The girls were barely out the door, heading off to school, before tears began falling. I padded through the empty house, my anguished sobs echoing in the silence. Worship songs played through my mind, reminding me that God was my rescuer, the one who sent His Son to die for me.
Yet, at that moment He was asking me to face a kind of death.
Bleak, grey clouds hung suspended over our paddock and the sky wept freely. I pulled a door wide open and breathed deep. The air pressed cool and moist against my skin, thick with the fragrance of grass and animals and a million happy memories.
God, does it have to be this way?
Like drops of rain, my words of protest fell, silenced, to the ground. Already I knew the answer. It was time to let go.
“I think God wants us to move,” my husband had said. “To Sydney.”
Sydney. The place of my birth, of schooldays and family celebrations, mild winters and long, hot summers. Sydney, where I’d spent the first twenty five years of my life – till God had led me to the remote island of Tasmania to study. For two years, I had thought. Just two.
But two had stretched into more than twenty. And slowly my shallow roots had lengthened and spread till my soul was firmly embedded in the rich loam of this land and my heart was knit with its people – some who I counted as ‘family’.
Now, once more and despite my resistance, God was pulling me away.
At first I discounted my husband’s thoughts but a vivid dream came later that evening. God spoke to me clearly, confirming His direction and infusing me with inexplicable confidence and joy. This move was His plan – for all of us, for our good.
Over the following five weeks He continued to assure us, even in the most unlikely ways – yes, a new season was imminent and we would be richer for it.
Words of challenge flowed steadily in those weeks as well. He spoke of surrender, of being uprooted and pushed out of the nest to free-fall. Part of me felt like wildly flapping, yet my heart was strangely at rest. He would catch us.
Then came the leaflet – a printed page dropped in our mailbox by a family seeking a home in our area. A home just like ours. Couldn’t I have more time, God? Yet again He nudged me in a direction I didn’t want to go. In a mere ten days, the deal was sealed. Our house would soon have new owners. Instantly the tone of life switched from earnest prayer and contemplation to gathering boxes and sorting treasures. Oh, what a time of sifting!
There are days in the midst of this season when faith soars and images of exciting new ventures fill my mind. And there are times – like this – when the pain of separation seems unbearable, even impossible to endure. That’s when I draw near to my Father once again and listen to His whisper.
Later I will understand why He sold our house so swiftly.
Later I will see why we had to leave so much – and so many – behind.
Later I will be glad we took the risk and followed His directions, for we will be savouring the new life He has given us.
With red ink I recorded His words in my journal, adding them to the many revelations He’d been giving. As I put down my pen He draped a new layer of hope over my heart.
I cannot see all that will unfold in the months ahead. But one thing I’ve learned from the past – God can be trusted. Though this is a time of grief and pain, we will rejoice again. Perhaps, like sunrise after an especially dark night, joy will burst forth sooner than I think.