You learn a great deal about yourself when you go through rough times. Now, it hasn’t been all that rough lately, but I do wonder what God is up to. For the life of me I cannot figure it out! To catch you up if you are new let me fill you in. About 6+ months ago, when I was in prayer, God spoke to me to sell our house. Hubby prayed about it, too and up on the market it went. It sold for the full amount we were asking lickety split! Now, we live in a travel trailer because we cannot find the next home.
During this time we have felt God’s grace and peace on us, but I am beginning to feel unsettled. I want my house, I want to know where it is, and I want to know what our purpose in all of this has been and what it is to be. I have offered everything to God…my life, our possessions, and if anything is left I truly don’t know what it is!
I have a cousin who is in her eighties. She is beautiful, sassy, still wears high heels every day of her life, and she is a free spirit. She and her husband have been in the ministry for over 60 years. I remember them coming home from ministers’ conferences and Momma would get a phone call and my cousin would say, “Well, we are packing up and moving to Kansas! We have decided to pastor a church there!’ We would drive to their house across town, and true to my cousin’s adventurous nature and words, there would be her husband’s truck and her car loaded up with boxes of towels, kitchen supplies, and pieces of furniture.
I remember this same cousin once sold every possession they owned and bought a travel trailer (this was in the 70′s) and they went on the road to be evangelists. She home schooled her son, their daughter was in college, and off they went as we waved until we could see them no more.
Many people tell me I look like this cousin. I can see it profoundly! I look in the mirror and there is her face staring back at me. Many tell me I act like her, which I never agreed with. Since we sold our house, I am beginning to see it more. I can see selling everything we own, packing up, applying for seminary, and graduating to other things in life.
I have done things lately I never thought I could do. I can fix full meals on a gas travel trailer stove without blowing us all sky-high or without catching the whole place on fire! I truly never thought I could do that! I even deep-fried hot water cornbread and lived to eat it!
I can see waving good-bye to friends and family to go into territory only God has been to ahead of us. But, what if that isn’t what God sees? Unless God builds the house the laborers labor in vain. I tell the Lord, ‘God is this what You want? Do you want us to sell all we have and pursue a life of service solely to and for you? What do You want and why won’t You tell us?” All my life I have waited for something it seems. All my life I feel like I have been at the back of the line. If that is where my place is that is fine, but why then do I feel it isn’t? And if it isn’t, then where? I have so many questions and so few answers. This one is ongoing. I am still waiting to see the end of this new beginning…
I have blogged for almost three years now. I have loved it, but I have felt over the months it is coming to a close. I have sensed a new door is opening in our changing lives.
It is so hard to let go of the familiar. I have loved writing! I have to say, I used to get devotions, scriptures, and articles on a daily basis from the Holy Spirit to write on and it just isn’t that way anymore. I have my own personal time with God daily, and I am always led to the Word of God but lately it seems to be something very personal and private.
Am I going to quit writing the blog altogether? No! I will write as the Holy Spirit inspires me, but not often for now. I think for a while I will be putting it down and waiting on what God has next. Thank you so very much all who have supported ‘simplyjuliana’!!! Oh, I cannot say that enough!! Your likes and comments have been such a blessing to me! You are ALWAYS in my prayers!!
May God bless you richly, dear reader! I pray your life is filled with love, good times, and EVERY blessing!! For now, goodbye…until we meet again. Simply, Juliana
3 O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified?
1 Corinthians 15:33
New Living Translation
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I have always heard it isn’t what your life is, it is the attitude you face it with. It is like seeing the glass either half full or half empty. The first part of my life I was a ‘see the glass half full’ kind of person. For a time in my adult life I became a ‘see the glass the half empty’. Thank God, He got me back to the positive, faith filled way of seeing things. Even now I can still slip back to the ‘seeing the glass half empty’, but thank God He is still there to bring me back around and that attitude is almost extinct in me.
Recently, I did have a relapse in my attitude because my life has been forced into a simplification that is beyond anything I have ever known before. At first, after our house sold and we were forced to live in our travel trailer, I looked at it as an adventure. But, when that adventure began to turn into not just a month or two, but MONTHS, the adventurous aspect of it began to wane.
I felt a despondency beginning to try to overtake me. I began to think of what it would be like if this turned into years! I lost the adventurous, this is fun, a perpetual camp out attitude and I began to feel panicked and desperate to find a house with a concrete slab instead of tires!
One day recently, as I lay flat on my back…I had thrown it out…the thought came to me, “When did this become hard? I was actually loving it at first!” I realized I had crossed over from faith to fear. I had crossed over from trust to ‘Another one of your doozies, Juliana!’ Oh, how the devil loves to play that broken record over and over in my mind.
God began to show me all I had done RIGHT! Wow!! That is a new concept on this thing!! I sold my home when God said to…obedience is a major step in the right direction! I sold when I didn’t know where we were going to end up…total and blind trust…another God pleasing thing! I had learned to live with less and with true simplicity. All the clutter was gone from my life and God wanted the same of my spiritual and emotional life, not just my physical.
Living a life of simplicity is wonderful!! You can live without things you never thought you could! I had no idea how much junk we had accumulated over the years. Books, books, and more books that I didn’t even remember I had, much less did I read them! Crochet yarn piled almost to the ceiling…great gift for a knitter friend of mine since I only crochet once a year! Clothes from the 80s…literally! I could go on, but this is a blog not a book!
As I began to decide to think of what to throw away, give away, and keep my questions to myself were, “Have I used it in the last year? Is it an heirloom? Is it necessary?” If my answer was yes to any of those, it stayed…very little stayed. Those three questions brought such great simplicity and joy to my life!
