Monday, August 10, 2009

Memorial Box Monday - God's Rescue

It's Memorial Box Monday again and I was telling a friend this story the other day. Seriously bloggy friends, it is soooo important to be (at least) journaling about God's faithfulness/provision/healing in our lives. With times so uncertain, I confidently say: In the future we will need to be continually remembering just how faithful God has been in our lives.

This story dates back to 1992. We had just been called to our very first pastorate in Amelia, Virginia - just outside Richmond. We could not wait to get there! Dw had been the interim pastor there for 10 weeks while in seminary in Virginia Beach and we had driven every Sunday morning for him to preach. After lunch we would turn around and head back to the Virginia Beach area. Round trip it was 240 miles - but how we loved the people and the place. It was wonderful.

After the 10 weeks of interim preaching there, the elders met with Dw and asked if he would come to pastor. Yippee Jesus! We were thrilled, as we had grown to love these sweet people very much.

We sold our home in Cheseapeake in about 3 hours (and that's another Memorial Box Monday story) with 11 of the 22 homes on our little street up for sale! A true miracle!

Now we just needed to find a home in Amelia. Amelia is very rural and there were not alot of options that would suit our needs. I remember looking at one house and Dw couldn't fully stand in the upstairs....well that wouldn't work! We also already had 3 kids and had just lost our precious baby John while in seminary. We wanted a boatload of kids to fill a house so we needed lots of room!

On one of our trips for Dw to preach we had found a home in the village for sale by owner. We had actually gone to look at it. Dw really liked it. It's true, it would have worked, but I had always longed to live in the country and we could do that without any effort, so why would we want to live in the village? Dw had dreamy ideas of walking to church. I had dreamy ideas of being surrounded by acres of farmland. We prayed for wisdom and direction.

The more we talked it became obvious that Dw was bent on that village home. I was so bummed. I talked to the Lord about it alot and tried very hard to be quiet and just pray!

We had gone to New York to vacation and after a few days we left the 3 kids with our family and headed back to Virginia to find a home. We ended up staying at the home of one of our elders -Hank and his wife Betty. Just thinking about their home I sigh as I type, a little home, but such a restful, peaceful spirit about it. It is nestled on several acres across the road and gully from the only railroad tracks that lead through town.

Anyway, as we got to Amelia that day we talked to our realtor. He knew we wanted a big home and amazingly a home had just come on the market that was a huuuuuge Victorian. Oh my gracious - I was ecstatic!! It needed work, but no biggie - we had done that lots and lots of times in the past! Hank and Betty thought from the description that it must not be far from their home....and guessed that maybe it was the one beside the railroad track?

We drove around that night to get a peak at what we would be looking at the next day. Oh! Wow! When they said beside the tracks they really meant beside the tracks - with a hair salon in front of it. Dw said immediately, "Not a chance!" I said, "But look at the house!!" He thought I was nuts. I thought he was unreasonable. (In hind sight, he was right - but I was so smitten with the architecture I obviously couldn't think straight!)

We went back to Hank & Betty's home to spend the night. I was praying like crazy! Maybe the Victorian wasn't right (but at least keep an open mind pleeeease?) but then I also really, truly didn't think that the village home was right either.

The guest room at H & B's had twin beds. As we got ready for bed that night we were arguing quietly talking about what to do. He was more convinced about the village home and had actually moments before told the homeowner that we would most likely be making an offer the next day. Oh great! Grrrrr! It was so perfect (according to him)...and he could walk to work. (I know my man, and walking to work - albeit it romantic sounding it is not reality....bless his heart!)

I tried to explain to him how much work the village house needed....lights were dangling from the ceiling, holes had been punched in the cabinetry.....etc. With his rose-colored glasses on he had not noticed any of that! Of course with my rose-colored glasses I knew that we would just put up a fence to keep the kids away from the tracks and we would totally get used to the noise of the train. He was so frustrated that I would even consider the Victorian and I was equally frustrated with him. He thought the noise of the tracks (and safety issues) would drive us nuts.

