Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where I'm At - In The Second Person

Isn't it strange when God tells you to sell your dream house and you wrestle over it until you're really, really sure, then you put the dang thing on the market and get all excited about it and....nothing happens?

And the days pile up, all sloggy-like; half-baked bricks tossed only in the general vicinity in such a way that they do not form straight lines and angles, but rather a haphazard pile-up. A muddy incline.

The days pile up and the sun finally begins to retreat just enough to allow for proper lung expansion and you know that the kids are starting school, which means that Summer must be dwindling, but you have opened the windows and the house smells alive again and the garden does not seem like such a far-away, remote jungle (even if it looks like one) and you remember all of the things you love about Summer and it feels like the very first day.

You remember that your house is for sale, but only because you see the digits at the end of the lane, Sharpied onto the sign with your very hand.

The phone does not ring.

Your celebrity crush says that now is the worst time to sell a house in a decade, but hey, at least you heard it from him.

Still, you can't help thinking that this is not the way that it was supposed to happen, back when you knew you were going to do this crazy thing. Crazy stories are supposed to be obvious, undeniable, crazy. They should be page-turners. And ain't no one turning this page.

12 cookies are passed around the table at the Chinese Buffet. Your slip of paper reads like the Holy Spirit - "Right now you need to be patient." It also tells you the Chinese word for "Eggplant", which doesn't seem quite as significant.

You pray for patience, but your words belie a thinly cloaked plea to be released from the necessity of patience.

You pray for truth to sustain you and the pages splay where they will and you are sure you will not find that shiny gemstone to drop into your pocket. And then you read, "Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense!" (Isaiah 54:2) and you remember that God is the King of Funny, so you laugh and you pen a smiley face in the margin and hope for a sapphire or an emerald on another day.

And you wait.

And you worry, truth be told, just a little.

And you wait, knowing that every single day is one day closer to that crazy page-turner where with the flip of a wrist, an old chapter becomes new.


  1. We went through the same thing last year. We worked ourselves to the bone. Our son and his wife did as well. We got rid of so much. We painted and replaced floors, de personalized and then sat and waited. Lots of showings and interest but no offers. We really felt that we were supposed to downsize and get into an affordable home or condo. Our situation of course differnt, our children are raised and having their own families. We did not relist but are talking about it for next year. Then the news of the real estate market that cam out yesterday. Hard to know what to do. We don't have to sell but it would have been so much easier on us. I don't know what the answer is. Hope that you will know what to do.

  2. I will await with you my dear and keep you strong. It will be had me with the picture. DIVINE.


  3. I laughed out loud at the Chinese eggplant definition! I know what you mean about patience... I pray for it but really don't want to have to need it. I too, have opened my bible thinking wherever it falls is going to be my answer, but sometimes I end up with ???. I know God has a plan and I trust him. I just would like a little inside info when my selfish self wants it. Oh yeah, as always, I am still a work in progress!

  4. you do know what happens when you pray for patience... right?!:)

    i was just telling t the other day that i can't believe your house hasn't sold. weee-ird!

  5. Your words touched me to the bone, as they always do. We have our home on the market also. Like Debby, we are older with adult children & grandchildren and want to downsize a little. Our daughter spent hours helping me pack most of the personal things, clearing out the clutter. It's hard to take something SO personal & make it impersonal. It's only been two weeks. We've had lots of showings, great feedback ann no offers. I'm trying NOT to allow this to become the center of my prayers. I don't want to be so selfish. There are so many other problems in this world. And yet, here I am talking about it. Thanks for allowing me to vent. And Shannon, thank you so much for your beautiful writings and your constant faithfulness. I always feel better after reading your blog. I am, as always, encouraged by your sweet spirit.

  6. Shannon, I just love you! First of all, I had to read some of your lines aloud to my sister and hubs as we all sit around our living room with laptops in hand. :) You have such a way with words and always make me laugh.

    But also your post reminded me so much of our adoption journey. We tried to adopt from the U.S. for nearly 2 years. God continued to put some of our biggest fears in front of our faces, a baby with down syndrome who needed a family, a baby who may have had fetal alcohol, and more. God changed us during that process and the thing we feared the most became what we wanted the most and so we stepped out and told Him we were available.

