Seeing afresh 2day what I sensed God say 2me when we sold our much-cherished lake house..."You will never regret following Me."
Lisa Campbell Bauer, a Facebook friend and the former director of communications at First Christian Church in Springfield, Ohio left me a comment on Facebook. She said, "I would love to hear the rest of the story, Evan...this is huge!" So, as Paul Harvey would say, "Here is the rest of the story."
In 2007 my wife and I went through Crown Ministry's class on stewardship and in what we sensed as a step of obedience to God, we downsized our big house, trading it for one that is still wonderful, but less costly each month in mortgage, homeowners fees, utilities and such. My income leading Fishhook was significantly less than my former agency days, and going through Crown helped move us to action. Our new house is great - and the view from our back deck (left) is so peaceful. It was a good move. But not enough.
In 2008 my wife and I came to the realization that we also need to sell our lake house. It was a much-loved remnant of our former lifestyle that could not be afforded. After many, many tears we made the decision to put it up for sale. Selling it would not only relieve us of the monthly expenses, but the proceeds of selling would help us dig out of a debt hole we'd slowly put ourselves in.
As is typical, putting the house on the market required a couple months of projects to get it ready to sell. Weekend after weekend, and even some weekdays I labored to make the place even more spectacular (it really was a special place - timber frame - hand carved logs - a view of the lake from a perch in the woods). I was resolved to get this job done, and for the most part, I was focused on task. However...the place held so many special memories, and it represented so many hoped-for days. I had envisioned retirement there. I anticipated days ahead with my children and their friends in high school and college days. I was not only walking away from a wonderful past I was giving up a beautiful future there.
So while on task, I was packing up the linen closet, and with all the windows open on a warm, early spring day, I was overcome by a nearly unbearable sense of loss. I dropped to the floor and sat with head in hands sobbing. I looked down the long hallway that led to the great room and looked out through the windows into the trees and sky. As I cried, I said aloud, "God, will I regret selling this place?"
With an immediacy that passes my own ability to form a phrase in my head, I sensed a small, assuring voice say, "You will never regret following me." This voice, that speaks in full, complete thoughts, in an instant...I have come to trust as God's voice.
I still look back on our days owning that lake house as some of the best our family has ever experienced. I have never regretted selling it.
Today's reminders about following God have little to do with the lake house. But today several emails have crossed my screen that remind me that I've followed God for a great purpose and I am seeing the fulfillment of my calling afresh today. I trust I will never regret following Him.