The other day a dear friend wrote that she was having a tough time accepting the answer of “no” for something their family had felt was right for them/where they were supposed to be going. She commented on a post where I had said we continue to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and keep plugging along. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this week.
We have been given the answer of “no” so many times in our soon-to-be twenty-five years of marriage. Some of those times have been down right heartbreaking, but we have known that His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.
When we first married, we were not in agreement as to how many children we would have. Steve wanted two and I only wanted one child. Steve’s reason? Never let them outnumber you as his father always told him. My reason? I did not want to have more back pain and lose my “figure”, plus, I would be busy with my career. LOL! Wow, that sure was vain, wasn’t it? Yep, that was way back when we were in our late teens/early twenties. Amazing how the Lord deals with our flesh. Ask us today how many we’d like to have and you’ll hear, “As many as the Lord wants to give us”. And we are in agreement on that one. I could sit here and tell you the long story of our walk of accepting all the blessings that the Lord wants to give us over the years, but that will have to be another time. Suffice it to say that my “no” turned into “yes” to the Lord and so did Steve’s.
When we first married, Steve asked if I’d like to live in the country. I had dreamed of living on a farm and having farm animals when I was a small girl. However, by the time I met Steve, the world had been whispering in my ear that it was much better to live in a city or suburban area. Who would want stinky animals? Who would want to live so far from the city? We needed to be close to all the action. No, we would not live in the country, ever. Years later I began having such a draw to the country that I couldn’t stand it. Steve had always had it, but was content to live where ever I wanted (boy, I’ve been a tough cookie to live with over the years…got some red streaks in my hair from my Irish heritage for sure!)to live. We waited around 10 years before we finally were able to realize our dream of living on a 5.5 acre mini-farm. We thought we were staying there forever. The Lord said, “no” and called us to Connecticut after only 2.5 years on our mini-farm. There we lived for 2.5 years in a spiritually dark place on a smidge over 2 acres (we had given up our land and our poultry). The beauty there was amazing, but the darkness was oppressive. We, after only one year, began praying for the Lord to move us anywhere. We prayed for Him to move us home, wherever home may be. We knew we could not stay in CT any longer. Our whole family prayed daily for a year to move. The answer seemed to keep being “no”, until one day we were moving back to Indiana! Answer to prayer!
We lost lots (lots!) of money in the sale of our CT house and wiped out our savings to come back to IN, but we were home (or so we thought) finally. Only a few months after we arrived back in IN, we lost one week’s pay for 6 mths. every month. Steve was only being paid for 3 weeks work each month due to cost cuts. Then we were told the division was being sold and his job would be gone within the year. We had just come back “home” and now this? Steve was adamant that we were not moving again. I was open, but tired from all the moves. We stayed another 2.5 years for Steve to work at a company that was literally sucking the life out of him daily. We spent one whole year applying for jobs and praying for a job for Steve to come along that would allow him weekends off and time with our family, plus, less stress. Every time we thought a job was the one, the Lord said, “no”.
Then Utah came along (read story back in June and July) last spring and we said “no”. Not our ways, but His. The Lord was not going to let go of this one. He kept calling and we kept running. Finally, one day in July, Steve got on a plane and went to work here in Utah. The house came a few months later.
We kept saying (even family members and friends said this) that we would never find a place like our farm in IN again. When we finally started opening our hands and asking the Lord to give and take what He willed, He blessed us beyond belief. We now live on a ranch. Remember my earlier “nos”? 🙂
We also had said years before that we would not leave Indiana. Another “no” that we said to the Lord. We live in Utah now and we love it here. The beauty that the Lord has given us to see each day is beyond belief!
Another example of “no” in our lives is our babies in Heaven. Our first (7th child) miscarriage was a shock to us. After our 5 year old was born, Steve had said he wanted two more children. I was surprised as he had not put a number on our family-size since the early days of our marriage, but happy to pray for more. Our first miscarriage was a loud “no” from the Lord. No we would not ever hold our baby, no we would not see this child grow up and marry someday, no we would not see this child raise chidlren for God’s glory, no,…. I prayed fervantly to the Lord that He would not give us anymore children if we had to go through another loss like this again. His answer? No. He gave us another baby that we miscarried within 4 days of the one year date of our first miscarriage. This was when I walked in the desert for a few months. Finally, I came out of the desert and began talking with Steve about adoption. We had talked often of adopting in the early years of our marriage, but it had been put on hold while we were having babies. Now seemed like a good time to consider it.
Now in this adoption walk, we have been told “no” four times to being chosen as adoptive parents for a little one. That’s a tough pill to swallow too. No.
But, we know, from past experience, that the Lord has plans for us and that His “no” is sometimes very painful, but His “yes” is so amazing. When we learn to let go and hold out our hand asking the Lord to give us what we need and take what we don’t need, we are blessed beyond measure. Walking in faith is not easy, but it is so worth it.
I know you have areas of “no” in your life and may even be questioning God about it. I know it is difficult to open your hand and let go of what you are so tightly hanging onto, but if you do open your hand, you will be blessed. And when you are blessed, you need to share your story and bless others. And know that His “no” is a wonderful “yes” to something bigger, better, more than what you can imagine. We so often want to be in control and think we know best, but we do not.
May you be blessed in the no walk.
P.S. I just want to add here that we have many friends who live in the city and are blessed by it. My comment on the the world and us living in the country had to do with what the Lord had put on my heart at a young age-living in the country. But, the world had led me astray from what the Lord had planned for me. Looking back, I can see that the Lord had Steve growing up on a 140 acre farm, loving every minute of it, preparing him for someday when he married and lived on a ranch. He had me desiring that same thing as a small child too. Then he brought the two of us together. Sadly, my flesh got in the way for awhile. So, if you are called to live in the city, enjoy it! Be blessed by it! But, don’t fight the Lord on where He says you are to live.