Our Wonderful Life…

The last twelve months have been some of the craziest in Forster family history.

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Last spring, we decided to bite the bullet and sell the seven-acre “home place” where we all grew up (and where we’ve operated Doorposts for the last twenty years) and move closer to our church, friends, and family.

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Eight months later, after eight moving van trips, hundreds of boxes of books, one epic garage sale, many late nights, and a fair share of honest-to-goodness blood, sweat, and tears, we were starting to get settled again.

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My wife and I found a house that seems like a perfect launching point for our future. Besides having room for our family to grow, there’s room for my parents’ travel trailer, it’s close to the property where they plan to build, and it’s close to our church and Doorposts’ new office.

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With a huge garage, it also has the potential to remodel into a new place for Doorposts someday.

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In a hard-to-believe sequence of God’s just-in-time providences, we bought this home and sold our old house during the last few weeks of summer.

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We busied ourselves turning the unkempt foreclosure house into a home: cleaning, painting, tearing out messy carpets, replacing applicances, and lining the dining room wall with bookshelves.

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Thanksgiving came, and the whole family crowded into our dining room for the jolly event. It wasn’t quite the same as the old home place, but we were excited about starting a new chapter in the Forster family story.

Who could have predicted what God had planned for that next chapter?

In November, our 3-year-old son developed an itchy rash.

Then our 2-year-old started having trouble sleeping (and you know what that means for our sleep).

Then we all started itching… and random vomiting…

Our doctor said it was a virus, so we stayed home for most of December, skipping weeks of church and even the family Christmas gatherings.

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With needy children and itchy skin waking us up at all hours, our whole household (including my sister who was living with us) became progressively more and more miserable. We could hardly function during the day. We watched more and more movies because it was the best way to stop the kids from itching and it was the only way we could have peace and quiet to wrap the kids’ Christmas presents, think straight, or even have a conversation. Doctors gave us supplements and creams to help with the itching, but it still felt like we were losing our minds. We weren’t getting better.

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A few days after Christmas, we took a test and found traces of meth in our house.

That same day, we packed our bags and drove to my in-laws house forty minutes away, where they made room for us to stay.

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Now it’s been a whole month, and we are starting to feel better.

But we still can’t go back to our house. We’ve prayed, run more tests, cleaned, run a heavy-duty air purifier 24/7, opened the windows to clear the air, talked to a long succession of contractors and experts, and prayed some more. Some think it’s low levels of meth, some say it’s formaldehyde, and most don’t really know. Whatever is in the air, it’s making our home unsafe for us.

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We still don’t know what will happen. Will we have to walk away from the house we were just getting settled in? Will we have to gut the inside, throw away all our clothes and furniture, and start completely over? We don’t know yet.

For now, the house sits empty…

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As I merge on to the freeway for the long drive back to my family, I’m tempted to think, “This is ruining my life.”

But is it really?  — Is this house my life? Is my neat little plan to live within walking distance to work, church, and family my life? Is health and easy sleep my life?

(Sleep isn’t everything, but you’ve got to admit [in the words of George Bailey] “It comes in pretty handy down here, bub.”)

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Isn’t there a verse about my life being about Jesus? I guess there is.

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3)

My life is not about my house. It’s not about being in control. It’s not about fulfilling my dreams for the future. It’s not about the comfort of a smooth daily routine or a short drive to work.

Yes, my life is a bit scrambled right now, but it’s in Jesus’ hands, not mine. God knows I need to be reminded.

I still have Jesus. He isn’t going anywhere.

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I still have a wife who loves me and likes to hang out with me, even when neither of us can think straight.

I still have four spunky children who are heroically learning how to endure hardships and uncertainty.

I have brave friends and family who aren’t afraid to take in a rambunctious family of six or risk the unknown danger to pray through our empty house and clean up our post-evacuation mess.

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I have a whole church full of people who care about me and my family.

We have a comfortable, free, home-away-from home, where we’re making new memories and getting lots of help.

We have a loving, all-wise God who writes good stories.

We just don’t know where this one is going yet!

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You can help us!

Please pray for healing. Our children are recovering very slowly. After helping us clean the house last week, now Mama (who writes this blog most of the time) is not feeling well either. My sister Bethany and her friend who spent several nights in the house are sick too. The doctor says our kidneys and livers need to heal from the overload so they can filter the toxins out of our bodies.

Pray we can sleep.

Pray that we can get help with our house, either to identify and fix the problem, or get out of it and find a new house.

Pray for our work at Doorposts. We’re preparing to speak in North Dakota next month. We have six more “Busy Mamas” Bible studies that need to be edited and printed in the next two months. Mama needs to prepare for the Psalm 22 study in March (here on the blog). We’re also trying to keep up with a course at CCEF’s School of Biblical Counseling.

And, to be honest, you can help meet our financial needs by ordering some charts, a Bible study, or one of the other biblical parenting resources from Doorposts. Do it this weekend during our January sale, while everything is 10% off!

Thank you for your prayers and support! We will let you know how this story unfolds!

