Sunday, September 28, 2014

That Time God Gave Me A Couch To Calm My Nerves

We were all set for a big move. But for once in my life, the thrill of adventure was neck and neck with the fear of facing it.

Nathan had accepted his first senior pastor position and we were two weeks away from loading up and leaving Fort Worth behind. It had taken a straight up act of God to get me to concur that this was of Him. And although I was fully on board, I was also worried about how it was all going to turn out.

Along with the anxiety there was serious sadness. We were saying goodbye to friends who were like family, and a church we adored. But there were also some things to look forward to.

Like a new couch. 

We had been using a hideous blue thing Nate had purchased second hand during his pre-Beth days. It was a two-seater that reclined and He thought it was the I loathed it. But being poor seminary folk, I was just glad to have a place to plant our hineys while we ate jambalaya and watched The King of Queens. 

Me, the babies, and the ugly blue couch. 
But that was about to change as we were abandoning our teeny apartment for a parsonage that sported a spacious living room. My love of hospitality was in overdrive and I had big plans for hosting church families and fellowships. There was a problem, though, since our current furniture would limit us to four butts at a time. If both Nate and I stood. So, I had convinced my frugal Dave Ramsey loving husband to use some of the money we had saved to look for a brand new couch. Preferably one that didn't scream FLAT BROKE SEMINARY BACHELOR. 

The week before the move, I had a dental appointment scheduled. This was a slightly big deal because I sorta don't like going to the dentist (it's likely Titus got his mild aversion of the same from me) and it had potentially been a while years since I had been. I went in nervous as a cat. And left mad as a hornet. 

I had cavities that needed to be filled. Shocker, right? (Dear young people. Go to the dentist.) Since our dental insurance was more of a dental savings plan, this was going to cost us out the wazoo. I saw my couch going out the window.

Driving down I-85 south, I stewed over the whole situation. The cost of the fillings was going to leave about $30 to spend on a couch. I despaired at the idea of having that one tiny ugly blue thing in our new living room. I even considered not telling Nate about the cavities, ignoring the need for fillings, and buying a new couch anyway. Dentures aren't that bad, right?

It was in the midst of that stinkin' thinkin' that God broke in with His own thoughts on the situation.

Why don't you just ask me for a couch? 

Excuse me? I asked in disbelief. Figuring this was my own internal voice and not that of the Almighty, I shook my head as if to sling the thought aside.

But then, AGAIN...Why don't you ask me for a couch? 

Lord, I can't ask you for a couch. There are starving children in Africa. And lost people everywhere. Asking you for a couch seems so petty and materialistic AND SELFISH.

Beth, I want you to ask me for a couch.

Minutes passed as I drove along and chewed on how ridiculous this whole thing seemed. Finally, reluctantly...

Fine, Lord. Will you give me a couch?

Absolute silence. For the rest of the drive.

I arrived home, shoved my way through the boxes, and told Nate the whole ugly tooth decaying truth. I left out the conversation with God. Quite frankly I wasn't convinced He was going to say yes. And did God really prompt people to ask for couches? Or maybe this was just a lesson I needed to learn about accepting "no" from God and being content with what I have. Bottom line...I felt like God had bigger fish to fry, even in my own life, than giving me a piece of furniture. I told no one about that conversation with Him.

That was on Monday. By Thursday the couch issue was on the back burner and it was time to host my girlfriends for our last weekly Bible study. That evening we did our usual thing and then lingered in prolonged conversation, no one wanting to end our final gathering. Eventually the girls began to collect their things and edge toward the door, still finding stuff to talk about on the way out. 

It never ceases to amaze me the way God chooses everyday moments to drop Himself into our lives.

Just before Melissa got to the door, she said

"Beth, I almost forgot to ask... we've decided we need some new living room furniture. Would you be interested in taking our couch with you when you move? And the matching love seat? And that giant ottoman that goes with it? Totally free. Our moving gift to you if you want it. "

Jaw drop. "YES!" I answered over-enthusiastically, like some kind of couch covet-er. (In my defense, Melissa doesn't buy junk. We're talking NICE FURNITURE here.) God had outdone Himself. He not only gave me a couch, but a complete set of living room furniture. 

That was over five years ago and that couch still seats our hineys. I've told the story multiple times because it's such a testimony to some things I have learned to be true:

1) God cares about every little thing in our lives. He tells us to "cast our cares on Him", with no specifics about which cares are viable to bother him with. Like a parent with a child, no part of your life is too insignificant for Him to care about.

2) God owns it all. And if He is of a mind to give you something, it's no skin off His back. Psalms tells us He "owns the cattle on a thousand hills." In Old Testament talk, that means He's really rich. His resources are infinite. Asking Him for something doesn't mean He has less to give someone else. 

3) Where God leads He also goes. That couch was God's way of saying "I'm in this. You don't have to fear this move, because where I send you, I go with you." This is the essence of faith, friends. His presence is more than enough.

And ya'll, when we moved into the parsonage there was exactly one piece of decor already provided in the home. Beautiful drapes hanging in the living room. That matched my new couch perfectly

Despite appearances, it wasn't family worship hour when I took this picture!

* I love hearing from you. What crazy thing have you been wanting to ask God for?


  1. But what about a picture of the new couch? :)

    1. Good call Teresa. Ask and you shall receive. However, until I find the battery charger for my camera, the doosey above will have to do...

  2. I love both pictures! In the picture with the new couch, Anna looks like she is filled with the Holy Spirit!!! Your family is such a blessing to me! I thank God that He brought yall to FBC Valley!!!