Building My Story on The Rock

IMG_0310Have you ever had someone say to you, “I was one decision away from a different life path in life.”?  I can relate to that.  I have had many points in my life been at a crossroads and my decision totally changed the trajectory of my life. I have not always chosen what was right for me, but often chosen out of compassion or not wanting to hurt feelings, rather than listening to the Holy Spirit that is sending me a different message and a different path to take.  Those decisions are so hard, aren’t they?  Sometimes there is so much to give up…but what if we listened to the hard message in the first place and didn’t take OUR decision, but listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit?  And…what if the Holy Spirit even sent friends along the way to ask you the hard questions about a decision you were making?  Ahhh…now THOSE are hard questions!  Here is another one for you…what if changes in your life circumstances mean that you NEED to consider yet another change in order for it to be the best yes in your life, and it will require a LOT out of you?  That’s not even to mention all those who think you are nuts to have done it in the first place, or they are thinking you can’t seem to make up your mind.

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Ever been in this situation?  Let me share mine, or yet another one of mine, with you.  A little over two years ago, it was our goal to move away from a very busy area, where noise of traffic and walking traffic kept us awake all hours of the night.  Didn’t mind the house, we even made some great improvements on the house that we really loved!!  But in order to move after retirement to where we could find affordable housing with a more quiet and peaceful surrounding, we made a move away from family and friends.  We have worked very hard on this home to improve it and make it our own.  Loved every minute of it!  I love the house, the quiet back yard and have spent many a morning and afternoon.

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So…here it comes…but before it does, I want to remind you that you need to build your house on the Rock.  That is where we can live strong.  Anyway, back to the story…it brings to mind this photo that I took several weeks ago with our grandson.  When I took this picture, I heard this message:  “Expect something ahead.”  Without going into detail, it made us reconsider what is important in the scheme of things for us.  But the reality is, we don’t know what is in our tomorrow.  Sometimes we have to make the hard choices now for the sake of the future choices.  So after much conversation, we have made the decision to put our “house on Bel Aire” on the market.  We will be moving back up north where we will have family closer and where I am blessed to have life long friends.  The hard part is that I have recently began to enjoy some sweet friends here also.  But… The Captain and I are used to the trip, so I expect I will still be coming this way to say hello.  I will have to come back to enjoy a refreshing visit to the ocean.

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So what have I learned through all of this?

  • I am not as young as I was since the last move.  My body gets weary quicker.
  • We have too much stuff, which someone in our household has trouble letting go of.
  • I have had fun sharing treasures with others.
  • Simplifying isn’t just something I think about, it is something my heart craves at this point in life.
  • Only I and God know the reasons for decisions made and I can’t care about who thinks what about it.
  • It’s sad to see JoAnn’s House on Bel Aire disappear into Real Estate Boring Decor.IMG_0095
  • Life is precious, and when the unknown rears up, I want to live out today fully alive.
  • Change is STILL hard.
  • I put my heart and soul into my home so I leave part of myself behind with every home.
  • It is important to pray for the next occupants of the home, that they found the joy I found in this home.
  • I don’t want to live with expectations, but with expectancy.
  • We get to start a new story; the next page can be the best written page in the story yet!
  • God resides IN me, so where ever I am, I am home.
  • I can’t control this, so I have to rest in Him.
  • I am STILL up for a good adventure.
  • I am never alone.  Ever.
  • I can travel more with my hubby when we have less to care for.
  • I appreciate each day we have to live with joy.
  • I have to be willing to give up what I want, for what may be better for someone else.

When we think we might have to give up something we love, God gives us a way to make it special in the next place we are by giving me a talented son who can repair and make it look new again.  That’s how God is.  He will sometimes take away, so He can make us new with a clean slate.  That was a heavy light we are taking with us.  And you can’t even see it hung there.  God is a carpenter too, and He knows how to put things together.  What a relief, huh???

So when you think God is out there, maybe in the distance, or far away, we are wrong.  Because…Jesus is in us.  He cares about what we care about.  And like an author said from a book I have been reading,  “God’s breath both creat and sustains our spirit, and that spirit was always meant to be His home.” …”We think of God as out there, somewhere, and search for Him as though He were lost.  In reality, our omnipresent Creator is “out there” and also “in here”.  Christ is within.  So being with God and remaining in Him are awakening to and exploring forever the biblical truth that we are God’s resting place.”  Alicia Britt Chole

So you see, no matter where I live, what home, or condo, or whatever kind of home we end up in, God is there because He lives IN me.  That is a comforting thought for me to be reminded of when I fret a little about where I will be.  I can rest in that knowledge.  He is IN me, and that is Home.  God always has a purpose, and if we are willing, He will  use circumstances to teach us and lead us in the direction we are to go next.

