Expectancy and hope filled our home last Wednesday as our realtor walked into our dining room. Since Mez and Kamise arrived from Ethiopia two years ago, we have worked hard to make our home accommodate our expanded family. We crammed Keegs and Cole into an open playroom with curtains for doors…’cause it wasn’t meant to be a bedroom. They have made it work. It just means everybody has to whisper and use subtitles after 9 pm when Keegs hits the sack. These are American discomforts. We are well aware of that. We’ve loved our beautiful home and made it our nest for the past 12 years. However, one of my favorite sayings….”You can’t do big what you did small” has been ringing true. We are on top of each other literally with zero break from the racket (you know it’s the momma writing when the noise is viewed as racket:)
So, for two years I’ve been twitching. Of course, for many reasons. I think I’ll be a recovering adoptive mom until I go see Jesus face-to-face! Then I won’t twitch anymore…I don’t think. There’s nowhere for squeals, screams and voices to go other than reverberating throughout our open one-story home. I’ve spent many hours hidden in my bedroom these past two years. Head between pillows admittedly. Wishing the noises away after another day that felt 72 hours long. But I wasn't ready to let go of our neighbors or our nest. I love it here.
The home on the market, which inspired us putting ours on the market, was for sale just before we brought Mez and Kamise home two years ago. Dennis was infatuated with it then. Especially
the 3-car garage. It was a two-story home with five bedrooms and a bonus room. And three bathrooms!!! The thought of another bathroom was so lavish. With five kids sharing a bathroom, it seems one is often running across the house to my bathroom yelling, “Blank stunk up the bathroom again!”
Uh, yeah. That’s what it’s there for. In this house, one needs thick skin to survive the outbursts against necessary bodily functions. To be shamed for a process God designed as “good” really stinks. Literally.
The Deljean Circle home was put back on the market this last September. We toured it two days later and the home, which I wouldn’t even look at two years ago, captured my heart. Then it captured our children’s hearts (except Madison who hates change and is the only one in our current home with “me space”). But the noise is so loud she doesn’t prefer to exit her “me space” much at all. Back to the story…
As I wrestled with my God about my fear to provide a home that would be as lovely as this one, He reminded me that He’d taken my breath away (literally) when I visited our home the first time. It was the Mustang among Pinto’s as we looked for a home 12 years ago to house our family of five. I heard Him whisper as I wrestled with fear, “I can take your breath away again.”
How is it that He takes my breath away over and over, and I still doubt He’ll continue to care for me?
When I stepped foot into the Deljean home, it took my breath away. When I opened the door to the back yard, I screamed at the top of my lungs! We’ve never really had much of a backyard. Nowhere for the kids to run and play on our property. Deljean possessed a huge rectangular backyard which backed up to a greenbelt. I gasped air. Our realtor didn’t think we’d get the house. The owner had moved out and was anxious to sell. “They won’t take a contingency offer.” She followed up with, “God can do anything, but I don’t think you’ll get this home.” I kept whispering, “I think God wants to give us this house” with a mustard seed of hope. Just a mustard seed.
Hearts captured, we jumped into the great abyss. Put our home on the market, aching for an offer which would enable us to obtain the Deljean home. And it was October, the time of year the market slows considerably. We had a showing here and there. Many no shows. I hate no shows! We cleaned our tails off and each appointment was like a miscarriage to us all. Demanding labor. No fruit.
Four months later, we received an offer. And Deljean was still on the market! We all let hope loose from it’s container. We were finally free to submit an offer. But when our realtor walked into our home to write it up, she said, “You’re not going to believe this. There were two offers placed on the Deljean home today. And they’re strong offers. And they’re not contingent on a home closing like yours. They’re not going to choose a contingency offer when they have two strong ones without a contingency.” And our gaze shifted downward, to the realities before us. And we felt sucker-punched. Just moments before, we couldn’t wait to sign away our nest. In an instant, we were signing away our home with hope uprooted. Fear seeking to consume hope. Faith hung by a thread…a thin, weak strand.
We gave our kids the news as each one returned from school. Hope deferred one after another. “I don’t want to leave this house then, I don’t want to leave Eastwood!” exclaimed one who aches for space more than the rest.
