As most of you know, we had a big change last year with our move out of state. Carl got a new job offer and after much prayer and discussion, we could no longer deny that this was God's will for our family. We had established some deep roots after 12 years in Texas. We loved our friends, our house, our church, our neighborhood, the kid's school, etc. I loved the heat, because everyone knows I was born cold natured. God was giving us something new for our future but was asking us to give up a lot of what we loved in return. It had been God's blessing to give it, and now it was His will to take it away. In the words of Job, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." We were stepping forward in faith, but it was hard for us all emotionally.
One of the last times I went to church in Texas, I was sitting in the pew with my dear friend, Lei Ann. The pastor quoted Psalms 56:8 which says, "You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?" We looked at each other with tear filled eyes and put our arms around each other. God not only knew where this journey was going, but He also knew what we were going through. Every tear we cried would not be lost. God knew the number of each one that fell, and they are written in His book.
When the day arrived that we would leave Texas, we sat in the car and cried as we watched the garage door go down for the last time. I thought I would turn on the radio which was tuned to the local Christian station for some much needed encouragement. The song that was on was by Carrie Underwood and literally the first words we heard were, "This is my temporary home, It’s not where I belong, Windows and rooms that I’m passin’ through, This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going, I’m not afraid because I know this is my temporary home." This was the home that we had made for ourselves. The home we brought our latest child home to when she was first born. We loved that house, but God was quick to remind us that it was only temporary. It was just a stop on the way to where we are going.
Many of you might recall me writing about that song from our Christmas letter. However, that is only half the story. The night we arrived in Montana, we went to see Carl's new work site and went to pick up his truck which was parked at his work. The kids wanted to ride home with Dad in his truck while I drove the van. They had been in that van for 3 days straight and who could blame them. In the van by myself, I was struck by one of those moments where reality sinks in. I was here. This was no vacation. I was not going back to Texas. This was the beginning of a new life that I couldn't see. Again, I turned on the radio and searched the radio stations looking for a Christian station. A song was on that I had never heard before, and I stopped to listen to the words. The song was by Casting Crowns, and it said, "I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away, I'll praise you in this storm, And I will lift my hands, For You are who You are, No matter where I am, Every tear I've cried, You hold in Your hand, You never left my side, And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm." I knew God was having to do some counting as I cried on the way home that night. He was with me no matter where I was. He was counting every tear in His book. He was not going to leave me or forsake me, and He hasn't.
My son, Nathan, sometimes asks me how I know when God is speaking to me. Well, He spoke to me those days by playing a song that described right where I was at that time. Some people might think that was a coincidence. Nope, I say no way. That is my God and that is how He rolls. If you are in a storm today, please know that the Maker of heaven and earth is counting every tear you cry. He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Cast all Your cares upon Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)
"I lift my eyes up to the hill-Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1