Sarah’s birth marked a new beginning for all of us. Still the word about moving remained waiting for an answer.
Our sons, Shane and Brett, were by my side to help with Sarah whenever needed. Shane was thirteen and Brett eleven. They took turns feeding her, holding her and even changing her on occasion.
Still, there were some things they wouldn’t do.
“Mom? Mom, where are you? Mom, come change Sarah.” I could tell they were holding their noses from the high pitched sound of their voices. “Mom, it’s running down her legs. Yuck. Hurry Mom.”
They loved to rock her in my wooden rocker or Mike’s recliner. She was perfect training for their future position as fathers.
Mike continued to work rotating shifts with the Sheriff’s department. He filled out job applications and poured over Missouri real estate ads.
We decided to list the house rather than keep our ‘for sale by owner’ status. It had been four years now since we started this journey.
Questions bombarded our minds. Were we sure God said move to Missouri? Where are we going to live in the meantime if the house sells? How much longer is this going to take?
As we decorated for Christmas in December 1980, our house sold.
Sarah was a year old. Mike still didn’t have a job in Missouri, nor did we have a home there.
In January, we left our one-acre ‘farm’ and moved into a duplex in Stockton. There were three small bedrooms. Sarah and Brett each took a bedroom and Mike, and I took the larger of the three. Shane wanted his own space. So we fashioned one in the garage, making walls out of packing boxes. It would be another eight months of waiting with no end in sight.
The boys had to change schools. The move was not easy for them. Their small country schools were calm and friendly compared to the large city school they entered. The brand of clothes they wore mattered. If they put on the same clothes twice in a week, the other students teased them. Brett had a pair of olive green jeans. After days of the kids laughing at him, the jeans were relegated to Saturday, at home wear only. Our son’s lives were upended.
On March 2, I was watching a program on T.V. The Holy Spirit got my attention. The minister read from Revelation 3:8. “Behold, I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it. For thou hast a little strength and hast kept My word and hast not denied My name.”
This word sank deep into my heart. To me, it was the further confirmation for our move. Still our pastor felt we were ‘shirking responsibility’ in moving out of the congregation. Sermons relayed that message in strong terms. But, we knew God’s direction, and we did our best not to take offense.
On August 16, 1981, my journal reveals the level of frustration I was feeling.
“Lord, I am at a loss to know where I want to be. I just want a permanent home to call my own and opportunities to minister. I can’t ever remember feeling so restricted and in utter frustration. Why are You so quiet on this issue?
Are we so willful that we won’t listen or hear? Have we broken Your laws? Is this punishment? Is this a test of our endurance? What is the answer?
Please give us clear direction and relief from this endless trial. I’m scared. How much more I can take before I just shut the door and run? Lord, help me to be able to support whatever road Mike chooses and please guide him in the choosing.”
Mike had made several trips to Missouri in search of a job and property. He found a farm in Hamilton, Missouri that he loved. He’d made a couple of offers on it, but to no avail. The farm was appealing, but I was not as excited about it as Mike.
The next day, August 17, Mike came home exasperated. He was ready to call the realtor and make a bigger offer on the farm. When we called, however, she wasn’t in.
I went on to my errands for the day. When I got home, Clay County Sheriff’s Department in Liberty, Missouri called.
Mike had the job, and they wanted to know when he could report for work.
We were in shock. We were excited, scared, relieved, anxious, tired, nervous and HAPPY. We moved into fast forward. We notified our landlord. Then we lined up a temporary place to stay in Missouri until we could find a rental of our own. We reserved a moving truck and started packing for our departure in thirteen days.
Activity multiplied in those next two weeks. Mike’s brother, Jeff got married on the nineteenth. Mike was one of the attendants, so we attended the rehearsal dinner and wedding. Our friends and family wanted to have parties for us. It was hard to say good-bye. We were the first on either side of our family to move out of the state. Some of Mike’s family were less than thrilled about the move.
Many of the church family continued to predict our quick return to California. “You won’t like it there. God needs you here. You are going to lose financially.”
It was true that Mike would be taking a half cut in pay going to work for Clay County, but we knew God would take care of us. We owned our vehicles outright and were debt free. We put the profit from our home in a Merrill Lynch account and trusted God to meet our needs.
When the day came, we loaded our moving van and hitched our pick-up truck behind. We packed the station wagon and our little hauling trailer in tow.
Last minute hugs with family and friends and we were off. Mike drove the van and I the car. Shane rode with Mike, Brett and Sarah were with me. Sarah giggled with delight. She loved riding in the car, but had no idea about how long a trip this would be. She was 21 months old.
Tears ran down my face for miles.
Putting feet to faith costs something.
~~How About You?~~
Are you stepping out in faith and others aren’t thrilled about your path? Are you finding it difficult to keep an attitude of love? Is your faith being tested and your emotions stretched to the breaking point?
Let me share some words from my journal. God knows how to calm our emotions and renew our faith.
At one time He told me, “Set Psalm 91 to music and let Me sing it over you. Let me release its fragrance of faith. Let me unlock its doors of safety and security. Let me free you of your demons of fear and close you in with Me, Your God. Your Mighty, Unstoppable, Mighty God.
I am big, but I want to show you how big you are compared to your enemies. You are bigger than all of them as you are one with Me.
Come and close the door and enter into the secret place with Me. There are delights here and healing and hope and joy.
Fear not. Throw aside all battles of the mind and come. I am your resting place. I am your stronghold and high tower. I will hide you. Come My Beloved. I will reveal My Name to you. I will show you who you are as you see more clearly who I am.”
When I came to Psalm 91:4b “His truth shall be your shield and buckler,” I saw Him on a bicycle circling me over and over. As He circled, He declared: “I am going to surround you with the truth of who I am. I am Faithful. I am Trustworthy. I am Almighty. I am Holy. I am your Restorer. I am your Redeemer. I am Love. I am Power. I am Merciful. Seeing Me will set you free from your fears.”
Ask Him to put your eyes on the truth of who He is. Let your emotions settle into peace and your love return for those who don’t see as you see. Each of us has our own path of faith. Let’s walk it in love and peace.