Little did we know, that "something greater" was going to be months and months of questions, bitterness, and disappointment.
You see, when we left our church, we left confident. Confident that God would provide. However, we were naive in thinking it would happen overnight. I mean, we are the Ramseys. We know everyone in ministry. How hard could it be to find a place?
So confident, in fact, that we turned down two jobs, sure something better was going to come along.
Well, it is November 2010, and we are physically in the same boat we were in when we left our home in Texas. We still live with my in-laws, we still are applying for jobs, we still have no idea what God has in store.
Spiritually, however, we are on a whole other playing field.
When we left, I had so many questions. Where will we live? When will Ben get a job? How will we pay for things? Will I ever make friends? While I expected God to allow me to live as a testimony by ANSWERING all these questions, he has, in fact, he has allowed me to live as a testimony by not answering them at all.
Turns out, I don't need much money. I don't need an address of my own. I don't even need 10 amazing girlfriends. God has taught me in the last year that all I need is Him. Simple to Say. Painful to execute.
Where will we live? I have spent countless hours crying over my things. As a mother, all I want is to have my own space, my own domain, my own territory. Every time I would open the creaking garage door to our storage unit, I would cry as I saw all my stuff, piled high, going to waste. I thought I was hurting my children by not allowing them to live in a home they could call their own. I so worried that I was losing precious time with them, time that I would never get back, time that was quickly slipping through my fingers. I longed for the day when I could cook a meal on my newly purchased Rachel Ray cookware. I had lofty dreams of climbing into my own bed and sleeping sounder than I had in months. I just wanted life to be normal.
When will Ben get a job? Ben and I have spent the last 18 months feverishly applying for ministry positions. We have phone interviewed with at least 25 churches, face to face interviewed with at least a dozen, and been to the final stages with a few. And yet, God closes the door with each and every one. Now that is not to say that there hasn't been a lot of pain and heartache with each of those closed doors. Often, these doors are closed because of sin, lies, deception, and bitterness. And it has hurt. Hurt a lot. But we know our God is bigger then any lie someone can tell about us. Bigger than any bitterness people hold. And greater than any dagger Satan may throw our way. So we continue to overcome. We continue to push through. We continue to persevere. Because we must. There are moments, though, that I cry out to the Lord and moments that I wonder if he has forgotten about us. All we want to do is spend the rest of our lives changing the next generation and equipping them to do great things for Jesus. All we want is to fulfill God's calling on our lives. And all we want, is for life to be normal again.
How will we pay for things? This question may be the scariest question I had. Ask any mom, and she will tell you the financial demands of raising children. I wondered how I would afford enough food to feed their growing appetite. I worried about the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet. I worried about everything. And I just didn't want to worry anymore. I just want to live a normal life.
Will I ever make friends? While in Texas, God had blessed me with some amazing friends. Friends at church, friends at MOPS, and friends from a local Bible Study. They had been so influential in my life and in my spiritual development. I was sure, wherever we moved, that God would provide the same. While God has brought some amazing women into my life that have been a tremendous help to me as a wife and mother, this place has also brought about some of the deepest hurts I have ever felt. There are days that I walk through life, feeling like I am consumed with a burden, unable to really catch my breath, and barely able to life one foot in front of the other. There have been days when all I needed was a best friend who would offer nothing more than a listening ear. There have been days when I have just wanted to cry, eat chocolate, and dream of simpler times. Why wouldn't God answer that for me? Why is no one there for me? Why does no one see it on my face? Why can't things just go back to normal?
So many questions. And yet, seemingly, no answers. At least not the answers I wanted.
It wasn't until just a few months ago that God began to change my heart. Sometimes no answer is THE answer.
You see, I was so wrapped up in money, houses, jobs, friends, and things that I had lost focus on my true priority.
I wanted God to wash all my fears away, when he was only longing to use them to bring me into a deeper, richer relationship with Him.
Sometimes God DOES answer our prayers in the exact way we had imagined. Sometimes He DOES do miracles. Sometimes He DOES take all the suffering away. Sometimes He DOES move mountains.
And yet sometimes, when we ask to move a mountain, He responds my handing us a shovel.
I was asking to move a mountain. I was asking God to show up in our lives. I was begging him to answer our prayers. And yet I was so unwilling to do anything about it. So unwilling to trust God and his provision for my life. So unwilling to seek after God with all my heart. So unwilling to grab a shovel.
There are still moments that I feel lost and alone. There are still moments that I find myself crying out of fear and desperation. There are sometimes that I allow the stress of it all to overtake me. There are sometimes that I take out my frustrations on my family.
There are still moments I am not proud of. There are moments I long for my stuff and moments I wish God would call us to a place of ministry. There are still moments that I worry about how we will afford Christmas for our children this year. And there are still moments that I long for a dear friend. And yes, there are still moments that I long for things to be normal again.
But by the grace of God, and by his strength in my life - those moments are getting fewer and further between. I am learning to be still amidst the storm and to trust him through all things. I am learning that all I really need in life is Him, and when I rest quietly in that, he will sustain my every desire.
I know that God will answer my prayers. Although I no longer pray for a house, a job, lots of money, or a friend. Rather, I pray that God would fulfill Ephesians 3:20 in my life:
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
He WILL do far more than I could ever imagine. He WILL do more than I could ever guess or request. He WILL come to our rescue. And He WILL keep my head up through it all.
P.S. We are ANXIOUSLY awaiting God's perfect place of ministry for us, and don't worry, you all will be some of the first to know!
I am sure, someday, you will find yourself facing a similar struggle. An instance when you have to put your entire trust and hope in your Heavenly Father. I hope that you will find this story and learn from the mistakes of your mommy. I hope you will trust easier, give up control willingly, and prepare yourself for God's richest blessings on you. No matter the struggle, your mommy loves you more with every passing day. Go and do great things for Jesus. Be a testimony of his grace and goodness. I truly believe that God had tremendous things mapped out for each of your lives. Things your mommy can't even imagine. Don't let your circumstances stop you. Grab a shovel, and move your mountain. I love you.