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)...so 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?