So…lead on Lord.  Your servant heareth.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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The Precipice of Change

10302697_683810818367171_6463270350335103447_n1.jpgFOR SALE:  Today, I am writing in response to many who are asking me questions based on a few of my posts about moving.  Some of the questions are:

  • Why move?
  • Where will we move?
  • Why do you want to leave your home after you just got it more the way you wanted it?
  • As I have shared where that move might take us, the question of why we would move so FAR comes up.

Understandable.  I asked some of those same questions as I prayed and talked with God about the whole situation.  Even though it is hard, there are many different reasons.  I thought maybe if I share some of my thoughts about this season of change and transition, maybe it will resonate with some of you.   When a big wind of change comes into your life in the future, maybe you can be more prepared to approach changes in your lives with an open heart.  Here we go with a few financial choices we have made:

  • First, I am looking for what God is doing.  It is like Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else SO THAT, you can live like no one else.” (emphasis are mine)  910153_13_resizeto_611x458x1
  • We have lived in places others would not want to live.
  • We have lived in houses others wouldn’t desire to live in.
  • We have made decisions such as moving to the midwest to work for a ministry.  Many thought we were kind of crazy to do that, especially since we were going to a home sight unseen.  But God…  He took care of us and all the details!
  • We drive used cars so we don’t have car payments.
  • We do the work on our home to save money on our future utilities.
  • We make the hard choices so that later, we can make the fun choices.

With that said, we are now entering into the next chapter.  A move.  We could make the decision and just stay here.  We could.  God gives us a free will.  We have enjoyed it here and have accomplished the above things in our current home.  However, as we have prayed about it, we have felt that God has something else He wants to do in us and for us.  Are we going to be obedient?  Yes.  We want to be in God’s will.  I have been praying for a long time about our future retirement years and what we want that to look like.  So, we began to ask ourselves:

  • What are our priorities?
  • What do we want our life to look like?
  • What makes us happy?
  • What is it that really feeds our souls?
  • What must we do to be able to live that way in our daily life?
  • What do we need to do to get from here, to there?”

What is our plan?  Why the move out of the area?  The answer is simple.  We will go where the housing is less expensive than here in current location.  It will not be too far away that a drive up north can’t fix.  Being debt free is what we desire.  By keeping the mortgage cost down, we can still continue to enjoy our life, enhance our home, and travel.  As we began to ponder these questions, there were some changes to make in order for our lives to be what we envision.  Doesn’t mean this location is wrong.  On the contrary.  God gave us this wonderful home and it will be wonderful now, for the next owner.  We are proud of leaving our home much better than we came into it.  We have enhanced its character.  I love that.  I am now praying about, and planning in my head for the next home He brings.  We will dedicate it just as we did this home.

Part of our discussion has been our life style.  We can easily become too busy, overextended, and have crazy schedules.  In the long run, it doesn’t help us to really have peace or joy because we are always running.  We get worn out.  I know many who later on in their lives, have regrets about their lives and how they wanted it to be, but it isn’t.  Personally, I view change as a way to start a new chapter with what I have learned in the last chapter.  If we will be open and willing to really hear, and not ignore, what God is telling us or leading us to do, we WILL reap the benefits of His guidance.  I don’t want to miss that.  But if we ignore what our hearts are telling us deep down, then we may have a life that works, but not as fulfilling as it could be.

Guardian Angel from Childhood
Guardian Angel from Childhood

I have been reading a great book by Michael Hyatt called, “Living Forward”.   The book discusses the idea of having a Life Plan.  A life plan is designed by you, and meant to give you direction with your whole life; whether at home with family, relationships, a career, or any other area.  It has been very insightful to me.  It is exactly what we have been praying about for our life, and was affirmation of what God may be leading us to do.  I would encourage you to get this book and read it.  Don’t be afraid to make the changes necessary.  Who knows how God will use the changes you make?  He knows what is important to us and will work out the details; even missing friends and family that will be further away.

My hubby and I are at the precipice looking over the edge.  We are choosing to step out in obedience.  We put our hands in His, and obediently walk this path out.  God asks us to step into the water before He parts it, so we step forward even though we can’t see exactly what is ahead.  We trust He will land us exactly where we need to be planted for this season.  It’s up to us how we react to it all.  I am very grateful for all God has done for us, and I am very excited to see where God will take us.  Watch for future posts of the journey!

Update:  We got the listing up with photos and one hour later we received a call for a showing.  Got favorable response with possible offer, and then another call for an appointment for 5:30p and the first day!  God is working!

Walking the journey with you…

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