I know what you’re thinking. “Two posts in a row? From Brandi?! Is her server down for maintenance?” Well it’s not! I’m actually taking a break from the game in order to share my thoughts with you. Isn’t that thoughtful of me?
Just say yes, so we can move on.
Daniel mentioned in an earlier blog post that we’re in the process of buying a house in “the cities” – which is the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, for those of you who don’t habla midwest. I’m excited about this because it will be the first time we’ve been able to own something, which either means we’re crazy, or we’re moving ever-so-slightly up in the world.
Now, since this process has started I’ve been approaching it through fasting and prayer, and fasting, and prayer. It’s been very cyclical, as I’m sure you can imagine. This hasn’t been an easy road for us Mitchells. It started with us feeling very strongly that our days in Duluth were coming to an end, despite the fact that we have much love for our Duluth/Superior peeps. We had a couple of options on the table: namely, the cities or Florida. Each one had its strengths and weaknesses, so that’s where the prayer started. It was, basically, me telling God that I would move where he pointed regardless of my personal feelings on the subject – if only he would just point.
Eventually, the focus slowly tightened down to the cities, and I began my search for housing. There were a lot of houses available . . . but again, after focusing in on the prayer and fasting, we managed to narrow down the possibilities to 3 different houses. After a couple of trips down into that concrete jungle, we ended up picking the first house we’d looked at. We felt really good about it, so we put in an offer and decided to start the process.
That should have been it, right? No such luck. Every step we took forward was followed by a half-step back, and there were times in the process when everyone involved was ready to throw up their hands, say “Oh to hell with it!” and settled for renting a house in the Duluth/Superior area.
Every time things would devolve to this point, I would go into a season of prayer and fasting. I would ask God the standard questions – did I make the wrong call? Did I misinterpret the signs and portents and dreams? Did he not want us in the cities at all?
Every time I prayed, I would feel this comforting presence I’ve come to call a “God Hug”. It was a feeling of God saying, “I’ve never left you. Just wait.” And I would, with renewed faith, counsel everyone in my family of this very fact. Some would doubt it was going to happen at all, some would doubt we could make it work if it did happen, and to all of them I became their only source of encouragement. Even as the clock was ticking down, and it was looking like we were going to be facing eviction from our current rental just to buy the time for the closing on this house happen, I was the one who didn’t have the time or luxury to doubt. We knew that we couldn’t rent another house without signing a lease we’d have to break in a month, thereby paying moving costs twice. Even worse was the threat of being effectively homeless until closing came through. Neither of these were pleasant prospects, and to say I wasn’t afraid would be a massive lie. Still, I felt like we were poi sed on a precipice – the difference between what God had done in our lives already, and what God was inviting us to discover with him. My fear did not shake my faith, and a lot of times my “prayer” was a shrug and me saying, “Well I don’t know what you’re doing, but you’ve never abandoned me. Not even when I forgot your name. I trust you. And thanks for the shit your doing that I can’t see. Whatever it is, it’s gonna be epic.”
Because that’s how I pray, you see. Keep it simple, stupid. Keep it simple, and keep it real.
One thing I’ve learned in my short faith journey is this: praying to God for help is powerful magic, but it’s not always enough. So we sent out a call to prayer. We asked you guys (our blog readers, who still need a name) to pray, we emailed our pastors and our friends. We got all the “prayer warriors” involved. I even branched out a little and sent out a call to my secular friends – some of whom are pagan, some of whom are agnostic, and one of whom is atheist – and asked them to do whatever they did to send good vibes our way. Heretical? Maybe. Personally, I think God hears you no matter what name you call him or what method you use, and I needed all the help I could get. Being the only support beam gets tiring when you’re holding up the whole building! Plus. . . you know. . . the whole move thing could really use his help.
Well, we asked and you answered. And things started happening in our favor. It became two steps forward and one step back – sometimes three steps. It got to the point that we became convinced that
a) this move was under supernatural attack (which is not a mentality I jump to easily)
b) that meant that we were supposed to be doing it.
We renewed the call to prayer amongst family and friends, and God moved in such a way that I can’t imagine it’s because of anyone but him. Now it looks almost certain that we will not only be closing on this house early next month, but that we will be doing it at a substantially lower cost than we originally thought. Due to the various problems we ran into in the course of trying to make this sale happen, the owner has become willing to make adjustments to the contract to help it fly with the VA loan we’re using – including lowering the price of the house, after we’d already agreed on a number. He’s even offering to pay our closing costs out of his own pocket. He’s almost losing money to see us in this house. Who does that, when they could just find another buyer?
I figure, only someone touched by God would do that.
Anyway, throughout this process my faith was never shaken, even though I was afraid and sometimes exhausted with the job of encouraging everyone else along the way. I’m not saying this to brag – I’m saying this because this is not at all like me. Usually, I’m the one who falls to despair. I’m the one who gives up on God before God gives up on me. But this time, for this struggle, things were different. I knew it was going to work out even if I didn’t see the end game. I knew God was going to take care of us, because that’s what you do to someone you love, and if there’s anything I know for certain (besides higher frame rates are better) it’s that God loves me. And not just me – God loves my whole family. As such, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would be with us through this storm as he’d been with us through every other storm.
As my pastor, Ryan Bauers, once said, “Life can be rough. Sometimes it can’t be helped. Sometimes the only choice you’re offered is the choice to go through hard times and feel hopeful, or to go through hard times and despair.”
And – who knew? – God likes it when we call on him. He enjoys it when we take the time to chat. And sometimes, when we ask him to work miracles, he does.
However, as close as we are to the finish line, there are still hurdles to jump and pitfalls to cross. I’m a fighter by nature, and as such I know that you can’t slacken in your assault till victory is fully achieved. That being the case, I’m renewing the call to each of you to come put on your +3 armor of smiting evil and come join me in the battle. Pray, meditate, light candles, whatever it is you do to commune with the infinite wonder that is God. Do it with m,e and on behalf of me and my family, and in return I will do the same for you. Whatever it is you’re going through, God is with you. He walks with you, and he loves you, and he won’t ever abandon you even if you don’t know his name. I know sometimes that’s not easy to see, so as an added bonus, I’m with you too – with my vorpal sword of holy ass-kicking and a bad attitude, and I’m willing to spill metaphoric blood for your cause. So tell me what it is you’re in the middle of, what enemy has you surrounded, what storm rocks your boat, and together we can go to war!