January, with its bounty of whimsy, joy and wondrous promise of new beginnings, had arrived! One of the remarkable gifts of living on the east coast is that you are sure to experience an abundance of tranquil and dulcet snowfalls. There is nothing quite as beautiful as waking up to freshly fallen snow , where nature is blanketed in an unblemished and candescent white. In the Carolinas, instead of a snow filled January day, we encountered our first Ice Storm. As Kit and I stepped outside, we were in awe beholding the stark trees, embellished with icicles, (water frozen in time,) effervescently glistening as the morning sun shined upon each unique branch. As we breathed in the polar air, our spirits were filled with an unexplainable expectancy. It was as if we were given a blank piece of paper, (representing our new year ahead.) We had an undeniable hope of our future as with God, anything is possible. We were excited to see what He would write upon that page as He continued His work within our lives , fulfilling the desires of His heart.
Our year was off to a wonderful start with Vito arriving for his first bible study in our little abode. He always saw his glass half full, (not half empty,) had a smile on his face, the joy of the Lord in his heart and a twinkle in his eyes. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that on any given day, if you were to ask him; “How are you doing,?” you would be sure to hear back, “I am blessed of God.” Before Kit could make him his first latte, Vito was unloading boxes of groceries from his flourishing Food Bank ministry in Delaware. After putting away our much appreciated bounty, the cupboards and fridge were full, looking as if we had been to the Winn Dixie and back. We thanked God continuously for Vito , the next two days we’d have with him and for the provision the Lord had brought to us.
Vito absolutely loved the lattes kit made for him. It was kind of like a”man bonding time” between the two of them. It made my heart so happy to see the joy in Kits eyes when ever he and Vito were together. God is lovingly faithful and I knew He understood the yearning within Kits heart for a male friend to share with. One of Vito’s specialties was a gourmet, (delightfully spicy) con Queso dip with tortilla chips…He had brought all of his ingredients and as he and kit were sipping on their coffee drinks and chatting away, he cooked up a double batch for Bible study. Thank Goodness he made extra, as I think we devoured half of it before all the guests arrived for the evening’s gathering. His teaching (like always,) had everyone in deep thought, asking a lot of questions, inspired and full of hope. After the study, it was wonderful to behold my southern family getting to know Vito and asking for prayer and ministry. We all enjoyed the gourmet chips and dip amongst a few sweet confections people had brought, as we fellowshiped together until our sleepy yawns could no longer be contained. Kit and I concurred that evening that Vito had made some new friends, as well as my cousins.
After the last guest left, we stayed up and chatted with Vito and then got ready for bed. We set up our couch bed for him in the living room and Grantham surprised us all, by sleeping at the foot of his bed, not ours…Graham adored Vito and the feeling as mutual. We were feeling a little bit sad as the morning arrived as we knew Vito would be heading back to Delaware…I cooked a hearty breakfast, (Vito appreciated home cooked meals more than anyone I knew,) had a great time of prayer and after Kit fixed him one last latte for the road, he was off.
In February, we suffered a great loss with Kits fathers death. We knew for some time that Al had been ill, but still, there is nothing to fully prepare the heart for the loss of a father. The last time we saw Kits dad, was the day we left for our journey to the east coast when the Lord called us to Virginia. Al and his wife Grace, met us at a McDonald’s in Flagstaff Arizona, to have breakfast and say goodbye. Kit and his dad were best friends by the time I met Kit when he was 29…His dad was his mentor, confidante and the best man at our wedding. We had so many wonderful memories with his dad , whether up at his ranch in Cherry Arizona or our little historical cottage in Mesa. The two of them loved to go duck and deer hunting, fishing and camping together. Kit lost one of his “best buds” that day, I lost a fabulous father and law and the world lost a wonderful, loving man.
The Lord graciously provided for Kit to be able fly back to Arizona to be with his siblings and attend his fathers memorial service. Graham and I took him to the airport in North Carolina and you would have thought we were saying goodbye for a month…(The three of us were always together. ) Graham and I missed him a lot, but each time he’d call, I could hear in his voice how much he was enjoying being with his siblings and that a lot of healing was taking place. When he arrived home, he told me that he felt so honored and humbled that the Lord used him to pray and minister to his famiy members. I could see God bringing healing to his spirit and soul as well.
