Of course, during these going-on-three-school-years, God has worked to change us. We have learned to enjoy life in a small town and grown accustomed to long commutes. We have seen what we just couldn't replace (our Lincoln church) and learned what we could do without (daily errand running for example).
Last fall when I learned we would be adding a 6th baby to our family I crumpled a bit inside. Not because this new life we are expecting isn't a blessing, but because I just didn't know how I could do things like "Kearney days" with an infant (and the five others in my care . . .). And then Josh's brother died. The desire in our hearts to be back closer to family intensified fiercely. In January, there was a job posting for science in Auburn, Nebraska. It was a bit further than we had looked before, an hour outside of Lincoln, but at hour sounded better than three hours. Josh applied. We waited and waited. They took the posting down . . . and we hoped for a call that whole week for an interview. It didn't come. I had some very low moments. Even though I knew it was early in the hiring season I just felt so very sad. The weekend came. A new posting was up for a job in Shelby, Nebraska--which just so happens to be a place a good friend from high school, Tiffany, lives--a place where her husband is middle school principal. I contacted her and she gave me "the scoop." When it was all said and done Josh ended up with two interviews Monday, February 17th, one in Auburn and one in Shelby. The very next day, the evening of February 18th, Josh got a phone call while we were walking around the track. Shelby was offering a job. We went home, crunched numbers, talked it over, and then officially accepted.
There is something scary about making that decision to "leap." Even though we had prayed and prayed and prayed, we had gotten used to the "no" answer. What do we do with the "yes?" There is a safeness staying where you are and knowing what is expected of you. In Arapahoe Josh loves his teaching and coaching jobs, loves the students. We have a suitable place to live. We know what our life looks like. But what would life be like in Shelby? And then there is the whole relocating a family of soon-to-be-eight. Let's face it--there aren't a whole lot of homes available to fit us all! When I looked online only one house popped up for sale with a Shelby address. That made me nervous. I did the only thing in my capability to do--pray. Josh (of course!) wasn't worried a bit, "Would God really provide a new job for us and not give us a place to live as well?" he asked me. It's not so much that I thought we would be homeless but I figured where we would end up would be a less-than-ideal place we would have to make work for a year until we were ready to buy.
But Tiffany got to work (really, I think she should have been a realtor!), finding all these houses that are not advertised anywhere. One in particular I loved, but we just aren't ready to buy this year. And then March 5th she texted me a whole bunch of pictures of a 4 bedroom acreage she had found outside of Shelby. There was a barn. It had chickens (and *ahem* turkeys and rabbits . . .). It was for rent and it was affordable. On the 17th we walked through it. It is an old farmhouse that has been updated here and there throughout the years. There are parts that are great and parts that could "use some love." But will it work perfectly for us? Yes. In fact, in my prayer journal I have this list of things I pray about for the house we hope to buy one day:
"Front porch . . . porch swing
Character (thick wood work)
Yard big enough for garden, pumpkins, sunflowers
(In the country if possible)
4-6 bedrooms (the more the merrier)
Shady spot for hydrangeas
Yard big enough for animals?
While it does lack a front porch (it is actually set up to have one though, just hasn't been built!), and perhaps the woodwork could be a little thicker for my taste, I am shocked to discover it has every last one of my criteria--down to the chickens it comes with! I have prayed about these things for the house we would own--never in a million years did I think God would provide them in a rental.
And that friends, makes me teary. Far too often, I sell God short. Of course He could give me chickens at a rental.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight."
I cannot help but notice how straight this new path has been--from the initial posting, to getting the interview, to being hired within a day, to having found a house within a month. So simple and easy, and particularly at a time when I need simple and easy and needed to have a plan in place with this new baby coming. So very much is changing for us in the next few months. We are hoping to be situated in our new home come the first of June. In the meantime I keep growing this baby, packing, decluttering, and planning for a new life so much closer to our families and friends. We are excited! And yet, I greatly would covet your prayers. I've never packed up a house in the last trimester of pregnancy. Box wrangling, taping, and stacking is a bit tricky with a big ol' tummy. I hurt and I am tired. I know it will all get done. But I also know it is going to be crazy around here for awhile. I know I will have the summer with Josh around to recuperate--it is just getting to that point! ;o) Overall though, I see God's hand in all of this and how perfect His timing is. This house was the house our landlords raised their family in. Even though they have gone onto build a bigger and better home up the road they didn't want to part with their old home place. Until two months ago, their son and his family had been living there but he got a new job, relocating them. It has sat empty and they weren't actively searching for someone to live there. It has just been waiting . . .
"Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me."