I decided to just shut up and pray!! So as I climbed into the twin bed I prayed, "Lord, I want to live in the country. I can't imagine living here and not having acres and acres - I've dreamed about it my whole life!! He is so stinkin' bent on that village house and although the Victorian might not be right, I just really believe that village one isn't either and here he is telling the homeowner that it looks like we are going to make an offer (arghh) Lord, please you have to give us a sign that that village house is not for us!! Please Lord, block it! Do something to make us know that you have something better for us!" Clear as a bell I heard the Lord's (almost audible voice),"Like water in the basement"....I actually giggled outloud and silently said, "Yes, like water in the basement!"

I had giggled because Virginia had been in a drought - the worst in recent years. There had not been any rain in months! The prospect of water in the basement was proposterous - but God!! After those words, I had perfect peace....the Lord would work it out some way!

I am one of those gals that falls instantly asleep when my head hits the pillow and the last thing I remembered was silently saying,"Yes! Like water in the basement."

The next morning I awoke and the first thing Dw said to me was, "Why didn't you answer me?" "HUH? What are you talking about?" "Last night as soon as we climbed into bed the train came by and the windows shook and the whole house trembled and when it was done I said to you, 'you think living next to a train tracks would be fun?' and you didn't say a word."

I burst out laughing. I had never heard the train. I had fallen asleep (that fast!) and never felt or heard a thing. "No babe, I was not playing games......I was just that sound asleep that fast!"

We got ready and headed to the houses. We saw the Victorian and realized that we would need a bunch of money to replace things like the antique furnace, etc. It was fun to look at, but not us and I had peace about that.

Then we headed to the village home where the homeowner had left a key hidden, since she was out of town. When we got inside I started pointing out the dangling lights and the hole punched cabinets. Hmmm, he had not noticed them. The house would work, don't get me wrong, but I just knew the Lord had something better suited for our needs and a few of our wants too.

While walking thru the village house we were in the family room. I said to Dw, "I really would like to put the washer and dryer in the family room with a closet partition." He was game for that and we set out deciding how we could do that. He said, "What size is a normal washer?" I had no clue so he ran to the basement to measure the one there.

Seventeen years later as I type this I can still hear his footsteps pounding on the wooden basement stairs and then all of a sudden he screamed! I ran toward the basement door and said, "WHAT - WHAT???? ARE YOU OKAY?" He said, "Linny the basement is flooded!"

And then the Lord's words came to me! I said, "Whitey, I was praying last night that the Lord would block somehow us from buying this house if he had something better in mind and He told me, 'like water in the basement' and I giggled cause you know it's been a drought and how in the world could there be a flood in the basement?"

When we had seen the house before it had been dry as a bone and not even musty smelling. Dw went to see if it was from the washing machine, but it was clear it was not! What in the world?? To this day there is still no logical explanation which leaves only ONE explanation. The Lord had given us a clear sign that this was NOT the home for us. How He did it - we'll never know!

Dw didn't hesitate, "Okay Linn, let's get out of here - the Lord has spoken." And Dw was fine with it. Really, he never looked back....why settle for good when God does things 'best'?

We ended up buying a cozy single wide trailer (yes you read that right!) on 21 acres just about 5 minutes outside of town. We eventually built a home behind it. Here is a picture of that home we built from last year when we were in Amelia visiting friends. We brought Emma home to this sweet home nestled on 21 acres. We loved that place!!

People in our church said we were "Green Acres" cause we were two city folks wanna' be farmers......We had an old Ford tractor that we would fight over who got to 'bush-hog'!! Gracious be - we had a blast!! We had half a pond that we shared with our neighbors (which Dw's dream was to have water) and we had a creek that had a little teeny-tiny falls that we called "little Niagara Falls" (I grew up about 1/2 hour from Niagara Falls)....and we romped and hiked and played and loved that precious place! There was no doubt the Lord provided it and we knew, once again, that He had rescued us from something that probably would have been 'good' for something that was 'best'.

