To Sell or to Stay? That is the Big Question

“Be ready to go and willing to stay.” Anonymous.

A friend of mine said this quote to me I think when I was preparing to go into full-time vocational missions, and the Lord has brought it to mind many times since. It is an excellent prompt to check our hearts to remain open before the Lord in our circumstances.

Michael and I began praying about selling our house a couple years ago. It was an idea we sat on for a while. There was still much work to be done and I was not yet in a physical state to help him. As we continued to pray and wait, the feeling grew, as well as the plans. There were many possibilities brought to the table, all interconnected with other plans/dreams we’ve had.

Being a person who is inclined to research when ideas are born, I began searching for houses. (Before your mind wanders too far, we are staying within our current county as this is where our family store is located.)

As the prospects and praying about moving grew, along with my physical healing, we started back into the renovations. Our house was built almost 120 years ago, in 1905. When Michael purchased it, much of it had not been updated since around the 1960’s. He, with the help of family and friends, have done an excellent job redoing the structural, electrical, plumbing, and heat loss issues. Most of the house recently received a fresh coat of paint, a friend has fixed a few things in our main floor bathroom, and our stairs are also getting a face lift.

It’s exciting to be working with tools again. Strangely to others, I quite enjoy sanding. There’s definitely a spiritual example in it, as the tough grit of the sandpaper removes all the splinters, burn marks from the planer, and other noticeable imperfections. As I soften the grit of the sandpaper from 60 to 120 to eventually 220, the board becomes smoother, and the natural grain of the wood is appreciated. Most enjoyable to me is to move my hand across the surface of the wood as I continue sanding to feel the refining taking place. Isn’t that like our spiritual lives? It doesn’t feel good when God uses the 60 grit on certain tougher parts of us, but as the imperfections are removed, the surface softens and the beauty of His creation and the work of His Spirit in us becomes evident. We are now more useful for who He made us to be, with less opportunity to leave splinters in others.

This entire renovation project has been much the same as the sanding. There have been moments when the ugliness and sin in my heart has come to the surface. But God has addressed each one. He’s gotten the “sandpaper” out and worked away at my heart. He’s reminded me of the quote to “be ready to go and willing to stay.” “Rachel, look around at all developments the house has had. You have a shelter over you for the cold nights and hot days. I’ve provided for you to live here, and to have the house paid for. Though properties have come up, they weren’t right for you. You’ve prayed, I’ve listened, and when the time is right, you’ll have the house I desire for you. Don’t be afraid; trust Me to take care of your needs. Your house is beautiful. Enjoy the process and the transformation taking place. It’ll be worth it, whether you live here for the next two months, two years, or the next twenty. I’ve called you to prepare, and that’s all you need to do for now. And stop putting undue pressure on Michael. Respect your husband and the work he is doing to provide for you, protect you, and do what he can. This will all be done in My time.”

Oh friend, a rebuke from the Lord is never easy to swallow but is so good for the spirit. Unfortunately, I’ve needed them often lately, but I pray that He is able to change out the sandpaper grit from 60 to 120 as I really hear the call to abide in Him; to trust who He is and what He’s doing, and to obey what He’s given me for today. I confess I’ve been a bit like the man tossed by the waves illustrated in James 1 as I feel uncertain of what God’s doing in many areas of my life right now, but He’s been gently and graciously unveiling the real reason behind it all. Though I’ve been going through the motions of spiritual disciplines, my spirit has been dry because I hadn’t truly abided in the Vine for a while. I let circumstances/creation override my focus on the Creator, and confess I’ve given into discouragement and distraction, instead of fully trusting in the plans and goodness of God.

Today, I am so grateful for God’s grace. Though I fall thousands of times, He’s always there with His hand held out, ready to pick me back up again, and encourage me to keep going. He sends me to the “infirmary” to heal and rest from the battle for a bit, then hands me back His armour, gives me an injection of His strength as I give Him due praise, and then returns me to the fight, reminded that I cannot do it on my own.

So, there could be a “For Sale” sign in our lawn this spring yet, or it might not come for years. Either way, we continue to work away to take care of the shelter the Lord has given us for this time, and I’m starting finally again to appreciate the process and the developments taking place. And, I’m grateful for the patient, gracious, and loving husband with whom the Lord has greatly blessed me! I don’t deserve him, but I am so thankful he’s mine.

Where might you be needing the prompt to “be ready to go and willing to stay?”

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