Two years ago today, I loaded up my kids in our minivan and made the drive from South Carolina to Nashville, just like I did today. Two years ago today, we hugged our neighbors goodbye and thanked them for everything, just like we did today. Two years ago today, I wound my way through the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and I pointed out all the colorful trees and vistas to my kids, just like I did today. Two years ago today, my heart was full of hope, just like it is today.
But two years ago, my head was full of questions. The date was 11-1-11, which was fitting, because it was Day 1 of our new lives in Nashville, TN. I wondered what my house would look like, even as it was being unpacked and painted for me while I drove. I wondered how the kids would like Tennessee. I wondered what we were going to do about Luke’s school situation. I wondered how life in our new church would be. I wondered how I would do teaching classes at Lipscomb. And I wondered what was going to happen with our house in Summerville.
Today, I don’t have any of those questions. I know that I love my house, and that it’s perfect for us. I know that the kids love Tennessee and that, in fact, some of their best buddies have also moved up from Summerville. I know that we now homeschool, and that it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. I know that we love our church and cannot imagine life without that community. I know that teaching at Lipscomb is fun, but not for me this year–because my husband is now a grad student there!
And I know that we just closed on our house in Summerville yesterday.
The story of our house in Summerville is long and uninteresting to hear about, but frustrating and worrisome to experience. And I must say that from the beginning to the end of the saga, there was no evidence whatsoever that the process was being guided by an Omnipotent Being Who Values Efficiency, Tidiness, and the Shortest Distance Between Two Points. However, there was evidence that it was being guided by an Omnipotent Being Who Loves Me, if I had the eyes to see. And sometimes I did.
I saw it on my birthday in 2011, the day our first renters signed the lease. It was a huge relief, and I took it as a birthday gift from God. As my birthday neared again in 2012, Greg and I were just realizing the difference in paying 6% in property taxes versus 4% (hint: it’s substantial). It was dawning on us that we would need a little more income in 2012, and then again on my birthday, out of the blue, the head of the English department at Lipscomb called and offered me some courses to teach. This was after I had turned him down already and assured him that with homeschooling, I wouldn’t have time. But wouldn’t you know it, one of the courses he offered me was the only one that would have worked with our schedule. And I took it as another birthday gift from God.
I saw God’s love on Sept. 28 this year, which was our Ladies’ Day at my mom’s church. By that point, our renters had moved out, and our house had been placed on the market, where it was currently sitting, having had no viewings for weeks. I was living with a thinly veiled sense of panic: my days wavered between faithfully recounting all the ways that God had guided us up to this point in our lives, and fearfully contemplating the exact nature of our impending financial ruin. That Saturday at my mom’s church, we got into prayer groups and prayed together about the concerns of our heart. I put in a request that my house would sell, and my mom prayed for it.
We got a phone call that very afternoon: there was a contract on the house.
I saw it in the week leading up to closing, when I was assured that, actually, we wouldn’t be able to close on Oct. 31, and yes, you just drove your children nine hours for nothing (well, nothing besides an incredible visit with our good friends). I saw God’s love when I got into the car to drive to my not-closing-but-maybe-you-can-turn-in-some-necessary-papers, and the first words that came out of the radio were, “Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child–Heaven’s got a plan for you.” And then I got to closing, and turns out, we were closing, and I got to meet the family moving in, and they told about their six kids, including the two they had adopted as teenagers after hearing their story at church. They were so excited to be moving down to the warm south, along with the woman’s parents, and their adopted-son’s-former-caseworker-turned-best-friend. And one of their comments really stuck with me: “You know, we’ve been wanting to move down here for two years now–we were just waiting for our house to sell.”
I know that God is not my co-pilot–He’s the pilot. But I confess that sometimes I make a pretty annoying passenger, with my steady stream of suggestions: “Do you really think this is the best way…? Surely it would be better for all involved…? Have You ever stopped to consider…”? And sometimes my suggestions veer into panic: “Are you trying to kill us all?? Are you even in control of this aircraft??” But then God brings my life together with absolutely beautiful timing–like the exact, two year anniversary of our move–and it is like He is winking at me. Like He is saying, “See? I got this.” And it reminds me of a line from the first Lord of the Rings movie, which I watched last week. Frodo sternly tells Gandalf, “You’re late.” And Gandalf replies soberly, with a twinkle in his eye:
“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He always arrives precisely when he means to.”
I’m so thankful for a God who arranges my life precisely as He means to–and who mercifully lets me see His love throughout the process.