Have you ever wanted something so badly, but could not reason out the logistics to obtain it? And I’m not talking about a new outfit, or even a new car. I’m talking about huge, seemingly unattainable dreams! You may not be capable of providing yourself with the wonderful gifts you desperately need or want, but God is.
I have been in that position multiple times and have learned some tips I want to share with you.
Years ago, my husband, Kendel, and I started our family while still in college. Kendel worked an engineering internship his Senior year but made a pittance. I didn’t work, aside from going to school, because we figured anything I made would have been negated by the cost of childcare AND because we knew that our littles needed me at home with them.
I don’t know how we lived on less than $10,000 per year, with two kids and our college tuition and books, plus rent and groceries and everything. It truly was miraculous that we were able to graduate, completely debt free, without using food stamps or living in subsidized housing or using government assistance in any way.
During those two difficult years, I learned some principles for participating in God’s economy, which is very different, and so much more generous and abundant that the worldly economy we are used to. I have learned more over subsequent years as we have had further opportunity (aka economic challenges) to participate in God’s economy.
After graduating, we bought a small house, had a couple more kids, and life was good, although of course we had typical young-family challenges. I didn’t realize at that time what a blessing it was that I could keep all of my little people at home, innocent and safe. As time marched on, our kids got a little older and we added more children to our family. We had five children, and our oldest was eight when things got pretty rough.
Our oldest son, despite our desperate and varied attempts at correction, had developed a serious video game addiction, among other challenges. You might think a 7 yr. old incapable of an addiction. I did, too, until it happened in my home. We sought help and were given some ideas. With zero doubt, we knew that we needed to buy a farm, and give our children meaningful work opportunities in order to save them.
We had a modest home on 1/4 acre and we live in a suburban area, where the only homes with larger yards were considered ‘horse-property’ and priced way out of our budget. Our area was also in the middle of a tremendous housing bubble and everything was highly inflated. Purchasing a farm seemed like an unattainable challenge. Luckily, we already knew a few of the steps we needed to take in order to be able to summit this insurmountable obstacle.
1. Ask God
Regardless of your religion, your nationality, your ethnicity, or your beliefs, God is your father. You are His child. He loves you and wants to take care of you, in the same way that you love and want to care for your own children. He hears your prayers and listens. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.
After looking for 3 months, we were able to find a home on an acre that we could afford. I informed Kendel it would be temporary, because the house was just a rectangle with a front porch, and I thought it was ugly. We didn’t love the house, but we loved the acre it sat on.
2. Be a good steward
That house, nicknamed ‘blue’, was a great blessing to our family. During the six years we lived there, we finished the basement and completely remodeled the main floor, which helped the house to feel more like home, and we all loved it because it was home, but I never could get past the fact that it was just a rectangular box.
We also learned more about farming as we purchased and worked with first goats, then cows, and always chickens and a large vegetable garden. Over time we realized that we needed more land. So after 6 years we decided to start looking again.
Being a good steward includes using your talents to bless God’s other children, and learning new skills and talents. The reward for good stewardship is its increase.
3. Be Specific and detailed in your requests
I began to create our families ideal house in my mind.
I have always loved architecture and spent long hours while growing up pouring over house plans. For fun I would sketch them out on graph paper. I have designed dozens of dream houses over the years, and have kept a binder of my favorites. This was one of the reasons I so strongly objected to ‘blue’ even after living there for 6 years and completely remodeling it.
I love to walk through home construction sites after the workers have left for the day and before they’ve installed doorknobs and locks. At that point, the house is usually just framed, so it’s easy for me to remodel it in my mind, moving walls and plumbing around until it is just the way I like it. I also love to attend open houses and the parade of homes. I just love houses!
But we needed acreage in addition to a house, and our budget was still very limited. The houses we were finding that fit most of my criteria were in the several-million-dollar range. I knew I wouldn’t be getting my ultimate dream house, but I still wanted to try to get close. I made a very detailed and precise list of the features we absolutely needed, along with features we just wanted.
Because I enjoy construction and remodeling, I wasn’t worried about finishes, like flooring, fixtures, and colors–I could easily change those. I was mainly concerned with the structure.
