by Rhonda Bennett
The caller ID tells me it’s the realtor. My heart sinks; oh no, did they sell the house? Do I have to move again? Then my heart calms as I recall all the miracle homes God has provided.
Four years ago, I left Manhattan after 15 wonderful years of ministry in the city. It was time to pursue my dream of having a retreat house on the New England coast. My first two rentals were fine, but then through a “chance” meeting, I met Bette, who just happened to know someone who had a house on the water he might want to rent. I drove by it with friends. It was perfect except for the price. As the sun set, reflecting off the upstairs patio doors, my friends and I sat in the driveway and prayed for wisdom on whether to go for it. We all agreed the answer was Yes. This was my dream beach home. Newly renovated, it had all the old cottage charm with modern conveniences. Every day I watched the sailboats go in and out of the harbor, heard the sounds of the shore birds and, depending on the wind, the lapping of the water as the tide rose. I felt the warmth of the sun streaming in through tons of windows and tasted the salt spray as I walked the beach.
I named the house Safe Harbor, a place of refuge from the storms of life. Guests came and enjoyed the retreat of the beach. Clients came for coaching amid all the nautical décor. My dream was becoming reality.
The time came to renew the lease. As I prayed and sought counsel, it became very clear to me that I was to leave and not renew the lease. The battle began. Stay or leave. The landlord even lowered the rent to convince me to stay. Lord, why are you asking me to leave? This is my dream, Your dream. It was so hard, but I knew in my heart that I had to obey. I gave my notice, not knowing where to go next.
God provided another home — you can’t explain it apart from Him. A beautiful country house sitting on 27 acres. I was so humbled and amazed, sitting on the deck the first night, that I named it Beyond Measure. Did I miss my water view and osprey and sailboats? Absolutely. But I was getting used to turkeys, deer, and expansive forest views. That’s when Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut.
Beyond Measure suffered no damage apart from 10 days of no power. Safe Harbor, however, took on water and to this day remains uninhabitable and under construction. When God asked me to leave, He knew that Irene would do damage. He asked me to trust Him and obey without any human reason to do so. Now, when I drive by Safe Harbor, I see so much more than a boarded-up house. I see a tangible reminder to keep trusting the One who is my true home.
Beyond Measure is for sale, and so when the realtor calls I cringe, but only for a second. Deep in my heart, I know that whether it’s my mansion in heaven or a room in a boarding house, I can trust my God to provide exactly what I need when I need it.
(Editor’s Note: At by design, it is our mission to train women to serve and influence others for Christ. I hope this edition of Woman to Woman helps you do just that. If so, please share this with the important women in your life. You can sign up to receive the Woman to Woman eNewsletter before it is available on the blog.
This year we are reprising some of our favorite Summer Sampler articles from previous years. This article was originally published in 2012.)
Rhonda Bennett is the creator of Set Sail Coaching, helping leaders identify their God-given dreams and turn them into reality. She is passionate about New England, especially the coast. Rhonda loves to create experiential learning venues. Her retreats and coaching are very interactive, often using nautical metaphors for life lessons. A breast cancer survivor, she enjoys volunteering for cancer and survivor support groups and events.