One thing the Lord has taught me, (with our travels on this journey,) is to fully enjoy the wondrous gifts and blessings He has given us, in the place He has planted us. He always reminds me that when He gets ready to move us on, some of those blessings will be gone, exchanged for new ones, thus we should savor what He bestows to us within each place. (It is a wonderful lesson to learn.) One of the most special gifts God bestowed to Kit, Graham and I in South Carolina was the blessings of Mikes boys, Julian, Joshua and Tyler. Each one of the kids , in their own unique way, filled our lives with magic and pure felicity. Every weekday afternoon, (about 4:00 PM,) when Julian would arrive home from daycare, he would run down to our home from the
“Big House. ” I could hear him calling my name before he arrived to our front door. (His precious voice and words still echo in my heart to this day.) “SUUUUZZZIINNN, can you put on LOORRD of the RIIIINNGS and give me some vanilla puuddin? (No your computer is not making you see double..I am trying my best to describe his very long enunciated words, accompanied by his adorable southern drawl.. He adored the movie ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and he loved watching it over and over. ( Like, everyday, the same scenes over and over.) I would take out his pudding, (courtesy of Vito,) and we’d sit on the couch together with the movie on and the volume turned up high. Julian was eminently mesmerized with Gandlolf and Frodo Baggins, as if He’d never seen them before. After his short attention span kicked in, he was out the door, yelling back to me, as he ran home; “Thanks Suuzziinn.” Then there were our cherished visits from Joshua. He would come down a few times a week and would stay an hour or two. No TV for this little guy…He wanted to have philosophical chats, deep thinker that he is. It amazed me just how much he reminded me of his dad Mike when he was a little boy. Tyler, the oldest, would always come in and say “Hey,” after he had thoroughly looked through his dads humongous warehouse adjoined to our abode, talking about his latest ‘super high scores’ on his video games or a new inventive and creative project he was making for his science class. Kit and I always said he’d grow up one day to be an inventor of something fabulously creative and prosperous. When the boys would play baseball on the lush acres of land between the “Big House” and ours, without fail, Grantham had to go outside and join them every time. Kit and I would laugh so hard as Grantham began to trot with a spring in his step, running each of the bases with the boys, as his big brown eyes and tender heart, searched all of our faces for approval as he touched home base.( Poor little Julian almost got tackled.) I wish we would have had a video camera to catch the joy and laughter of those jubilant moments in time. I thank God for the vivid memories I still carry in my heart of those treasured days.. Children and dogs…what an amazing combination.
The Lord blessed our days with His presence and peace. Though we knew He had told us we were not staying in South Carolina, He did not tell us a timing of when we were leaving. As most of you know, when you are in a time of waiting on the Lord, it is not a place that our humaneness enjoys. There are so many examples in the bible of “Waiting on God.” Some of the scriptures comfort our souls as we read of the disciples and great Prophets of God crying out to God in their doubts, fatigue and trials.
Psalms 27:13 & 14 : “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
We can fully identify with them as their life stories bring us hope and faith that God always comes through. Then there are scriptures that tell us what waiting on God does for us in our character, spirits and souls.
Isaiah 40:31; “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. “
How precious is the promise that in our waiting, the Lord will make us strong and that He will grant us the stalwart wings of an eagle. What great hope this bestows to our hearts when He asks us to be still and wait, trusting and depending upon Him only for the the things He has promised us, but even more so, trusting in His character alone.
One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 12:3; “For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith. I have always been comforted by this scripture as it teaches us not to judge ourselves or others and to live our lives with the faith God has put within us, according to what He has called us to do. Almost always, what ever season we are in as we walk with Jesus, He will bring us like-minded people. (That is always so comforting and wonderful.) Then there are those who are beside us who do not understand our walks, (and we really, really want them to,) that’s a big ‘OUCH!’ Lastly, (and you know I am going to say it,) there are those God sends our way who flat out just think we are off our rockers and a little crazy. (An ‘ouch’ as well, but you know that nothing you say to them is going to change their mind about you and what your doing, so you let go of any need within to be understood.) Its not always easy!
Already on our walk thus far, we had come across all three types, and you would of thought we would be used to it by now, but we still felt a little “sting” every once in awhile. It was that quick, but sharp piercing pain that comes at the times when you are feeling that you just do not fit in. Thus our peace gauge had to be filled with the peace and presence of Jesus alone. (I know we have all been at this place and God is so faithful.) While living in the south, we were blessed to have my family as they were all believers…I can’t say they completely understood us and our walk, but they sure loved us.
