Joy in the Journey

8:00 AM

I bought a house. Bless the Lord who gave it to me!!!

I am *almost* speechless. But there is a story behind this, so I gotta tell it. The story began five years ago. In 2003, I was renting a studio apartment, going to Bible school part-time, working as a receptionist full-time, involved in college ministry, worship and anything else I could be.

Someone's random comment sparked thoughts of buying a house. Even heard the Lord speak through a person and it was so real that it felt like a punch in the stomach? That was my feeling. I started thinking seriously about buying a house for the purpose of ministering to college girls.

"... But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land." Psalm 37:9
In the margin of my Bible, there is written: 09/04/03 Promise for a house.

I should have paid attention to the first phrase of the verse and gotten a clue. But my soul was so excited about the promise, that I charged full-speed ahead into house buying preparations. There were financial limitations and other limitations, and doors kept closing at every turn. One possibility involved a land trust program, but since I only would've been purchasing the house structure--it didn't fit the promise that the Lord had given me. Finally, after months of frustration, I decided to move back to my parents' house in summer 2004. In my heart, I decided to put the dream on a shelf and forget about it. The next few years were filled with Bible school graduation, changes in ministry, learning things from the Word and growing in character ALOT. Then it happened again...

That punch-in-the-stomach Word from the Lord. In the end of July 2008, I felt the Lord leading me towards buying a house. My financial limitations had not changed much. But the timing of the Lord can change everything! Within two weeks, I prayed and thought and decided to buy a house. Within seven weeks, I closed the deal on the house and became a homeowner.

The question remains: Why the wait of five years? When God promises something, shouldn't it happen immediately? Obviously not. Actually, Hebrews 11 talked about those that hadn't received the promise during their lifetimes. Food for thought... Anyway, my immature response to the promise of God was to assume that He meant NOW. But He didn't.

And I understand that my action should've been prayer for direction, preparation and wisdom. But through all my ignorance, the Lord saw fit to do things HIS way anyway. I understand and see so clearly that five years ago, I was not ready for the responsibility of His promise fulfilled. Through the years, He's done some major changes in my thinking, lifestyle and heart. Here are a couple things that will directly affect my house.

Practical Virtue. Friends can testify to the fact that I was messy--REALLY messy--in the former keeping of my studio apartment. During those years, I was busy, for sure, and overcommitted and unaware of the virtue of a clean, welcoming, orderly house and how it pleases the Lord. Gradually, through the reading of the Word, the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, the iron sharpening of friends, and a little trial and error, I started to give attention to virtuousity (my word). This involves so much more than just cleaning though. It's hospitality, and unselfishness, and taking care of others' needs, and keeping a beautiful home, and being disciplined in sleep, and willing to serve, and strong, and trustworthy and more. Though I'm not perfect now, my eyes have been opened.

Lifestyle Ministry, rather than Programmed Ministry. Back then, I still thought that if you planned ministry, it would be successful. Now I know that it is only by the power of the Spirit that people's lives are changed, and I am only a vessel. Jesus' disciples lived with Him for three years and were radically different because of His life first and then His teaching. Now, I am not comparing my life to the discipleship of Christ. Don't misunderstand me. I'm just saying that I have learned that being an available vessel makes you ready to be used to help people. I never want programs to get in the way of ministering to souls.

Unselfishness. Two years of living independently can really do somethin' to ya. And for me, it only highlighted the selfishness of my heart. Then after living at home again for four years, and trying to learn how to serve others, the truth is evident; it's not about me. Every time I came home and made supper when my to-do list was a mile long, but my mom looked tired... I remembered that truth. And I learned, how can I serve others if I can't serve my own family? The Word says, "Do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.." Radical, earth-shattering, un-American-like concept. God is hopefully working unselfishness in me more and more.

Anyway, I hope you were blessed by reading this testimony of God's blessing to me. Be encouraged-sometimes God's promises are for LATER, not NOW... So keep on believing. He will accomplish what He has promised to you. :)

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