LaTan Roland Murphy
Journey By The Sea - Walking In Faith With Jesus
One of my life's greatest joys is a place that quietly whispers to each guest, "I’m so glad you made your way here." A space that invites every soul to leave pretenses at the front door, kick off expectations, and simply receive the gift of being deeply loved. While many small things make up this sacred space, daily worship and prayer sustain it. This is the very place we should all recognize as home. — Heather Lamp
Don't ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
It was the summer of 2015 when my husband and I were making our final trip from SC to our new home on a small island off the coast of NC. Six months earlier, we had no idea this day was on the horizon. God surely did! As I glanced in the rearview mirror, the smile on my husband’s face affirmed to my trembling heart that this is God’s move. He would surely guide us every step of the way. Little did I know then but our journey of faith was just beginning.
Three failed attempts to purchase a home and three months later, we finally rented a small worn down waterfront condo from a mutual friend at church. With its thirty-year-old appliances and popcorn ceilings, our new place was an answer to prayer. Up until now, we had secretly been living in the gallery office. At night, we'd blow up the air mattress for a makeshift bed then sometime around midnight when most people were sleeping, we'd sneak out back to take our showers underneath the stars. Glenn built it from old wood pallets and pipes. I’ll admit, he did a great job and while it was adventurous at first, with each passing day my soul longed for less adventure and my tired body for a hot bath!
Three years had passed since those outdoor shower days. We were finally settled into life and I was transitioning out from the season I laughingly call move-a-pause. As the mid-August sun fell behind the horizon, I quickly cleaned up the dinner dishes so I could finish putting away the laundry I had folded the day before. I noticed Glenn was more quiet than usual but chose to let him be so that I could get my work done. It wasn't long before I noticed him standing in the doorway of our bedroom watching me. As I hung the last shirt, I turned to him and asked, “Whatcha thinking?” He made his way to the edge of the bed, sat down and using the motion of his hands for emphasis, he said, “This is going to sound really weird, but hear me out. Ok?” Nodding my head up and down to silently say ok to his request, I sat down beside him. “For some reason, I have this overwhelming urge to pray about $5,000 for us by the end of this month.” He said with raised eyebrows. Silence fell across the room. He waited for me to respond. I have never been accused of being a woman with few words but I was unsure of what to say. The only other time my husband of 21 years has said anything remotely this bizarre is when he told me God was telling him we needed to get our house in order. I didn't understand it at the time but God meant our spiritual house, not physical. Six months later we sold our home of 14 years and made a major move to the coast that would deepen our faith and strengthen our walk with the Lord. Without saying a word, I stood up. His hand gently grabbed my wrist and as our eyes met he pleaded for me to believe him. “Babe, I’m serious. I don’t understand this crazy urge either but the desire to pray is overwhelming. Knowing his behavior wasn’t the logical, prayerful, steadfast, and faithful husband I had grown to love over the last twenty years, I chose to sit back down. Together, we prayed in faith that night a simple prayer asking God to provide us with $5,000 before the end of the month. For my own peace of mind, I added a caveat to the end of the prayer asking God to please forgive us if we have asked foolishly. Even as I type these words, I get choked up remembering how little faith I had that night. I understand now the grief Peter must have felt when he denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed. Today, I believe our life would be very different had we not acknowledged God in that act of obedience. I have since learned that it is in the simplest acts of obedience God directs our paths.
The rains came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25
The very next night, we were hanging out at the house when Glenn's notification dinged on his phone. “Honey, look at this camper!” as he handed me his phone with excitement.
I grabbed it taking a closer look at the images. A bit apprehensive I replied, “Are you sure this isn’t a fake ad? It looks too good to be true.” Agreeing with my observation, he smiled and said, “I think this might be the one! Do you like the kitchen?” He knows me so well! I immediately sent a private message to the owners asking if I could come look at the camper first thing in the morning. Glenn had a delivery to make in Greenville, NC so I would have to go look at it by myself. Their daughter replied, letting us know that she had posted the listing for her parents and directed us to call them at home in the morning after 8 am. I jotted down the phone number and thanked her for her getting back with us so quickly. Glenn and I both knew that if this camper looks as good in person as it does in the pictures, it would sell right away for the price they were asking. The next morning, I dialed the phone number given to us only to hear a recorded message tell me the number I dialed was temporarily disconnected. Surely, I miss dialed and I tried again. I got the same message. Glenn was already on his way out of town so I sent a direct message to the daughter giving her my cell number asking her to call me at her earliest convenience. It wasn’t five minutes later when I heard my phone ring. It was her! She was baffled the house phone was temporarily disconnected and gave me their cell phone number. I also asked for their home address. I wanted to start making my way towards their house while trying to connect with them via the phone. She didn’t hesitate to provide me with the information. I gathered my belongings and jumped in the car. As I pulled into the driveway, Mr. Seller was on his way out the door to greet me. We did the formal introduction and he apologized the home phone wasn’t working. In the 15 years that they had lived there the phone has never not worked. His daughter let him know that I was on the way so he opened the slide on the camper and turned the A/C on to cool the inside. As soon as I stepped through the door, something settled inside of me that this is supposed to be our camper. As I stepped aside to place a call to Glenn, Mrs. Seller was making her way to the camper. She let Mr. Seller know the house phone was now working and it’s ringing off the hook with prospective buyers for the camper. Mr. Seller let her know quickly that I had the first right to purchase. Two hours later we were the proud new owners of a camper. It cost $5,000.00.
A little more than a week after our purchase we were still waiting for the title work to transfer and the owners to return from vacation. They had agreed to get the camper serviced and repair a few minor issues before we took possession. By this time, Hurricane Florence made the news! She was slowly making her away across the Atlantic with what looked like NC as her final destination.
With each passing day, her strength increased. The local authorities announced an evacuation plan that catapulted us into our first experience of such kind. Needless to say we quietly panicked. In two day’s we packed up our entire lives yet again. We grabbed the camper without enough time for it to be serviced nor repairs made. Our unplanned plan was to take refuge in Florida for a few days. As we journeyed down the road a bit, we began to recall what all the Lord had done for us over the past few weeks. Little did we know at the time but because of Glenn’s obedience to pray that simple prayer, we now realize that God provided the camper that would become a place of shelter in the storm. A place we would call home for the next seven months.
It has been two years since we returned to our completely renovated condo and reopened the doors to our small family owned business. While I love the newly remodeled spaces, I've come to have a deeper understanding of home. Today, home for me is much more than a brick and mortar place. The storm taught me home is wherever God dwells — a place that will forever be our most sacred space. And just as He prepared our physical home before we even knew a storm was coming, he has also prepared a spiritual home for all of us. Can you hear Him? I can. He's softly speaking to our hearts, "Welcome home, loved one."
Hugs and Fishes,
Listen to Heather's Podcast: https://alightonmypath.podbean.com/
Heather loves being a wife -- especially a sea life artist wife! She’s the mom to Bo Diddley their beloved whoodle. Daughter, sister to four and auntie to so many incredible little people. With a background in business management, she chose to leave the corporate world to come alongside Glenn at Day Five Art. Five years, one hurricane and a recent pandemic later – God still navigates them through the ups and downs of owning a small business that they prefer to call their ministry When she is not at the gallery, she loves to write/read, cook for family and friends, and as often as she can take mid-afternoon naps with the sea breeze blowing lightly across her face.