As a believer one of the greatest struggles that we experience is discerning what the Lord’s will is for our lives. After setting aside our will and submitting to the Father’s, we yearn for Him to show us and tell us clearly the direction He wants us to follow. And while I believe that the Lord honors those who follow His will, His ultimate goal is not to provide an expedient, easy answer. His will goes far beyond logistics; His plan centers around providing opportunities for us to grow and ultimately to become more Christlike as we wait for God’s plan to unfold.
God’s will is never delayed. It is never late. It is never too early and never wrong. The unfolding of His plan is a divinely choreographed dance of closed and open doors. Each door guiding us and leading us down the path, closer to the beautiful unfolding of His divine plan.
Yet, the question of how to know God’s will is still very much present on the hearts and minds of His children. I believe that it is through the opening and closing of doors that we know what God’s will is.
My last post dealt with the topic of closed doors. If you have not had a chance to read through this post, I would encourage you to take the time to do so. It is only through the long years of repetitively closed doors that I could clearly see and appreciate the swiftness and clarity that came when God opened the floodgates and pushed door after door open.
For three years my husband and I actively petitioned the Lord for direction as to where to relocate. We prayed this simple prayer:
“Lord, please show us your will. We are willing to follow. Please open doors, help us to walk through them, and close the wrong doors. Please make your will clear. “
God was faithful and answered that prayer time and time again. He opened doors for us to walk through and explore, and He then proceeded to close every single door firmly. With time the pattern began to wear us down emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We questioned what the Lord was doing. We wondered if He knew of our need. We questioned if He cared. Yet despite our doubt, He remained faithful and firm, waiting to reveal His plan in His perfect timing, and in a way where there would be no doubt or second guessing. It was only through the closed doors that we confidently saw when the Lord began to open the doors.
It was a typical morning for me. I woke up with my husband to see him off to work and then proceeded to sit down at my computer to pray and look for jobs and relocation opportunities for my family. This had been my routine for nearly three years. But this morning I was prompted to send out a completely impromptu email. I dug up the email of the manager at the university that my husband had interviewed with several years before. That interview had yielded no results, yet, the Lord prompted me to inquire as to whether or not there were any employment opportunities available.
To my surprise, I received a prompt response back confirming that there was indeed an opening and that they would be happy to speak to my husband over the phone. My husband spoke to the manager that afternoon, and within a few days’ time my husband was offered a position at the university, the salary was confirmed, and a start date was established.
After years of one no after another, my husband and I had just experienced our first yes. And it was a yes that was followed by details and confirmations. For a moment we paused, and I will admit, we questioned if this was the right move. The salary for this new position would be greater than a 50% decrease from my husband’s current salary. It would bring our yearly income to an unimaginable level, one that on paper seemed ludicrous. Yet, after prayer, we felt that the Lord was leading us to say yes.
And we did. It was both exciting and terrifying. Door #1 open.
We had three months to sell the house that we were in, find a new home, get a mortgage, pack up and move. My attention promptly turned to selling our current house because without the sale of the house we could not even begin to look for housing in Virginia. Approximately two years prior I had invited a local realtor to come over and evaluate the house. I was taken back by how helpful, honest, and successful this local couple was. My husband and I had no doubt that when the time came to put the house up on the market, we would utilize this couple.
Well, that time had arrived. The couple came over, gave us the basic rundown, and told us what they believed we should list the house for. That night I remember both my husband and I looking at each other. I believe that I piped up first and expressed my concern that the listing price was significantly lower that what I thought that it should be. My husband agreed. Our house was located in a highly sought after area. It was a small home, roughly 1100 square feet on a small parcel of land. Through the years my husband and I had worked to make updates throughout, but we knew full well that the roof was old, the water heater was nearly 20 years old, and the siding needed to be updated. But despite all of that, we knew the house could fetch more money.
I called the realtor and expressed my concern. He confidently stood by his number and detailed how he thought the process would go. He anticipated that we would only need to show the house for one week. He expected multiple offers, and he felt confident that the house would sell for significantly more than the asking price.
After listening to his plan, I uttered words that very rarely fall from my lips: “I trust you. Do it.”
For those of you who know me, I am pretty self reliant. I do my homework, check everything over, am always looking and investigating. I rarely trust people, and you know what, the Lord knew that this needed to change. So we trusted and allowed the realtor to go through with his plan.
Guess what? The house was flooded with prospective buyers and within 5 days we had 7 solid offers. We perused through the offers and decided to accept an offer from a young family. The offer was for $20K over the asking price. Door #2 open.
With the acceptance of this offer brought the home inspection, and in all honesty, the inspection was something that every member of the family had been stressing about. Our house was built in 1910. We anticipated a long, long list of problems. With all diligence we had provided a full disclosure to the buyers of the items that we knew were issues. Some of them were potentially big and costly.
The inspection came and went. When we received the inspector’s report and the buyer’s list of requests, we were shocked as to its short length. The requests that the buyers had made were items that had already been disclosed to them prior to them putting in their offer. I drafted a respectful note and told them that we would not be addressing any of the requested repairs. To my shock, they were fine with that. Let me repeat, they were fine with us doing nothing. In our area, that simply does not happen. Door #3 open.