    And then He said no, not yet.

    It was crushing. It was confusing. It was difficult. I kept relating it to an Abraham/Isaac situation but it seemed backwards. We were so ready to jump - to step out in faith and to serve!

    But without the hurt and disappointments during that time, we would have not been prepared for what He has been asking us of now. The hidden treasures in our wait were so worth it.

    His plan looked so much different then we would have ever thought. Through those 2 years, my life totally changed. My dependence on Jesus grew to a whole new level. I always had loved Him before but I am SO IN LOVE with Him now - He is absolutely my everything! He took us on a journey that didn't end up at all how we thought.

    Obviously you know now we're in foster care and God keeps stretching us in that. Anyway, all that to say, I can relate to what your feeling and I really do hurt with you. I also want to encourage you in what you aleady know but God is working. He is crafting a beautiful plan for you and your family. Your heart of obedience is so beautiful and He honors and abundantly blesses obedience!

    Your life shines with His love! Keep standing strong, my friend!

  7. Everytime I let the Bible fall open, I read that God is smoting people. Scary. ShabLou, I don't know what to tell you. But you know I"m sitting right next to you, waiting and worrying (a little) with you. And sit and wait I will - as long as it takes. You know - you could use a gardening metaphor here - all the stuff thats going on under the ground whilst we wait for the flowers. As you can see - I really don't have anything to say! I'm just typing cause I love you and I want you to be happy. Doesn't that count for somethin?

  8. Your conversion of the word (or perhaps invention of the word) "Sharpied" is pure and utter genius. I love you, Shannan. :) I am so right there with you, walking parallel down the dirt road of home selling in a lousy market because God told me to and because it's what I have to do to follow his leading...

    :) Praying for you. I know you're going to be okay...more than okay. Perfect will of God.

  9. smiles. good job following the voice...we dont always know how it is going to turn out...7 years ago i walked away from a 6 figure job to go into ministry...i was in ministry 5 years before the economy the last two years since it redefined me completely in my view of His ways...nice write...

  10. Or you could be me, with a house in escrow and no place to go, and wondering if you made a good choice, or if you are wasting the resources God gave you because you don't have a plan exactly and you're wondering WHY am I doing this....or more specifically, Why is GOD doing this?
    because, i forgot.

  11. I know the feeling all too well. When we made the decision to move and I was so discouraged because things weren’t falling into place like I thought they should, I read this in my Streams in the Desert devotional and I clung to it, “God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before it is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of the way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out. Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need." I hope you can find comfort in it as well.

  12. Sometimes the Lord just wants to know that we are willing, that we are not holding too tightly to the things of this world. Look at Abraham with Issac. Maybe He will provide a different way for you. I love that you are soo willing to obey His leading ...He will honor that.
    Cannot wait to see where this road will Lead cuz I know and believe His ways are always Higher than ours.. Blessings to you sweet friend

  13. I am there with you. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Wow, I know what it like to feel the feeling of just not knowing what is going to happen. It is so unsettling. Patients is a virtue my friend, such a cliche but so true! God has his plan for you, and its better then you can ever imagine! Lulu

  15. Your story made me smile and nod in agreement. Waiting on Him isn't easy. I recently read an excerpt from Oswald Chambers that said,

    " We are not taken up into conscious agreement with God's purpose, we are taken up into God's purpose without any consciousness at all. We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague. God's aim looks like missing the mark because we are too short-sighted to see what He is aiming at."
    (My Utmost for His Highest, 8/3)

    Perhaps the waiting is part of His aim. I'm glad He has given you the gift of humor while you wait ; )

  16. Oh hon you and Sasha are two little peas in a pod. God tells you to do something and then He takes his sweet time making the whole thing happen. Exhausting! I know His timing is perfect and apparently He's using the failing housing market to teach everyone to trust and be patient. Sending a big hug your way. The chapter will become new one of these days. I'm sure of it and then you're will be crazy. Love you!

