When God doesn’t care what you want
Summertime, to me, is never lounging at the pool, slathered in sunscreen. It’s not taking my kids to museums and on picnics. No, my summers involve running my graphic design business from home, but with three kids coming and going all day long. A schedule so full my calendar program can’t fit all the day’s events in the little squares in month view. My stress levels ratchet up. Clutter consumes my environment.
And did I mention I have a book to finish?
So it makes perfect sense to me that my dad chooses now to sell his house.
But not just any house — the home I grew up in. The one my mom restored, decorated and adored. The one my parents moved into when I was 11 months old, that was built by my great-great grandfather. The place where Mom wanted to be (and was) when she died two years ago. The land on which it sits has belonged to my family for over 150 years — and, other than my sister and me, Mom was the last family member on this branch of the family tree.
My dad can’t bear to be in the house anymore. He’s in Florida now, he’s in love, and it’s too much to maintain and take care of this huge yard and old home if he’s not here.
I get it. But I don’t like it.
The other night as I was trying to sleep, I had a brainstorm. Aha! My secret weapon! I would pray that the house wouldn’t sell. At least not right now.
I don’t care if it’s not a very charitable prayer. But selling it — and the work involved in clearing out 4.2 acres (45 years’-worth of storage in a house with attic, garage, barn and my dad’s former studio building) — is something I just do not have time for right now. I’m barely holding it together. I shut out the voice inside that, hesitantly, suggested maybe faster is better. Ripping off a band-aid and all that.
I prayed my prayer anyway. God, I can’t do this right now. I do not have time.
So imagine my
disgust surprise when, 48 hours after listing the house, Dad got two offers. Two more showings are scheduled in the next 48 hours. And all I can do is — well, cry, of course — and look up at the sky and say, “Really, God? Are you kidding me?!”
It’s not the first time God has seemed to ignore what I wanted. And it won’t be the last. But for now, I guess I’m just going to have to fall back on this: God, if this is what You want to do, then do it. But You’re gonna have to equip me to somehow get through this. Provide others who can do the work. Provide sufficient funds to hire out work. Make me OK with not having time to sort, pack, or otherwise handle everything in this house. Help me accept that we may have to box everything up and shove it into storage for the time being.
Help me be happy for my dad, because I’m having a lot of trouble with that right now.
Just get me through the summer.
I know there are bigger problems. Injustices, heartbreak, evil and tragedy and despair. It’s just a house, right?
But this camel’s back is breaking. The weight of it all is too much. Please pray for me. And please understand if you don’t hear as much from me on this blog through the rest of the summer.
God has an interesting sense of humor. The whole “praying upside down” idea came through the process of selling our old house — a process that took two years and was harder than I ever dreamed. But I saw Him in all of it. And He gave me strength to get through it. Now I’m on the other end — a house selling too fast. Lord, give me insight. Help me understand. Help me pray and worship You anyway and not get so caught up in my own frustration that I become bitter and ugly and push You away again, like I’ve done too many times when things don’t go my way. Teach me. Comfort me. Hold me. Help me not feel so alone in all of this. And remind me, over and over, that the ‘no’ you’ve given me may also be a huge, wonderful, miraculous ‘yes’ to the person buying this. Maybe even to my dad.
Let me practice what I preach. Help me to find a new perspective — upside down or whatever You’ve got for me.
Just let me see You in this. Because I know You’re there.