Now it would be time for us to begin the search for a home in Virginia. Buying a home long distance is not easy. Our realtor, Pat, had been so very faithful and patient with us. After meeting our family three years prior, Pat stayed in touch. With each newly opened door and anticipated relocation, I would contact her, and she would go right to work searching for homes. Time and time again her efforts would be dashed by me informing her of the closed door. She never gave up, and she always encouraged me through each closed door.
At this point she encouraged me to begin the process of finding a mortgage lender. I did and became troubled quickly. My husband was technically making a career change, and with that, lenders wanted him to be employed in his new position for a minimum of 3 – 6 months. That time frame was not going to work for us. While it would make sense for us to rent a home for a period of time to explore the new area, financially, we knew that this made no sense at all. Rental expenses were double of what our potential mortgage would be.
Thankfully Pat recommended a lender in Virginia who was able to work with us and all that would be required would be to show that my husband had begun his new job and received his first paycheck. That’s it. The entire loan process was simple, dare I say easy. No hiccups, no surprises, just clear sailing. Door #4 open.
My husband and I made a weekend trip to Virginia to look at prospective homes. Pat had arranged a full day’s worth of visits. But by day’s end, we were left with no homes of interest. Pat took us out the following afternoon where we did see one home that seemed promising. It needed some work, but we thought that it had great potential. As we drove back to New Jersey we discussed and prayed about making an offer, and the first thing that we did upon returning was to put an offer in.
We promptly received a disclosure from our realtor showing that there were foundation issues with the house. After speaking to the home inspector, he informed me that it would cost $15K- $20K to rectify. We stepped away from that home. But time was not on our side. My husband’s start date was looming as was the closing date of the New Jersey house. We simply could not continue to make trips to Virginia to visit homes. The state of the market in our area of Virginia was such that homes were listed and sold within just a a day or two…literally.
It is then that my husband made a chilling statement: “Kim, I think that we may need to make an offer on a home site unseen.”
I remember looking at him and laughing. I wasn’t laughing at him; I was laughing because I knew that he was right. The prospect of buying a house without stepping foot inside was the most insane thing that had ever crossed my mind (especially for me – a person who is a researcher, planner, and one who checks everything out thoroughly before making a decision). So with that, we called our realtor and told her our position. She agreed that if we saw a prospective home that we were serious about, she would visit the home, take photos and videos, and provide an honest assessment to us…as long as we promised not to sue her. We promised, and with that we were about to step out into insanity.
One morning after my husband had left for work, I searched out homes. I found a home. It was exactly where we needed to be financially. It had a nice little piece of land, in what seemed to be a lovely neighborhood. The house was dated in some areas but easily fixable. I called my husband and told him, and without hesitating or even seeing the house for himself, he told me to call Pat. I did and asked her to get to the house that morning.
She did just that and by day’s end we received a slew of videos and a simple message: Put an offer in now. We did not hesitate. We put our offer in sight unseen. I can not begin to tell you how far out of character this move was for me. My husband and I had put our full trust in the Lord that He would provide. We realized that the Lord had begun the work of forging a relationship with Pat three years before this day. We had gotten to know each other, and the Lord had really put a soft spot in Pat’s heart for our family. I knew it. I knew that she was not merely looking to make a sale or cash in on her commission; she wanted to find this crazy family from New Jersey a home. She wanted to find their three boys, whom she had grown fond of, a safe place to rest and play. And while we needed to put our trust in Pat, she needed to do the same with us. It was a complete and total God thing that the Lord was fashioning for years prior simply to accomplish His will in this moment.
Our bid was put in and accepted, and with that, we began the process of closing. My husband and I made a trip down to Virginia to meet up with the home inspector and to see the house for the first time. As we were pulling onto the street, I told my husband that I thought that I was going to get sick. But that sickness turned to peace as we pulled into the driveway of a quaint home, obviously meticulously cared for, in a lovely neighborhood. And as I stepped foot into the house a flood of relief overwhelmed me. The house was perfect. It needed some updating in some area, but it was perfect for us. The inspector’s final report showed a home in excellent working condition and ready for us to move into as is. Just wow. Door #5 swung wide open.
Upon returning home the flurry of packing and closing up our Jersey life began. We were on a tight budget both financially and time-wise. The sheer cost of relocating was beginning to overwhelm me, but the Lord, yet again provided. After a family from our church had moved (about an hour away), they offered to send along their boxes and packing supplies. When all was said and done, we spent under $50 in packing supplies and boxes for our entire move. Nearly everything that we needed was provided for by this family and the Lord. Door #6 open.
Even when it came time for us to rent our moving truck (we would be moving ourselves down to Virginia), I was able to get companies to recognize competing offers, reducing our rental cost by nearly $500. The Lord provided an affordable truck. Door #7 open.
