Have you ever stood in an open field on an August day in Oklahoma? The wind never stops blowing. It feels like a strong warm breath covering you. One day I experienced the breath of God on my back. I can’t say I heard an audible voice, but I knew it was God speaking.
In late 2007, I was impressed to get ready for a big change. I knew that every time a major change came, God always prepared me. That is how God impressed me to embrace His will and learn to live in obedience once again.
Like an ant getting ready for winter, I began to update our home. My first chore was to convince my loving husband of 42 years that our five year old home needed modernization. But after a time he was gracious and began to open up the purse strings. We double the patio and covered it with a pergola. My husband could see the need to paint the outside of the house and agreed to that as well. The difficult decision for him was to agree to a new more modern color. My wonderful husband hated change and he had not heard from God.
Then it was time for the inside. We looked for just the right colors. I could see an antique bronze faux in the great room, a significant change from the apple green that we had originally. My choice for the formal dining room was a touch of bold red antique with black and bronze glaze. I talked him into painting the rest of the interior and refinishing our hardwood floors. A true miracle from God. Our home was a palace.
Once the renovations were completed I could see the toll it had taken on my husband. Since I was not sharing what was driving me, I could not blame him for being resistant. He had not yet heard from God and maybe I had misinterpreted His message. No, I was still feeling a strong need to be ready. I began to feel as though the next steps would lead to us moving. But why did we have to move? Still, when God speaks, it is smart to follow His lead.
I had followed His lead before. My life changed significantly in 2006 when I was forced to retire early due to a severe loss of sight from Macular Degeneration. Having been a successful high level manager for most of my career, it was a difficult experience. Our finances were impacted significantly and we were down to only one income plus my Social Security Disability. But with God’s help, we were making ends meet.
In September 2008, my husband was forced into early retirement due to the downturn in the economy. We had already lost over 40 percent of our retirement savings in the market and we still had ten years left on our mortgage. Now I was beginning to understand. God had been preparing me for this for over 19 months. His answer to our need was to downsize our expenses, beginning with our home.
When you are married to someone who does not like change, it is not easy to ask them to make one of the most important changes in life. I began to share God’s vision with my husband. But he wasn’t ready to make this move. He felt we could make ends meet on our reduced income. So we sat down and worked together on a budget. It was soon obvious that if we cancelled our cell phones, our lawn service, the newspaper, and our cable, and never took any trips, we could pay the bills but there would be nothing left over for clothing or birthday gifts or Christmas. But in the spirit of following his lead, I agreed to give it a try. We set aside cash for groceries, utility bills, and the house payment. We did not have any credit card debt or car payment. Surely we could do this.
It was October 2008 and with concern, we began. November was even more difficult and then came December. How could I not get a few gifts for our grand kids? My heart was so low. Finally we made the decision to pull cash from our savings for a modest Christmas.
Once again I mentioned the need to “downsize” and my husband said, “I am not leaving this house until you put me into a nursing home. That is final.” I knew it was time for God to speak to him. My attempts were futile. Within two days, my husband came to me and said, he had called a realtor just to see what we could get for our home. Wow, God was working. All I had to do was take my hands off the situation and give it to God.
December 22nd we met with the realtor. On the 26th we ventured out to see what homes we could afford on our new lower income. God took us to a new construction home that was perfect and the builder offered to reduce the price by 10 percent. We immediately placed a contract on the house. Now to get our home sold. This is when we really saw God at work. One family came to see our house on the 29th and made an offer. It was too low and we began the difficult war of offer vs. counter offer. Finally, the evening of the 30th, my husband shouted into the phone at our realtor, “No more, we are done. Either they want the house at our price or they can find another one. I am not negotiating any longer. I am done. “That night we went to bed with heavy hearts. Surely this was a dead deal. Would we loose the new home? It was the home God had provided. Now was the time to rest in His arms and wait.
The phone rang early the next day. Our realtor called to say the buyer had agreed to our price. The only condition, vacate the house by the 30th of January. We agreed and began to panic. It was time to use our 25 plus years of business experience to execute a plan. We had to pack and move in 30 days.
Looking back, I continually felt God’s warm breath on my back as we packed. Today, we’re settled in our new home. It’s lovely. We have reduced our house payment by 66 percent and our home insurance by 50 percent. God knew our needs and He acted quickly. His warm breath on my back was gentle, but consistent. I can rest in the knowledge that we followed His will and will be taken care of during this very difficult financial time. God is certainly good. If you begin to feel a warm wind on your back, stop and listen. He is speaking.