How do you discern what God wants for you? Some people tell me they hear the clear voice of the Lord directing their path. Me? I often need a cast iron skillet over the head and then it’s “Ouch! You want me to do what?”
For several years Thad and I have been praying about moving closer to our daughter and her family so that we could enjoy more interaction with the grandchildren. We didn’t necessarily want to live in the Orlando area (too hot and still in the summer) but 30-40 minutes away along the Eastern coastline to enjoy our love of the ocean would be ideal. Not too close to be meddlesome (that goes both ways) but close enough to celebrate a soccer game well played, and school events. Of course, the idea of enjoying time with my daughter over a spur of the moment cup of coffee rather than just at holidays and birthday celebrations, and weekly telephone conversations was something I craved. We also didn’t want to wait until we needed to be moved to an assisted living facility close to them so they could manage our care. In essence, we wanted to make some good memories while we were still healthy enough to make them.
Over the last two years we looked at many towns, homes, apartments, however, nothing made our hearts sing. Every place we saw didn’t seem quite right. In prayer time, I began to think that maybe God was telling us that he wanted us to stay right where we are. After all, we love our home which we have renovated to our liking and even made it handicap accessible for our “golden years”. We love our church, church family, friends and wonderful neighbors that are there when needed but not nosey, noisy, and nasty. Life is good here and we feel blessed. “OK, Lord. I will still my longing and will listen and obey.” So we stopped looking and I waited for the cast iron skillet to drop on my head.
It never did. Instead, over a cup of coffee at our daughter’s home during the Christmas holiday, I let my fingers stroll through Realtor.com. I had done this many times to no avail so my expectations were low. This time, however, I found a few homes in the community next to our daughters and we decided we would go look just for the fun of it.
And there we found a possibility. It wasn’t where we had planned but it had something…
We went back a second time and walked around the property and just stood in the middle of the house. It felt good, peaceful, simple and serene. We looked at the neighborhood; we talked with our son in love and daughter and even our 8 year old grandson, Aiden. One year old Ryker just smiled when I asked for his opinion.
Was this where God wanted us next or were we simply getting caught up in the excitement of the possibility? Was this truly God sending us a message? How would we know?
We prayed for discernment. I prayed for a sign and ducked in case the cast iron skillet was about to descend.
In the end, the decision was between God and us. It was His timing and not ours. It was where he wanted us and not where we wanted to be (closer to the beach and not by “The Mouse”) And while I am already feeling the pangs of separation from my church, friends, neighbors and even our current home, we both feel that it is God closing this chapter and opening a page to a new one.
No cast iron skillet. No fretting, no worries. Just a feeling that while sorting and packing up a home of 29 years (39 in one town) may be quite a challenge for these two rusty 60 somethings, God has gently spoken to our hearts and said
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]