Moving Faith

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

Genesis 12:1-7 (NIV)

Relocating one’s life is never easy. A few years ago, my husband and I relocated to a different city and state from a state where both of us had lived most of our lives. We were leaving friends, family and familiar places due to a new employment opportunity. Packing and preparing for the move was stressful. Grief accompanied our stress because we knew we would greatly miss what we were leaving behind. However, we felt the Lord was blessing us and providing for us some amazing opportunities. We would have each other and our wonderful dogs. There was nothing easy about making the decision or going through the process of moving. We trusted that the Lord would be with us and guide us through it all. We were not disappointed and never felt abandoned by our Lord. God has definitely blessed us in all of the relocation.

As challenging as own move may have been at times, Abram’s move had to have been even more challenging. God told Abram to pack up all which was important to him and leave the country of his family and origin. He was told to go to a land which he knew nothing about. God promised Abram that he would be blessed in doing so, not just him but his descendants who would create a great nation. In addition, Abram would be a blessing to all people. Without a moving truck or any of our modern conveniences of travel, Abram packs everything and journeys over 7300 miles. An  amazing show of faith and trust in God.

Having the level of faith and trust which Abram demonstrated is almost impossible. I ask myself often if I could ever put into action that amount of faith and trust. Do I have that level to even claim? I also think the writers of Scripture tend to smooth out the rough edges of stories like this one. I am confident there was hand wringing, intense conversations with Sarai and Lot, and some periods of doubts before the group even began the journey. In addition, there most likely were feelings of regret and a desire to return to Harran along the way. The key is the faith which Abram, Sarai and Lot demonstrated even when the relocation may have made no sense or been extremely difficult. Following through was a true statement of faith.

The only possible way to have faith and trust at the level demonstrated in this story is receiving it from the Lord through the Spirit. Left to our own ability, we would be unable to demonstrate such faith. The Spirit is the one who gives us strength to build a level of faith. The Spirit places the seed of faith in our lives then nurtures it and guides it into maturity and growth. God provides all which we need, we need to commit to work with the Spirit in achieving the faith of Abram, Sarai, Lot and all their household.

The Unexpected

I hope that some of you have noticed an absence in my posts over the last two weeks. Let me explain why you have not seen any posts from me lately.

When we moved to Fort Worth almost a year ago, we made the decision that we would rent a house for the first year. This would give us the opportunity to learn our new community and decide which areas would be a good fit for us. It was a fantastic idea. We quickly came to realize that we enjoyed the area of Fort Worth in which our rental home was located. We also came to understand that the neighborhood in which we were living was nice but not the one where we wanted to settle permanently. Our original time frame was to start seriously looking for the right house in November and if we did not locate the one, we could always extend our lease month by month if necessary. However, our plans changed and events occurred very quickly.

The first catalyst for our change of plans was receiving contact from the rental company on behalf of the owners of our property in September. The woman who spoke with my husband indicated that the owners wanted us to consider purchasing the home from them. This offer took us by surprise which led us into a discussion about our permanent home sooner than we had anticipated. The conditions which the current owners were placing on their offer seemed unreasonable to us even if the price sounded very good. My husband contacted the realtor who we worked with during our hunt for a rental home, and the one who we had decided would be our choice during our search for a house to buy. She agreed that the price was right but the terms were not. She also informed us after hearing our original plans that if we were to go to a month-by-month rental agreement, the owners would likely raise our rent approximately $300 a month. We were not willing to pay the additional amount so our timeline was moved up. Our lease was over on December 31, so we would need to vacate by that time.

Along comes the next catalyst for change. Since we were going to have to find a home quicker than planned, we moved up the search process start to be October and hopefully locate a house by November. If this time frame worked, we would not have a mortgage payment until January, so no month would have a rent and mortgage payment at the same time. The last weekend in September we decided to begin attending some open houses. The first home we visited was nice. It had great curb appeal along with some amenities which were inviting. The asking price was well below our top target price so that was a plus as well. The major drawback was that it was a two-story home, and we were hoping to find a single story home. The location was also outside of our preferred area. We went to two more open houses that weekend. One home was definitely not viable for us. The third was a possibility but once again was outside of our target area and the price was at the top of our budget. Since we had agreed that it would be unwise to buy the first house we viewed, we planned to move on in our search. My husband did contact our realtor on Sunday night to update her on what we had seen and set up a time to view some houses with her.

Then came the early Monday morning call. Our realtor had contacted the seller’s realtor to get more information on the first home which we liked. She called my husband as he was leaving for work to inform us that the sellers had received an offer over the weekend and were planning on determining if they would accept that offer or not by noon on Monday. Now what do we do? After a conversation, we agreed to make an offer a bit higher than the asking price. By early afternoon, we had received word that our offer had been verbally accepted by the seller. Now it was time to scramble to lock in financing and begin the endless amount of paperwork. We were on the road to becoming homeowners once again and October had not even begun.

I am not going to go through the nightmare of all the paperwork related to securing financing for a home in this post. I will save that for a future post. However, the next two weeks amounted to telling the lending company everything about us in minute detail and providing documents to prove what we said. Then it was wait time to see if we were approved for the loan. In the meantime, I had to set up an inspector for the home, secure a moving company, and begin getting utilities turned off at the rental while turning them on at the new house. The closing date of November 15 was our agreed upon target. At least we had decided to let the moving company pack us so that was one item off our list of to-do’s.

Everything was approved and our timeline was going to work out. Our official move date would be November 26 (which I had mistakenly thought was the week after Thanksgiving). Because of my mistake in planning around Thanksgiving, we were packed on Monday, moved on Tuesday, and celebrated Thanksgiving with friends on Thursday. Now you understand why my posts were less frequent for a few weeks and non-existent for a couple of weeks.

Throughout this whole process, I again discovered God at work in our lives. Through the Lord, we maneuvered the unexpected and found more than what we had originally hoped to find. We are now settled into our new home and as of this weekend, decorated for Christmas. The anticipation that accompanies Advent became a real experience for us as we officially began establishing roots in our Texas home. Thanks be to God!

I am back on track and will resume my writing. Please look for future posts on a more regular schedule.