The Start of the End

April 16, 2012

When my husband and I moved to our new home almost three years ago, we were just recently married. We were living next door to my in laws and the original plan was to attend Seminary and work until we both graduated. By the middle of the summer my husband felt the itch to provide for his new family. I encouraged him in his journey towards vocational ministry. 

He sent three resumes out. The first was a reject. The second church showed interest. We started the interview process and waited patiently to hear positive news. We had just received an annual contract from this church when the third prospect called us asking for more information. We were high on positive thoughts from our interview process and we ignored the third prospect. 

We decided within a month’s time to take the job and move into the wilderness. 

We found a house to rent that would allow us to have our two dogs and rented a Uhaul. The owner of the house told us that his previous tenants would have vacated the premises on a certain date, so we showed up with our Uhaul, our car, and our two dogs. We even had a group of church members who kindly volunteered to help us move our stuff into the house. Well we found out very shortly after being in the driveway of the house that the tenants had not vacated the premises and it would still be a day or two before we could move into our house. 

We had a couple from the church volunteer to host us while we waited the extra day or two. While, the church member’s hospitality did not go unnoticed I had a huge problem with this plan. I moved all my stuff down to find out we are temporarily homeless. This did not sit well with my neurotic, controlling self. 

The next day we were able to move our stuff into the house. I feel like I will never truly be able to put into words how awful the house itself was, let alone my suburban reaction to it. It was over ninety degrees in the middle of August and we did not have air conditioning. The house held a musky smell that should only be really experienced when reading a Stephen King novel. The bathrooms were carpeted and full of mold. The kitchen was filthy. The carpet had not been cleaned in years, or so it seemed. We did have a gracious number of volunteers who came during that day to help us clean our house and to help us move.

Looking back two and a half years later, I feel like that house was the physical representation of what our ministry experience was going to be during this wilderness time.

I cried that night. I wept for my selfish desires of wanting to have an air conditioned, clean, and mold free environment to live in. But, when God calls you to the wilderness he does not promise a clean or cool environment.  

When God calls you to abide in His obedience, He doesn’t promise the American dream. 

When we moved down I was determined to find work, but this was a difficult venture as we had moved to one of the most poverty stricken areas in the state. So, not only did I live in a place that I felt was unsuitable, I had to spend the majority of my time in this place. I hated the smell, the dirt, and the fact that I had to wear flip flops in the shower, because there was a stain on the floor that wouldn’t come off. I hated that since our toilet leaked, the carpet in the bathroom was always wet and always smelled. 

This house was a representation of how I was feeling in every other aspect of my life as well. I hated where we were and what we were doing. I started to resent my husband for moving me to such an awful place. I started to resent this “loving” God who put me in such a place. I grew up in a church where God’s plan was so big and powerful, and he wanted us to be apart of it! How could this negative experience be apart of that plan? 

Little did I connect that my own life was the true representation of the house in which I was living in. My heart stunk like mold, my soul was stained with dirt and muck, my physical body was not a healthy representation of a Christ follower, and my mind was soaked in a narrow view of God and his Kingdom.

I was the messy house. 

God had called me to the wilderness to let me abide in my filth so that I could truly recognize that I was in desperate need of the Spirit to come and cleanse me. 

This messy house was the start to my own end. 

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