  17. our house has been on the market for 2 another city...that we don't live in about waiting..... good luck

  18. I was just wondering yesterday where you were at with the sale of your home. I just read Becky's comment and she said everything I wanted to say. I know that over here we too are soaking up the last days of summer. I'm not ready to say fall yet like others are. I'm hoping for a long indian summer this year. One day soon the house will be sold and this long period of waiting and trusting will be long behind you and you will probably already be waiting and trusting for the next thing.

  19. A very long time ago, I heard Charles Stanley give a sermon. I don't remember all of the details, but what I do remember is that the church was badly in need of money. They were attempting to raise it through membership donations. He said that he specifically remembered that a woman came forward, and took a very valuable bracelet off of her wrist, and gave it to him. That started his introspection, and he asked God what was expected of himself (Dr. Stanley). He received a very clear message that he was to sell his photographic equipment. Are you familiar with Dr. Stanley? He loves photography. He loves his equipment. But he understood his instructions, and he took it to his favorite camera shop and sold it. All of it. He trusted that God had a plan. Somehow, or other, they accomplished their task and raised the money.
    I'm fuzzy on the time frame, but it wasn't terribly long, before one day his doorbell rang. There was a stranger, a woman, I think at his door, with a few full paper grocery sacks. She says, "Are you Dr. Stanley? Dr. Charles Stanley?" Of course he answered that he was. She gestured toward the bags, said, "This is for you." . . . turned and walked away. It was all of his camera equipment. Every last piece.

    Sometimes the point is to be obedient. That's all. :)

    I hope and pray you will find the patience to wait for direction and a wonderful job for your husband.


  20. life is so exciting that way isn't it? not knowing what is in store for you....which it's not really a store where you can pick and choose, but rather listen and wait...obey and conquer your fear of just giving it all to Him.

    very well written and witty prose I must say you did!
    Anne Marie

  21. Thankfully I've been in your shoes a time or two so I know about that whole crazy story part. The waiting is so hard, SO HARD!, but always so very worth it! He will surely bless your obedience!

  22. I was just reading through all the comments and I think they pretty much covered everything. Just know you are in my prayers too.

  23. A few tears for you, hugs from me to you, and LOTS of prayers headed your way!
    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end...
    They are new every morning, new every morning...
    Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness!

  24. Oh, my story wasn't built around selling a house, down-sizing, or job switching, but around a baby desire that definitely came from God, circumstances that surrounded His plan was for me to become pregnant, and then...the long wait...the questions...and the wait. But God taught me so much in what I defined the "wait"...and what I think He would define as the "purpose".

  25. Beautiful prose, difficult story. I will pray for patience and a sold house for you today!

  26. So not being spiritual here right...just wondering who your celebrity crush is? Matt Lauer? Ha ha! :) Praying for patience for you and that right person will come along all in God's timing!

  27. I am in the Land of Learning Patience.
    Some days I think I may be the queen, other days, maybe the court jester.
    I've been here a while and lately, it's become pretty comfortable---kind of like being with an old friend.
    Here's hoping you get settled in as well, or better yet----SELL!

  28. Wish we could buy your house and keep it for our "getaway cottage"....really. I'm sorry it's such a wait. We did the same thing 5 years ago, and I think, personally it's harder on the woman. But Apryl is know what happens when you pray for patience.

    Also,random...but I work with Dana Harrington...she says you went to college together....small world indeed.

  29. Here's to hoping that God is leading you up a mountain, like he did Abraham and Isaac, and that by heading His voice and trusting in His Word much will be restored to you!

  30. Oh, I so know what this feels like. The waiting, the in-between living. The anxiety and the ache and then the occasional, unexplainable peace. I am in the thick of it, too. Praying for you, friend.

  31. He called us to much the same recently as i ventured back to africa with my two under twos in tow... with the most faithful outcome = just posted today! God bless

  32. I heard Lysa Terkeurst speak one time and she said God told her and her husband to put their dream home on the market. They wrestled with the idea and of course didn't want to move, but they obeyed and put a sign in the yard. Nothing happened. NOTHING. For a long time. And then they realized God didn't want them to actually move, but to instead learn to put all of their trust in Him and to not have such a tight grip on the worldly things. Amazing, right?

