Sunday, April 10, 2011

Giving Thanks in These Days

“I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.”
— Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The Lawyer and I looked at houses in Richmond this weekend. In itself, that is a feat- we dispersed the children with friends and took M (11 mo) in the realtor's vehicle for another five hours (in addition to the four hours of travel to/from Richmond).

This is the second time we have looked at houses and tried to familiarize ourselves with the area. I admit that The Lawyer knows Richmond better than I do- and that's saying a lot; after 5 years in Lynchburg I still have to tell him which way to turn to go to church. (that's a joke of ours) In this respect, I think Saturday may have been a dismal failure; I'm so confused as to where we were that I'm not sure I can be set straight again.

After our attempt (last fall, with all the kids), I cried. It was a hard day of squabbles and turn-arounds and sitting far too long and feeling completely unproductive. I decided then that I did not want to do it again- ever. Besides, what is the point of looking at houses when our Lynchburg house is still for sale?

But, apparently I have mommy amnesia. Since we re-listed our home with a new realtor (and even dropped the price again last week!), I guess we were feeling hopeful. . . and maybe it would be a good idea to know what kinds of homes were on the market in Richmond and where we might want to live (if we could afford it!).

Yesterday's trip to Richmond was slightly better than the first trip. I am thankful that we didn't have whining, squabbling children with us all day (does this even count for my list?!). I am glad that we had a very friendly, competent realtor to show us around town (even if she did forget to stop for lunch!). I'm glad that The Lawyer and I can communicate with mere glances at each other; this was helpful when we were downtown and he just looked at me.

See, I had this little idea that maybe we should look at things closer into the city so that The Lawyer would have more of each working day with his family. I thought I could embrace city living for a period of time if it meant we could save money and have more time with Daddy. Plus, I envisioned walking with the kids to little parks or bookstores or the grocery or something. That's appealing. And, hey, isn't it a great opportunity to share the gospel?


It's a good thing we drove around- even if we didn't stop at all the houses on the list (because the look was enough!). It's not for me. It was definitely cute (but not where we could afford a house!), but I realized that I wouldn't be biking those streets with five kids in tow; nor would I be traipsing from the grocery with them. And I wouldn't be in those cute shops; we try only to purchase necessities- and I'd be afraid we'd break something we would have to pay for. Much better for me to live elsewhere and just visit with a girlfriend once every decade or so. I can totally see bringing the kids downtown. . . but I also want to load back up in the van and leave at the end of the day.

We did look at six houses and after the fifth there were quiet tears in the backseat. M and I were the only ones back there, and his crying is never quiet.

The houses in our price range just . . .

And then.

Then we walked through a foreclosure that The Lawyer and I both felt YES. Still, it has some pretty significant water damage that needs to be examined. YET, this house has been on my mind since yesterday because it had so many great characteristics and it just felt right. I can't explain it; this is just how I felt with each of the three homes we've lived in. And the price is right.


My heart chafes thinking that our house here hasn't sold (we even had a showing yesterday and hurriedly prepared as we rushed everyone out the door) and it's been so hard to live as a family separated for nearly nine months.

And now I feel the first tingle of excitement over moving, over being together as a family, really learning what it is The Lawyer is doing, and having a home to work on and live in. . . . but we can't move forward. With such a good price it is hard to believe that the house we like won't quickly sell; I feel myself antsy and wound tight, wanting to jump on this opportunity but unable to.


I turn to praise. How great it is to know that the Lord is determining our steps! How sweet to know that our house not selling is a gift of His love, of His very best for us?! I am thankful that there are many houses and that He cares about this detail for us. I'm thankful that He surprises us with little delights (like a place to hang my beloved porch swing!). Our kids had a great day (except for M!). We traveled safely. The van battery died in our own driveway. It was a glorious day here. . .

Oh, that my praise wouldn't just be platitudes tacked on to my complaints! Whining comes so easily and I am growing in discipline to stop the thoughts and take them captive to Christ. What joy, then! What hope that Christ can change ME (and how very little my circumstances matter).

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