If the devil is in the details, where is God?

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It’s been a hard week for me. Maybe hard isn’t the right word exactly because it’s all relative, you know. My kids are healthy. My husband and I are healthy. My family is good. We are really, really blessed, and I am reminded of that every single day. But there are certain little trouble spots where we each have our struggles, our things to work through, and mine have been front and center.

We are trying to sell one house and buy another. Even saying those words, I realize what a fortunate problem that is to have, but being in the messy middle is still hard. We don’t know if we’ll be able to make it all work. Will we be able to sell this house in time? Will we be able to get the new one? Where will we be living next month, next year? Where will my kids be going to school? I like to draw a picture in my mind of the life we are looking forward to- Avery’s first day of kindergarten, Everett’s first day of preschool. And yet, that just isn’t possible when you don’t know where you’ll be.

If it were just about a house, I wouldn’t be bothered so much. A house is wood and plaster. We can certainly find something where our family will be comfortable, and we are blessed to be able to afford those luxuries. The most important thing to me, though, in choosing where we’ll live is having a community for our kids to grow up in. I dream of them having friends across the street and families that do life together and raise kids together. I dream of my kids having best friends in their neighborhood, the kind that, twenty years from now when they offer a toast at each other’s weddings, they will recall sweet memories of building forts and playing school and racing bicycles up and down the street. We just are not able to have that in our current home and we think we’ve found a place where we can provide that for our kids, but we have no idea if it will all work out.

People keep saying to me when I express concern about the situation, “Don’t worry about it. If it’s meant to be, it will happen,” or they’ll say, “God has the perfect place picked out for you. If it’s not this one, it will be somewhere else.” But I haven’t lived a sheltered life. I know that, for whatever reason, God does allow major disappointment and major heartbreak to come into our lives. But, I live my life trying to hedge my bets and avoid as much heartache and disappointment as possible. These two things can’t coexist peacefully for long.

I brought this up to my friend, Ansley, yesterday as we talked about this house situation.

“Do you think God cares what house you live in? Do you think he picks out a perfect spot for you, like the whole ‘If it’s meant to be, it will be’ kind of thing?” I asked her.

And like Ansley always does, without even trying she speaks right to the heart of things with profound truth.

“I don’t really know. I don’t know if God cares exactly where you live. I think He cares more about who you are becoming throughout this whole process. I think He wants us, no matter where we live, to hold the things of this world loosely.”

And I knew she was right.

I know that God loves me deeply. He has shown me the ways over and over again. I also know, though, that He is not a God that fits into my nice, neat plans. He doesn’t fit in the little box I’ve created for him, and I don’t get to know all of His plans for me in advance. As badly as I desire to write the story of my family and put each little character exactly where I want them, He says no. I have to live the story, not write it. He is the author, not me. I am still hoping and praying that the home I desire for my children to grow up in will become a reality for our family, but if it doesn’t that’s okay, too. We will be disappointed, but we will still be deeply loved by God and each other.

Another time this week when I was thinking out loud about all of this and expressing my concern, Michael said to me, “The house we live in doesn’t make our family. We make our family, the four of us. We are going to be the same no matter where we live.”

It’s true. A house is just a house. Our family is made up of all the love we have for each other, and that won’t change no matter where we live. And I believe that God is in both the details and the grand scheme of things. It’s just that His purpose is a holy one, and I don’t always understand it. What I desire to happen on this earth doesn’t always line up with what God desires to happen in my heart. And I’m learning to be okay with that.

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