The six weeks between June 22nd and July 30th 2013 were loaded with change, chaos, miracles, and a lot of stepping out in faith.
For two years, Floyd and I had been hoping and praying that Yehovah would make a way for us to move from Alabama to be near Charlotte, NC. We wanted to be a part of the Messianic congregations there. We wanted to be close enough to attend the services of Arthur Bailey at House of Israel and Michael Rood’s Shabbat Night Live that we faithfully watched on the Internet.
Messianic or Hebrew Roots refers to obeying the Torah/Law and having faith in Yeshua the Messiah. Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) taught and obeyed the Torah while he was here on earth.
On early Sabbath (Saturday) morning, June 22nd, I awoke to Yehovah speaking to me, in the spirit, to go into Joel’s room. It was 3 or 4 AM and I didn’t want to get up. However, when Yehovah has spoken to me on several other occasions to get up and investigate, His word had never come back void. So, I got up and went into Joel’s room. He was under the covers with his earphones listening to music on his cell phone. I unplugged the cell phone, placed it on his headboard, and told him that he wasn’t supposed to be listening to music all night, it was disrupting his sleep, he was being disobedient, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I returned to bed and snuggled under the covers. The Spirit spoke to me again and said, “Now what good did that do? GO BACK AND GET THAT PHONE!” So I dragged myself out of the bed and across to the other side of the house, AGAIN, and got the phone. When I got back in my bedroom, I started looking through the music list on his phone. There were many artists that Floyd and I had banned. While scrolling, my finger accidentally hit an obscene song. The music blasted over the bedroom and woke Floyd. He turned over and began yelling, “Hey! What in the world? Turn that off!”
Then, I couldn’t swipe the right place to turn it off. When I finally got it off, I said, “Floyd, we have to move! We have got to get Joel in a better environment and school.” Floyd sat up on his elbow and said, “Sharon, I believe Yehovah has released us from this place in Alabama.” I pondered what he said and replied, “I feel that we will be in disobedience if we stay here!”
As an act of stepping out in faith, that morning on Arthur Bailey’s chat room (over the internet), we typed in our announcement that we were given the “go-ahead” to move to Charlotte and hoped to be there before school started in August.
WOW!! We were out on front street now. I battled negative thoughts like:
What if you don’t get there?
Where are you going to get the money?
What if you really didn’t hear from Yehovah?
When we told friends, some said things like:
Are you sure you heard from God?
What if you don’t like the congregation and then you’re stuck in Charlotte?
What if your house doesn’t sell?
You have a beautiful house, acreage, and a renter in your second home. Why in the world would you leave? Can’t you find a congregation here?
I answered them, and my own thoughts with, “I believe Yehovah spoke to both Floyd and I. When it happens, we all will know it was from Him.”
One Messianic friend in Alabama said, “Shar, if it is from Yehovah, it will happen fast!” Boy, was she right!
There were many times when I would have a quiet moment and thoughts would rush into my head about what would I do if we didn’t get to Charlotte and I would be terribly embarrassed. At those times, I thought of the scripture, Isaiah 54:4,
Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed …
I also said I was going to put all my energy into “moving” and if it didn’t work out, it just didn’t work out, but I was going to think, hope, pray, and ACT like we WERE MOVING. That meant concentrating on the practical things that needed to be done.
1. Find a place to live near Charlotte. After sundown on that Sabbath, we started looking on the internet for a rental house. We called friends in the Charlotte area and they made some suggestions for rural neighborhoods near Charlotte, in North and South Carolina. After looking on real estate rental sites, I decided to check the local paper and found a two line ad for 3 beds, 2 ½ baths on 66 acres. The rent was in the ballpark of what Carolinians told us we’d have to pay to get a 3 bedroom house. In early July, the place was secured when the realtor sent us photos and we sent him income verification. We were to move in on July 30th. School started August 19th. We were on our way!
2. Sell our two houses. We decided to go the route of “For Sale by Owner.” We listed on their site, on the University of Alabama’s site, Craig’s List, and put up flyers in our rural area. After 9 or 10 days , we shifted gears to rental or rent to own. We had two houses on the same 5 acre property. The smaller house had been rented for the last year to the family that ran the convenience store across the road. All we needed was another stable family with stable income to rent our main house. We asked the folks we knew about their friends and family. One of the most honest and appreciated answers we got was, “I know people looking, but I don’t know anyone responsible enough to put in your house.” 🙂
Well, the night before the 14 day “free trial” advertizing on the For Sale by Owner site ended, we got a call from a couple that lived in Tuscaloosa who wanted to rent to own. The wife’s mother lived a mile up the road and they knew the area and were looking for just the type of property we had. It was a blessing all around. We did our due diligence background checking and they brought over the security deposit and first month’s rent. They were moving in on the same day we were moving out, July 30th.