Residing in an area where many of the people we met had full time jobs, health benefits and savings, was not an easy place to be with our lives just the opposite. I believe it was especially hard for Kit to connect with other business men as his profession at this time was obeying God, building his computer program, and having to trust God daily, for provision. The Lord always provided for us, whether through the unemployment checks that came through, (long after we filed for them,) a few old accounts Kit had developed when we worked in Washington DC, who would call him out of the blue to do some work, (definitely a God thing,) or people who supported our faith walk and journey and sent us a love gift. I will never forget one time in South Carolina, we felt the Lord put it upon our hearts to sell an electronic keyboard that we had purchased while living in Virginia. Neither of us played this “Costco’s, bells and whistle musical instrument, purposefully displayed right as you walk in the doors.” Yes, we were suckered in, (but our intentions were good…as we thought it would be a blessing for worship at Kings Tavern.) After Kit and I sold our electronic keyboard, and I was driving to the grocery store, instead of praising God that He had abundantly provided for us to pay a few bills and get groceries, I,(a tad bit disgruntled,) asked Him ; ” God, why did we have to sell our keyboard to pay bills and get groceries?” Talk about a quick answer. He said, “Listen here little Missy,” (not really, but I could imagine him saying that with a smile as He did convict my heart promptly. His real words were more in line with this; (but said very lovingly .) “Susan, the keyboard was not yours to sell. It is mine… I allowed you to sell it for what you are in need of now. It can always be replaced, I wanted you and Kit to have the means for what you need today, and by my grace you received provision from something I had given to you already.” Well, don’t you now I was repenting like crazy! Suddenly, He filled my heart with such a gratitude, it brought me to tears and I was praising Him the rest of the day. The scripture, Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” had an entirely new meaning to me, as well as, all the things we are blessed with. They are not ours, but His,we are just caretakers of His blessings and gifts, (whether in times of wealth or times when we receive provision daily.) We certainty were growing in the Lord and we felt honored and blessed for His caring for us in all the ways He did…it was just difficult in our humanness at times, but what growth is not? (Reminds me of the time you are at the gym, and your trainer is pushing you far beyond your levels of comfort with exercise so you can ‘get physically fit.’ They always have to say the words that annoy you like crazy; “No pain, no gain.” Don’t you just love it?
It is so comforting to all of us, His kids, to read that God knows our every thought, holds every tear we cry in a bottle and knows the number of hairs on our head… Kit and I embodied a knowing that He had us in this place for a reason and that we needed to focus upon Him and keep trusting. I have to be honest with you though…(I was praying really hard that He took us to Delaware before summer arrived , when our old critter friends would undoubtedly be showing up again for their unwelcomed stay at our home. .
One of the many things I love about the Lord is that He always comes through for His kids every time, without fail. Sometimes His deliverance is quick and speedy, others it comes in a step by step, over a period of time, process…In these next months He began to speak to us , encouraging us that He was about to bring the fulfillment of His promises from the year before.
The first thing the Lord did was to speak to us in a dream. God has often times used dreams to reveal His heart in our lives. I have found that when He is speaking something directly to us in the dream, it often times comes from a person we highly regard and respect in the spirit. In my dream, one of our dearest friends in Arizona, Sharlene, (a mentor and pastor to Kit and I,) was visiting me…we were having the best time catching up and right before she left me she said “It will all happen within a day..” HMM? She didn’t say what would happen, but you know what we were thinking...
God confirmed the dream was from Him and that we would understand it all as He finished the tapestry of our stay in the Carolinas…Gods work of art, completed would be our gift and we would be able to see how all the precious threads woven together, created a beautiful masterpiece of His heart for this part of our journey.
Gods second encouraging word to us. When Vito came for bible study this month and stayed the evening, I fixed breakfast for all of us before he headed back to Delaware and like always, we sat down to pray together. Something totally unexpected happened. As Vito was praying for us, our eyes were closed and there came a time of silence. Suddenly Vito began to sing; “Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head…” Now Vito was not one to sing, (especially acapella.) Kit and I opened our eyes and took a peek at each other, then over at Vito and his eyes were closed , but boy was he smiling. Christmas was long gone, he was filled with such joy, singing a Christmas carol and we couldn’t help but ask him our question, a bit bewilderingly;
“Vito, why did you sing that particular song right now?”
He opened his eyes and began to share what he believed the Lord was revealing to him in the spirit.
“The Lord is showing me that God sent Jesus to the world, not in the way one would think…He was born in a manger within a barn, straw for his bed, not a prestigious Inn of the times. God has placed the two of you in a one window apartment adjoined to a warehouse…He has chosen to hide you a way for a season for His purposes. His purpose is grace. The both of you have been learning to live in His grace daily. His grace has become your daily provision and life source.” He went on to say that God had called us to this place specifically for a greater purpose than we could see. His desire was to have us around my family as He wanted them to witness His grace within our lives. He told us that the Lord was very pleased with our obedience and that our time in South Carolina was coming to an end. I think all three of us were a little teary eyed at this point.
