The phrase “living by faith” is a very christianese thing to say. It’s used often and almost casually by some at times. So much so that the phrase’s true meaning can get lost.
Some can take the phrase too literal, and are either for or against their literal interpretation. The idea that living by faith means to literally do nothing until God tells you to. The idea that people sit around waiting for God to hand you everything on a silver platter.
Yet others keep the phrase casual and do the opposite, giving it almost no meaning. Just a nice thing to say you know? Sounds good to say. But they’d rather do everything themselves, too worried about handing the reins over to someone who might lead them down another path, one that doesn’t end in the same place they want to be the next ten years.
But in reality it’s an in-between of those two. It’s not not doing anything. And it’s not just something you say.
It’s something you live. It’s something you can say, but your words won’t mean anything unless you’re living it.
We’ve been living by faith as a family for … well since forever it feels like. I haven’t known a time where we weren’t depending on God. But, don’t interpret that as me saying we haven’t been doing anything but sitting around waiting.
When I was little my Dad quit working as a pastor, and taught weekly in the local park to homeless people that camped out there. He wasn’t paid, we had no income. Yet every month the rent was paid, and we never went hungry. Why?
Because God asked us to. He wouldn’t ask that of us and then not take care of us.
We had to move out of our home a few years later. Dad was a paid pastor again, and it was stressful, but God provided the right house for us to move into. Why?
Because God had our backs.
A few years ago we were told to sell that house. To pack up and head to China. And we did. It was one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult) time of our lives. Dad once again stopped working at the church, and we sold our home. We gave away furniture, items, books, all the things we could no longer carry with us.
Were we smiling and doing it with enthusiasm the whole while? No, not at all. There were lots of tears and it was hard to be enthusiastic sometimes. But God got us through.
We bounced around southern California for a few months before loading up on a plane one night, and flying halfway across the world.
To many it was reckless. It was unplanned, frazzled, and irresponsible.
But we had seen the pattern, we knew what was really going on even though we cried and questioned why we were the ones to do this. We were just doing what God said, and keeping faith that he would make a way. Just like he had for my whole life.
The last few years, since being back from China have been odd. To be totally honest they’ve been a blur and they’ve
almost been harder than living in China was. Because there, halfway across the globe, we were surrounded by people who were doing the same thing we were. People who understood the pattern when others back home couldn’t see it.
But just this year, 2019, it’s already gotten easier. Not easy, just not as hard. We’ve started finding more people who see the pattern, more people who aren’t scared or disturbed or skeptical of the pattern. They’re all for it. And it’s comforting. It’s hard to accept at times, because it’s hard to believe that after all this time someone wants to be behind you pushing you forward, or running alongside you cheering you on and helping direct you.
But it’s oh so welcome.
Currently, we’re staying with family, eleven people in a two bedroom home…you can imagine. We aren’t without a roof over our heads, we’re just without a place to call our own at the moment. But it’s been working surprisingly.
As for what’s next, we know what’s coming is going to be good. This new chapter that God’s been telling us about over the past few months. We’re stoked and looking forward to it, especially due to the friends that surround us who are just as excited. We just need a house to do it. Which again, sounds absolutely absurd to a lot of people. That a family would “just sit around and wait for a house to be given to them.”
(if you’re asking yourself that question . . . did you even read the beginning part of this post?)
At the current moment, we’re living daily life. Looking at houses now and then, listening to Jesus and to friends who encourage us and offer prayer and help with house hunting.
Lately timing has been a funny thing. Little things have been lining up too perfectly, and we’re left laughing each time. What does it all mean? What are we doing? We question ourselves all the time. We’d be lying if we said living by faith is a piece of cake. Because like anything in life you’ll have at least one person who doubts you. And that may not always affect you, but on your low days, your bad days, their doubt will creep past your walls and sit with you for a bit. Next thing you know, you’ll be second guessing every move you’ve ever made. Or you’ll find yourself reading into any and every little thing, creating meaning out of something that has no meaning at all.
But despite all of that, the ridiculousness of it all does make for some amazing moments.
I’m convinced that God has an amazing sense of humor and no one can tell me otherwise. Our situation has lead to many quotes and inside jokes that we’ll carry within our family for years and years. And I know God is laughing right along with us.
“I won two games with only 29 points! . . . I think God feels bad for me. He let me win the game to make up for the fact I don’t have a house.”
“Everyone was kind of complaining about how firm the mattresses are, and I was just sitting there like, ‘I have a mattress!’ “
“These tears are fake. If I’m in the shower and you think you hear crying, it’s just the pipes.”
“Oh I would love a cozy room with a fireplace..” *looks up* “Hint, hint.”
“I’ve got a story to tell you…it’s a very punny story.”
“Well, I’ve got a sock drawer to clean out…”
“You don’t have a sock drawer.”
“Well I’ve got a sock cardboard BOX to clean out.”
*at Starbucks* What do you want?”
“A house. . . but if you can’t get that an Iced Macchiato will do.”
Our family has always had an odd sense of humor…more so now than ever. We’ve spent far too much travel time together, we lived in China with no one else to really talk to … we’ve created some very strange inside jokes. And we love it. Yes it’s a low-key coping mechanism but hey, you do what you gotta do.
I’m writing this all now, because I’ve been wanting to write an update. If I go for long amounts of time without writing about what’s going on in my head, in our lives, my brain goes static.
See, I process when I write. And I’ve ben putting this off for so long because I didn’t know how to tie it up with a bow and create a happy ending out of something that doesn’t have an ending yet. But I finally decided that it’s okay to share something without all the loose ends being tied into pretty bows. That’s as good as putting a veil over the whole situation, making it look so much better than it is. And I’m not about to join the group of people prancing around in masks.
We’ve been told by many that we are the definition of living by faith. Which is so kind and so humbling to hear. A compliment truly.
But sometimes we hear that phrase and our names used in the same sentence and we shoot each other glances, a smirk. Because we know what we do, we know what living by faith looks like. And it’s one hundred percent not always what it sounds like.
I will say, it makes for a pretty amazing story though. It builds our trust in Jesus, watching him surprise us again and again as he takes us on this crazy roller coaster. And at the same time it leaves others in shock as they watch this crazy family go against the normal way of life here in southern california.
So there you have it.
There’s a little peek into the reality of living by faith.