Interestingly the very, very, very first morning in the trailer I awoke to the sound of a rooster in the distance. For you who have been my bloggy friends for awhile you will understand exactly what that little love gift from the Lord meant to my heart! I giggled and grinned - one of my most favorite sounds in all the world!!

If you haven't started a Memorial Box today is the last day to drop a comment for the drawing. It starts tomorrow. Dw came up with how exactly to do it.......more on that tomorrow. =)

If you are wondering what a Memorial Box is anyway, it's explained here.

Lastly: What could you put in your Memorial Box that reminds you of a time when God "put water in the basement" to stop you from something?

33 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. Oh your making me want to be out at our land! We also are city people that want to be farmers and we get excited to mow with the big tractor too. Chris won't let me have a rooster though =(.

  2. Oh, I just love your Memorial Box stories and how they remind me that God is in the details. He cares about every single thing concerning me and my family. I just simply have to trust Him! Thank you for sharing your precious stories of the Lord's faithfulness and provision. I think I've commented once before, but just to make sure, I would love to be entered in the contest for the memorial box. Thank you!
    Jan, Ft. Worth

  3. This is a somewhat short version of a much, much larger story, but in the fall of 2004, I was living outside of Dallas, TX working for a major radio station, watching God open unbelievable doors, and absolutely miserable and hating life. Makes perfect sense, I know. I longed to return to Oregon, the state I had left to take this amazing job in Texas. I hadn't wanted to move to Texas in the first place, but God confirmed it in so many ways that it was what I was supposed to do, I had to obey.

    I had been in Texas a couple of years and was begging God with almost every breath everyday to release me so I could leave and go home. In October, I was offered not one but two jobs back in Oregon. I was ready to pack up and flee the Lonestar State. Nothing against people who love Texas, but I really suffered in the Texas heat and had moved to Dallas from the Oregon version of Durango. It was a hard transition.

    I just couldn't shake that I wasn't supposed to leave and that God still had something in mind for me in Dallas. I wanted to ignore it. I tried to ignore the fact I had no peace at all about the move back to Oregon. Finally, I gave in and called the company in Oregon, and said I wouldn't be taking the job they had created specifically for me. I didn't even have a good reason why other than I just didn't have a peace about it. Sigh.

    In February 2005, the company I worked for in Texas announced a sale. Anyone in their employ on that day received their share of company stock. It was a five year or nothing deal ordinarily. I had written that stock off believing I wouldn't last in Texas five years. I got a substantial stock payout the day the stations sold in 2006. I would have missed it.

    What did I do with the money? I bought a house in Oregon in the town I love working at the job created for me two years before. I moved back to Oregon with a total peace in my heart.

  4. Wow, Linny- I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start by telling you that I'm fasting today seeking His guidance and asking for a mountain to move regarding a job. I decided to check in on-line and found two new bloggy friends have stopped by and greatly encouraged me today and then your post. I'm probably 15 minutes from the village in Amelia. I'm a long time follower of your blog and have often wondered where exactly around Richmond you lived.
    I'm trying to go back to teaching art and there are no jobs and we desperately need income. Last year I had an offer but God "put water in the basement" and I turned it down. I have been questioning if I made the right decision last year as I struggle with my employment drought. Your post made me remember that God makes no mistakes and He told me not to take that job. Despite what appear as mountains in front of me, He has a plan. Something so much better than I can imagine. Thanks for renewing my faith today!

  5. Linny,
    I finally feel the full push to start my memorial box. I probably won't blog about it, but for my children I will start one. For a while I was having a hard time coming up with things, not that God hasn't answered many prayers just haven't figured out what objects might represent His mightiness, but I was way overthinking it. So I'm diving in, I'm writing things down, it won't only benefit my children but me also. After just building our own house I know all about writing scripture on the walls and I know whom we built our house upon, but that doesn't mean the days are always easy. Having a journal of God's miracles in my life will help me to pick up and dust off when I'd rather crawl deeper into the hole. Thanks for your powerful stories of life, you are a true warrior for Christ, your family is always in our prayers.
    God Bless,

  6. What a precious memory! Is your new house going to be something like the Amelia house? Can't wait for the Memorial Box drawing...I'm keeping my fingers crossed! :) "water in the basement" indeed! How like God!

