Is that a trick question? I wondered.
The Wells Fargo operator had asked, “Is this a time of hardship?” I didn’t understand why she asked at first, but then realized it was because I paid the October mortgage bill on the last day of the grace period. For me I felt like we were winning–aka, no penalty. The mortgage company sees this differently than I do.
A month ago I wondered how in the world we would get the house ready to sell. Hubby’s muscles have left us. The 16yo has to be taught how to do every odd job plus has homework. The 20yo is 1526 miles away with the Air Force. I have multiple jobs. We gave most of our money away over the years doing the ministry I thought God asked me to do. The clock is ticking. We have one asset, the house, and it needs to go in order to start over.
Help comes from unexpected places. Someone I work with said she’s been reading scripture and decided she would get people together to help. Two miracle gift cards showed up to help purchase paint.
I prepped the house as best I could and busy friends took time to help me move furniture around and patched a ceiling hole. A neighbor and co-worker helped me sell other furniture and miscellaneous items to make room and to assist with the cost of more paint and supplies.
October 13 came and I had little idea who would come. I thanked God in advance for whatever muscles that would arrive.
First, dear friends near my age came along with a 32yo new dad who could choose to be anywhere but chose to paint with purpose.
Around mid-day two young guys arrived. I thought they were going to be disappointed that the basketball goal was already sold the hour prior. “We’re here to paint,” they said. When one took off his sweatshirt and out popped an arm with Jesus’ face tattooed on his muscles, my tears were unavoidable. I knew right then miracles are happening. The hands and feet of Jesus are present.
As the weekend progressed people came for different reasons. Some said they want to give back because their life has been better lately. Some because of their love for the Lord. One couple came partly because familial ALS is in their family too. I began to pass out house keys like candy.
One young man looked deep into my soul, sized up the situation, asked me to list out the projects that scare me, and promised he’d stay by my side until the jobs are done like he would for his own mother. He’s 26 and has a lot of carpentry, plumbing, etc. skills. Wow. Wow. Wow.
We’ve been full steam ahead with volunteers ever since. I’d love to say some of their names, but I haven’t asked for permission. I do my best to thank them personally.
On Tuesday night I went with my best friend since birth to see Hillsong. I had no idea how I could stand on my sore feet and I stressed internally that I should be home working.
During the song I Am Who You Say I Am God mushed my heart like Playdough. In a prayerful time I felt the Holy Spirit tell me, “You answered the call. You gave up a lot. You never let go of the house or lifestyle, and you’re going to have to let go of that now too. It will hurt. And you will go on.”
Like the song says:
I am chosen, Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me, Not against me
…I am a child of God.
The castle I painted for our sons is gone, covered by “falling snow” white semi-gloss. We are packing for a new adventure. I am struck how the answer is “surrender” every time I am perplexed. I look forward to sharing the manuscript Surrender on the Trail with readers one day. As it turns out the trail was merely the beginning of what I am learning about surrender.
P.S. Thank you to new and old friends from Springdale Nazarene Church and SNC Norwood who took time to help our family. May you be blessed abundantly.