Family Friday. We Move to A New Town

 

Brendan and I moved back to Ballynahinch, Co Down where I was born.  Nine children moved with us.  Four other children were at university.  One was married.  Friends were perplexed at us moving away from Coleraine with your big family.  “How were we going to manage?” they asked.  “You will never get good schools like here.  Where will you live? Your children will miss their friends.”

I had been praying for five years that God would provide a bigger home for us.  I knew these young children would turn into teenagers and would need more space.  I believed that God would provide for me.  He gave me my children, and I believed he would help me.  When the children of Israel went into the promised land they were given land according to the size of their tribe.  I had a big family and I hoped that God who helped the children of Israel would do the same for me.

You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final.  (‭Numbers‬ ‭33‬:‭54‬ NLT)

We moved to a modern, warm bungalow.  There was plenty of room for us all.  My son John loved his new home and town.  He made friends easily at his new school.  He loved getting outdoors.  He would spend a Saturday with his new friends walking along the river behind our house or wandering over fields and forests beyond.  There was a corn mill nearby that was still working.  The boys went down there and looked at the large wheel turning with the water flowing over it.  I remember going there when I was a child with my father.  He was getting bags of corn bruised into oats.  The river behind our house fed the wheel that turned the grinding stone in the mill.

John’s adventures reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’ poem,

Keepsake Mill.

Over the borders, a sin without pardon,
Breaking the branches and crawling below,
Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
Down by the banks of the river, we go.

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
Here is the sluice with the race running under
Marvellous places, though handy to home!

He would head off down the back of our garden, through a hole in the hedge to meet his friends.  They went fishing and swimming in the river behind the garden.  He would not return till late.

John started a new school, and travelled nine miles by bus to it.  His older sister went to the same school.  Settling into a new area and a new school can be daunting for any child.  John looked on his experience as an adventure and was enjoying a whole new world, new countryside, meeting my extended family, and making new friends.  He never looked back.

I later found out that our new neighbours’ son was bullied on the bus and at the school John went to.  He left and went to another school.  My daughter and son did not face any trouble on the bus or at school.  Because they had each other, no one dared pick on John because his big sister would soon respond and not take any hastle.  She was used to dealing with her siblings.  On any bus full of teenagers there will always be banter.  John and his sister took it all in their stride and didn’t make any enemies.

We all had a family holiday to Spain in the year 2000.  On the flight over to Spain John met a girl who went to his old school.  She was telling him that many of the children in his old class were using drugs.  I was so glad we moved when we did.  It was good for my daughter as well.  She was getting to the age where she was being influenced by friends to rebel.  She was made head girl in her new school.  Both my children found favour when they moved to a new town and new school.  I knew God was with us and he would look after us just as this scripture says.

And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child.  Now he has brought you to this place.’ (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭1‬:‭31‬ NLT)

How we got a Big House for our Big Tribe, our Promised Land

 

Then The Lord  said to Moses, “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. Give the larger tribes more land and the smaller tribes less land, each group’s inheritance reflecting the size of ite population.  (Numbers 26:52-54 NLT)
Image
When our tribe became sixteen, we were outgrowing the house in which we lived.  Five  of our older children had left home.  Our home then was suitable enough for my children who were toddlers or under ten.  But I knew as my boys got bigger they were going to need more space.
I began to pray and ask God to for a bigger home.  His word promises “The Lord will supply all you needs.”  I needed a bigger house for my tribe.
 I was encouraged by the scripture I have mentioned above.  I was believing God would provide a big house for my big family.  He blessed me with my children so I believed God would help me rear them and provide a home for them.
 Many people believe one is crazy for having a big family.  In these times getting married is not popular and having children is even less popular.  “Where will you get the money for a big house.”  “It must be very expensive to feed and clothe your children.”  “How will you pay for their education.”  I had faith for each day and not worry about tomorrow.
Jesus said “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31, 33, 34 NLT)
Having Faith in God takes off all the pressure.  God is not a liar.  When he promises to do something he will bring it about.  Our part is to believe, be patient and not doubt or give up hope.  The danger can be when one has to wait a long time for the fulfilment of a promise, the temptation is to give up hope.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”Proverbs 13 v 12.
 I tried to move to the country.  There is space in the country, my children could roam over fields, like I did as a child. I saw a large Presbyterian Manse for sale.  We showed our interest in buying it but were refused.  I found another big house to let in the country,  but again was rejected.  I kept looking.  We tried to move down to Kerry.  That did not work out and I was bitterly disappointed.  I had been hoping for five years for a bigger home.  I gave up.  My husband said he would do an extension in the house in which we lived.  I did not want to hear.  I fell out with God and stopped praying.  But he didn’t fall out with me.  He had his plans.
 A friend of mine, a single mum with four children was praying for a new home.  Her children got sick during the winter because of the cold house in which she lived.   She found this beautiful house to rent.  I thought “God has helped my friend.  He will help me.”  My faith was restored and I began to believe again that God would help us.
 A few months later my husband had a picture of a man he knew from the past.  He would see this picture every morning for three weeks.  At last he called this man up and talked to him about our interest in finding a bigger home.  He is an estate agent.  He lived in another part of the country, in County Down.  That is where I lived when I was young.  Would God bring me back to live there? Another scripture came to mind.
At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.. (Zephaniah 3:20 NIV)
Image
We waited another five months.  Our house sale completed.  We had to move in October.  We called up the man Brendan connected with many months earlier.  We went down to meet him and his wife and they welcomed us and were willing to help us. No more rejection.  We prayed together and asked God to guide us.  We need other members of the body of Christ.
Our new friend was able to find a house suitable for us.  It was owned by the nuns from the convent where I went to school when I was young.  We got favour because they remembered me and our family.   We lived there for a year.  It gave us time to settle in this new area and for our children to adapt to their new schools.
We met regularly with other people who prayed.  They were praying for us to have a permanent home.  We did find a house suitable for our needs.  We were welcomed in our new community.
Image
God gave us land according to the size of our tribe.  Thank you Lord.  He is faithful.  Our children grew tall and flourished in their new home and big garden.  They made new friends.  They could walk to school.  No stress.