Facing Trials and Listening to God’s Leading

Where has Amy been? She’s been quiet for awhile. Has she given up on her blog? What’s going on? It seems like she fell off the face of the earth! Hey there! It has been a while. Well, let me catch you up a little bit on what has been going on with the Leal’s. To start out, when we first moved into our house, we told each other this is our last move. Period. No more packing. No more starting over. No more selling our stuff. No more! Raise your hand if you know that God has other plans!

Since the turn of the year, He has been whispering to my spirit. I kept sensing the Holy Spirit saying “This is not your forever home.” When it first came to my attention, I was surprised, saddened and in disbelief. If I’m going to be real honest, I did not want to entertain that thought, but, in the back of my mind I would think “I wonder when.” I wanted to fix the house and make it mine. I wanted to learn about landscaping and grow a garden. I wanted to update the bathroom and paint the stairs. So many plans. What I didn’t know then is that God was preparing my heart for what was to come.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

March was just the beginning of all this crazy uncertainty. Fitness centers, restaurants, and small businesses closed temporarily, people lost their jobs and were put on unemployment indefinitely. Only essential stores were  allowed to remain open. Toilet paper quickly became a hot commodity while shelves emptied out quicker than they were stocked. Workers could not keep up. It feels like the twilight zone. Ever since then, there’s been one new thing happening after the other. It’s just too much to handle.

For awhile we would all carry on and try to keep life normal as much as possible. They said it would only be for two weeks. Well, two weeks came and went. Then that got extended to the the middle of April. Hope remained for some, while others started to see that this is the “new normal.” Once again, the stay at home order was extended to the second week of May. This has officially become the new norm. There’s no going back at this point. People walking around with masks, gloves, and using hand sanitizer wherever they go. We don’t know what to believe. Please understand, this is not to address my political stance, I’m just sharing my observations.

Working in a pharmacy, I have seen people scared, fearful, and weary. Once the new extension for the April date was around the corner, there was a new briefing that the stay at home order extended to the middle of May. Will this ever end? June 1st, businesses were finally allowed to reopen in Minnesota. Things started to feel a little more normal but then businesses were beginning to mandate their workers to wear masks. It’s been a gradual change. Restaurants and salons were allowed to reopen but had their own contingencies.

Throughout this time, Sam and I have been able to maintain our jobs. With the new policies in order, things changed and, avoiding to share too much detail, this put Sam on unpaid administrative leave and put us in a position where we were forced to sell our house. We had to act as if we would not be able to afford our mortgage, because we just don’t know what will happen. When we first started this conversation, I absolutely did not want to move, neither did Sam but he had already accepted the idea. But, I remembered what God had hidden in my heart. We weighed our options, prayed about the situation at hand and let God handle it.

Next, we developed a battle plan. Where do we go? Do we stay local? Do we try leaving Minnesota again? We literally had a whole map to choose from. The very top priority for us was to live in a conservative environment. At first we considered the Bible Belt. Kansas was an option but we quickly ran into a dead end. We also considered Missouri, Maine, Wisconsin, and Montana. We seriously considered Northwest Arkansas for awhile. I called every single pharmacy in the area and only two had availability. One was a pharmacy I could transfer with and another was a different kind of pharmacy. Both of the managers just happened to be on vacation at the same exact time, which was a week.

That means Sam and I had to wait a week for a job offer to get the ball rolling. We couldn’t search for a place to live or search for a job for Sam yet until I had an official written job offer. So, this set us back a week. While we were waiting, I thought there’s gotta be a reason why we are having to wait. We decided to look into other options and we remembered Montana and how much we loved it. We always wanted to go back but weren’t sure if that would ever happen. So we decided to test it out and see if God would open a door for us. Right away, the first call I made had availability in Missoula, MT. So, that was our open door. Sam actually received a job offer before me. We then were able to find an apartment (Eddie friendly) and within walking distance to my work. We prayed before we pursued and God led the way for us.

When we put our house on the market, it was listed for a day and we already received the offer. Things went very smooth and we were able to officially close a week early. Houses are going quick! During the weeks leading up to our move, there was SO much to do! We packed most of our house, did the touch up and cleaned the house all in one weekend in order to prepare for the pictures. I have never pushed myself so much as I did those three days. It was rough! But I’m so thankful we got it done because we didn’t have to rush for the following weeks. That gave us a good head start.

The week before moving, I received a text from my estranged mother that my 90-some-year-old grandmother’s health was declining. A few days later I received another one that she was not expected to last the night. My grandma passed away three days later. No one was allowed to say their proper goodbyes. I was robbed of that. She died alone without family by her side. This was undignified. I am also entitled to bereavement, yet, I was still expected to work. Management was apprehensive about giving me my bereavement because of the timing being so close to my last day. We came to an agreement that I would finish strong, tough it out, and I would then receive my bereavement. It’s backwards and not my ideal situation, but it is what it is.

I had a lot on my plate and I was angry. I was angry that I was not allowed to grieve the way I needed. I was angry that I was not allowed to say goodbye. I was angry that my grandma died alone. I was angry that my estranged mother texted me that my grandma died, in the same manner as if to say “Good Morning” to a stranger. I was angry that we had to sell our house. It all piled up on me. However, I chose to give it to God. There are many different ways I could have handled this situation, but I prayed and surrendered it. I am a firm believer that nothing is coincidence. I believe this all happened at once to test my faith and see what I am made of. God was preparing us and we chose to be Gods servants and follow the path He laid for us. Regardless of how uncertain it is, it takes one step at a time. God led us, provided for us, and kept us safe during this process. It’s all because we were obedient to His call.

Job was tested in the worst way. He lost everything. He lost his wife, his children, his cattle, his wealth. Not to mention his health was in terrible condition. He was left alone in the desert and told many times to defy God. People constantly encouraged him to curse God and die. They didn’t understand. But because Job did not falter, God blessed him tenfold. Job had a chance to cave and blame God for everything. But he honored God with each trial and each condemnation.

Maybe you’re experiencing a trial yourself. Perhaps you feel as though you have been tested in every angle and you feel like you just can’t catch a break. Maybe you are sensing the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. You know what it is. Perhaps you are worried what others will think. Maybe you’re concerned that you won’t get the support you need. The Bible is very clear that families will be divided and people will rise up against each other. There are many others in the Bible who had no support but the fear of God was stronger than the fear of man. I encourage you to pray, listen to that quiet voice, and obey. It is scary but I promise, if you just take that step, God will bless you for it.

Love,

The Leal’s

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