“We can’t stay,” I solemnly muttered. I thought of the Israelites longing to return to Egypt, to comfort, to the known. “We have to believe that God is good still. That He has our backs.” All the while my terror that “He’s going to hang us out to dry” fought for space in my soul. Belief and terror battled hard.
Our realtor left. I fell onto my bed and gave birth to tears. Asking God what in the world He was up to. Stunned. Clinging to the remnant of hope remaining. All these months Deljean sat empty and the day we are released to offer, two others are as well? As I voiced my psalm of lament, I saw my children’s faces in my head and a will to fight to the end overcame hopelessness. Our kids needed to see us fight to the end for the home we thought God was providing for our family.
We asked our realtor to call their realtor. She found out they were presenting the offers to the owner of Deljean that night. I went to my spiritual formation group. A text popped up on my phone from Dennis, “They asked for a verbal offer to see if it’s strong enough to write a formal offer.”
Next text, “It’s not too late. Come home now and we need send in our formal offer!” Hope rising, still fighting the terror longing to swallow me. As I walked toward the door, one of my Ya-Ya’s said, “Write a letter to the owner of Deljean sharing your story. I wouldn’t have thought of that I was so neck-deep in emotion.
I cranked out a letter sharing our family’s journey with the Deljean home which began 2 1/2 years ago. The adoption. Our family’s transition. And our ache to live this next season of life in their home. At 11:30 pm, our offer was official. I fell into bed and wondered again what our wild God was up to. A picture of a peacock flashed into my mind.
“God, is this one of those times when you are getting ready to flare your peacock feathers in all their brilliance and flaunt your glory? That you pulled off the, “They’ll never choose you with two strong offers without contingencies,” for your glory alone? I’ve never thought of God as a peacock before. That was a new one. As I drifted into sleep, the vision of a flare-feathered peacock in all its glory was my last thought.
Nine o’clock the next morning Dennis calls. “Lis, are you ready for the news?”
“They chose our offer! Because of your letter!” Because of the story our God has been authoring through us, we were chosen. Our limping, wrestling, grace-dependent family was chosen.
“I screamed at the top of my lungs, “His peacock feathers are flared!” My girlfriend across the room screamed with me. Celebrating our God in all His glory!!! Orchestrating for the underdog. Aching to grow my faith, Dennis’s faith, our children’s faith. In Him. In His “I’ve got your back” reality. He seems to be taking us into a promised land. It has been a barren and refining two years since Meseret and Kamise joined us. All of us dying to self in more ways than we can number. It takes the death for there to be hope of a resurrection. And had He ever deposited hope!
Then I remembered. Three years earlier I sat across from a precious new friend in a seminar about listening to our God and speaking into one another what we heard Him whisper to us on their behalf. After a few minutes, Ann smiled, said, “I don’t know what in the world this means, but it’s all that comes to mind so I just need to say it…..”
I was stunned by the memory. For three years as I’ve driven by wild peacocks here and there, I’ve wondered why in the world God whispered that word to me. In an instant, three years of mystery collided with being chosen!
Peacock was His promise to care for me. To provide abundantly in a thirsty land. To nourish with manna, heaven’s food. To awaken hope. To grow belief. To de-tar my vision of His face a little bit more so I can see the real Him a little clearer. A lot clearer.
He has overwhelmed me with His glory once again. Dormant parts of me are gasping as His breath fills their lungs. So much of me has been hidden the past two years. Hidden purposefully by a Father willing to go to all lengths to capture the heart of His beloved as never before. In the hidden space, the flesh loses its breath. Nothing brings life to the weary soul except the One who is Real Life. Worldly hungers no longer satisfy. And His Word is the only food which comforts the pang of hunger. In the hidden space, life hinges on a thread. With the hope that He’s weaving a stunning tapestry with that one, last thread. Only He has vision for that kind of beauty in the darkness. Because the only thing I could see in the darkness was Him.
On April 18th, we are to close on the nest which has been a haven for 12 years, as well as the home which will be our haven in the next season of our lives. This psalmist is writing of His faithfulness and wild, extravagant love with a believing that’s deeper than it’s ever been.