    Love...Nancy in CT

  7. I am new to your blog (came here to read about Cindy) and I just love the idea of Memorial Box. This post was also very encouraging because my husband and I were quarreling over house matters just yesterday.

  8. I would love to win a memorial box. I would love to see what you have in yours! Can you show us some of the items?

  9. What a wonderful story Linny. I love how God speaks and you HEAR!! Sometimes that is so difficult in our busy lives, isn't it. Hugs

  10. I loved this story. I too long for a home in the a single momma, I know it does not make EVER would I keep it up? So I asked God, in heaven, rather than a "mansion", can I have an old farmhouse, please? :)

    Got stopped me from what I thought was a "perfect" romance to bring the "daddy" I feel my children so need. I was blind, but thankfully, He blocked it. I don't know why He has me still being a single momma, but I know, for now, it is best.

    Blessing Linny.... (oh, and if I did not enter, I would like to, on the memorial box drawing.)

  11. "Water in the basement!!" ...I love that God has such a good sense of humor! GREAT memorial story...I was captured by every word! And I love the home you ended up building...very beautiful setting!! <><

    Blessings and Hugs,

  12. One of my Memorial Box moments was God stopping me from going to the Dallas area to college, or even worse not going anywhere but staying home and getting married. I mysteriously received an annonomus scholarship that I still to this day 35 years later do not know who gave it to me. I always just say,"I got a scholarship from God."

  13. Linny, I need your help, well a little girl and her family does. They need prayers, a lot of prayers and fast! You are the first person I thought of who could help.Please meet this family
    Linny this little one needs a miracle.
    I would have e-mailed you, but I had to make sure you saw it.

  14. Great Story!!!! Isn't God so great and funny!

  15. I have loved reading/lurking on your blog for months now. As a newlywed, I think this would be a great tradition to start for our family. I would love to be entered in the drawing! -Allison Sangenito

  16. Hi sweet Linny, What a wonderful story and such a good reminder of His faithfulness to you and DW and a great encouragement for the rest of us. I love the home you built and will be praying this week as you start another home. Hugs and prayers to you all,

  17. Linny, your blog posts are so inspiring; I look forward to reading them everyday. God is doing a good work through you! Thank you for allowing Him to use you and thank you for sharing.

  18. Thank you for sharing how God moved through and because of your prayers.

    We had a similar situation in 2003...we were planning on moving across the country as I was missing my family and we had been on the west coast which seemed like forever. We were all packed and ready to begin the trek across country and God (in the last minute-two weeks), closed the door on my husbands job. So we quickly needed a place to live as our house was sold. And long story short, our loving God found us a house which happened to be out in the country on a vineyard and right across the road from the family who would one day be our daughters in-laws...yes, our daughter married their oldest son in 2008...and we would not have our African children if we had not stayed here because in Ontario (where we were going to move), they did not do Liberian adoptions.

    Thank you for posting because it has given me a chance to re-live how God had a much better path for us to travel...and that I should never think because one thing is not working out like I think that our amazing Lord is not working for something better.

  19. Ya know Linn as much as I love your blog and am completely addicted to it, I find it hard not to be jealous. You have a life I dream of, a relationship with God I can't figure out how to get, a husband of the likes I can't imagine ever finding, and a slew of fantastic kids! Man o man I have a lot of work to do on this heart of mine!

  20. I'd put a little old-fashioned water pump for this memory, as a symbol that God doesn't need a pipeline to make the water appear. =)

    I'm a new reader to your blog and I just have to share the sense of peace it's brought me in my life. I've had a rough couple of months in the job search and was beginning to lose faith that I'd find something that would work. Things still aren't looking good, but I'm trying hard to turn it over to God and know that He will make something work in HIS time. Thank you for sharing your faith and love.

