Have you ever heard the pastor saying something in church and known that he’s talking directly to YOU? Ever felt like everyone else might just as well go home, because that sermon is straight from God to the pastor’s mouth to your ears, and it has found its intended target? Yeah, Brian and I had that experience this past Sunday.
Our pastor is currently preaching a series from the book of Ruth, and this past Sunday’s topic was “Be Blessed By Being A Blessing”. The Scripture passage we were studying was the second chapter of Ruth. The question was asked, “Do we just sit and ask God to bless us with what we want?” No, we are blessed by being a blessing to others. The first point the pastor made was to trust that God will provide. We don’t wait to bless others until God gives us what we think we need or want. We step out in faith, trusting God to provide, and seek ways to serve others, to bless them. POW! God said, “Lisa, I’m talking to you here.”
This goes right into something else that might be a God-sized dream, and one I haven’t talked a whole lot about.
I used to have a house in Texas. I loved that house. I loved it a lot. Then my first marriage fell apart, I made what seemed like a good decision at the time. It turned out not to be such a good decision for a single mom with one income, and the house was suddenly no longer mine. Brian and I got married, and we’ve had houses, but they’ve not been anything like “my” house, that I loved so dearly. We’ve been in houses that have, to put it kindly, quirks. Issues. OK, problems. And for several years now, I’ve had houses that I’ve been embarrassed for friends or family to see. I haven’t wanted anyone to come over or stop by unexpectedly. Forget about hosting a Sunday school gathering or letting either of the boys have their birthday parties at home. I have longed for a house with which I could be hospitable, a home I could make welcoming, a home I could gladly open to others. But I didn’t see how it could ever happen.
Fast forward to Louisiana. After we’d been here a few months, we thought, hey, let’s just look at houses, see if there’s anything in the realm of possibility. We found one house that had a lot of potential, but needed some work. We loved the house, but due to my aforementioned financial disaster, a mortgage wasn’t something I was likely to be able to qualify for at that point. Someone else made an offer on the house, and we figured, ah well, God has something better for us, but still, I was bummed.
Then the realtor who showed us the house mentioned that there would be some new development one street over from where we live right now, and she got me in touch with the builder. Long story short, we investigated, we discussed, we prayed, and we didn’t see any reason not to…
I prayed. I agonized. I said, “God, I know that us missing out on that house we thought we liked meant you had something better for us. But are you SURE that ‘better’ is really supposed to be a brand new house built just for us?! I mean, I’ve screwed up so badly in the past. Surely I don’t deserve that kind of blessing. Do I? Surely I can’t be trusted with that kind of responsibility. I’m scared. What if I screw it up again?”
But still, we didn’t see any red flags telling us to call it off. And the building began. And proceeded. And still, we felt like the answer was yes, this is what you should do. We’d feel better about the finances if Brian’s job paid a bit more, but right now, we have what we have. And we’ve felt all along that the answer is yes, this is for you.
And then that sermon. Bless others to be blessed. A new home. One with room to store all our stuff. One where the roof doesn’t leak (even though our landlord has supposedly fixed it on at least three separate occasions). One where we’ll have enough room to open up our homes to kids who are part of a group visiting our church from out of state, or let the boys invite friends over for sleepovers, or just to hang out and play the Wii and jump on the trampoline. This will give us all KINDS of opportunity to bless others! (But we’re not waiting on the new house. We’re looking for ways we can bless others right now. The house will just give us a much bigger tool to use for that purpose!)
God provides those things that will glorify Him and that we cannot live without. We need a house, there’s no question about that. If we use our new house to bless others, to live out our faith, that will glorify Him. Maybe this God-sized dream is closer to coming true than I ever imagined.