Have you ever shaken up a Christmas present and tried to guess what was inside of it? Well, lately, I’ve been feeling like that box.
Yes, the rumors are true. We are moving from California. Here’s the tricky part. I can’t tell you where we will be moving to exactly.
Don’t try to shake the secret out of me, please! I’ve had so many friends try to do that already. I think that’s how the bruise got on my leg. Either that or it was from the coffee table.
Here is what I can tell you. There are a couple of awesome opportunities in the East for Daddy-O. Our lease here in California was coming due. The decision was between staying, getting one of those opportunities, and then the boys and I not being able to leave right away or just leaving now and hoping for the best. Going month-to-month or even 3-6 months was an outrageous sum of money but that could also be done.
Daddy-O and I got down on our knees and prayed. We fasted.
I heard God call me to forgive my husband for all the past wrongs. Say what?!
Sometimes God gives you answers to a question you didn’t know you asked.
My husband and I haven’t always had a wonderful marriage. It is amazing that we are still married considering everything we’ve been through. Our union had become more a matter of keeping a covenant with God than about being in love.
The last four years really forced us to come together as one united front. God has a way of making His children choose between following Him and recognizing you need Him or allowing you to wander off without Him.
Thankfully my husband already had a belief but it wasn’t sure and it wasn’t strong, it certainly wasn’t consistent. God was whatever Daddy-O needed Him to be when it was convenient.
When we ran to the desert for our dear lives three years ago we tried to make it fit our expectations and standards instead of allowing us to be transformed by it. We fought hard for a whole year, too. I’m not sure what the breaking point was exactly when we recognized that we needed to stop doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
One Sunday morning we drove past this mega church and Daddy-O wondered aloud, “What must be going on in there to make that many people get up every Sunday morning?” You see, we had to pass that massive parking lot to get to our 100 member church. We simply were not getting filled with the Holy Spirit at all at this church. It became more of a struggle defending our right to be there than it was worth.
I don’t know why but my mouth flew open and I said, “Let’s go there today!”
Anyway, to shorten the story, all four of us ended up “getting dunked” in their big bathtub a few months later. That’s another story for another time.
A year went by after that, we had witnessed many events that could only be explained as miraculous. Yet Daddy-O had not given up all of his addictions. He made the mistake of asking me one evening as we walked Ms. Thang how I wanted to celebrate our new birthday. I blew up at him. In my book he was still not fully healed.
I said this already having geared up for another major argument because that was our way of being with each other. I would discover his sins and blow up, he would repent (or seem to), we would make up, I would forget all about it, and he would go back to his old ways. Rinse and repeat.
What happened next astounded me because it was so out of character for my husband.
He teared up. This tall, large, 100% American beef of a male teared up. Part of it was that he thought I didn’t know. The other part was that I was right. He didn’t talk to me much for the next few days and I certainly didn’t initiate any conversations. We went about our lives doing what needed to be done in our day to day lives.
Our senior pastor loves to put kiddy pools at the front of the sanctuary and do mass baptisms from time to time. We do baptisms at every service but these are special times of the year. I didn’t think anything about it. In fact, I woke the day before in a lot of pain so going to church was the last thing I wanted to do that morning. Yet something nudged me, forced me, to go to my computer and turn on the service and watch it online.
Just as I did I saw my husband being dunked, again, in all of his clothes. He came up and he was glowing, and bawling like a baby.
I felt a rush of wind swirl around me. What in the world was going on?
When my husband came home I kissed him all over. I asked him so many questions. We sat and talked for a long time. Over the following weeks I could see, and knew, that he had indeed changed. Greatly. Immensely. Irrevocably.
Except I hadn’t. I still went through the motions. I still kept tabs on his actions. I was waiting for him to slip up so I could say, “Aha! I knew it! I am better than you and you are evil!”
This brings me back to the whole “do we stay or do we go” thing. (See, you knew that if you just stuck it out there would be a point to all of this. Boom! Here it is.)
God knew that nothing was going to work unless I was all in, heart, mind, and soul with the next step of this journey. He kept finding ways to say, “Letting a hurt go does not equal forgiveness and you are not without sin.”
The next Sunday as I sat in church when the pastor gave the altar call, I felt this increasing pressure on my chest. I heard God say, “Come! I am calling you!”
What do I need to go forward for? I am perfect. I am fine. I am a Christian.
I may or may not have given into my illness the next two Sundays.
In the meantime, my husband was attentive, caring, kind, and good. He was better than good; he was in tune with my needs and wants.
Increasingly, quotes like “forgive 7 times 70″ and other such things kept popping up in my Pinterest feed.
As I was praying one morning I heard, “Sometimes you have to lay your hurt, and anger, at my feet to loosen its grip on you.” It was one thing to forgive but I hadn’t forgotten and I hadn’t given up my anger. I was expecting my husband to revert back to this old ways. His being baptized twice now somehow didn’t count in my book.
But it isn’t about my justice, now is it? It certainly isn’t about yours either. God had washed away the sin. God had filled this man with the Holy Spirit. I know because I sensed it. He was indeed a changed man.
So what was my problem? The only way to get over it was to get past it and leave it at His feet. I talked to my husband about this. He said that I had to do what I felt called to do. Except the next Sunday I just sat there in my chair. And the next Sunday, too.
Daddy-O reminded me that the date for telling the property manager what we were going to do was quickly approaching. We had prayed and fasted and prayed some more but he hadn’t heard anything, just to be supportive of me. He wanted to know how he had not been supportive. I told him. I told him everything, including what God wanted me to do. Without blinking or flinching Daddy-O said that we were going to do that and he would walk with me.
When the time came I was scared but he just grabbed for my hand, looked at me and said, “We can do this together.” And we did.
It was weird. I felt like I was floating. I thought I would be able to see people’s faces as they gawked at me but you really can’t as you’re moving forward. You can hear the clapping. You can feel the love. You can see the happy surprise on the pastor’s faces as they recognize you. It just moves so quickly and fast. It’s more a blur than anything.
As I walked I felt the weight lift off of me like a wet blanket floating away.
The next day we told the property manager that we would not be renewing our lease. We knew that our time here had ended. It was time for the next adventure. What is that adventure?
See, there you go, wanting to shake the Christmas box! I’ll have more information probably by the 28th. That will be Part 2 of “Big News!”
Until then, I’ll be packing. You can follow our trip back East on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I’ll do my best to take as many pictures as I can and keep you up to date on all the details. God bless and thank you for your fellowship!