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the testing of our faith

“These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” ~~1 Peter 1:7

I know, it’s been a very long while since I updated you on all things happening in our family.

It’s been a crazy year of many highs and many challenges for the Salems. One year ago we gathered a few things that we knew we would need, staged our beautiful mountain home for sale, and headed to a much lower altitude to give one precious little darling a better quality of life through the long winter months. With the words of our realtor ringing in our ears, “Your house will sell quickly,” we took a giant leap of faith, packed a small truck with only our essentials and prepared to camp out in a rental until we could move all of our belongings once our home sold.

Two days ago I shared with my darling husband that it’s just as well God only reveals today to us–one tiny second at a time. We’re not meant to know tomorrow. We’re not meant to understand next week. When we place our lives at His feet and surrender all into the Potter’s faithful hands, tomorrow is HIS concern, not ours.

We did get an offer very quickly on our home. The house went off the market for weeks while the buyers got their paperwork together. Two days before closing, the deal fell through due to their financing. Soon after that we got another offer and our home was once again under contract. Just a few days before closing the same thing happened. And just to make sure that we were digging so deep in our faith, trusting that our Jesus would come through for us, it happened a third time too. Yup! Three failed contracts, finances and emotions very stretched trying to maintain two houses, a season of our family being separated, and almost one year on the market.

I cannot even tell you how many times we, like the Israelites, considered going to back to Egypt. We looked back so many times when we simply could not see our way out of the wilderness. Our Egypt looked wonderful! It represented stability. Home. But then, there was our precious Harper.

God never promised us easy.  He only promised us His faithfulness!

When God called the Israelites to walk onward in search of the Promised Land, going back was never an option.

We have to move forward in all of our brokenness and mess in order to embrace all that He has promised us in the future.

The good news is that God absolutely did come through for us and we eventually closed on our home just last week. For the past three days Anthony and I have looked at one another a few times and said how surreal it feels that our home is actually sold.

With my tiny faith so much smaller than a mustard seed I have wondered many times…if I had indeed known that God would take us on such a stretching journey over the last year, would I have responded differently when we felt led to move to a lower altitude? Would I have said, “Umm, thanks but no thanks, God, we’ll see how she does through one more winter.” Truthfully, I think I would have. I would probably have chosen the much easier road. The one where I had all my belongings with me, where life was comfortable and we lived in our lovely mountain home instead of embracing the valley that I knew would be hard.

But, oh! The incredible blessings we would have missed out on along the way!

The people, the small school my big kids attend, the friendships, the gift of a much-needed vehicle, the provision of a house to live in until ours sold, much better health for Harper, the crazy love poured out in this place…

…to see His faithfulness in the storm…

…we would have missed out on it all!

And I am so, so thankful that we did not.

As I have pulled back from sharing on social media and quieted my heart in this season of learning what it means to lay my life down and trust on a deeper level, I am so grateful for His grace in the valley. I will never understand why the Father chooses to do what He does (heck, He could have chosen to sell our home to the very first people who gave us an offer!), but He is God and I am not.

I have learned once again to hold onto the things of this earth so loosely. Material possessions? They are lovely to have and yes, God does want us to enjoy the nice things He blesses us with. But when they’re not around and we have to learn to be content with mismatched old sofas and blow up mattresses…can we find joy indescribable in the midst of it?

I long to be like Paul. He got it! As I have pondered Philippians 4:12, I have wondered so many times…can I learn to be content in all situations that God allows me to be in–with plenty, and with little?

I’m still learning.

Failing miserably.

Getting it right.

Pressing on.

I am learning to embrace the valley. We have tasted and seen that He is a good God in every season of stretching, in every season of need, and in every season of abundance. The grace, the manna from heaven, the provision in every area of our lives over the past year have left us weeping and speechless at times.

Faithful God. How can I ever doubt?

And so a new season unfolds as we try to find a home for our family to settle in. We’re looking forward to getting our furniture out of storage and making a home for our family again.

And we’re embracing a new and exciting journey in the Lord too (I’ll share soon!). A beautiful adventure we never imagined God would ever call us to journey. But He has and we’re standing with hearts wide open.

If there’s one thing that I have learned as God has gently led us down such an uncertain road over the past year, it’s to be ready to say yes when He calls our name. In season, and out of season too. Be ready to say yes when we feel like we have life all figured out and all of our sweet ducks in a row. Be ready to say yes when we feel so content with the way life currently is and we don’t want it any other way. Be ready to say yes when all things are wonderful and we cannot imagine life any more beautiful.

And be ready to say yes when we cannot see our way out of the thickest forest…but we know that He is near.

Because a simple yes spoken in obedience is worth so much more than any earthly wealth or great gain.

“Yes” tells God, “Here I am, Lord! Show me your faithfulness once again, my God!”