It's been longer than I'd planned between blog posts, but when we drove away to Cairns last Tuesday morning for a two-night refresher of soul a phone call came through during our lunch stop that literally caught us unawares and we've spent the last week letting the news sift and settle as we pray over the ramifications for next year.
We'd been in this house just eleven weeks and finally felt settled, life becoming a gentle rhythm of routines and Mr E having just finished teaching for the year we were looking forward to beginning his six-week summer break with this mini-holiday up the coast. It was needed after our recent move and a few late in the year health challenges.
About two hours into our drive we were eating fresh baked pies at a cafe in Cardwell, right beside the ocean, when the call came through.
The owners of our rental home had decided to sell.
Prospective buyers would soon begin coming through and we'd be given 24 hours notice of each inspection. Our private secure home, our sanctuary from the world, would now be on display and a stream of strangers must be allowed access because legally the owners have that right.
I was angry.
My heart was raging for the next 24 hours. In fact I wanted to pick a fight with the owners just so I could shout how rude and unfair this was, how they should have told us eleven weeks ago, how they were insensitive and selfish. I wanted to be heard.
Over the next few days I shed some tears, and bit by bit unpicked all the anger and the accusations that I never got to make, giving my hurt to Jesus, the Great Unpicker of all my less than lovely attitudes.
The anger didn't go away immediately but each day since my meltdown it's gotten less, until today I realised it's not there anymore.
My soul is calm, my spirit is bright, my outlook is positive.
Legally, even if the house sells, we have the right to stay until the end of our lease at the close of next September.
We might, we might not.
The thing is that life is a set of incidents which by themselves make no sense, but when brought together by His hands you realise there was more going on behind the scenes than you imagined.
We can sit here and plot our path, we can make wonderful plans and hope the best things.
There's nothing wrong in that.
Unless you're rigid and unyielding, refusing to let go and follow a different map when those plans are clearly not to be.
When we hold on too tight to what we want, something wonderful and amazing and 'just right' may slip right on by.
Regrets are not new to me, but they occur less the closer I walk with Jesus and let His ways take precedence over my own, even (especially) when I don't fully understand them.
And I don't understand what's happening right now.
But I know Who holds our life in His hands and I trust that what's to come is better for us than what we have now.
Placing my hand in His each morning is a day by day decision. Not sure why I have to keep making that decision but it's probably because I still see my way as the best way?
"Thank you, Jesus, for another day" upon waking, coffee brewing and my Bible open and ready to guide me...yeh, my way really isn't the best, but when His way becomes my way it never fails.
The right everyday decision.
So we're letting the peace of God reign, but we're also being mindful not to leave precious things around the house while we walk this season of intrusion.
"Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves", Jesus instructs us. (Matthew 10:16)
The night before we left for Cairns I found these stitcheries from 2014 in my UFO box and decided to display them as a bunting. I trimmed each block before fusing Pellon behind them, cut fabric for the binding and left everything on my cutting table to finish the next day.
When morning came around Mr E suggested we pack and go north for a few days so I closed the door on my sewing room and prepared for our trip instead, but when we arrived home again on Thursday, still a tad raw from the news of the house sale, I didn't feel like sewing at all, so I scooped my pieces up and put them aside with the idea of finishing the project next Christmas instead.
When peace returns, when you allow it to fill you, some of the things you previously rejected become interesting again. And that's what happened this morning.
I thought about the words in those three little stitcheries.
"Hosanna" originally means 'save me please' and you know, I really needed saving from my angry attitude this time last week.
A "merry" Christmas spirit is exactly what I felt robbed of for a while but now I am merrier than ever because I realise my security, my sanctuary, is not this house. It's Jesus.
"All is bright"...yes it is. Now that peace has returned and our eyes are fixed on what is to come and not what is behind, we can see through the darkness of our initial despair and into the everlasting Light which fills us with hope.
Whatever surprises have unsettled your life this year, this month or today, lift your hands to Jesus, let the anger and disappointment wash away and look forward with hope.
Our situation has not changed, our health issues are not resolved, and we cannot see the path ahead.
But we are changed, and all is merry and bright in our hearts once more...