In just over a day, we’ll be moving … our fifth move since we were married nearly seven years ago. This evening, Matt took me over to our new house, and as I walked through each room different emotions coursed through me. It was overwhelming. Not just because, I felt like each room exudes Price-ness nor envisioning how my red appliances in the kitchen painted in “sanctuary” (a really crisp shade of blue/green) will have just the right amount of sass; not even knowing how Lucas and Bethany will make the middle room their play space on the first afternoon. No, it is definitely more than that. My tiny little house is an exact answer to prayer; evidence of a God who comes close to his daughter.
|Lucas and Bethany in front of our new home, Easter, 2010|
Over two years ago, I walked into that living room before serving in kids’ church one Sunday night. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but I just knew I could make that house home. The only problem was we were very happy in our townhouse on Maranatha’s campus and of course the fact that the house was being used for meetings, groups, kids’ church, etc. At first, I just pushed the thought out of my mind, knowing that it was just my love for old homes that was in this case misdirected. Then in August 2007, I really felt like I needed to pray for a housing miracle. We were moving out of the townhouse, our rent was now way too high, and I would often feel overwhelmed if any extra expense came up. I’ve always known that God provides for our needs, we had three years at Fuller paid for without loans, and the check registers to prove that we’ve never gone without, but it was a stress. I began to pray specifically for this little house.
I felt silly. I didn’t tell anyone how specifically I had been praying, it seemed presumptuous after all. There have been plenty of times in the past two years when I’ve been discouraged. Dealing with a diagnosis of hypothyroid seven months after the birth of our daughter just compounded all of that, but it also gave me hope. For months, maybe even years I had felt something was not quite right, that I just wasn’t me and finally it seemed as though “it” had been pinpointed. I’ve struggled with having to work for the same period of time, often battling envy, not a hateful kind, but more “why do they get to stay home with their kids … why can’t I, too?” There have also been great moments of joy when I’ve known beyond a shadow of a doubt that my God is for me.
|lake country, England, June 2008|
I can definitely say that there have been glimpses of God’s love for me in the past two years. Hey, I’ve been on top of the world! There have also been months of debilitating pain; pain that led me to three months of a medical treatment that I believe helped, but also made life so difficult. I’ve questioned why so many times, it is ridiculous to recount. I think the first two and a half months of 2009 were some of my brightest. My relationship with Christ was great and thus my relationship with Matt, Lucas and Bethany were wonderful too, probably better than they had ever been. My job was great, church was wonderful, life group supportive and I was physically feeling so much better. To top that, I found out I was pregnant with our third child, a surprising miracle, my miracle in the midst of the worse symptoms of endometriosis I’d ever had. My God cared … heard my cry for another baby … answered.
It is easy to trust God when things are amazing. March 21, 2009 forever changed my life. Losing a child, even one you’ve never held, is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Miscarriage is a progression characterized by utter loneliness and understood completely only by those who have been there. Healing is a process, one that is not yet complete in me, and while I can say that I never lost my faith in God, my faith has been rocked; affected in such a way, that up until a few days ago I’ve known God is for others, that he provides and cares for others — I’d never doubt that, but to truly and completely in my heart know those things are true for me, that seemed to be gone. For this reason, I panicked about sending my kids to Texas and flying to Europe. I made sure our will was in order and cried knowing someone else would have the privilege of raising my sweet boy and girl. I endeavored to finish two quilts for each child before boarding the plane, so they would always think of me before going to sleep, since I would no longer get to be there to tuck them in at night. I wrote each of them a letter, not anything morbid, but I wanted them to know how they hold my heart! I came close to hyperventilating when I dropped them at the gateway. If I wasn’t enough to keep one baby here on earth, there was nothing that could convince me that God would really choose me to raise the other two. Certainly nobody could speak words adequate enough to flush out all my questions and doubts.
|Me (2 months after miscarriage) with my group of students in the Czech Republic|
So many friends spoke truth into my life in the days leading up to our departure for Germany, and each one of them without knowing it, used the same words … words from my favorite Psalm, in the version that my new Bible is in. I read the words my sister sent me over and over again on the first twelve hour flight. “The way you look after Luke and Beth is topped only by the way God looks after you and Matt and Bethany and Luke.” Wow! I know how much I love Lucas and Bethany and how much time, effort and energy goes into caring for them. This comparison was and is a comfort to me and yet again I am faced with a conundrum.
|Matt and I after arriving safely in Berlin, Germany|
Obviously our plane didn’t crash and I am thrilled to say that there were many moments on each of our four flights when I felt the loving arms of the Father hold me, calm me, bring me peace, soothe me to sleep with words of Psalms, prayers and songs circulating in my mind. He is faithful even when I question.
|Me and my students on our way up to Neuschwanstein|
Walking through our new house tonight is yet another reminder of a God who loves me, cares for me, protects me, right down to the exact house I imagined our family living in and carried in prayer for two years. A house isn’t a little thing. A house being the means for a mother to realize her dream of staying home with her children is amazing. Peace in the midst of a storm is by no means trivial. The redemption of a fouled relationship is miraculous. Doctors diagnosing and treating medical conditions … God’s hands on earth. Children are gift from God, and being entrusted with raising them right, a heavy privilege. The solid support of a man in the midst of surrendering the ability to tangibly express your love for your unborn child day after day, overwhelmingly an expression of Christ’s love for his broken children.
When I leave this apartment on Saturday, I leave behind rooms where I doubted, felt pain, places where I’m reminded of loss, but also rooms that will always signify for me God’s redeeming love; a love that is too great to disallow me to question. A love that is so amazing that it hears the details of my prayers. A love so concerned with my heart that a Savior died to capture it.
So while I may not hold my third child in this life and my whys will not be answered in this life, and although I cannot always trace his hand, I can hold on to the knowledge that my God is for me; that even when I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death, his love casts out all fear (Psalm 23:4). My God is a conundrum to me … his thoughts are higher than my thoughts, but he is undoubtedly worthy of my praise. I am confident that I have and will continue to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and when I fear or question or when doubts begin to cloud my mind I will remind myself “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord ‘My Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 27:13, NIV; Psalms 91:1,2, HCSB)
I wrote these thoughts nearly two years ago, about two months before we discovered our newest gift from God was on his way. When I think about my life, it is often the times which seem darkest that I find my Lord drawing me closer to his side, calling me to a life of more complete trust in him. I am entering this post for a scholarship opportunity to the She Speaks conference. This event is designed to connect the hearts of daughters of the King more closely to His heart. My heart continues to wonder how I might best serve him and his children, and any opportunity I have to better understand his heart for me and calling to me is such a gift.
|Our newest gift, May 2010|