By the time hubby and I moved into the trailer, we were down to a spring/summer wardrobe ( the fall/winter is in storage) that consisted of 2 weeks worth of clothes and accessories. I have a section in my closet for the casual, semi-dressy, and Sunday clothes. One closet! That alone, amazed me and it relieved me!!
No more frantic searches on Sundays for my black travelers pants and that blouse I haven’t worn in a year, but I remembered it when I burped from my last bite of pizza…yeah, that had to be what jogged my memory! I had minimized and simplified and ‘oh what a relief it is’!
Suddenly, I realized God wanted the same from me in my mental and emotional life. Now, all people are important! We love ALL people! Jesus did, but notice Jesus only kept 12 close to Him. Why did He do that while He was on the earth? I think it was because the more you ‘entertain’ the less you can focus on what is important.
There are some people who juggle fifty different things in a week. They have friends who they hang out with that fingers and toes could not count, and that is fine! But, for me, relationships have to be categorized. Have I talked to this person in the last year? Why or why not? Is this person someone who will build me or tear me down spiritually? Is this person someone who I can trust or someone who would betray me? Is this person someone who enriches my life or brings sorrow and fatigue?
I am very careful about who I bring close. All Christians should be careful of who you bring close! Paul even warned the church to not even eat with people who practiced sin. It tells us in 1 Corinthians a man/woman of good character will be brought down if they make those who are not of good character close companions.
I heard about a young man who was a wonderful person! He had been someone who was respected by friends, family and his church community. This young man began to make friends with people who were more than a little rough around the edges, so to speak. It wasn’t long until this young man began to do little things the new friends did.
He began to drink, and then drink a little more and a little more often. It wasn’t long until the ‘old friends’ began to be pushed away and more of the rough friends began to come on the scene. This young man soon found himself overwhelmed in the new lifestyle he had developed. He ended up in jail one night after a drinking binge. His lawyer entered the room where he was and said, ‘Get rid of your ‘friends’, son. If you don’t you will find yourself here for a much longer time!’
I spoke with this young man, and he told me while he was in jail someone told him, ‘You lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.’ Now the friends didn’t make him do anything, but their ways definitely rubbed off on him. ‘You are who you hang with’, is a saying I always told my children, and I could always tell when they were ‘hanging’ with the wrong people.
Now the ‘glass half full’ to this story is, the more we ‘hang’ with God, the more like Him and His character we become. The wiser we are because we learn to think as He thinks. We love like Him, because that is what He is. We take on His dignity, because we have been with the “King” and realize we are a King’s child! Children always imitate the father. Make sure you are a good parent, your influence carries much farther than you know!
Ask yourself, “Is it time to minimize some things and some relationships in my life?” Let God show you the answer to be sure you answer correctly and do the right thing! Take off the weights of busyness and things. We often fail to hear from God the way the apostles and disciples did, not because it was just for Biblical times, but because our ‘times’ have become times of ‘too much to do and too little time to do it in’.
In minimizing, you will find you actually maximize what is truly important in life and you have had the time to think and pray about what that really is!
1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with [a]oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
I knew this day was coming. I have not been caught off guard or by surprise, but I still feel disappointed it did. I knew when we sold our house there would not be another waiting just around the corner in time. I have been to this dog and pony show before. At the same time, I didn’t expect it would take so long to find another house.
I would love to be able to walk into Wal-Mart, ask someone where their ‘Houses for Sale’ aisle is and just pick up what I want and need, land and all! I really didn’t think it would be much harder than that. We sold when God told us to and I just thought we would wait about a month at the most and BAM, there would be our reward for prompt obedience! It isn’t happening exactly like that.
Evidently we are going through a ‘maturing’ phase, a trust phase, and a ‘don’t you dare be jealous of someone else’s blessing’ phase! I have heard in the last month of two couples we know that found MY dream home, and paid next to nothing for it…well they paid what we were looking to pay.
Oh, my eyes turned heavenward and, in all honesty, these thoughts came to my mind, “That is great God, but where is mine? Really? Seriously? They turn a corner, look up one classified, and there it is! I am scouring every resource I can find and coming up with nothing! Forgive me, Father! I am happy for them, but I am the blessed, too and I have waited for 30 years on this.”
I have to be honest, dear reader, I truly don’t know what the lesson is. I have searched my heart and soul, had hubby search his and soul and, not that we are perfect, we truly can’t find anything that is so horrible that it would make us homeless and living in someone else’s backyard in a travel trailer.
I am grateful we have a place to live, be it ever so humble. Many tonight will sleep on concrete and have next to nothing to eat in the days and weeks to come. Nevertheless, this is NOT the blessing of Abraham we have been promised and I know God doesn’t lie.
I think my greatest concern is can I hear Him as I need to? Did He try to tell me about the house in the country that was a ‘steal’, did He try to move us to another state, did He try to tell me what classified to look at, or even what prayer I should have prayed to receive what I need, and was I to ditsy not to hear it? Did I miss Him? I don’t know.
I do take this comfort in knowing sheep are truly stupid animals. They will literally walk off a cliff and accidentally kill themselves if the shepherd isn’t watching closely. We are compared to sheep for a reason. My Shepherd is watching, and oh how I long to feel and know His guidance. He will not allow me to walk off a cliff into a pit of bad decisions, and He will lead me by His Spirit. In the meantime, I pray I can rest in the pasture I have been placed in for this time and remember my Shepherd can always be trusted to do what is best for all the sheep, including me.