I sit here at my computer full of conflicting emotions today. Pain, anger, fearful longing and tender hope. I experienced Saturday probably the most cruel attack of the enemy against my very soul and convictions as I ever have and that is saying a lot when you consider the painful events of my past.
Saturday started out like any other day. I was watching my occasional weekend group of children (3 precious boys I love like crazy!!) and decided to do a little house/job hunting while they watched a short movie. I have been trying to take a little time each day to look for what the Lord has for me next in those two areas. I have no idea what my job will be or what side of town I am going to live on but I am totally open to what ever God has.
So, I was looking around online and found this ad for a 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath for rent with a fenced in yard not very far from my dads house. I shot out an email to find out the price and was surprised at the reply I got. apparently, the house was owned by a female pastor and her family and they had gone on what was supposed to be a short-term missions trip but doors had opened and they would be staying for at least a year but maybe even up to 5 years. They were looking for someone to take care of their house for them while they were away. They were asking 400/month and sent a link to their missions webpage and several shots of the house inside and out. I thought – no way, this is too awesome….should I even hope??
Well, my dad and I decided to drive out there and take a look at the place and the neighborhood ect. The neighborhood was so cute and quiet. The houses looked taken care of but in a laid back sort of way. Nothing was “perfect” but everything looked very loved and established. When we pulled up I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. The house was small and a little run down with some obvious need of repair but to me it looked like heaven. Literally everything I had ever hoped and dreamed about for a place to live – it had.
The back yard was huge and fenced in. It had a chicken coop, storage shed, HUGErope swing (the rope was thicker around than the widest part of my arm – and that is pretty wide!), garden plot, an area that looked like it was used for wood shop type activities, a little koi pond, a gazebo, screened in porch, and great big cedar and eucalyptus trees (my favorite!!) My dad was so excited he was bouncing up and down like a little kid. I was so excited I couldn’t stop smiling. I thought ‘if I smile any bigger I might just burst!’ The house had wood floors, tile, a fire-place, a washer and dryer and lots of windows – all of which I LOVE.
I kept thinking to myself ‘This is it. This is what I have been waiting nearly 4 years for. I have been making the hard choices and the painful sacrifices I feel God has asked me to make for him and I am looking at the beginnings of the reward for that. He is finally giving me the desires of my heart and blessing this next step of ministry. This is where I am going to raise my daughter for as long as the Lord wills. This is where I am going to bring precious children to get loved on and heal while their families work to get their lives in order. And how awesome is it that the family I would be renting from is on a missions trip in Africa spreading the love of God?!’
Just to be on the safe side we decided to talk to the neighbor and see what he had to say about the family that owned the house. When we get up to the guys house there is this big metal plaque nailed to the door that reads “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. I thought – yay! Christian neighbors!! This super cute old man answers the door and we start talking to him and his friend who was apparently visiting him at the time. They had both lived in the neighborhood for upwards of 50 years and it was a good place to live. When we asked about the family he seemed a little confused. “No, a guy named “Roberts” (name changed simply because I can’t remember what he said) owns that house. It is for rent but not for 400/month. More like 6 to 8 hundred. Someone is trying to scam you.”
My heart didn’t stop falling until it hit the ground. Then I am pretty sure I stepped on in when we walked away because as we backed out of the driveway it hurt fiercely. Some one had laid before me all the desires of my heart concerning a place to live and said “its yours for a low monthly price of exactly what you can afford” only to have it be a lie. Then, to make it even worse the truth was “well, actually you could afford this if you just gave up all your convictions about parenting and ministry and just put your daughter in daycare and got a real job.” Ouch. OUCH! Writing this makes my eyes water and heart ache. What a horrible realization to swallow!
****(this next little bit is not a part of my story – added it in as a thought process while writing)****
At the time I didn’t see the similarities between this and when the devil took Jesus up to the mountain top and offered Him the whole world if He would just kneel before him – I see it now as I write this.
Jesus was taken up to that mountain top and told he could have everything he desired minus all the pain and suffering He knew was to come and all He had to do was kneel. Such a simple act yet so profound. To kneel was to renounce everything He had lived His whole life believing and all the choices He had made up that point. To kneel was to admit He did not think He could do what was being asked of Him on the cross. To kneel was to choose the devils plan for His life instead of God’s plan for His life. I can’t help but think that maybe up there on that mountain top looking down at the world and knowing all the anguish He was about to go through He just might have felt some of what I was feeling yesterday and today but on an even bigger scale! (now back to the story…)****
The more I thought about what had just happened the more I hurt and the more I doubted all my choices up to this point. Maybe I should just put E.v.e. in daycare. Most other single moms have to. Maybe I should give up this Nanny Ministry. There has to be someone else that can do this job with out it costing them so much personally. Then, I could get a job somewhere paying minimum wage and then I could afford this place.
