“We’ve got to do something about the floors,” we kept telling ourselves, “as soon as we’ve hosted the cookout for the church.”
It was June 2013. My wife Priscilla had a still-undiagnosed condition that was causing weakness in her muscles. This had started in her legs but was moving steadily up her body. Already she needed to use a wheeled walker to get around, and we suspected it would only be a matter of time before she was in a wheelchair. Mercifully we had a ranch-style house and our bedroom was on the ground floor, but it was carpeted, as were the rooms we used for our offices. It was hard enough for Priscilla to use the walker on these carpeted areas and we knew that using a wheelchair would be even harder, especially as her arms lost strength. We’d thought about moving to a handicapped-accessible house or apartment, but we’d realized that we already had our hands full managing Priscilla’s ever-progressing symptoms. Sorting through all our things, packing up, and moving, not to mention selling one place and buying or renting another, would simply be too much for us. So we’d resolved to make our stand right where we were and somehow replace those carpets with hardwood floors.
But first things first. Priscilla loved to entertain, so when our church announced it was looking for hosts for a series of midweek summer cookouts they called “Jesus Parties,” we were the first to sign up. On the evening of June 5, 2013, we welcomed over 50 people from the church for a backyard cookout. Because of her new limitations, Priscilla delegated many things she would previously have done herself, gratefully accepting when friends offered to set out tables and chairs, and sending helpful volunteers into the house with directions to needed items. Around 8:30, when everyone had finished eating but before most of the guests had left, it began to rain. Everyone grabbed the nearest table, chair, or dish and hustled everything into our house or into their cars, and they all drove off.
Alone back in the house, we discovered we had a phone message. Two of our nieces had called during the party to say they wanted to come visit us for several days—starting the next week! Priscilla realized they were just the people to help her sort through enough of our things to clear the way for the renovations. So she gladly arranged for their visit.
That same night she emailed one of her brothers who had offered to come for a week in July to help us pack (the last he’d heard was that we were thinking of moving), to see whether he’d help us put down wood floors instead. He agreed, saying he’d never done that before but thought he could learn. He explained that July would no longer work for him and asked whether he could come starting June 23!
So Priscilla emailed another brother, an experienced woodworker who had earlier helped us put down the wood floors we had in the rest of the house, and who’d already been consulting with us on approaches to renovation, to see whether he could come at that time. He replied that he could, since his company allowed its employees to take time off to help a close relative, including a sister, who was sick. He added that while this would have to be time off without pay, the week of June 23 included a statutory holiday in Canada where he lived, so we’d only have to replace four days’ salary for him instead of five. His company would pay him for the holiday.
So the workers we needed were available. In the previous few years we’d been led, for reasons I’ll explain in later posts, into a way of life that involved trusting God by faith to provide for our needs. One principle we’d learned over those years was that if we discerned by faith that God was sending workers for a task, we could also have faith that God would provide the money and supplies required for that task. Between salary replacement, equipment rental, and the wood we’d need for three rooms (this was the bulk of the expense), the cost of the renovation would be over $3,000. We had nothing set aside to cover this cost. But given the way everything had come together right after the cookout for the project to begin two and a half weeks later, with preparations to begin in just a week, and especially given our conviction that Priscilla’s heavenly Father loved her and was showing that He wanted to take care of her, we stepped out in faith. We ordered the wood.
Invitation to the “Jesus Party” cookout at our house