Previously on Late Night Cravings!!
My family was safe! So my house caught fire, but nobody was hurt. Wrapping our heads around the ordeal was overwhelming to put it mildly. Aside from being displaced from our home we were clueless as to how this trek would progress. But, before I move forward with how God revealed his hand in all of this, it is essential to rewind the tape a bit.
The fire took place on May 8, 2013. Ironically, this was four years to the date we drove into Kansas City upon our initial move. We called the local Residence Inn our home for the first three weeks of our stint in the midwest until we closed on our house in June 2009. Once we moved in we quickly fell in love with the house for many reasons. One of which rested in the fact that we had so much more home than we could have ever owned in Florida for the same amount of money. Including the finished basement it clocked in at just over 4300 square feet. (That number was enthralling at first but I do admit that over time I realized how excessive that was to maintain.)
After several months of getting to know the layout, we felt as though we were there to stay for a long while. The house quickly became home as we grew familiar with its various aspects as it functioned within our daily routine. This included knowing which toilets flushed the best, how long you had to wait get hot water to the shower, getting your footing right on the stairs and of course instinctively finding the light switches in the dark.
By the time early 2012 rolled around we were deep-seated not only in our home but in our neighborhood and around town. We knew our favorite restaurants to dine out, we had made some great friends and were plugged into our church. We were strapped in and committed to our Kansas City ride. And with that commitment we gained a comfort on a different level.
Being in the house for a few years now we slowly started a wish list of changes and remodeling ideas. If financially feasible we knew the kitchen was first and foremost on our list. Its location in the house was perfect but its layout was far from it. The refrigerator was opposite the sink which in and of itself was not a problem. The issue was more in the roadblock that the builders installed in the form of a misplaced island right in the path from the fridge to the sink. This island consumed the bulk of the kitchen’s real estate. I won’t mention the sea foam colored formica countertops. I know, I’m sounding extremely entitled and spoiled…but stick with me and hear the story out.
In the fall of 2012 we were close to making that spend. We knew we could do a decent remodel while keeping a somewhat comfortable portion of our savings intact. Most every major decision, and smaller ones, is given a great deal of prayer. Prayer is what got us to move in the first place and to this point it was an absolute blessing for our family. So we knew we’d make this decision in the same manner. But after several months we had no clear feelings or peace about proceeding. The lack of clarity grew more prominent and with that we both felt too uptight to spend the cash. We finally decided to hold off until the first of the year to see how any work bonuses and/or tax returns pan out for us.
Shortly after the decision to hold off on the kitchen we were invited to a meeting with our church. They were launching an initiative to ramp up church planting efforts in both the Kansas City area and in Colombia. Restore Community Church was extremely transparent in showing how their finances were used. It was part of a network of churches which took a large percentage of the giving received and put it back into the community and church planting in various regions. It was part of the reason Restore opted to not devote money for its own church building and instead leased space in the local high school. The community and new churches was priority over the costs of owning and maintaining its own facility.
In this meeting the congregation was asked to pray over how they could help this effort, either financially or in any other facet. We couldn’t help but view the timing of this event as more than ironic given the fact that we recently put off spending money on something material. So Shanti and I certainly prayed as to what and how we should give. It would have been easy for me to suggest giving as much as we could without being conservative. And while that would not have been in any way logical, we both knew it was a big deal. After all, amidst a horrendous economy and housing market our Florida home sold rather quickly in 2009. Not to mention after several rounds of layoffs at her company, Shanti was spared at every turn. In reflection we realized that no matter what financial stress we thought we might be under, God always showed up for us.
It was about six weeks from the initial ask from our church until a decision was to be made. There was absolutely no pressure placed upon any single member, it was totally up to the individual or family to pray and do what was felt to be God’s direction. When it came down to the last several days of deciding Shanti and I chose to pray together and individually over the matter. We had the idea to keep to ourselves any specific amounts that may come to mind until our agreed upon day to reveal.
The day arrived and we had planned to meet up with our friend and pastor for coffee to pray and discuss our decision. Shanti and I met at the set location ahead of our friend to share our thoughts to each other. As we sat at the table we each wrote a number down on a sheet of paper and exchanged them. Throughout the several weeks I found it difficult to come up with a number and had no true clarity on what to give. I strongly felt that Shanti would be conservative and hesitant to deplete any financial security we had in the bank. So when the time came I wrote an amount that was seemingly on the safe side while also being generous – I indicated giving half of our savings. I was a bit nervous to say the least as I truly thought she was going to see my suggestion as rather exorbitant. My eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets upon opening her slip of paper. Shanti had written down the entire amount we had in savings. She had a big smirk on her face when I looked back up at her…we both began to well up.
She explained that she had a solid prompting about it leading up to the day but still didn’t know for sure until she was driving to meet me. As she walked to her car to leave work for the restaurant she had asked God to give her peace about what she felt was on her heart to give…to give all of it. Now I know some readers are gonna think this is crazy, and that’s ok…but en route she happened to catch a glimpse of a billboard that happened to have a number on it. It was the amount in our savings, rounded off of course and not to the exact dollar and change. But to her she felt a tingling sense of peace upon seeing that number, as it was the same one she was running through her head along with the thought “Really God! Really!”
And so it was, we depleted our liquid cash from our bank account. Granted we knew we would replenish at least some of our savings with a possible tax returns and work bonus when 2013 came around. But for the immediate and unforeseen future we zeroed out our emergency funds and just loved our sea foam countertops for the foreseeable future. We more than put the kitchen remodel on the back burner…we completely took that pot off the stove and put it back in the drawer.
Up next : RESTORATION
Peace and forgive me –