The Lord always surprises His kids with the way He works within our lives. Sometimes we never see until hindsight what He was accomplishing within our lives and character, and even then, we still never see in full. 1st Cor, 13:12 “ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” It was so wonderful to hear that we had pleased God and that He did use us in the way He desired. His purposes were fulfilled, whether we could see it, feel it, or understand.
April arrived and you will never guess what happened. This time, Tina called us with a dream the Lord had given her about us. YES, another act of the Lord and we were not even bugging Him for answers like before. This is what she spoke;
“The Lord was showing me in a dream, the two of you in your home, not in the physical realm, but of the spirit… You both seemed stuck, something was holding you back from leaving your home , and yet it was time to go to the place your hearts desired as well as where God wanted you to be.” She then said; ” I Believe the Lord wants me to ask you ARE YOU WILLING at any cost to GO?”
Hmm? This question took us for a loop…we never had contemplated or debated our willingness to leave South Carolina, its what we had prayed for after the Lord revealed our hearts as well as His. Kit surprised me as he answered Tina’s question:
“Yes, I am very willing! I would even clean toilets if that was the job the Lord had for me so we could live in Delaware.” (Meaning He would take any job to get us started as it was his hearts desire to be there.) I, on the other hand did not answer. I kept thinking about her question…why did God ask her to as us that? Is there something I am unaware of within my own heart?
Suddenly, Tina asked ; ” Kit, exactly what is the name of your job title?” (She knew he did computer work, but did not know the denotation of his business. )
“I am a Web Designer.”
“A Web Designer, hold on a minute.” Tina said as we could hear her walking around with her cell phone.
Kit and I waited in an expectant silence.
“Yes, I have the ad right here. In Millsboro, not far from our home at all, there is a small company looking for a Web Designer.”
All three of us were were so excited as Kit quickly wrote down his phone number and name. We all prayed together over this new possibility…was it the open door we had all been asking God for?
As I glanced over at Kit, he looked like a little kid in a candy store…I had not seen his face light up like that in quite a while. He made a latte and dialed the number. Now mind you, it was a Saturday, so Kit thought the guy would probably not even be there at the office, but he was. To make a long story short, they talked and interviewed over the phone for hours, faxed each other documents back and forth and by the end of the day, Kit had a job offer in Delaware. His new boss asked him if we could be there for him to begin work in one week? Kit replied, “ABSOLUTELY! ” We sat there on our couch once again, totally elated…not so much because we knew how we would get there or where we would live, but that God had told us “It will all happen within a day.” How many times does something like that happen, especially on a weekend? We had entered into the “Now anything is possible” moment… filled with that kind of peace that only comes when God has just moved and you truly know its a miracle. To top that off, it was Kits birthday that day. That evening at dinner, as we were celebrating, he told me it was the happiest birthday that he remembered having in a long time. Kit called Vito to tell him the good news and by the end of the evening, we had an offer of a place to live as well as the provision for the move. As we went to bed that night, (Graham at the foot of our bed this time,) we both smiled , even chuckled , as we were so amazed at how God spoke to us in the dream with Sharlene…and now, months later, His words had been fulfilled. His goodness to us amazed us.
It certainly was a whirlwind act of God and He was not giving us anytime whatsoever to lolly gag. We had 7 days to pack up our little place, move it all to storage, clean, see everyone and say our goodbyes.
Everyday was filled with Gods grace, supernatural strength and peace as Kit was a one man mover and we were on a time frame. I was able to pack while he made trips to our storage unit in town…we made a good team!
In our last few days of packing and cleaning , I was still bothered by what Tina had felt the Lord showed her about us being willing. If I were to be totally honest with myself, perhaps it was me that had held us back. As I placed away each treasure of what home meant to me, our china, linens, pictures, beautiful Rice bed, etc….my emotions mirrored the depths of my heart, a place I was not consciously aware of. Somewhere in my faith of believing God would move us back to Milford, I had pictured Him , (as He can do anything,) giving us our own place there. But there was the other part of me that knew He may ask us to live with another family again…that was not my hearts dream. I wondered when I would see all our belongings again. I contemplated how it was going to be living with Vito and Lillian, his wife. I knew Vito well but not Lilian. It had seemed we were in and out of other peoples homes and my heart had so enjoyed this little place God gave us for a time, to be a family with our privacy and own space…a place we could have all of the things we loved around us , bringing joy and memories of our lives thus far. Though I had great joy and a heart of gratitude that God was fulfilling His heart as well as ours, there was a sadness within that I would not see the boys, Mike , Ellie and my other family members anymore on a daily basis. (I would not miss the bugs, or the deep loneliness we felt at times or the sadness in Kits heart. ) I quietly spoke to the Lord from this place I was being shown within my heart: ” Lord, I surrender my will to have my own home…I submit to your heart and plans for whatever You have next for us and I praise you for opening the doors for us to be amongst our new famiy in Milford.”