About a month prior to my husband’s start date at his new job, we received his new hire paperwork. On it his start date was slated to begin 2 weeks earlier than what we had agreed on. We were obviously a bit upset and unprepared for this, but after speaking with Human Resources we found out that this was a firm start date. My husband and I began to clamor about trying to figure out how to pack and close on the house up in New Jersey and Virginia in that time frame. It simply was not going to happen. But God had His hand all over this new turn of events.
See with the new start date, my husband would fall right where he would need to be in order to receive his first paycheck prior to closing on our Virginia home. That first paycheck was all that the mortgage company would need to release our the funds. Had we kept our original date at the end of the month, we would have missed the paycheck deadline. And although my husband was none too happy, he made his way down to Virginia for 10 days to begin his job early. He would come back home to New Jersey just prior to closing with his first paycheck in hand and all that we needed to satisfy the mortgage company. Door #8 open.
With beautiful weather and the help of family and friends, we loaded up our truck and cleared out our New Jersey home. It was all bittersweet. After locking up the door for the last time and heading to the closing, we now turned our eyes to prayer as there were so many little (but really big) details that needed to come together in perfect order. The closing on the New Jersey home went smoothly. The next day we would need to visit our bank to get a cashier’s check to bring to Virginia.
That night we stayed with our neighbor. We had plans to wake bright and early and to get to the bank when it opened. But we overslept a bit and it took a bit longer to step out. We were frustrated because we had a schedule to keep. One and a half hours later than we had hoped, we went to the bank. Thankfully the wired money was in the account. And as the manager worked to type out the check, my phone rang. It was the gentlemen from the Virginia mortgage company. Apologetically he explained how his underwriter needed a copy of something from our bank. Without it tomorrow’s closing would be delayed. Well, when the bank manager walked back to her desk I informed her of the phone call. She promptly got the paperwork together and faxed it over to the lender.
Sometimes delays are of the Lord. Had we been at the bank earlier that morning, I would not have received the call from the lender when I did. I was literally sitting at the bank when the call came in and was able to settle what needed to be done right then and there. Door #8 open.
And with that we left New Jersey. We traveled through blinding rain, tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms, jack-knifed tractor trailers in front of us, accidents, and burning brakes on the moving truck, but we made it down to Virginia. But God was not done.
That night we were slated to stay at an AirBnb home. I had specifically asked about leaving a big 26′ moving truck in their driveway. The homeowners didn’t hesitate and told us that it would be no problem. However, upon arrival it became very clear that the truck would not fit on the driveway or the street. When we posed the problem to the homeowner, her suggestion was to leave the moving truck in the parking lot of the local food store about 2 miles down the road.
By this time of the night we were all pretty much fried and had little strength to contemplate leaving everything we owned in the parking lot of a strange town. But, we did. Again, we felt the Lord telling us to simply trust him. And we did. Thankfully in the morning, the truck was still there and everything was intact. Door #9 open.
We headed to the closing and became first time homeowners and Virginia residents. Door #10 open.
I have only begun to scratch the surface as to how the Lord opened doors and provided. All of these open doors were not coincidences. They were confirmation that the Lord was in the process of unfolding His glorious plan for our lives. During this process there were ZERO closed doors. ZERO unsolved problems. ZERO road blocks. The Lord had every detail accounted for, every hiccup taken care of, every provision provided for.
We had just endured three years of constant roadblocks, constant problems, and constant closed doors in order for us to clearly see God’s will for our lives. His open doors were so undeniably clear even to those around us.
And friends, here is the biggest take away from this post: The Lord did all of these things to bring glory to Himself, to show how mighty He is, to show that He does indeed have a plan for our lives, and that He WILL make it clear in His perfect time. There is nothing in this post that points to what I did or what my husband did. It all, 100%, points to all that the Lord did.
The Lord is simply not interested in US showing the world what we do, what we’ve accomplished, what we made happen. He wants to show the world Himself, His power, His might, His love. Oh, how we get in the way of that happening so often. Far too often we want the world to see US, our might, our ability, our power. We scream “Look what I have done.”. But pride, oh pride, will always prevent others from seeing God. Every single time.
I know that this post is long, but I pray that it can help you see that God has a plan for your life. He will unveil it and bring it to fruition in His timing. Be willing to wait for it, even if waiting takes days, weeks, months, or in our case, years. Being willing to step out in faith and act as the Lord directs you. Pray and seek His guidance. Be willing to do crazy, God-directed things. And in the end, give God all the glory.
Thank you Heavenly Father for your unceasing, never-ending, unchanging love for this weak soul. Far too often I have let my own might and power be prideful roadblocks. I have failed to let others see you at work. But this, this time in my life, Oh, Lord, you have done miraculous works, and I must speak of them. You alone have provided, You alone have guided, You alone have made the path clear and made the impossible reality. You have orchestrated this chapter in my life to show that You still make Your will for our lives known. You have shown me what it means to wait on You. You have dealt with this soul gently and lovingly through times of doubt and fear. You have never abandoned, never ceased to answer prayer, never led us astray.
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39
And today I proclaim it.