In the spring of 2004, my husband and I felt God calling us to some big changes. At that time, I was teaching part time in an ideal situation. I had a three year old daughter and an infant, but I was home from work by 10:30 am each day. It was great except that I needed daycare for 9 hours a week and I wasn't happy with the way that was working out. Balancing work and baby wasn't so easy either.
My husband had a job that looked good on paper but in real life it was wearing him down. He knew he needed a change - more direct care (counseling) and less supervision and stress.
My husband's dad had unexpectedly died from cancer two years prior to this. His mom was trying to pick up the pieces of her life and figure out how to move on. And we were 700 miles away, unable to be of much help.
The signs seemed obvious: it was time to move. But, I was pretty happy where we were. We had a terrific church body and a personal relationship with our pastor. We were just beginning to get plugged into ministry there and develop some great friendships. I liked our new home, which happened to be our first home also. I felt like it had been a gift from God. And I would never find that ideal working situation again. (Who ever heard of a high school math teacher who only taught two class periods and then went home?)
I wasn't really dragging my feet on the decision; I was just sad to leave behind something good.
Then we found out I was pregnant again. That sealed the deal for me. It was time for me to stay home full time anyhow. Three kids under three and working? I don't think so - not for me, at least. In the midst of this process, my husband and I heard God whisper that if we followed His lead, He would bless us.
I hung onto that promise. I wanted to obey God and I wanted to live under His blessing.
I wondered what this blessing might look like... When we sold the house, we didn't make any profit. Because we bought and resold the home in less than two years, any profits were eaten up by realtor fees. "Well, that's a stinky blessing," I grumbled at God.
We left our simple but cozy home for a tiny and even simpler rental. As we squeezed our family of five into a tight space, I grumbled some more. "Where's the blessing in this Lord?"
On Sundays, I felt out of place as we searched for a church. It actually took us a year to find a church home where we belonged. I sometimes silently wondered, why did we leave behind a great church for this?
It took a year before I began to realize all the blessings God had given us as we followed Him. I even wrote an article recently for Hearts at Home magazine entitled, "Simplicity Leads to Blessings." So, here's a few of the blessings that I reaped from obeying God.
A beautiful, healthy, fun-loving son. With a smaller income, we weren't sure how we would pay for his birth. But, God paid for the hospital visit in entirety.
Provision for all of our needs. Through a variety of resources, I saw God provide for our family because we were relying on HIM instead of ourselves.
A new home. If I had clung tightly to my first home, I would have totally missed out. God took all of our needs into consideration and picked just the right home for us. It is just the right size, with a large yard for the kids to enjoy. The location is ideal; God took into account my husband's desires for country life and my need for neighbors and roads for walking or biking. It fit into our budget too!
The icing on the cake: our new home came with a garden patch, spruce trees, maples, apple trees, beautiful perenials and lilacs. Do you think God knew how much I love all of those things? God didn't just give me four walls to protect me, He poured out His blessings on me.
Relationships. As a stay-at-home mom, I've met more people through play groups, library time, or Bible studies than I ever could have imagined. I feel so blessed with the friendships I've made over the past four years here.
Ministry opportunities. God knows I come alive when I get to be involved in ministry. Over the past four years, I've been so blessed to grow in a variety of ministries and to pursue new opportunities too. It's been exciting to be a part of God's work
I'm so glad I trusted God and followed Him. How about you? Have you ever made a sacrifice that led to God's rich blessing?
P.S. Lelia is hosting a Bible study about saying "yes" to God using Lysa's book.