No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Jul. 21, 2012

Wha'dya do when Hope slips? You give it a hand up.

Hebrew 11:1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

We’ve been back home for two weeks now.  Alex first coined it “5 star camping” and I’ve been using that term ever since.  We’ve got all we need; our power is by generator and intermittent; our hot water is courtesy of a kettle or the black tubing Brad has put on the roof.....we're thankful it's summer!  Bathing is “a la sponge bath” or, for some who’ve been able to take advantage of it, via the said black tubing on the roof…..or via the goodness of a kind friend.  In the evening during our down time, we run the generator so we can watch a movie; no cable, no satellite but we’ve survived!  Actually I would say we’ve done more than just survive.  Hydro, we’re told, will be hooked up on Monday and though I will welcome the regularity it will bring, there is something that’s been thoroughly enjoyable about "roughing it" these past couple weeks.  This is a summer we will never forget; not just for the wonderful events we will be celebrating as a family with Ben and Noah’s upcoming nuptials (no, they aren't marrying each other.....there are girls), but the memories we are making together as we work side by side, through the frustrations that come when working together on a challenging task.  We do it pretty well; we've had some practice!

10 years.  In April of 2002 we purchased this place we call home.  It’s not an ordinary home, but then again, we’re not your ordinary family.  We moved in just in time to celebrate Canada Day when  our first guests come to stay with us.  I’m not sure if we actually had our beds moved in as yet but we had lots of mattresses that did the job just fine, thankyouverymuch.  "We had a dream"......and moved here with all of the excitement that a new adventure brings.  Of course, new adventures come with all sorts of other things, too; they rarely, if ever, go according to plan and you fairly quickly learn that the dream that so inspired you at the beginning can become much less enchanting as time wears on.....   

We fairly quickly learned that this place was much larger than we could handle on our own.  That point was brought home when the cheques from the “new job with the promise of big money” starting bouncing.  This was something new and the beginning of a season that brought with it a lot of conflicting feelings and yes, excitement.  The everyday miracles…….the many little things that happened daily and showed us that though we felt out of control, God was very much in control.  Tires that went flat in the driveway after driving to and from Ottawa to pick up the kids after school, rather than on the side of the 416 while doing 120.  Gas tanks that ran far below empty and groceries that showed up at the door.  Winning concert tickets for Noah’s birthday and watching him get to meet Steven Curtis Chapman was amazing!  Experiencing the generosity of a church family at Christmastime… well as on other days was great and huge boosts for us.  There were other things, though, that showed a deeper change as a result of the journey.  My children showed themselves to be givers; though they had little, they gave abundantly of what they had.  I’ll never forget Cam coming home from school and making a bee line for his room, lugging back his favourite stuffed tiger and his much loved bed cover.  They had received a challenge at school and he took it seriously.  Meagan actually said that she wished her friends could experience what we had.  For my part, I enjoyed the best Thanksgiving that year and at Christmas, Brad had an idea and we threw the doors wide open, invited everyone in and had a spectacular time making some of our greatest memories as a family.  

There were moments of doubt.  Times when I thought we should “go back”; everything would be ok if we just went back.  For the Hebrew children, there was safety and a sense of comfort in the familiar, even though it was thebondage and slavery they had cried to be delivered from.  I'm not so different; I could relate. 

One day in particular I was struggling.  I felt stretched beyond my comfort and my mind was racing.  I was visiting with a friend who was encouraging me to "go back" and when she left the room to answer the phone my thoughts turned to what had brought us to where we were.  As I recalled the steps we’d taken my mind stopped racing.  The confusion was gone and I was overwhelmed with peace and knew we were exactly where we needed to be.  We didn’t go back; we chose to cross our own “Red Sea”and go forward, despite what was oftentimes uncomfortable.  That was many years ago.  I’ve certainly not walked in constant peace since then, but I've never forgotten that afternoon.  There have been other times I’ve had to deal with doubt; times when Hope slipped and Faith seemed nowhere to be found……they were still there, though.  Some days they get buried beneath the stuff of life and I have to give them a hand up, wipe the dust off and be reminded again.
This morning I was sweeping up the nails, staples and insulation in the center block.  The fire of April, 2009 did some damage there, however much of it is just surface colour and is salvageable.  The kitchen and back entrance took the worst hit.  Our plan is to put up a second story and a new roof.  This rebuilding, renovation, restoration; whatever you want to call it…..well, it isn't quick and doesn't always go according to the plan, but as I swept up those nails and staples and insulation, I found myself reminded that this place; this Palace, is far larger a job than what we are able to accomplish on our own.  The difference now compared to 10 years ago?  My hope isn’t in the Palace or the dream of what it could or will be.  It's certainly not in the new job with the promise of big money or the mortgage broker or the insurance company.  My Hope is  in God, 'cause my hope is from Him.     

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is IN you.  Psalm 39:7
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is FROM him.  Psalm 62:5    

It’s not gone the way we planned, but we can still see what could be.   It’s not going to be easy, but it IS worth it.