Our house was sold and I was devastated. It was autumn, not a good time to sell, but we put the house on the market for one month. If it didn’t sell, we would wait until spring; and in my head that was what would happen. I’d have the winter months to sort, come to terms with moving and find another home.
But within two weeks, we had two offers. One was cash and the price we wanted. For my husband, it was an answer to prayer. His health was poor and he was no longer able to help me in our large garden or around the house. While logically I knew it was a good thing, my heart grieved. I loved my home and garden with views out over hills, and the life that I had associated with it. This was where our children had reached adulthood and friends had shared happy times with us. Living there for 18 years had given me a sense of stability that I had never had before. When people congratulated me on the sale of our house, I wanted to cry.
The settlement was just four weeks. We opted to put our goods into storage and take a trip in our caravan while we worked out where to live. As the weeks and months went by, I shed many tears. One day, when feeling sad, I realised that I was like Lot’s wife. I had never understood why, when specifically told not to, she had looked back. But now I understood.
She, too, left a beautiful home, friends and a life she loved at short notice, and could only take a few things with her. Not only that, but she left behind children and probably grandchildren. How hard that must have been. I think I would have been tempted to look back too!
My husband kept praying that the Lord would lead us to a new home: I felt too numb to pray about it. Eventually, we found a home in regional Victoria that met most of my list of requirements. My husband, who had been house searching for two years, believed it was another answer to prayer. I was still struggling with “Lot’s wife moments” and wasn’t so confident. However, we bought it and moved.
Then COVID-19 arrived. We were only in our home for two weeks when Australia went into lockdown. That ended our plans to join interest groups, visit family interstate and travel to the USA to meet a new grandson. Zoom Bible study on Thursday nights and Zoom church with our local pastor and church members became the social highlight of our week.
My father was in residential care in NSW and visitors were banned. When the ban was lifted, the border between NSW and Victoria remained closed. While I phoned him regularly, I felt sad that at the close of his life, visits by his family and friends were limited. Life is tough sometimes, but he never complained. Meanwhile, I indulged in Lot’s wife moments—had we stayed in South Australia, I could have visited my father more often during the last few months of his life.
Neither of us know why the Lord led us here but we have been blessed by the beauty of the area we live in, the kindness of our local church family and their spirituality. We have grown in our understanding of God and the awesomeness of what Christ has done for us, and learnt more lessons about what it means to be a follower of Christ.
When times are hard, sometimes we have to trust the prayers of others who love us. God speaks to us in many ways, and at times leads us on paths we would not have chosen. But He has promised that He will always be with us, and will give us the strength and courage to deal with the journey. When I question why and wish things could be otherwise, I have to remind myself that if we give our life plans to God “to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate” then I can trust that all will work out for the best. For, “A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust . . . Your weakness is united to His strength, your ignorance to His wisdom, your frailty to His enduring might” (EG White, Steps to Christ, p70).
Carolyn Hankins is retired and lives in Wangaratta, Victoria, where she’s enjoying watching her new garden grow.