I still remember the difficult nights that I awakened at 4am to feed my middle daughter. At 44 years old, those sleep disturbed nights were tough! Since I had already raised two children, I knew this was simply a season, but months of broken rest left me exhausted. However, one night stands out as reminder of God's presence and provisions.
As I rocked my sweet baby in the moonlit corner of her bedroom that early morning, I kept my sleep-deprived mind busy envisioning our future. Because I had brought her home from China when she was ten months of age, I felt like we had already lost precious time. After reflecting on what I felt we had missed together, I felt a shifting of thoughts within me. Instead of contemplating what I considered lost, I began to focus on all that we had to look forward to together.
Photo by Nicki Griffith Photography
I began praying for our future together. I even prayed for our home - the literal house we lived in. We had already raised our son and first daughter in our home. It was a sufficient three bedroom, one bathroom side-to-side split level that had been filled with memories created and captured over 22 years. However, the particular floor plan we lived in did not have a profile easy to add to, and it left us wondering if we should finally make the move to another place.
That night as I gently rocked, talked, and sang to my girl, I petitioned God. If it was His will that we ever move, I asked Him to show us His path. I wasn't sure if it was selfishness or submission, but I began listing all the features I would love if we ever found a new home. Sharing my heart in this way felt good. I knew God already knew my deepest desires, but I also knew He understood even more deeply what I needed. He knew the plans He had for me, my husband, our grown children, and our beautiful baby. He held plans for us that had been ordained before the beginning of time. Beautiful plans were already established, and only God knew where we should be living and for what special purposes.
As I prayed the desires for my dream house out loud to God, I envisioned the space. It wasn't the grandest home I could request, but it was certainly a larger and more convenient floor plan. Especially because it had more than one bathroom! Adding more of that modern convenience was the number one necessity in my mind. Although I didn't need it, I also requested a home office. For some reason, it had always been a secret desire, a place to set aside for important purposes.
As time passed, we began looking for a new home. Nothing seemed to be the right fit until we found a story and a half that seemed perfect. At the last minute the contract fell through because the bank wouldn't let the seller continue. When I asked our realtor if she could find another home with that floor plan or one similar, she began a search that eventually led us to the exact plan! The day we toured the home was so exciting, but we didn't choose to purchase the place. In the same neighborhood there was a home that was similar, but larger, with all of the tiny, insignificant details only God knew were in my heart. God knows our deepest desires and our needs.
We've now lived in that home for 17 years. In it, we've hosted ministry meetings, Bible studies, adoption groups, overnight visitors, and ministries for God. One of the upstairs bedrooms became a playroom that delighted my middle daughter for years and helped us bond and attach so naturally. Because her bedroom and playroom held such inspiration, she implements that youthfulness into the artwork she creates through Melane & Co.
My middle daughter, Marissa.
My office allows me to easily produce two podcasts that honor the Lord and I create courses and various items that point to Him. We've also adopted again and have enough bathrooms and bedrooms to easily fit this lifestyle God granted with so much love and grace.
Our youngest, Brooklyn.
Could we have done the same things in our old home? Absolutely! But only God knew that moving to our new house would allow us to meet the people who have become important in our life. The neighbors, churches, and community events we wouldn't have be a part of if we had stayed where we were living were meant to be what continued growing us in Him and maturing our family with those He intended.
Nothing is too insignificant for God. Nothing is impossible or beyond His understanding and goodness. When we humbly come with a desire to please and honor Him, He sees and hears the cries and desires of our heart. Sometimes it is exactly what we requested. Other times it is not. Each time He listens, He cares, and He offers us His very best for the situation and to bring us nearer to Him.
Now that same rocking chair I used so many nights ago sits in my bedroom instead of the nursery. It is the same rocker I sit in every morning to spend quiet time with God after awakening, the same chair that I use to cuddle under a warm blanket and speak to God before the day begins. This chair of many prayers has proven my Father is faithful to me; He is faithful to you. He still listens and He still goes before each of us, surprising and surpassing with His ability to carry us exactly where we need to go and carrying us in His mighty arms as we trust Him to travel and prepare the road before us.
2022 photos by Jenny Shipley