All Things New

Tomorrow we can say it’s been a month.  One official month since our family got all of our vehicles and belongings in the same general vicinity and we all slept in our new house(es) on our new land, in our new town.  In most every way, I feel like we’ve adjusted amazingly well.  Perhaps the lengthy trips we’ve taken over the past several years in various living conditions have helped us be prepared for new things.

But it doesn’t hurt that waking up here every morning is an utter joy.  We all feel like we are on vacation!  Except for the working part.  But like a vacation, we have new things to do and see when we are not working!  And it doesn’t hurt that we moved to a place we’d only laid eyes on once before we moved in.  Not only had we not seen the house but one time, we’d only seen this area and all of its surroundings once before we made it our permanent home..  It sounds crazy even to my own ears.  But in our defense we’d read a lot about it!  Ha!

IMGP3921No, really, we researched this area and all it has to offer us and our dreams and when God showed us the house and  acreage that accompanied the dream, we were all in!  And after having road-tripped forty-eights states, this place, well, it captured our hearts in a huge way.  It has all of the elements of our favorite locations from coast to coast.   It has mountains and lakes of all sizes and rivers and the breathtaking vistas to go with them.  And lots of privacy.  We fall in love with it every time we go the many miles it is into town, or to see the sights, or right here on our lots-of-land.

And before you ask or comment about where we are, this location will remain a mystery for now since this is the *www* and all.

We went from a ranch house in the city limits to a three-story home on lots of acres.  Before, we had a garbage man.  Now…not so much.  Then, we could walk to town.  Here?  Ha.  Hahahaha!  Going to town by car is an event!  At night in our old house, we fell asleep near street lights and hoped the neighbors couldn’t see in if we left a light on.  Now, we are lulled to sleep by the sound of wolves howling, and frogs, and birds we’ve never heard before.  Here, at night, I awaken in the dark and look out my third-story, feels-like-a-treehouse-window, and see the blackest of nights lit only by a blanket of a gazillion twinkling stars;  below me a carpet of green lightning bugs twinkling away for their audience of one.  Here, I have wildflowers and roses and apple trees and waterfalls and quaint little towns dotted with friendly people and fresh slices of Americana.

And room to breathe.

What I haven’t gotten used to yet are just little things.  How does one possibly collect laundry from three different stories without it becoming a full-time job?  And vacuuming?  Don’t even get me started.  This house is just going to be less vacuumed.   And where in the world is my box of summer sandals?  Summer is half over and I have little hope of finding them in time.  Sigh.  And then this big dilemma:  in which drawer should the cheese grater belong?

And another thing that will take some time…somehow, we stick out like a sore thumb.  Maybe it’s the car we drive?  Perhaps our lack of an accent?  It could just be that everyone knows everyone here.

We do know that we belong here.  But like with anything new and shiny, there was a price to pay.  To get here, we had some cost.  I don’t mean literally, though that was a certainly a part of it.  I mean that God has His own plans for us — big, BIG plans that exceeded our own imaginations.  But to get to them, we really had to be willing to lay everything else down and follow His call.  I see that now in our story.  With even a month’s worth of perspective, the massive trials we went through were tuning us into His voice more than ever.  Before we could follow Him into this new and promised land, He needed to make sure that we were listening with all of our might.

If I was leading my kids blindfolded toward the biggest, most amazing surprise imaginable, I would hope that no matter how rocky the path, or how many obstacles along the way that they would trust my heart for them.  That they would listen for my voice and trust me to hold their hand and gently guide them to what awaited them.  And once they got there and the surprise was revealed, I would hope they would see the absolute love behind not only the gift, but the heart and hands that led them on the journey to get there.

That place, of obedience and listening is where I long to be.  So that makes this place, the one on the map, even sweeter.

And with that, I think I have a box of dish soap to find…

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The Storm has passed…

This is Part Four in a series.  For it to make any kind of sense, begin on Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

We now had four days until it was time to close on our current home.

Per the contract we signed some three months ago, the date could not be changed.  Almost felt laughable as we sat in an ICU pod 200 miles from home, needing to be present to sign papers in four short days.

Christian was still exhibiting the same symptoms of sickness.  Though his color was improving after all of the transfusions, he was still on a liquid diet and not moving a whole lot.  He was also still bleeding internally.  His platelet count was slowly coming up as were his hemoglobin levels.  As we received each positive new number from the lab, I would write it on the white board as physical proof and celebration of what God was doing.

The staff at Henry Ford!!  The nurses!  I don’t even know how to begin to describe them.  They became our cheerleaders, and friends, and advocates, and nurturers.  We have many to thank.  The care they gave was over and above what we were used to–simply exemplary.  Each one became a face and a friend we will never forget.

We got some test results showing a parasite.  This nasty guy had found its way into my husband and set up shop.  Not uncommon, this parasite had been found near our area recently.  Acting alone, this guy could cause some upset, but nothing like what we were seeing.  Still stymied, doctors kept searching.

Three days until closing.

