1 Samuel 7:12
Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder... to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that ...these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
When we started thinking about moving, we began to learn how to rely on God every day for every thing. We knew he wanted us to move and do this kind of crazy thing, but we kept getting so consumed by the details that we would freak out a little bit. (OK, maybe that was mostly me freaking out, but I'm a details person, OK?) Every few weeks we would be faced with something that seemed literally impossible. We could not, in our minds, conceive how it might work. Each time we would commit those things to God, learning to pray fervently, telling God that we couldn't do it and begging him to please do it for us. And do it he did. Each and every time we prayed, God moved. Not always in the exact ways or in the exact timing we would have planned, but always better than we asked or imagined.
Each step that God has led us in is precious to me. I want to be able to look back and say just like Samuel, "God did it. Look how God has helped us so far." Here are stones that we are praising God for. For me, they serve as a reminder of all that God has done and all he's asking us to trust him for in the future.
Stone #1: Admission & Tuition
As I said in my previous post, not only did Brent get into one school, he got into three. We felt that Duke was the best fit for us taking into consideration location, program, quality of life, and people. We were thrilled for Brent to get admitted and were prepared to take out loans to pay for the degree. But God gave us more than we even asked - Brent received a scholarship to pay for his tuition. We are so grateful, and this made us even more sure that Duke was the place for us.
Stone #2: Houston Home
Maybe you've noticed, but it's not exactly a good time to sell a house. Much less a custom-built house. Much less in a short time frame. Much less in Humble, Texas. Much less when there are THIRTEEN other houses for sale in your very subdivision. So it will come as no surprise that I was pretty worried about selling our home. We put our house on the market back in January and began to pray. Every time I drove in the driveway and saw the sign, I tried my best to not freak out, but it was hard. However, I temporarily forgot that God does things on his own time, which is even better than our time! We prayed for the perfect buyer to come along, and she did. Our house is in the final phases of being sold, and it will close the very week we are leaving for Durham. Perfect? Yes. I certainly did not bring that buyer. The Lord did.
Stone #3: Durham Home
We visited Durham for 4 days back in April for Brent to attend the new student weekend. We knew this was the only time we would be in Durham before we actually moved there, so it became apparent that we needed to find a place to live in a very short time period and in between all of the events Brent had to attend. We planned to mostly look at apartments, but at the last minute, we found a Realtor who would show us a few houses for rent. I prayed for God to go ahead of us to Durham and prepare the perfect place for us to live, and he did. We met the Realtor as soon as we got off the plane and looked at the three rentals. The first and third houses didn't fit our needs, but the second one felt homey from the moment I walked in the door. We weren't ready to make a decision quite yet, so we went and looked at tons of apartments, but I just didn't feel good about any of them. The whole weekend that second house kept tugging at my mind, and I made one of the quickest decisions I've ever made - I told Brent I could not stop thinking about house #2 and what did he think? Well, he couldn't stop thinking about house #2 either :-) So we immediately called to rent the house and got it.
I am in love with this house. It's smaller than our current house, but it's so cozy and charming. It's an old cottage that's been totally remodeled. It's on a beautiful, historical, tree-lined street within biking distance from campus. The giant front porch with beadboard ceiling makes my heart beat a little bit faster. I can not WAIT to get some rocking chairs and sit on that porch in the cool NC weather with a glass of wine. SO EXCITED.
Looking into the living room
Super cute study which will become super important! Read on.
Stone #4: Job
I won't go into every single detail, but I prayed hard for a job for me in Durham. I applied to two jobs that I really wanted, but I didn't get either of them. Although I definitely cried, I began to realize how wonderful closed doors are. I'm so glad I didn't get those jobs because clearly they were not God's will for me. It's like God was protecting me from myself. I ended up getting another job offer in Durham that sounded really promising, and I was about to accept it.
However, at the same time, my current employer, YES Prep, talked to me about an interesting offer. I have been blessed to work for YES in many capacities for five years now, and I'm quite entrenched in the organization. Right now I'm the Content Specialist for middle school English meaning that I basically manage middle school English across eight campuses including curriculum, common assessments, and teacher support. I never thought to ask or even dare to imagine that YES would consider keeping me on staff. However, that's just what they offered, and I accepted.
I'm going to be working full time in my current job and traveling back and forth. The majority of the time, I"ll be working from home in North Carolina which is pretty much a dream come true. Then I'll travel to Houston for one week every six weeks to run professional development and district-wide meetings and observe teachers in their classrooms. Though I'm sad about leaving the classroom, I'm grateful to get to work on things I love: curriculum, instruction, assessments, and teacher development & coaching. I will also have tons of flexibility to hang out with Brent and hopefully get involved with a new church and a campus ministry. I am BEYOND excited about this arrangement, and so glad I get to continue to do what I've worked so hard to build up. Praise God for giving me something I did not ask or even hope for! He is good.
Stone #5: Grad School
More than a year ago, I was trying to decide if and where to attend grad school. I looked at a lot of schools here in Houston since that seemed to be easiest and make the most sense. However, God really led me to choose the summer program at Columbia. Praise God that he knew the plan WAY before we did! Moving to NC will not disrupt my grad schooling one bit. Had I done a program here in Houston, I'd be scrambling to find something else right now. I'll be in NYC the entire month of July this year, and (this is the best part!), Brent gets to come with me! That's right... he will be on break before his school starts, so he's going to come to NYC and hang out with me for a month! Again... couldn't even dream it, yet it's happening. We're renting an apartment on the Upper West Side for the month, and we're even bringing Blazer since we're driving from NC. I mean.... seriously? Is God good, or WHAT?!?
Here are a few pics of the apartment we will rent in NYC. The quality is not great since I copied them off the Internet, but you get the idea! Love it! That couch looks pretty comfy if you want to come visit!
We have so much to look forward to here in the Norwood Nest and pray that your family is also blessed by our amazing God. God has done it!! As we look back on the stones and remember what God has done and who He is, how can we not trust Him with our very lives?