  21. I loved that story! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Honestly Linn you are the only one who can get away with writing a post that long and keeping your readers interest!!!

  23. Hi. I would like to be in the drawing and can't remember if I already signed up. Love your blog.

  24. awww Linny that was a beautiful story. you know i was reading that the whole time "wow, but nothing that extraordaniry has ever happened to me..." then as soon as i read the question at the bottom i realized i have "had water in the basement". It was when i first came to Germany. I was waiting to here about scholarship money and was rejected one time after the other (to the point of i got no money). I was so upset because i felt like such a failure even though i had done well in school. I now see that "the water in the basement" of my plans to go to collage in the US would have kept me from marring (sp?) my husband and have the best papa in the world for my son. wow now i feel really special that the Lord did that for me!

    lots of love,

  25. Hi Linny,
    We are trying to get the word out about an adoption fundraiser we are trying to bring our daughter home from China. We only have 6 weeks to make this happen. Would you and your bloggy friends pray with us that it works?

    Thank you!
    Mom to Ande
    Soon to be Mom to Kaci

  26. I have a 'box" like that from my grandmother's house when she died. It ists nealy empty because I just haven't known what to place inside it. I've been needing some encouragement lately and thanks for providing it. :)

  27. I would LOVE to start this with my own family.

    God Bless!

  28. Linny, I was in such a rush last night when I left you that first comment I forgot to read your post!
    Wow, what a wonderful story! You so inspire me, I think you might have just solved a lot of petty arguements between my husband and I.I think I will pray for God to resolve our "disagreements", instead of my mouth.

  29. Linny, your stories of God's provision make me want to know Him the way you do.....and I'm sure that would be one of your purposes for this blog - to show others the Jesus you know!

    I don't have any "water in the basement" stories, but I want to! And I think I've entered your Memorial Box contest before, but just to be sure....please enter me!

    Thank you for sharing this story. I love it!

  30. two cities on opposite sides of the river were flooded to prevent me from going to college there. I love that God guides us and loves us even before we decide to live for Him, because He knows we eventually will.

  31. Oh Linny ~

    A woman after my own heart! I too want a house filled with kids, acreage and a rooster! I can't tell you how long I have dreamed of that! My husband and I differ on this, but I know that God will help him to come around if it's meant to be!

    Your story is awesome and I am so inspired by it. Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to hear more!

  32. Thanks for sharing.

    I don't know if you've read my blog recently ... but my dear husband has just accepted the call to his first pastorate. He begins work in 2 weeks. We have a house to sell, and the island we are moving to has very little real estate available, and what is available is very expensive.

    We are trusting God that He will bring us just the right house. We realize that while we are selling our 3400 sq. ft. custom built home, we may only be able to afford a mobile home. But, there is a house available ... on 20 acres ... that we would be VERY excited about, if the Lord were somehow able to work out the financial side of it for us. Okay ... we KNOW that the Lord CAN work out the financial side of things, IF it is HIS will. We are praying that He would make His will very clear to us.

    Thanks for the encouragement.


  33. I always look forward to your Memorial Box stories! So encouraging to read of the Lord's provision!

    I am in the process of adopting from China. 3 years ago when I started my paperwork, I was crying about the finances...feeling so led to adopt from China...but being a single woman on a teacher's salary, I just wondered how it could be done. I was sobbing and praying about the finances. I walked back to my room, hit play on the CD player, and as the music began, I just had to laugh - the song was "Jesus Paid It All!" A few days later, my parents surprised me with an annuity that was...wait for it...35 CENTS more than the estimated cost of the adoption. Unbelievable! Granted with all of the extensions - as China's process is slower than a crawl - there will be some extra expenses...but Jesus is still paying it all! I love telling that story!

    I have always loved that hymn...but it's meaning is so much more to me now!

    "I hear my Savior say,
    thy strength, indeed, is small.
    Child of weakness watch and pray.
    Find in ME, thine all in all."

    Love - Angie


It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.