My husband Dave and I, along with our 2 year old daughter Aaris, were led to relocate to Lexington KY from Nashville TN in 2014, and to purchase a house that (we learned only after we bought it and invested our entire life savings into it), had such severe structural issues it was on the brink of falling down. Seriously. And, for the very first time in my life it was crystal clear to me that there was nothing humanly possible (read: nothing my controlling efforts could have done) to save us from our undeniably morose checkmate of a situation.
It is said that the impossible is where God begins, and in our experience, those words couldn't be more accurate. Through one hell of a challenging journey that was mostly uphill, I learned to not only lean on God each and every day, but also, to let Him carry me when I felt I couldn't press on. And, I grew to believe a little more each day, that when I couldn't, He could, if I would only surrender it all and let Him. As a result, we experienced more miracles than we could count in those trying but invaluable times as we watched God single-handedly fix a home we were incapable of fixing, while simultaneously fixing faith we didn't even know was broken.
For over a year and a half, nearly every thing we owned remained in storage. We rode it out one short-term lease at a time, in a small empty apartment containing not much more than our beds, a futon, and a table with four chairs. Our kitchen drawers (that were once so filled with kitchen gadgets and utensils I could barely close them) held four forks, four spoons, four knives and one spatula. I stirred my soup, scrambled my eggs, and prepared every single thing we ate with that one endlessly versatile tool that I still cherish to this day. Talk about one real-life lesson of want verses need. And surprisingly, I was still happy… and in many ways, I was undoubtedly happier than I was before.
I spent a lot of time studying God’s word during those times, specifically the Old Testament, and one day (in a moment I’ll never forget) the story of Achsah shone out like a beacon of light into darkness to me. Not amounting to more than a few lines in the first chapter of Judges, Achsah’s story was so relatively small it could have been easily missed. But instead, those three God-breathed paragraphs changed everything for me.
In a nutshell, Achsah was a woman who had been offered up for marriage by her father, Calab, to the man who could reclaim the city of Debir, which was a land seething with giants and enemies. In walks Othniel, who I imagine to be one handsome hunk of a burly man and quite the catch for Achsah, who ultimately did just that. The two of them wed and were given a plot of land by her father to build their new life on immediately. Sounds peachy, right? Well, not so fast… because the land had one fatal flaw (much like our house). It had no water (while our house had too much, leading to black mold, termites and extensive rot). And no water for them meant no life (too much for us, no livable house).
So what did Achsah do? Scripture tells us she got on her donkey, rode that thing right up to her father and asked to be blessed… once again. She asked for a single spring of water, the one thing she so desperately needed to sustain her families future. But Calab, the loving and capable father he was, abundantly gave her two springs. –Judges 1:12-15
In much the same way I quickly realized our heavenly father gives to us far beyond what is actually needed. He wants to satisfy our wants too (and does so daily whether we acknowledge it or not). Because, as we already know… His gifts are as endless as His capabilities. Jesus said it best when He said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” –Matthew 7:11. And, even further when He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” –Matthew 19:26.
So what did all this mean to me? It meant boldly asking. It meant fiercely believing. And it meant waiting with a heart full of thankful expectation. And then one day something miraculous happened. We actually moved out of our apartment, and into a home that takes my breath away every time I cross under its threshold. Not because it’s a beautiful home, far grander than I deserve (although both are true). But because I know it was specifically restored for my family and I, by no one other than God himself (not to take-way from the revolving door of what felt like about a ba-zillion contractors). That day, and every day since His miraculous restoration of our home, it is almost as if I can actually hear the Lord speaking to my heart, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” -Jeremiah 32:27
In the end, just like Achsah, it turned out we received twice the blessings we asked for while in the midst of our most desperate time of need. We pleaded before God, asking for a home we could live in, but our biggest gain came from the rare opportunity to be standing in the shadows while God turned the Red Sea up on end for us, letting us pass through into a land simply dripping with milk and honey, just as He did for the children of Israel. No doubt they felt fortunate in that situation that their lives were saved. But the most valuable blessing that miracle lent them was an experience with God that left them (as well as all those who have read about it throughout the generations), filled with awe, hope and faith. So, how lucky are we then that scripture tells us that God never changes, therefore these divine encounters are possible for all of us. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” –James 1:17
While I sit in my office and write these words, the early morning sunlight streaming through a window filled with barren dogwood branches, into the home we fondly refer to as “Villa Achsah,” I am filled with thanks to be the daughter of such a loving and capable heavenly Father. And, my greatest hope comes from the amazing opportunity of living each day in the fullness of His grace and provision. And that, my friends, is what Achsah Living is all about.
I look forward to sharing my life with you and others who seek Him, as well as every good and perfect gift He has to offer all of us, both in this life, and beyond. In the meantime, I’d like to encourage you. Whoever you are, and whatever you need (or even want)… get on your donkey (or in your car, or on your knees), go boldly my brothers and sisters… and ask our Father. He is all ears and all smiles… waiting for the opportunity to bless you too… once again.
Written by J.C.