It wasn’t til later that evening that my heart began opening up enough for the Lord to get a word in edge-wise. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always understood that verse to mean that we can make all the plans we want, but it’s always going to be God’s way that comes out in the wash (how’s that for loose interpretation?). And that very well could still be what the overarching meaning is for believers. But this particular day, He opened my eyes (and heart) to entertain another possibility.
I’m an “end goal” driven kind of gal. I love to work and work and work toward a specific event, project, or task. When I’m handed said event, project, or task, I immediately begin laying out the best, most logical path to completion. Inevitably there will be hiccups, but for the most part, I’m able to manage through them and get back on track pretty quickly. Until that big picture goal has been achieved, just about everything revolves around getting there, and when all is said and done, most of the process is a blur I can hardly remember.
But that’s where God’s handiwork is usually the most evident, right – the process? When I let myself explore this idea, it’s as if the Lord began saying to me “So we have a plan, a goal. That’s all well and good, and nothing about that goal has changed. But what you’re missing are the steps that I’m establishing in the meantime. Those steps are just as important to me as the big picture. Those steps are growing you. They’re stretching and maturing you. Embrace the steps because it makes reaching the end goal that much sweeter.”
The calling we felt on our family to move to the Nashville area hasn’t wavered one bit in these last 100+ days, even though our hearts have. But the Lord is the one steering the ship, and while a straight line from point A to point B may seem like the obvious choice, these detours, bumps, and hills He is taking us through are establishing in us pieces of His character that we need for the next chapter in our life as a family.
So here I am, learning more each day to embrace each step as they come, whether it feels like forward motion or a setback, believing that each one is preparing me for what I will need.
How do you see the Lord establishing your steps on a daily basis or regarding a bigger situation in your life?