3. Pack all of our stuff. I’m a stream roller once I get a project going. I started packing on Sunday, June 23rd. Our house was full of motion, commotion, and BOXES!
4. Sell the animals. We bartered the chickens and turkeys with a neighbor that helped us with yard work. We sold the goats to his brother. We gave away most of the cats and kittens. The tenants in both of the houses liked cats. That was a “god-send” because it is hard to give cats away in the country; everyone has a barn full!
5. Get loaders, unloaders, drivers, and moving trucks. We had just put a new metal roof on the smaller rental house. There was money left over from the bank loan. JUST ENOUGH TO PAY FOR THE MOVE, IF WE WERE CAREFUL IN HOW WE ALLOCATED THE FUNDS. We called the Starving Students Company to get an estimate on moving our things. They wanted in excess of $6,000. Floyd remarked, “Well, I guess they aren’t starving anymore!” If they were that expensive, the other national movers would be more. So we decided to rent two 28 ft. trucks and find two drivers.
We started looking for someone with a truck, but in the meanwhile, I reserved a U-Haul truck; then a friend told me that Penske was cheaper. I switched. It was a much better deal. It was less money and they were giving me 6 days for a flat fee and unlimited mileage. I figured I didn’t need all that, but it came with the deal. Another friend knew someone who would drive the truck, Bob. Bob knew someone, Dan, that had his own truck and could drive a load to South Carolina within our time frame.
I found moving loaders on the internet that would load us in Eutaw, Alabama, and a different set of unloaders that would meet us in Richburg, South Carolina. Everything was set, all worked out, done, perfect.
Then … all hell broke loose (so to speak).
On Thursday, July 25th, I went to get a manicure and pedicure (I’ve since stopped that, but that’s another story). When I returned, Floyd met me in the driveway. “Bob called, he has found a fulltime job and they want him to start on July 29th, so he can’t drive the Penske truck to South Carolina. Dan called, he had an accident with his truck; he went under an unmarked bridge and it scraped and lifted the top of his truck. He can’t use his truck to move us.”
I just stood there taking it all in. There was no way I had come this far in the ballgame to be ejected from stadium. My prayer was, “Lord, YOU KNOW how we are going to get to South Carolina, PLEASE REVEAL it to ME now!”
My mind was moving faster than a 747 jet, searching high and low in my mind for alternatives. To get another truck, Penske or U-haul, was above my budget at this stage of the game. We were only five days from the move. I called Penske for a discount on another truck. No deal, the trucks were even more expensive now.
Then Yehovah blew a cool breeze though my mind. Check on the 6 days rental and UNLIMITED MILEAGE. I asked if the unlimited mileage had any limits. You know you have to do that now-a-days; not every company upholds truth in advertising. Well, unlimited meant unlimited!!
I yelled into the other room, “Floyd, we’ll run the truck twice!” We got into really high gear then, Floyd was to leave on Sunday the 28th with Bob driving him there and bringing the truck back on late Sunday/early Monday so that Dan could drive it back again with the second load on Tuesday. I rescheduled the whole process:
Alabama loaders for Friday.
Floyd and Bob ( and two other riders) to take the Penske truck and our Chrysler mini-van to South Carolina on Sunday.
South Carolina unloaders to unload on the afternoon of Sunday, July 28th.
Bob and two other guys return the Penske truck to Alabama very early on Monday morning.
Alabama loaders to load up again on Monday afternoon.
Dan to drive the Penske truck to South Carolina; my friend, Frances, rode with him. Joel, 15 years old, drove Ruth and I in our Chrysler Sebring to South Carolina. We all left Alabama on Tuesday, July 30th.
The new tenants arrived on Tuesday right before we left.
The unloaders in South Carolina arrived on Wednesday to unload us.
Frances stayed until Friday to help us unpack and straighten out the house.
6. Move my mother from a nursing home in Alabama to a nursing home in South Carolina. When we decided to leave Alabama, I spoke with my mother, who was in a nursing home in Alabama, and she was willing to move with us to South Carolina. She has a very close relationship with a niece, grandniece, and grandnephews in Raleigh. She was hoping to see them more often. I realized that I had to wait until I got to South Carolina to start the search for a nursing home. I was fine renting a house for myself by just seeing photos, but no way could I select a nursing home over the internet for my mother. In August, I did find one that was 25 minutes from me. After the tons of paperwork and WAITING, my mother moved to Lancaster, South Carolina on November 20th.
My mother often said to me as a youngster, “Where there is a will, there is a way!” Someone else said, “God will put you in the car and give you the keys, but YOU have to turn on the ignition and do the driving!”
What I learned in a very explicit way was that stepping out in faith requires ACTION. I am convinced, that if we had not moved with a forceful energy when Yehovah said to move, we would still be in Alabama, wishin’ and a hopin’ and a prayin’ that Yehovah makes a way for us to leave.
AND … MISSED WITNESSING YEHOVAH’S AWESOME BLESSINGS!!