On our flight from Beijing to Dallas, we were exclaiming over all the leg room that we had, saying this plane was the one of the best we’d been on, and definitely the best for a long haul flight. A little bit into the flight, I got up to use the restroom and noticed that not everyone had the leg room that we had. Weird. When I got back to my seat, I observed that the label on the overhead bin said Economy Plus. Y’all. All five of us were in upgraded seats at no cost to us! It was the easiest 13 hour flight we have ever been on.
Arriving home always invokes all the warm fuzzy feelings. Seeing the people you love for the first time in months and getting to hug them is indescribable. The best feeling! I wish I could bottle it up and experience it every time I need a pick me up. This return home, although we’d only been gone for 6 months, was no different. There was anticipation and excitement and a feeling of relief that we wouldn’t have to say long goodbyes anymore.
Then jet lag set in. Suddenly I had the wee hours of the morning, before the world awakened, to quietly process all the changes that had taken place in our life. My heart felt so much joy in these first moments. There was an underlying terror in my soul, that would rear its nasty head later, but I mostly felt glee. The kind that makes you want to dance.
The first full day we were back, we went house shopping. Our realtor happens to be the mama of our sister-in-law (Cameron’s brother’s wife) and has been a part of our family longer than we have been a family, so she had been showing houses to my mom for us for a couple of weeks before we arrived. We were prepared to hit the ground running! As we walked in and out of houses that needed so much updating and work, my heart started to drop. The joy was leaking out like a balloon with a pinprick hole and the fear was started to bubble up in a slow boil. We only had so much money we could spend and it didn’t feel like enough. Satan was doing a real good job of stealing our joy.
A good friend of mine reminded me before we left China that Satan would try to do this. That he wouldn’t want us to experience the joy of walking with Jesus; that he would try to infiltrate our minds with all the negative things he could find. How wise her words were! After a few days of weepiness and house hunting and arguing at home, I realized that I had let my worry overtake what should be a sweet, fun time in our lives. As I let the worry go and chose instead to sit right next to Jesus and let Him direct us, peace flooded my mind once again. It’s amazing to me how quickly I forget how good it feels to let God carry my burdens. He is capable and willing to take all the things I worry about, stress about, and get upset about and figure them all out for me. I just have to let Him. Sometimes I have to just stop and roll my eyes at myself.
After what felt like walking through every. single. house. for sale in our city over the next two weeks, we walked into one that caused me to lose all objectivity. I wanted it from the moment we pulled up. It is in the neighborhood I was hoping for. It is red brick, which is my favorite. It has a big, white kitchen with so much space to bake. Split bedrooms. A master bathroom with two closets and a bathtub. Let me just pause and soak that in. For a bath-loving girl, this is huge! I have lived for the past 5 years in homes with no bathtubs. When we were fortunate enough to stay in a hotel with a surprise bathtub, I would take two baths a day. I know. Hotel bathtubs give me the creepy crawlies too, but y’all. I was desperate for a good, long soak. I was also desperate for this house.
With fingers crossed, we submitted an offer that afternoon. It was kicked back with a counter offer. Neither of us were willing to pay closing costs. Remember that time about 24 hours before this, that I figured out Satan was stealing my joy? I let him do it again. Stupid. I know. <insert yet another eye roll here>
I went into this attitude of, “Whatever. Just pick a house. I don’t even care.” I did care, obviously, but I was acting like a two year old. I was also feeling numb. We had barely been back in America for two weeks at this point. I was in a place that I get where I can’t make choices well and I cry a lot. I was also starting to really doubt if we heard God correctly, and it wouldn’t be the last time I was filled with doubt. Things just didn’t seem as smooth as I expected. We still hadn’t found vehicles. Or a house. We were both starting work in about two weeks. The girls were still sleeping on air mattresses. We sat down and looked at financial numbers (bad idea). I just felt…scared. And I had, at some point, taken the burden of my life off Father’s shoulders and decided to carry it myself. Again. So I gave it all back to Him and asked Him to just figure it all out.
And of course, in His faithfulness, He did.
The realtor called and the sellers decided to pay closing costs after all. Some distant friends/church members who own a car dealership were going to auction to find us vehicles. They were able to find exactly what we asked for within our budget. It was immediate. When you let go and allow God to work things out, He does a far better job than you can even imagine doing on your own. For some reason, even though I know this truth, I can’t seem to remember not to be controlling.
Early the next Saturday morning, I was spending some quiet time with Jesus and asked Him to provide a bed for Ellie’s room. We had decided to build bunkbeds for the big girls (I decided this, and I hope Cam, when he reads this, remembers that I asked/told him he was building them built-in bunkbeds. Yay!), but I wanted to find Ellie a wooden bed with a trundle pull out. About the time I finished praying, Cam walked in and asked if I wanted to go check out the garage sales around town. I love garage sales. Cheap things that you can transform and breathe life back into are some of my favorite things. And guess what we found? Yep. A wooden bed with a trundle for Ellie. For $25. As I told the older gentleman who was selling it that I had prayed for this just that morning, I was really struck again at how Father cares for me and the little things that matter to me.
Amazing, y’all. We love an amazing God!