In October 2012 I found my dream house. Big place. Totally gutted already so I could make it into whatever I wanted. On 3 1/2 acres but still only 3 miles from the library. Surrounded by open space and farms that, by law, can never be anything but that. Right next to a bald eagle nest. It was everything I'd ever wanted, and it had the bonus of being perfect for furthering Tim's career in the direction we were hoping to take it, including having a second, tiny house on the property that already had the floor plan of a recording studio. It would need minor adjustments to become that.
Last summer, when I was very sick and pregnant with baby 8, the place went on the market, and we were poised to get it--everything we'd ever wanted.
In the midst of that all coming down, I had gotten a blessing that said that God appreciated me asking what our baby's name should be and ceding that bit of my agency to Him, and our baby's name was supposed to be Emmeline. So then her name was Emmeline. Just like that. I accepted that name and embraced it and moved on. Decision made.
So we had everything turned in about that house, and were already thinking about what it might be like to move. Then at the last minute someone swooped in with a better offer and the house was gone. It changed hands twice since then and is now being remodeled into a barn for ag research and a pig farm.
I was devastated. Completely devastated. I had followed very clear promptings of the Spirit--as clear as they possibly can be--and it was a miracle that there was even a chance we could get the place, and it seemed to right and so sure, and then everything was dashed to pieces.
I admit openly I was mad at God, and I told Him so. I've found that it's always okay to tell God when you are unhappy with Him because, quite frankly, it opens the discussion. Besides, He already knows. It's not like you not praying that is hiding it from him. But turning to Him with your anger--even when it's directed at Him--is better than pretending you're not mad or telling yourself you shouldn't be. Like I said, it's not like He doesn't already know. And, in my experience, God would rather us turn to Him when we're mad so He can help, rather than turning away or pretending we're not mad. He doesn't get mad back (thank goodness--the last thing I need when I'm hurting is the wrath of God. His love is much more helpful).
I told God I was mad at him and so hurt and that it was really, really mean of Him to lead me to believe I could have something I really, really wanted and then snatch it away like that, and how dare He?!
The answer I got was, "You trusted me with something that didn't matter much to you," (naming the baby) "so can't you trust me with the things that do?"
Another thing that I learned (again) from that house thing: God gives us instructions, and we obey, and we have this lovely, frustrating need to assume the endpoint of a series of events from the starting points. But God doesn't always have things end the way we think they will based on how He started. And that doesn't mean we weren't following the Spirit. And it doesn't mean we somehow messed up or missed the mark. And it doesn't mean we were wrong about what we understood we should do. And it doesn't mean God isn't actually in charge or he's gotten a little old and out of touch.
The story we get told is someone felt prompted to call/visit a person and it turned out they needed help. The story we don't tell is that for every time that happens, there were a hundred times someone felt prompted to call/visit someone and it turned out they were just fine and didn't need anything. It doesn't make it wrong that they called, and it doesn't mean they weren't prompted. And it doesn't mean there was no good that came. The only thing that was awry was the expectation.
So we trust God even on the big things that matter, even when He hurts our feelings, and remember that what we think is the purpose of any given prompting might not be. Our job is to obey, not to understand.