“At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.”
When I read that passage yesterday morning, it reminded me of how the Lord commanded us to leave California. At the time, I didn’t think of it as a command. I received it as an answer to prayer. But, after reading this verse, it’s clear to me that it was a command, not a suggestion. Had we not obeyed that command, there’s no telling where we’d all be right now.
About 15 years ago, our family of eight was bursting at the seams of the little house that we rented, then later purchased. About a decade earlier, it was on a nice quiet street in a family-oriented nook of the city with a neighborhood park as its anchor. When we moved in, I was very pregnant with our 4th son and our oldest was only four years old. The kids were all still very small, and didn’t take up much space. About ten years later, that just wasn’t the case.
Our first home, with the stereotypical "team mom" van in the driveway.
My two oldest sons were looking at me eye-to-eye by then, and wearing size 12 shoes. Their new husky voices would soon be asking me to borrow the keys to my car. They would have to navigate the surrounding streets which had become increasingly populated with gang members looking for innocent kids like mine to victimize. And, college was just around the corner...prayerfully.
My husband is an eternal optimist, but I was beginning to wonder how we would be able to afford college. With so many of us living on one income in such an expensive state, we had not been able to save for anything beyond meeting our monthly expenses.
I also wondered how we could afford a bigger house. Every now and then we would drive around looking at houses with For-sale signs in safer neighborhoods, but California real estate is no joke. The prices steadily increased with each passing month, and I felt completely stuck.
Although I had begun to work part-time, it just wasn’t enough to make a difference. With six kids, there was no way I could work full-time. We had decided years prior that I would always be there for our sons, to make sure they were successful at school and stayed away from the streets.
So, one day as I was washing dishes, I found myself staring out of the window and up into the sky. I wanted more, and I wanted more for my kids. My eyes filled with hot tears, and I said out loud, “God, what are we going to do?” I received an immediate response, standing right there at the kitchen sink. It wasn’t audible, but I felt it in my spirit.
Have you ever been in the middle of tears when the phone rang? You quickly dry your tears and fix your face, then say, “Hello,” as if you were never crying. Well, that’s how quickly my tears stopped when I received the Lord’s answer. He said,
“You’ve got to get out of here.”
I felt a huge sense of relief in that moment. It was like everything suddenly made sense, and I was ready to start packing right then and there. I knew the Lord wasn’t telling me to go for a drive or go to a movie or go out for a drink. I knew He meant that it was time to move...or “set out,” as the Scripture says. But, it wasn’t easy to convince my husband…
Check back tomorrow for part 2, to read about how the Lord helped me to persuade my husband and our boys to leave the only place they had ever lived, sunny Southern California.
By the way, it's...
Day 43 - Numbers chapters 11-13 and Psalms 43
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