View from my dining room
As many of you know, one of the things I do every year is pray for a word. That word is the overarching theme that God seems to work in and through as I walk through those 365 days. In 2018, my word was Believe. What a hard word that was to walk in. Because our 2018 wasn't pretty. It was rough. And the roughness started in 2017.
You may remember that in July of 2017, just three months after we became parents, G's company unexpectedly was acquired instead of doing the acquiring, and our future was radically destabilized for the first time in our married lives. Our new career path still hadn't been outlined when we stepped into 2018, which is why the word Believe was so difficult but so pertinent. I started 2018 needing to believe that God had a plan for our family. A way to provide for our new little girl. We had already lived through months of waiting, and being afraid as we waited, by the time 2017 came to an end. Then 2018 started, and it was more of the same. Each potential job kept drying up. We waited, and I struggled to believe, through January. February. March. April. Then, finally, almost half-way through the year, G accepted a new position, and the month of May saw us moving back to Southern California. But not into our own home.
California is expensive, and we weren't financially prepared to purchase a home in California yet. So, my parents graciously welcomed us into their home. Yep. I packed up my whole world, stuck it in a storage unit, and tried to make life work as a family of three inside two rooms of another family's home.
I have to admit, believe felt like a tough word. We were back in California. But not the way we had planned to come back. And we were what felt like forever away from purchasing our own home. And G had to commute for 6 hours a day. Yes. You read that right. Six. He was exhausted. I was exhausted. And hope felt hard to come by.
It was in the midst of all this that I started to really work out what my word meant. Belief wasn't something I could achieve on my own. It was something I needed to desire desperately, and ask for, and God would grow it in me.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
It was such an important word, because it wasn't something I could bring about on my own. I couldn't do it under my own strength, in my own power. I simply had to desire, and choose to continue to pursue that desire. God would bring it to fruition.
As I pursued belief, God began to speak again. We couldn't imagine affording a home in Pasadena, where G's job is, so we began looking at cities that would give us a manageable commute (aka an hour or less), as much as we hated that idea. What we truly desired was to be so close to the office that G could be home in 15 minutes. But we couldn't afford that. Nope. No way. Then, one day in October when I was looking at a palm tree, I felt God say to me "I am preparing a place for you in Pasadena. You'll see palm trees from your home, and you'll be home by Christmas".
I almost couldn't believe it - G certainly couldn't when I told him! - but I treasured those words in my heart, and kept praying over them. Kept choosing to believe.
And as I chose belief, my faith expanded. I started to believe we were back in California for a reason. With this company for a reason. Waiting for our home for a reason.
You probably already know this, but on December 22nd, we moved into our home in Pasadena. On Palm Terrace. Five minutes from G's office. And yes, our street is lined with Palm Trees.