  33. You just amaze me every day with your words. Someone will adore your house and it will also be their dream house - they just have to find it. Keep trusting in the lord & he will reward you for your patience :)

  34. "released from the necessity of patience..." Yep, I so want to be there. Love the fortune cookie story. When my daughter and I were waiting for our first wedding dress appointment, she opened a cookie that said, "Don't panic." I believe God is sovereign, even over the humble fortune cookie.

  35. If it's any comfort, we waited and waited on the Lord to sell our house last year. I continued waiting while my husband went ahead and took another jon across the state. 11 months of waiting and it finally sold and closed in just a matter of a few weeks. All of a sudden, after all that waiting it was over in a blink. Praying a prayer for you today!

  36. i'm w/ nancy above: that line was my standout moment too... that and the crazy stories are supposed to be crazy... and deep inside i have this ache to live a crazy life.. an evidently intoxicated-with-him crazy kind of life. then i remember, i've had 3 boys in as many years--i'm already certifiably blessed in an insane kind of way!

  37. I realized last night that I just threw up all my worry on your comment section! HEHEHe. I am so sorry. Here's my words for you:

    Yes. That's all I got. Ok, no I will pray for you. Yes I will. Once I got a fortune cookie that said, "Buy the red car"
    I saved it. So so profound :)
    God does some crazy stuff. Who knows where you will go, what you will do?
    I think of Joshua and those crazy directions to march around and yell. Yes. Faith takes a little bit of crazy.

  38. Stopping by from Emily's. This is absolutely what I needed to read today- and you wrote it so powerfully with honesty and bit of humor. I could write a page about how I related to this, but for now I will just say, thank you!

  39. things may be crazy. things may be unknown. be comforted in his arms and the fact that he knows. You know he has your best interest in mind. You never know what the hold up is - you never know what buyer is watching your home and praying to God they'll get approved because it is too, their "dream home". Never know. He does though. & thinking this way tends to always comfort me and gives me patients to press on.

    The Lady

  40. it will play out well, it will...
    thinking of you in this.

  41. Love the last sentence -- sharp, piquant, unexpected.

  42. The inbetween times can be the most draining. This read like a good friend was talking. Beautiful writing.

    I have a feeling the page will turn suddenly and unexpectedly in a great direction.

  43. So enjoyable the way you brought your feelings out. I cannot imagine all the waiting so many are enduring like yourselves, and wondering what the Lord is up to in it all with house selling. There is much reiterating everywhere I think that it's in the waiting where spiritual things take place in the heart, not always the end result. Nonetheless, hoping your end result comes quickly Lord willing. Thank goodness God is not confused when we might be sometimes.

  44. Hi ~ Becky {FGP}
    and I met for coffee
    a few weeks ago and
    she told me about you,
    so I decided to pop over.
    I sooo feel your frustration.
    We tried selling four years
    ago and finally resigned
    ourselves to "bloom where
    we are planted" and make
    the best of it. But it's
    hard when you don't feel
    like it's the right place.
    Hang in there. I enjoyed
    your last post. We went
    through infertility and I
    know what it's like. Our
    first was born in Indianapolis!
    Looking forward to hearing
    more about your journey.
    xx Suzanne

  45. Waiting Sucks.

    But I'm pretty sure we have to do it.

  46. Feeling some of the same things as my husband made the decision to sell his "baby" (aka. his Harley) for the betterment of our family financially. Not an easy decision for him...and to say the least, I know it was a huge step for him. And we are still waiting. It seems to me that when God makes things so clear in our hearts, it should happen pretty quickly. However, my timing is not His timing... and I always know His timing is perfect.

  47. Sending good thoughts and crossed fingers your way...


  48. oh, there are SOOOO many good lines in this ... and SO much heart behind it all... you are beautiful, sister-worrier-mama-summer-lover... and i love that the fortune cookie sounded like the holy spirit, and i loved this line the best: You pray for patience, but your words belie a thinly cloaked plea to be released from the necessity of patience.

    because i know it. and i know how to pray for you, and i will. i promise. i love you, friend. thanks so much for linking with me. e.

  49. Peace, peace and more peace be with you!