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20 Comments

  1. What a big lesson to learn at a “big cost” (humanly speaking). I am so sad your family is facing these trials (especially hard w/littles), but will pray for you all. Thank you for sharing all this. As a total aside, have you looked into activated charcoal at all to help with the “toxic purge”? It’s given in the ER’s and totally safe for littles too. Our Great Physician will heal all, in the fullness of His time. 🙂

  2. I would think you can get out of the sale of that home since it was not disclosed to you. This happened to a family here in VA. Once meth is in the house it is no longer inhabitable. Praying that you all recover your health and can get out of the house sale.

  3. My prayers that your family is going through this. Your resources have been such a blessing to our family. We could always use more of them. We will place an order soon. God bless you and hope you feel better soon and come to a solution!

  4. How awesome our God is! Sending prayers to your entire family that God will continue to provide all of your needs and strengthen you all. In the face of such adversity, His light continues to shine. God bless you all!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is an encouragement to me as I face my own sleepless nights with pre-schoolers to count my many blessings one by one. I have prayed for you and will pray some more. Also, excited to hear you have more “Busy Mama” bible studies in the works.

  6. Still praying for you all from Texas! 🙂 Thankful for this perspective of what life truly is – Christ and knowing Him. I’m glad He’s walking with you all through this and am praying for complete healing for your whole family so you can serve the Lord in healthy bodies. Thanks for all you do!

  7. I’m so sad for you. Our family has been on a 10 year odyssey of toxins, so I feel empathy. If you have not tested for mold, then I would encourage you to do so. Many conventional doctors do not understand mold toxicity, but more and more D.O. and even M.D.s are beginning to understand it. Dr. Richie Shoemaker has worked on mold toxins for many years, and he has a set of lab tests that can be run to see if someone is suffering (and if they have the genetic predisposition). Two members of my family are finally being treated. I wish you the best.

    • Thanks, Kim. We have tested for mold, and found nothing (thankfully!) We have friends who have suffered from mold too. I hope your family can get free from it!

      • Daniel, if you only did mold testing via air samples, then it is possible that those samples would not pickup up on some of the toxic molds that are heavier and not as easily found in the air. Another mold test you should consider is an ERMI mold test from mycometrics.com . Also, you can test for some of the mycotoxins that mold produces, which is what can make people very ill, through realtimelab.com . I tell you this because my family and I experienced skin itching, crawling sensations and fatigue, along with many other symptoms eventually. Took years to find out that it was mold and mycotoxins all along. Do all you can to rule that out as toxic mold is becoming very common in homes and other buildings. Prayers to the Father for your family.

        • Hi Stuart, thanks for the tips. I just went to a doctor yesterday who didn’t think it was formaldehyde or meth. The only thing he came up with was… mold. So I am looking for the best ways we can do further mold testing now. I will definitely check out the links!

  8. Our God is so good. He loves you. Thank you for sharing and praying for your family from Madagascar. I am interesting with your resources, but I am so limited with the e-books. Blessings. HUG

  9. Satan will alway try to stop the work of The Lord. Stay strong and stay on track. Don’t let this attack stray you from the way of your calling. God bless you and your family. Sounds like you have a great support network. That’s an awesome plus. Prayers for all.

  10. Continued prayers for answers, and restored health!

  11. I am so sorry to hear you all are going thru this! I must share that I literally woke up 30 minutes ago and as soon as my eyes opened I heard this verse…. houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord. We just moved into a new(er) home so, at first I thought it was for me, but reading this, I believe God has something AMAZING for you and your precious family right around the corner! Sometimes he comes thru in the 11th hour! I KNOW you are doing the “thanking The Lord” part 😉 So, keep on trusting in Him, He is going to make a way where there seems to be NO WAY! I will be praying for you and esp. your babies! PS. I am usually pretty reserved when it comes to sharing things like this, but, I felt I must! GOD BLESS <3

  12. Will be praying for your family and asking others to pray for you also…for your healing, encouragement, and that God will turn this situation around for good. He will bring honor and glory to His name!

  13. Aorry to hear about all this. Meth is so nasty. I do foster care and take care of Meth exposed kids. A couple of thoughts, did you contact your home owners insurance for gutting the house? My undertanding is you literally have to gut to the studs. Also did you contact your mortgage company? They might just let you walk away and absolve your mortgage. Again I am so sorry. This damage/loss to your things and house is equvilant to a house fire. 🙁

  14. My family and I are praying for you guys. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. Keep your eyes on Jesus, like you’re doing. We will pray for strength and guidance. Full health too for your family. I know you’re getting a lot of advice, but I would see about the realtor that sold the house. They should have known about it and I think it’s a law that they have to disclose that to you. Just remember your friends in California are praying for you and your beautiful family.

  15. What a horrible time it has been for you. I will pray for your family and answers to these issues. Your experience has helped me to put in perspective the challenges we are going through. Number one thing I get from your experience is to put Jesus first in the midst of uncertainty.

  16. You are definitely in my prayers. What a timely reminder you’ve given to me during a trying time in my life right now. Your perspective, and taking the time to write this out, glorifies God who always takes care of us and it encourages me greatly. Thank you for your example of faith. God bless you continually with healing, peace, strength and grace.

  17. I’m real sorry to hear about all that your family is going through. The Lord is sovereign and I pray that He will heal you all quickly and allow you guys to settle in a place soon. I would recommend seeing a chiropractor who specializes in detoxing the body to help your family get the right healing. May you all continue to find your strength in the Lord!