Saying goodbye was very hard. Kit and I had not shared everything God was speaking to our hearts during these last months as we had learned from our time in Connecticut, when we had shared everything, (we believed God was speaking to us,) and when it did not happen as we believed, timing wise, people got hurt. I prayed that my family would understand why we had not spoken of leaving earlier and that God really did do it “all in one day.” Some of my family , I think believed , others did not understand. There were tears and promises made to visit one another in each others state, an abundance of long hugs and at times, I felt my heart was tearing, especially saying goodbye to my precious new pals, Julian, Tyler and Joshua! I remember my goodbye with Mike… He gave me a big bear hug and asked if we needed anything and then looked me in the eyes and said;
“Susan, you’re giving up your home again, going back to living with another famiy and you had all that here.”
I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time as his words touched on a part of my heart that I was still dealing with, yet I could look at him and honestly tell him it was OK and yes, I would deeply miss Kit, Graham and I having our own home, but I knew we were going where God wanted us to be and had His peace. We told each other how much we loved one another and we thanked him so much for his hospitality and love for us. I did shed a few tears as he and Ellie and the kids drove off to their vacation week on the shore.
The Lord blessed us with a wonderful last night in South Carolina.
As Mike and Ellie and the boys left for Myrtle beach for their respite, a Herculean thunderstorm was brewing and we were so exhausted from our long days work. Our plans of a 9 hour drive that Saturday evening was not going to happen. Mike and Ellie were so gracious to let us stay at the “Big House,” as our little place was cleaned and emptied. We ordered take out from our favorite Southern Chinese eatery and watched the storm come in. As we breathed in the thick, damp, briny air of the Carolinas one last time, I felt in my spirit it was a true goodbye. Yes, we’d still visit this beautiful , mystifying land from time to time, the land (and people,) my mom and I both adored, but I knew now, it wold no longer be my dream of home ever again. We watched a movie and went to bed in that same 4 poster bed we slept in our very first night at Mike and Ellie’s home. This time the sun shining through the window did not greet us…nor did we hear the sound of Julian’s feet stopping at our bedroom door. It was 4:00 AM when our alarm went off and pitch black dark outside as we we fed Graham, ourselves, made a pot of coffee and got an early start to our new home.
It was no surprise to Kit and I, that the day we were traveling back to Delaware was was Easter Sunday. (The day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the new life His coming back to life offers mankind.) Our drive was absolutely gorgeous…the sky was a vivid blue with puffy white clouds… the air was cool and Vito and Lillian were waiting to have their Easter celebration dinner when we arrived. Our hearts were at peace.We looked at one another, knowing that we were each others home and as long as we had each other and the Lord, we truly were safely home. (Sounds corny, but it is true.)
During our 9 hour drive, between the times of sharing our hearts with one another, we’d put on one of our favorite CD’s so we could rest our vocal cords. Both of our minds were gong a mile a minute. I knew Kit was thinking about his new job…would he fit in? What would it be like working in a small office and working with a new boss? I knew as well, he was thinking about his father and how much he missed him. My mind was filled with thoughts of what our room looked like. What would it be like to live with Vito and Lillian and their tiny dog “Itsy?” What kid of job would the Lord lead me to do? How long would we live at Vito and Lilian’s...surely God would only have us there a few months. I could only imagine what Graham was thinking about ??? I knew one of the things was, (like always,) food...and he was probably wondering when we were going to stop for his walk and lunch. He knew us so well and because we were happy , he was happy…and that enabled him to take a great big sigh and snooze, all cuddled up on his tapestry bed in the back of our jeep, until our midway stop.
Our spirit’s were filled with tranquility and joy as we knew most of all that God had answered the prayer of our hearts and was taking us back, (full circle like He had said,) to Milford and all the family of friends that awaited us. We were already planning on going down to see Tina and Mark and the pups, have a Starbucks coffee and sit with them on their cozy Verandah for hours…Who would have known that a porch would end up being one of our favorite places in all the world?