When I was finished, I had created a snapshot of this dream house. It would have:
- at least 5 bedrooms
- all bedrooms, including the master, on the second floor, with large windows and great views
- master suite
- laundry room upstairs with bedrooms
- 4 bathrooms
- delightful nooks and crannies, not a rectangle, MUST have character
- elegant staircase and foyer
- 3 car oversized garage
- at least 10 acres, so we could pasture our cows instead of always feeding them dried alfalfa
- it would be in the same area in which we already lived, near Kendel’s work, so we wouldn’t lose him to a commute
I spent hours on the internet, searching real estate in our area. We live in a suburban area, so properties with acreage are very rare, and when one does come on the market, it is snatched up quickly, at premium prices.
4. Be grateful for what you ‘will’ (future tense) be blessed with
I kept praying that if Heavenly Father would arrange something for us–a beautiful home that I would love and would be perfect for our large family, with acreage for our animals, in our area. I also prayed that if He had something else in mind for us, He would let us know and lead us to it. I also prayed for patience–I really struggle there.
I walked through ‘our new house’ daily in my mind, and daydreamed about the details, with joy and gratitude for the overwhelming blessings and opportunities this property provided my family. Yes, I was grateful for something that didn’t yet exist.
Gratitude for future blessings shows confidence in God.
We probably drove our realtor batty touring properties over the next year, jumping back and forth from buying-raw-land-and-building to old-and-totally-not-what-we-wanted-but-we-could-remodel to whatever creative thing we could think up next to try to attain the dream that didn’t match our budget.
5. Be patient
Our time is not God’s time.
A few times, for lack of patience, I was almost ready to jump into a purchase that was really not our dream. I’m so grateful that the spirit constrained me.
Finally, one morning the perfect property popped up on the MLS (a statewide real estate listing site). It was right down the road from our house, lovely and charming beyond belief, fit ALL of our needs and wishes (although it did need a complete interior overhaul because the previous owner LOVED pink and floral wallpaper, both of which I intensely dislike) and even exceeded them. We had actually driven by this house multiple times and remarked to each other that we wished we lived there.
We called and looked at it, and made a full-price offer the very day it was listed–along with six other people. But because God’s hand was in this, the owner accepted our offer. Our blue home sale fell through, twice, but the seller gave us an extra month, even with all those other offers on the table. And then our financing had a hiccup.
One particularly hard day, right after the first sale of the blue home fell through, I drove over to this house and sat on the back patio (it was empty, nobody was living here) and cried. I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I honestly felt Heavenly Father tell me that it was okay, He had worked it out.
6. God’s economy is abundant
Everything to do with our house did work out! We have lived in this beautiful home on a large acreage for three years now, and have even been abundantly blessed to be able to completely remodel it, top to bottom. There is not a speck of pink left, nor a single piece of floral wallpaper, ha, ha!
He overcame all of the obstacles along the way. God was working on our dream the entire time. I am so grateful we didn’t settle for something lesser than what He was preparing for us, just because we lacked faith and patience. I can’t stop marveling at God’s incredible goodness to bless our family so far above and beyond what we deserve.
Our budget was meager and we are insignificant, unimportant people. It would have been more fair and just to give us a meager, insignificant home. But Heavenly Father doesn’t work that way. His economy is based on abundance.
Think about it. Heavenly Father created this beautiful Earth for us, his children. He could have created a ball of dirt, but no. He adorned the Earth with waterfalls and mountains, lakes and oceans, white sandy beaches, abundant and beautiful plants and animals.
He notes the sparrow’s fall and He clothes the lilies of the fields. Of course He is going to take care of and provide for His children. And He will do it abundantly.
I have used mostly financial examples here to explain these principles. But God’s economy is not limited to finances. Your Heavenly Father has given you life, the air you breathe, your precious families, and the blessings of feelings of joy and deep and abiding peace. He can provide miraculous healings–physical, mental and emotional– free people from addictions, turn your weaknesses into strengths and miraculously enhance your gifts and abilities.
In fact, just today I read a beautiful story about a missionary in South America who was teaching a young man the gospel. He was worried that, as a busy college student, the time the gospel would require would detract from his study time. The missionary promised the young man that if he began each day with scripture study, his intellect would be blessed and his test scores and grades would improve. And they did!
How often do we live below our privileges because we don’t understand these simple principles? Perhaps we forget to ask, or we lack faith and confidence. I testify that these principles are true and when enacted, so that you become a participant in God’s economy, will bring you to a greater understanding of God’s love for you.
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