"I need a sign, God!!"
Have you ever cried out those words?
I usually add "and please put it in neon lights so I don't miss it".
All kidding aside, I know that God loves me and guides me, but sometimes I need it expressed in a tangible way. A personal sign from Him to me so I know I'm on the right track. One of my greatest fears is that when I'm making an important decision, I listen to the voice in my head and not to the Spirit in my heart. I want to make sure I'm doing what God wants me to do.
This past summer was one of those times I needed a tangible sign.
I had been trying to sort out what to do with the house I'd lived in for the past 28 years. It's a long story that involved divorce, a court battle, and the fear that I couldn't possibly afford to live anywhere else. Some of that trust journey is described here and in other blog posts throughout the past year.
Every path I took led to a closed door.
I tried not to get frustrated. I tried to remember that God withholds no good thing from His children, so if the door to keeping my house was closed, there was a better one opening somewhere...and I prayed it opened to something affordable.
One of my friends kept saying "I feel like God has something different for you. Not an apartment complex, but an apartment within a home." I felt that way too, but everything I looked at was so expensive – two, even three times the cost of my mortgage – and I just didn't have that kind of wiggle room in my budget.
From the beginning, the agent who sold my house told me about another of her listings. I fought seeing it because I felt it was too far from my church and my job. And she kept using words like "really small second bedroom'. Not to mention, the price was a few hundred more than my target cost.
But when every other possibility had fallen by the wayside, I gave in and agreed to go look at the place with her.
As we rounded the corner onto Main Street I saw a sign that said:
Village of Crosswicks
Founded in 1677
There was a library in a converted barn, a quaint post office, and a sign on the lawn of the Community Building announcing the upcoming croquet classic. I felt like I landed in Mayberry.
The door to the right of the house led to an already rented downstairs apartment, and the front door opened up to a staircase to the second floor. We headed up to find 5 freshly painted, tiled and carpeted rooms. Light flooded in from the many windows. A full size stackable washer and dryer meant no trips to the laundromat. There was a dish washer - I hadn't had one in decades - enough counter space to do all my baking, and even walk up access to the attic for tons of free storage.
Yes, the “small” second bedroom was tiny. 10 x 6 tiny. Still, the brightness and cleanliness of the place, plus the surroundings of the quaint village streets, filled me with the first hope I’d felt in a long time.
I was encouraged, but still I prayed for a sign. I needed to hear God tell me this was right.
A few weekends later I took my niece to the area for some yard sales. As we passed the house and came to the stop sign at the end of the road, something caught my eye. I have no idea how I could have missed it before.
It was a large, bright blue, dare I even say ‘neon’ blue, sign. I threw on my blinker and turned left to see what it said.
As we pulled up I caught my breath and asked my niece to take a picture.
God had given me my sign. He had been my refuge and strength throughout all the present trouble. He saw my broken heart, knew my loss, understood my uncertainty, and was there to bind up my wounds.
It was a personal love note assuring me not only of His promises, but telling me I was where He wanted me.
As a footnote to all of this, He made the apartment affordable. The landlord agreed to a lower rent, my car insurance premiums plummeted by moving out of the city and into a safer location, and He gave me a wonderful new job serving Him full time just a few months later.
God loves each of us in a personal way...sometimes He even writes it in neon colors.