By Lindsay Schlegel
Have you ever had God answer a prayer with a “yes” and then struggle to accept his generosity?
For the last six years, my husband and I have lived in his childhood home with his parents. When we moved in, we had two children. Today, praise God, we have four.
We did a lot of work on the house and made our side (it’s a mother-daughter, or in this case, a father-son) feel like home. Still, as our family has grown and the kids have gotten bigger, things were feeling tight. In weaker moments, I whined to God and to my husband that the house wasn’t big enough for us anymore. As an introvert who needs her space, I struggled with what felt like closer and closer quarters.
At the same time, I recalled a college mission trip to Belize. My group spent a week with Hand in Hand Ministries, helping to build a small home. Except in our case, midway through the week, there was a lumber shortage and our progress came to a halt. The next day we learned that the family we were trying to serve was squatting on the land they called home. The owners didn’t mind their squatting but did not want a structure built. Our group was heartbroken when we learned we’d need to pick up the base we’d built and move it across town to the next family on the list. We’d gotten to know this family, and it was so hard to say goodbye.
How in the world did I find any justice in complaining about my home—with heat, A/C, water, and access to good schooling—when I knew firsthand I had so much more than people elsewhere in the world? How could I entertain the idea that what I’d been given wasn’t enough?
Yet my husband agreed that it might be time to look for a larger house for our family. His parents graciously agreed that we could use more space. (His father is homebound; it was understood that they would come with us.)
We decided to start looking. We met with a realtor to understand what our current home might sell for. She knew of a home that might suit us. This is the home from which I write this post today.
We essentially looked at one house and put in an offer that was quickly accepted.
Throughout inspection and negotiation, I struggled to accept that what I’d wanted (complained about) had so speedily come to a resolution. People had so much less; how could I have wanted more?
When I brought this idea to friends—effectively apologizing for what I’d wanted—time and again they understood why we were moving and were excited about our next steps. Some told me we deserved it, which didn’t sit right with me. We don’t deserve this home. Not more than any other of God’s creation deserves safety, shelter, food, and drink.
How could I reconcile this new reality of mine? The papers were nearly signed. The house would be in our name.
I brought my doubts to my spiritual director. He made two wise observations. First, he’d noticed how my face lit up when I talked about the house. That, he said, showed him that this was God’s plan for us.
Second, he noticed my husband and I had been open to the possibility of a house, then God had taken the reins. We kept taking the next logical step, and boom! we had a house under contract.
“You gave your yes,” he told me. And God did the rest. I could trust that.
In order to give thanks, we are trying to share this gift as much as possible.
Building off of a group study I hosted last year, I’m opening my home once a week for fellowship with other women. No agenda, just a perpetual invitation to come and find rest here. A way to give back what’s been given to us.
God answered the desire of my heart that, really, He put there Himself. Rather than feeling guilty, today I acknowledge this tremendous gift and give thanks, for God is good. His mercy endures forever.
About the author:
Lindsay Schlegel seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift up the contemporary woman to be all she was created to be. She contributes to a variety of nonfiction and fiction publications and speaks about recognizing God’s voice and living that truth. Find her book, Don’t Forget to Say Thank You, here. Connect with her at LindsaySchlegel.com or on Instagram.