Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Plans and God's Sovereignty

We had plans for this move.  We were going to close on Tuesday May 28th.  We were going to drive up to Charlotte on Monday (Memorial Day) and see some friends who were in Charlotte for the weekend from Mississippi.  Then close on Tuesday and hand the key over to the contractor to install and re-do our hardwood floors on the first floor of the new house.  Then on Monday June 3rd the movers were going to come pack up our stuff and deliver it in Rock Hill between June 7th-11th.  In the meantime we were going to clean up the outside of the house.  Chris was going to go ahead and pressure wash the deck and patio, stain the deck, paint the front door, paint some bedrooms, and get the carpet cleaned upstairs all before the house was full of our stuff.

It was a great plan!  Well, it was a great plan on paper... of course it didn't quite work out that way.  In reality, we closed a day late so we missed seeing our friends.  Because the contractor was pressed for time as it was to get the floors done in time for us to move in, the extra day made it almost impossible.  So through a series of related events the date the movers were going to come pack up our stuff was pushed back 6 days.  Meanwhile, our stuff was mostly packed up rendering our house pretty much unlivable.  At least unlivable for me- I don't do well with clutter and chaos in my living space.  It puts me on edge and stresses me out.  So we ended up going up to Chattanooga for several days to stay with Chris' parents to escape the chaos while we waited.

When we finally did get up to Rock Hill on Monday June 8th, the floors still weren't ready.  Basically Rock Hill had had a lot of rain so the stain on the new floors was not drying.  BUT the movers had to unload the truck because they had other places to go.  We compromised.  The contractor put down paper and allowed them to move the upstairs furniture in.  However, they weren't able to use hand trucks in the house.  I really did feel bad for them having to pick up and carry all those heavy dressers- in the rain.  Yep, of course it rained that day too.  (Good thing we had not gotten the carpet cleaned...)  Anyhow, all the downstairs furniture and boxes got moved into the garage for us to move in later.  We were not able to move into the house until that Friday.  I was stuck with a baby and toddler and no toys, TV or other sources of entertainment.  I also got sick for several days during that time before we were able to move in and couldn't keep down any food.  It was rough. Needless to say the painting, carpet cleaning, and outdoor cleaning never happened.

When we finally did move in we didn't have hot water for 6 days.

We kept reminding ourselves that God had called us here.  God had provided this house for us and allowed the process to move quickly to allow us to purchase a home on our limited time schedule right after having a baby.  Although it seemed stressful in the midst of it all, we knew we would come out ok on the other side.  God was Sovereign through it all and provided for us in some pretty amazing ways.  First of all, we were able to stay in one of the church's missionary houses while we were waiting to move into our home.  This was a HUGE blessing so we didn't have to pay for a hotel.  (Ministry moves are not company subsided.)  We didn't have cable or internet, but we had a place to stay with a freezer where I could store my donor breast milk and a microwave to heat up water to warm up the milk to feed Haddie Grace.  We had an area pastor and his wife who we had never met bring us a meal that fed us for a couple days.  They also came over to help us unpack and clean.  (The previous owners left the house in a pretty nasty state.  It was gross.)  This women I had just met came up and scrubbed my shower and washed bottles and breast pump parts for me.  Talk about showing someone the love of Christ!  She also let me bring Phoebe and Haddie Grace up to her house for a day to play with her kids so we weren't stuck in a little house with no toys.  

After the floors were finally finished the contractor sent his guys over to the house to help move our furniture and boxes into the house so we wouldn't have to break our backs trying to move them in by ourselves.  This was great because I was still feeling pretty dizzy and weak at this point and wasn't able to eat anything.  I was having trouble thinking straight to tell people where to put things.  Physically there was no way I could have been picking up and carrying things.

That same day they moved in the rest of our furniture Chris' parents came up for the weekend to help us unpack, clean, and paint.  I don't know what we would have done without them!!  Chris' mom is an expert cleaner.  Really.  Give her a rag and a bottle of 409 and that woman can get some things done!  Thank you Margaret!  Chris and his dad painted Haddie Grace's room, installed fans, hauled away car loads of paper and trash to the dump, and everyone worked hard to get boxes unpacked.

Since we didn't have hot water, we were able to go back over to the missionary house to take showers. I just couldn't bring myself to take a cold shower.  Although to be honest we didn't go back to the missionary house a lot- we were just dirty most of the time.  But when we got desperate we could hop over there to take a shower :)

You see God's plan (although often different from our own) always works out in the end.  Why?  Because He is the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God who loves His people more than we could ever imagine.  He is working out all events in our lives for our sanctification and His glory.  Moving is stressful in and of itself; it is the third most stressful life event behind death and divorce.  So on top of the normal stress of moving I also get very stressed and overwhelmed with chaos and when plans don't go my way.  (You think I would have learned by now that plans hardly ever work out the way I intend, but it still catches me by surprise)  But God was (and is) Sovereign through it all and showed us grace and mercy through the love of other people that we would not have been able to experience otherwise.

I don't know why I am surprised by the fact that my plans don't come to fruition.  It tells me so in the Bible: "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the Lord stand forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage" Psalm 33:11-12.

In these last couple weeks, I have found comfort in one of my favorite passages of scripture, Isaiah 43.  Despite any circumstance we might find ourselves in "thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel. 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Fear not for I am with you...everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made"

The Lord, the God of Heaven and Earth, was with us through the stress and chaos of our move.  And He will continue to be with us through the next set of trials and frustrations as he works to mold us into His image for His glory.  In this, I take comfort in the Sovereignty of God.

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