Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"The Glory of the Latter House"

We were building our dream home!

We had lived on the property for sixteen years in a mobile home - fifteen years longer than our original plan !

I had designed the house myself and my dad (a retired builder/carpenter) and my husband were building the house from the ground up.

How eagerly I watched the house slowly progress, the excavation , the cementing of the footings and the basement walls... the delivery of the lumber . I watched the first floor laid down, the second and the third - the house was begining to take shape !

How thankful I was and how humbled by the blessing of the Lord in orchestrating the events of our life and our business that allowed the unexpected privilege of building a new home.

Then when the house was at lock up stage, disaster struck !

When we excavated for our home , the excavator was thrilled that none of the soil had to be trucked out.... the nearby ravine was so convenient to push the excess soil over the bank.
That year -in 1989 - it rained, and rained and rained some more !! There was a great deal of flooding in low areas, and houses near the rivers were washed away.

One day the soil we had pushed over the edge into the ravine became too heavy and started to slide taking the whole side of the ravine with it !
It was a major land slide ! Sixty feet across and three hundred feet down to the creek , which was rerouted by the slide.

Vic was outside when it happened .. he watched in shock ... as silently the tall treed forest just slid away.

When I came running in response to his cries , I couldn't believe my eyes. Where a few minutes ago had been a forest, there was now a sheer wall of bare clay a few feet from our house.

The outpouring of concern was overwhelming .
But what were we to do ? A soil engineer from Vancouver came to see if anything could be done.... but he just shook his head when he saw it. He said it was the biggest landslide he had ever seen and expressed surprise that it had not made the news. The only thing that could be done to stabalize the bank was pile driving but that would cost in excess of a hundred thousand dollars , last perhaps two years and then add to the problem . He said there was only one thing to do ... move the house before it went down as well.

Reluctantly, we hired a moving company and had a date set for the moving. But I could not feel at peace about moving the house. I did not believe it was what God wanted us to do . Vic and I disagreed and I gave in ...but I prayed that God would change his mind if we were not to move the house.
One Sunday after church he suddenly said .. "I think we are not supposed to move the house!" He called to cancel the movers that were coming that week. On the day they would have moved our house, one of their jacks broke and an employee was killed ! How thankful I was it wasn't our home that caused a man to lose his life.

But still we did not know what to do . Just walk away, empty handed? Stay living in the mobile home and let the new house sit, unfinished?

I remember the day soo well.. I was in my little kitchen cooking. Vic was sitting at the table with his bible - praying about our situation and looking very troubled.
I heard him gasp, and I glanced over at him to see his face suddenly turn white. He looked at me unable to speak. I asked, "What's the matter ?
He only pointed to the page of his open bible. I looked down at the words that he pointed at. He had been praying that God would give us some direction as to what we were supposed to do ! He had opened his eyes and the verse his eyes fell on was...

"Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. "
(Hag1:8, 2:9)

We had our answer and we never looked back. We brought wood and continued building.

Sometimes fear would come over me... the temptation to worry ... and I would go out and stand looking down the clay bank ..... and a quiet assuring peace would wash over me !!

We knew we needed to secure the bank somehow and asked everywhere and anyone ... from Government departments to landscapers to reference books to garden shops .... but no one had any advice that worked. Everything we tried just washed down with the next rain.
Then one day Vic said .. "You know , I think I'm going to plant clover!" And he did.

It came up and thrived on the bare clay !
Once the clover took hold, other growth began to come back and 15 years later the trees were once again tall and strong ! At one point we were watching a program on TV and the announcer said, "Oh, by the way, if you ever want to secure a bank, plant clover!" God knew !

The promise of God was that the "glory of the latter house would be greater than the former".
And so it was !! Everyone knew about the slide and people were soo concerned for us. Whenever it would rain ... Christians and non-Christians ... would call to say they were praying for us .. were we OK ? Years later, people still asked about the slide !

And the most often made remark when people visited... even our non-Christian sales reps ... was "There is such PEACE here!" Yes.. there was ... God's peace !!

We had so many opportunities to witness of God's grace because of that slide.
So many times I was reminded of God's promise !

We loved that home and lived there for 16 years. When we decided the time had come to sell... even though we told the buyer about the slide .... it was a non-issue! We sold for a profit of 400%.

But just this week ...... I had yet another blessing come out of that 'disaster' - almost 20 years after the slide!

I was going to sew some drapes for my aunt. The cost of the fabric from a retail drapery shop was quite expensive. I recognized the supplier as a Vancouver company we had dealt with when we had our business and I wondered if they would let me purchase the fabric wholesale from them.
I doubted that they would, since it had been 10 years since we had had an account with them.

But I called and explained my request. The reply was that I would have to open another account with them , which I couldn't do because we were not in business anymore. Our old account was no longer in the computer.

Then suddenly, Mike, the man I was speaking with asked... "Where are you from ? and then he said... "What was the name of that man that used to come in?" I answered, "Vic?" and he said , "YES, I remember him !! He was worried about your land slide. Whatever happened to it ?" We talked for a few minutes and he said, "Sure , I'll sell the fabric to you! I'll leave instructions at the order desk !"

He told me he had left the company, but had recently come back. What were the chances of Mike answering the phone out of all the employees? Only God could have orchestrated it!

Yes... indeed.. the glory of the latter house was much greater than the former could ever have been !!!


Betty said...

Wow! What a story! I wish I could see what that house looked like and the slide. Do you have pic´s of it?
Amazing how God speaks!!
Thanks for sharing that!

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

What a powerful testimony of faithfulness! I am so blessed by how you humbled yourselves to God by asking HIS advice and trusting it when 'authorities' were advising otherwise. And I'm blessed at how you and Vic moved forward without hesitation when you were sure of God's leadership.

How much better off our families would be if only we followed this excellent example ... and how much better off our nation would be.

betty r said...

Wow were the first words that came to mind, Julie! That is an excellent post on faithfulness..and thank you for sharing!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

There were so many learning points in your story I had to read it several times!

Fifteen years in a mobile home must have been a story in itself....

Sara said...

Our God never fails to amaze us, does He, with His faithfulness and loving kindness and the way He orchestrates events.

Trish said...

I love your story dear Julie. Oh my...I have been mulling about sharing my 'slide' story which happened several years ago with the heavy rains that took down homes in North Van. We, like you, lost everything...down down to the creek below....right to the house foundation. I still am trusting the Lord for blessings to come from it...grin. I believe there surely must be blessings for such a HUGE reminder that He stopped it just one inch from the house!

Elsie said...

Such a wonderful story. The timing of everything was amazing! You have given us a great example of how to trust God and follow His lead in difficult situations.

Lovella said...

Oh I remember well when this all came about. . .and you know how much I love personal stories to be a testimony of faith. . .and so this post is wonderful for me to read. . .
I can't wait to see those finished drapes. . .perhaps we can visit together.

James Janzen said...

You might remember that not all of us shared your concern about the danger the house was in. The slide took place from disturbed soil. The house was built on solid hardpan ground. Always build on a solid foundation. Just as our faith is only as strong as the foundation we build it on and "who" we place our faith in.

charlotte said...

i can hardly believe what happened to you and how God worked that all out.......that is such a story of hope and God's faithfulness indeed. i am so glad that you shared it with us all. it really touched me. did you take pictures?

Judy said...

Wow...an amazing story! God is so good...and He gives us so many opportunities to speak of it.

Vicki said...

Wow...what a story, Julie! I'll admit, I would have been concerned (at least initially) that the house might slide, and would have had difficulty living there. This is another wonderful lesson about praying, trusting God, and following through on His promises.