I have loved being able to bless the families I work for and their children. They pay me what they can and I have accepted it as being what the Lord has for me right now. I struggle with it from time to time but I know these are the choices I have made in an effort to follow after the Lords will for my life. Never before this day had I ever truly believed – ‘maybe I am really wrong about all this and I just need to give up, get a “real job” and admit I made a mistake’.
Then, and even uglier thought entered my mind. Maybe, just maybe, what I believed wasn’t a mistake. What if I was totally right about everything I had heard the Lord speak to me and the choices I had made? What if those times I can recall hearing a request from the Lord and choosing not to do it for what ever reason – fear, not understanding, lack of faith, whatever the reason, was to blame?
Maybe I could have had this place if I hadn’t done this sin or that sin. Maybe, just maybe, God had promised me some amazing things and ment it but then I screwed it up and this was my “Moses Moment” – Here’s the promised land Moses but because you hit that rock out of anger and frustration instead of just commanding it like I told you – you can not enter into this land. Here is your dream home Nichole – it could have been yours – but because you messed up you can no longer have it. I can not even describe the anguish I felt – and to a small extent still feel right now. I started counting down the seconds till Sunday. I knew I needed some fellowship and wisdom from my spiritual family.
I had saved up money all week and made sure I had enough to pay for the gas to get to church today and I was so looking forward to it. After the day I had just had Saturday I reallllly needed some refreshing time with my Christian family. I knew I could count on God, my precious Pastor and my family to speak some truth into my situation. I just needed a little bit of encouragement and worship and I hoped with that I would be ok.
So not what I got. It was no fault of the Pastors. I am sure his message was very encouraging to others and spurred them on to run the race well. I how ever did not receive that stimulating message because a few minutes in he talked about Moses not getting into the promised land because of his choices. Needless to say the rest of the message was lost to me. I was fighting off despair with everything in me. I was praying in the spirit, rejecting all the thoughts that were swirling around in my head and just trying to hold it together long enough to get through the sermon and out to my car before I broke down.
I did end up totally loosing it in the front row but not untill most everyone had left. A precious sister came and prayed with me and I did get to talk to her and a few other women I respect and look up to but there really wasn’t much they could say to comfort me. I have no idea why the Lord allowed this thing to happen to me. I have no idea why I am stuck in this same rut I have been in for nearly 4 years. I don’t understand any of it. And no one else there did either. All they could do was pray for me and remind me this is not the Lord being cruel. The devil is cruel, God is Just.
All I can keep doing is holding on to my tender hope. The enemy tried to snuff it out this weekend but I can’t let him win. I may be bruised but the Lord says he will not crush me. My hope may be a flickering candle but God says He will not put it out. He will cause justice to be victorious (Matthew 12:20)
I am afraid to keep longing for the things in my heart but I can’t give up out of fear of being let down or hurt again. I have to keep longing and expecting. I have to keep trusting that God really does know what He is doing and that He is guiding my path. I am so willing, so eager to do this work He has called me to – all I can do is keep clinging to Him and trusting that one day it will all make sense – even if that day isn’t until the day I see Him face to face.
~My love, I don’t understand. I hurt so deeply. I want to trust You. I ‘know’ I can but Love please help me knowit. Yesterday was so hard and today was no better. I never, EVER want to doubt again that You are directing my path. That doubt felt like a poison and it ate at my soul. Love please heal my heart.
I am choosing today – right now – to trust You. I am choosing to trust that whatever happened yesterday was part of the testing fires – a proving of my faith in You. I don’t want to be guilty of giving up and choosing the easy, wide path instead of the narrow, difficult one you have set before me. The narrow, difficult path leads to an eternal life filled with You and what earthly comfort or desire could ever compare to such a treasure as that!
You are Faithful, You are Just, You are Trustworthy, You are my Strength and Comfort in my times of difficulty. Help me remember that sooner the next time the wolf comes to steal, kill, and destroy. ❤