Life was lovely in Colorado. My husband and I enjoyed four beautiful children, good neighbors, and fulfilling friendships. We’d lived there for eight years, longer than either of us had lived anywhere. Our older children didn’t remember living anyplace else — the younger hadn’t lived anywhere else.
And yet, somehow, it felt so right to leave our home and move to Utah.
The move was prompted by thoughts of being closer to family, but in reality, it was mostly because it just felt right — like it was the next chapter in our lives that the Lord wanted for us.
I told my husband we wouldn’t seriously consider it, though, unless he actually had a job offer in hand. I wasn’t seeking for a sign; I just wanted to be smart about our decisions.
Maybe the job would come in a year or two.
But no, it was that very summer, just as we’d finished installing the new shutters and the new carpet and the new countertops in our home, that he was offered a job in Utah.
Bread, Not Stones
The day we put the “for sale” sign in front of our house, I felt just sick inside. I wasn’t ready for this! How could we leave the home we’d put so much work into, this life we loved so much?
And yet I knew it was the right thing to do. It was what God wanted us to do, and I wanted to choose His path for us. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught:
“What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye … know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:9-11).
And so, as I filled moving boxes, I repeated to myself: “bread, not stones. Bread, not stones.” This move was not the gift of a useless rock, but filling bread. It was going to work out better than I, in my limited mortal imaginings, could foresee.
At the time, though, it felt disheartening, daunting, and downright scary.
Hunting for Earring Backs and Homes
With the move decided and our Colorado home on the market, the next order of business was to find our new house — and we only had a few weeks to decide, because the kids needed to start school in our new state.
Nothing like a deadline to turn my nerves inside-out.
Our criteria for a home was on the narrow side: we wanted something close to Nathan’s work and our extended family, something in a good school district for our kids, and something with space for Nathan’s mom, who we hoped would move in with us. Susan is paralyzed due to a car accident, so we had to be a little bit choosy to find something that either was or could become wheelchair-accessible.
And all within our budget.
Our online searches were discouraging. Homes that looked promising were off the market within days, before we had the chance to see them in person. Others were eliminated because of stairs inside or outside the house.
We’d just concluded one of those unfruitful online searches one night, less than a week before our househunting trip. I was taking out my earrings near my dresser when I dropped the earring back onto the new, thick carpet. I knelt down to pick it up, but I couldn’t find it. Had it bounced? I looked for a few seconds more, but when I didn’t see it, I gave up on it. It was just an earring back.
But Nathan had seen me searching and picked up where I left off. Minutes passed, which felt like a really long time to be looking for something on a clean floor. (That house had never been as tidy as those days when it was on the market!)
The next time I looked over at my husband, he was kneeling in prayer. I’m sorry to admit my gut reaction was not one of faith. Why was he praying? It was an earring back! The jewelry itself was hardly worth anything; this was not even the earring but the tiny piece that went behind the ear. It was worth pennies.
And yet my husband prayed over it.
I watched Nathan open his eyes, look directly at a spot on the floor, and pick up the lost earring back. It was right in front of him. He hadn’t even turned his head.
Humbled, I thanked him, and then we thanked God together. I realized during that prayer if He would help us find something so small and inconsequential as an earring back, something I didn’t even care about, then He would certainly help us find the right home, something I cared about so much.
He was the Giver of Good Gifts, and He had prepared a place for us. I just had to trust Him.
The Generosity of Our God
We did find a home in Utah, and it has proven to be even better than I would have imagined. Our children attend good schools. We have friendly neighbors. We are less than a mile from Nathan’s sister; my four-year-old gets to attend preschool with his cousin. And my mother-in-law enjoys a separate entrance to her basement apartment.
Every time I step outside and see the beautiful mountain views in so many directions, I think of God’s generosity. We asked for a home, and He found us one that was not just adequate, but lovely.
Change is not easy. Even with such a beautiful witness as this — even after He continually blesses me with His tender mercies — I have struggled. Mortality isn’t meant to be effortless, and I stumble continually: with grief, with anger, with hard-heartedness. This past year or so, I have had my share of discouragement, depression, and anxiety.
And yet God will, in His mercy, still hear my subtle, repentant prayers and answer them in the most simple yet marvelous ways. I simply need to choose to trust in Him, even when — especially when — the way seems hard.
His gifts are always the best gifts, for He truly is a generous God.