I am sitting in the room with my husband.  I get a text from my favorite new doctor in our hometown–the one who sent us here.  The same one who offered to help my family in our absence.  He had gotten some lab results back and texted me to get the number for our ICU pod to talk to the doctors.  He gave me a name of a bacteria.  Google translated it for me.

This nasty bacteria had been found.  It is similar to E. coli.  This one caused low platelet count and bloody diarrhea.  Yup.

As the day progressed, our favorite Detroit doctor with whom we had great life conversations came in to tell us that it seemed that the parasite and the bacteria both present in Christian’s system had been having one heck of a party.

This was our answer.  Though unheard of, and baffling, the great news was the bacteria was treatable with a strong five-day antibiotic!  The doctors would continue to boost his system and make sure his numbers climbed, but when they did, we would be released.

I cannot tell you the relief we felt.  We rejoiced as a family.  We put all of our kids on speakerphone and praised God together.  We did happy dances.

And then, I left the room for a few minutes while my husband used the bathroom.  When I returned, my husband was furious and the beeps on his monitor were going crazy.  Some young resident doctors had come in during the few minutes I was gone and misread a report, scared Christian into thinking he was back in danger and tried to bully him into more invasive testing.

More proof of the spiritual attack against us.  The minute we had the victory in view, the enemy swooped in for one final attempted blow.

But it didn’t work.  We praised it away.  We spoke truth and life.  We rebuked fear.  The battle was over.

We all slept that night, he in his hospital bed, and I in my hospital apartment with my friend.  No more transfusions.  No more fear.  We were on our way outta there and we could feel it.  The spiritual tides had turned.

Two days until closing.

By the end of the day Saturday we were moved to a regular room. (!!!!!!)

One day until closing.

New doctors came in to be sure what we wanted was to be discharged.  “Shouldn’t we wait and get the numbers higher?” they would ask.  “Who will you follow up with to make sure he is okay if you’re moving?”

“Let us out!” we exclaimed.

“This case is incredible!” they said.  “You could sell your story,” they said.  “Residents will be doing case studies on you,” they said.

“This is our miracle!  Only God.” we said.

By Sunday at noon we were released.

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We drove straight to Five Guys Burgers and Fries for a burger.  Yup!  From jello and ginger ale to a cheeseburger and fries.

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And my friend drove us home. taxi

We hugged our children like never before.

On Monday, with bruises looking like tattoo sleeves up and down his arms and needle holes too numerous to count, and ankles swollen like balloons, we showed up at the title office to sign off on the sale of our home.

We never even unpacked.

On Tuesday, we loaded into our 26 foot box truck so incredibly packed by just our son and daughter and left with Load Number One on our 500 mile drive to our new paradise–with me behind the wheel for the very first time and my husband in the passenger seat with his feet elevated.  Thirteen hours later, we were reunited with our beautiful daughter and granddaughter.

Wednesday, we showed up at the title office in our new town to purchase our dream home.  You should have seen their shocked faces when we actually walked in!

Thursday and Friday my kids and I unloaded the contents of our truck into our new garage.

Friday and Saturday we drove back.

Sunday–ONE WEEK after our release, our beautiful friends and family came over to help us pack up the mess we were so behind on so we could drive again on Monday for Load Number Two, this time with my husband behind the wheel!

Let’s talk about how big our God is.  You cannot deny this miracle.  You cannot read our story and refuse to see the hand of God in every step.  The timing!  It’s simply miraculous!!

As bad as things got, as scared as we were, is exactly how good it is, how amazing it is on this side.  Once He put a stop to the attacks, everything turned around.  If we needed to show anyone that we would always acknowledge His love, no matter what the circumstances, we did.  If God needed to walk us through the valley of the shadow of death to draw us even closer to His heart, so be it.  Though it may have looked like we were unprotected, we were quite the opposite.  God only let the enemy so close before He put him square in his place and took His kids to our promised land.

Here we are.  A brand new start.  Resting and basking completely in the love of our God–through the storm AND on the other side.

And by the time the new owners got our former home, the basement had dried up.

Not one detail was missed.

The amount of love shown by our friends and family has been overwhelming.  We missed every single going-away dinner and gathering leading up to our move, but we got to hug so many necks that last day.  Some friends followed us on our move to help us unload!  We have had beautiful houseguests help us settle in almost all of these first days.  They are truly an extension of the love of our God.

This is His story–used only for His glory.  If you take even one thing from our story, see His love.  His love is beyond measure.  No matter what circumstances look like with our little eyes, God is working things out for the best for those who love Him.  It doesn’t mean things always go our way.  That’s not being loved, that’s being spoiled.  It means that He would lovingly do what it takes to draw us close to His heart;  to pull us in to a place where we know Him more.  More than houses, or good health, or things looking great on the outside, the whole point is to know where we stand with the One Who longs for a real relationship with us.  That has value far beyond this life.

I leave off for now with photos from our new home.  Stay tuned for more adventures from the farm.  There are sure to be many.

It is, of course, always an adventure…

 

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