Sunday, January 19, 2014

Holding Fast //

Exploring the possibility of moving closer to BBC for Zachary's final semester I reached out to a friend from New Jersey. She began to make inquiries with her family and friends regarding a place to work and a short-term living situation for me. The door was open and I had decided to walk through it into the unknown, risk, promise + adventure as long as it was possible to do so. A dozen things need to fall into place for an actual move to happen, the first being getting a lease signed by two tenants for the Little House.

I met with a potential tenant a week before Thanksgiving and it sounded promising. She needed a few days to make her final decision. Meanwhile I had a phone interview with a potential employer in New Jersey. It went very well. A position for me was available but could be filled at any time. The soonest I could get out to Jersey and start work was the end of January though. Everything about the job resonated deep and the Lord seemed to whisper, "This is the 'work you'll love' I've been preparing for you since January. The job will be there for you when you arrive. Leave it in My hands."

My faith was strengthened in the waiting and my mind was made up -- I knew that the Lord had my back and was going before me and had a way prepared, I was going for it. Then my potential tenant got back to me and said she had decided not to rent from me. Holding fast to faith I wished her the best and moved forward. I turned in my two week notice at work, touched base with my potential employer, continued to communicate with my friend from Jersey as she waited to hear back from friends and family about possible host-homes. Nothing was certain except that I would finish work the Sunday before Christmas.

Then my Dad's Property Manager called and said he had two tenants for me. We set up a tour. They came, they toured, they loved it. Of course nothing is nothing until its something and I didn't have a signed lease when they walked out that night but I held fast in faith. Freedom from anxiety is found when your hope is in the One who holds all in His hands rather than in the physical circumstances before you.

A lease was signed and my house was fully rented through the end of May. My final day at work was finished. My house was packed up, boxes were moved to storage, furniture was hauled off and my car was filled to the point of bursting. The job in New Jersey was still available. No host-home had turned up in two months of searching and while my friend continued to inquire for me I began searching Craigslist. Emailing and calling on a few, all the doors closed and this didn't unsettle me because I knew it was divine, I knew the Lord was saving me for His best.

Then I found it. A townhouse, a diverse and low-income area, three female roommates in their 20's, all employed professionally in a similar field to the job I was hoping to get, all raised Christian but no longer practicing. My spirit burned bright and warm within me at the mere thought of how many "neighbors" it would have opportunity to breath life into by its testimony of the Lord's fellowship in this place, beyond my comfort zone. I set up a tour. My friend's parents as well as her aunt and uncle looked into the townhouse rental that I was acting on, determined that it was an area they wouldn't be comfortable moving one of their children into and then proceeded to turn over every rock they could to find something better for me. Knowing it would be a risky move to rent at the townhouse didn't shake me up. Confidant in the hand of the Lord I was willing to take that risk if that was the place He had prepared for me.

When I pulled away from my family's home with my car-load of belongings, everything I was leaving behind me was settled but nothing I was going out into was secured. The job was still waiting but could be filled any day. I was still planning to move into the townhouse. Then, about six hours down the road, I received a call from my friend's mom. She said that a family from their church wanted to open their home to me. They were offering a guest room, full bathroom and my own garage stall, as well as access to all the other amenities of the house to me for free. My jaw dropped. The Lord seemed to whisper, "I want to lavish you with the sweetness of this family's generosity and hospitality. This is the place I have prepared for you, would you let Me love you in this way? I love you for wanting to serve and being willing to live anywhere for the purpose of my kingdom. I have lives for you to touch alright, keep following close and I'll show you where they are."

I visited the pre-school I was applying to work at and set up a working interview. That same day I pulled into the rural suburb where my host-family lived and was welcomed into their gorgeous home and kind hearts.  Talking with the owner of the preschool a couple days later we worked together to construct an ideal schedule for me to work, presuming the working interview goes off without a hitch. My original vision of drowning out my anticipation of weekend visits with Zachary by working long hours every day was reshaped graciously by my Father who knows me too well. Freeing up more time each day for rest and exploration and relationship-building, adding variety that He knows I crave and requiring flexibility of me, just to keep my guessing and on my toes and leaning into Him consistently, He had clearly thought this through even more than I had. Figures.

At the end of the week I moved into the Mathai's home, settled into my room and began bonding with this sweet family from India who came to love me so fast. Mr. Mathai delights in sharing what they have, from space in their garage and the work out equipment in their home, to the app that allows me to play music through the whole house and switch on and off the lights from my iPhone. Mrs. Mathai is all warmth and welcome, easing me into conversation and helping me feel like part of the family. When I left home my friends and family were saying, "You'll have to find someone out East to watch Downton with!" May not seem like a big deal, but just because He knew and He can and He loves to give, it turns out that Mrs. Mathai watches Downton Abbey. It is also no small detail that this big sister's heart which is prone to get homesick for it's little brothers and sister would be placed in a home with two young boys to encourage and tease and set an example for. The Lord really thinks of everything.


Back in November the desire of my beating heart was just a chance for nearness after much distance, a chance to deepen + sweeten the solid friendship Zachary and I had going with opportunities to do life literally together. December was the hard winds of reality and impossibilites and questions with the simple promise of an open door and a way prepared to hold fast to. January watched in awe as hearts were moved and opened and my life fell in stride with a whole new world of people + places + possibilities. And all this was merely the introduction, the context with which to unfold what He has in store for me during my five months here. The best is yet to come, but, boy, the journey is rich. #holdfastthepromise #newjerseyadventure

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