tiny house between buildings

Casita Shalom

There are times when you JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. 

  • The savings in your account are nearing zero
  • Health concerns have become a reality and are looking worse 
  • Lack of direction leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless 
  • Although you pray, you still do not have the answer 

I have been there.

I’m sure you have as well. You might even be wondering why you are facing this trial, still stuck in the same situation as before. I get it completely. 

That is why I want to share a story with you this week. A story of hope that will encourage you and even remind you that God is not done with you yet! He has you in His hands and has not forgotten you. What may seem slow in your eyes is the Lord perfecting His plan to meet you exactly when you need it. 

This story begins in Casita Shalom – that is, the ‘Little House of Peace.’ Valerie and I had named our humble abode to reflect our reality and our desire. The cost of housing in West Los Angeles made it impossible for us to keep our first apartment, so we said ‘yes’ to what was our next best – a 300 square foot converted garage. (Understand why we called it ‘casita’ now?) We knew it was a sacrifice, but God was calling us to be close to the church, which meant to forsake certain levels of comfort. 

The ‘Peace’ portion of the home was what we wanted to attain. The Lord indeed met us in that tiny space as we learned how to handle conflict (since there was no room to run away!) and to turn our house into a home. What we lacked in space was made up for in spiritual conversations and praying together. Although it wasn’t the perfect setting, we made the best of it and hoped for the future. 

After a year of residing in Casita Shalom, we noticed something strange – Valerie was coughing a lot. In particular, she was coughing at night. One evening, Valerie came across a grimy substance next to our cramped bed. Me, being the reassuring husband, exclaimed with confidence that it was simply dirt on the wall. Yet weeks continued to go by, and Valerie’s cough increased. 

They say you should listen to a woman’s intuition. I should have from the start! Valerie knew something was wrong since her health was being affected. Out of nowhere, she had the inclination to move our bed from against the corner wall. What did she see? 

Mold. And LOTS of it. 

Unbeknownst to us, the heavy winter rain that year had seeped into the walls, and mold grew from the inside out. Oddly enough, the mold did not affect me at all, even though I was closest to the wall. Thanks to Valerie’s intuition, we found out the problem. But that was just the beginning. 

When it rains, it pours. 

The next thing we know, our’ house of peace’ was turned into a place of panic. We left immediately and had to convince our landlord, who was out of the country, that there was an outbreak of mold. Several articles of clothing were mold-infested and completely ruined. We took what little clothes we had and lived out of our suitcases – from hotels to the Pastor’s house. The mixture of temporary living with an uncertain time frame put unwanted and unhealthy stress in our marriage. 

At this point, we didn’t know what to do. We lived day by day and fought through increased anxiety and lack of patience for one another. It was challenging, and we did not know what would happen. 

When your world begins to crumble, it can be easy to focus on what you are losing. When the fire of adversity is red hot, it is natural to run away not to get burned. Yet times of hardship without a known solution is when breakthrough takes place. When you don’t know what to do, God already has a plan for you and gets you through it. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

What are you facing right now? 

What unanswered prayer or unavoidable situation are you stuck in? 

Take that burden and despair and give it to the Lord! Trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you in all truth to reveal to you what is next. Your own understanding is limited – but we have an infinite God with unlimited resources who wants to do the impossible! 

For Valerie and myself, God broke through in a BIG way. The church caught wind of our situation and decided to help us. A home that was originally designed as a classroom was going to be turned into our house. We wouldn’t have to stay in our Casita Shalom forever! After raising a certain amount of funds, they remodeled it with a fresh look and new appliances. 

Wow! Who would have thought that such a stressful season could lead to a satisfying solution? Valerie and I have been living in our new home for three years now. To add a cherry on top, I have the shortest commute – a 2-minute walk to church! 

I shared this story so you can have faith regarding your situation. Just like at Casita Shalom, God can turn the situation around. You will not be stuck forever. Keep your eyes focused on the Lord, and He will work out your future; Your hope will not be cut off! (Proverbs 23:18) The mess you’re in can be the beginning of a beautiful message. I can’t wait to hear what God will do when you don’t know what to do. 

Have a blessed week! 

4 Comments

  1. Love the story and miss seeing you guys.

  2. Amen – thanks so much for sharing!

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