Christi Lupher (Part 2)

Christi Lupher, Software Engineer turned Full-Time Mom—Walking through the Wilderness: Trusting God to Supply All Needs

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Engineering, Joshua, Moses, Putting God First

Christi Lupher was a software engineer for BNR, a subsidiary of Northern Telecom (later Nortel), a Canadian-based competitor to AT&T. She got to work on projects like creating one of the first versions of caller ID. But then she decided to be a full-time mom. The next year, her husband quit his job. Christi shares how trusting God to supply all their needs, including financial, brought them through the wilderness.

How did you make the decision to switch from software engineer to full-time mom?
It was a very difficult decision. I didn’t want to give up our second income or my professional autonomy. I had worked hard, and I loved writing software. I wrote software for the switches that control the cellular network. It was an exciting time. People even got to see our work, which so often is behind the scenes. But as my due date came closer and closer, I became less and less comfortable with the idea of someone else raising our child. That seems like an extreme way of wording it, but I wanted what my child learned through example to come from us in those youngest years. I prayed about this for months.

The answer finally came one night as a quiet sense of peace—that I could trust where God was leading me—trust that if I felt the right thing to do was to stay home with our child, then that was the right thing; and if it was right, I could do it without fear for either our income or my career. Staying home may not be the answer for others. But that’s what I love about God’s leading—every one of us gets an individualized answer to our individualized situation. No matter how alike our circumstances may seem to someone else’s, they are not the same. The key is to have the humility to listen and follow.

And how did trusting God to supply all your needs work out for you?
Well, it actually spilled over into the next year when my husband knew that he needed to do something different with his career. While he kept working for that one year, we trusted and listened to God. Then he outright quit and headed off to help his mom and brother, who had started a new little gourmet toasted pecans business.

Neither of our decisions brought us any income. We had done well with savings, so we could keep making our tiny mortgage payments on our house in Dallas, Texas, while we moved in with his folks in Austin. But we were still a family of three with no paycheck. I wasn’t afraid, though, because the whole prayer had been about doing the right thing. And if this was the right thing, then we would be taken care of. The two decisions worked together.

In the middle of all this, I decided I was going to read the Bible from start to finish in two versions (the KJV and the NIV). It was a slow process that ended up taking 12 years. I would read one chapter in the KJV and then do it again in the NIV. I read all the footnotes and entire commentaries to help me understand the context. I loved learning the stuff of their daily lives that would’ve been so obvious then, but that we just don’t know now. It helped me relate their experiences to my own life.

Was there anything in your study of the entire Bible that resonated with you as you went through these life changes?
There was the whole concept of the wilderness experience for the children of Israel after they left Egypt—being between places, the old home and the new home. The Israelites’ old home had been lousy, what with slavery, but it was still their home. I felt like we were wandering. God was leading us somewhere, but we didn’t know where: this family business would become successful, my husband would get an engineering job, or something entirely different would happen.

But how do you conquer the Promised Land? It’s not empty; you have to conquer it. The wilderness is not called the wilderness because it’s safe and known. But sometimes you stay there because there is something scary blocking your way out. Just look at the children of Israel. The people in the Promised Land looked huge—giants to them—so they wandered for forty years while God helped them with food, water, snake bites, all sorts of scary issues, until they’d gotten enough experience in trusting God so they could trust His instructions on how to get into the land. And that’s what the instruction turned out to be: Just Trust. They didn’t have to drill and study military strategy; they just had to obey what He said. And what He said was to completely follow God’s authority (the ark) around the impenetrable walls of the city; shout in recognition that God was going to knock those walls down; then simply walk in and take it. Those walls came down.

Conquering Jericho is an amazing example of trust in God’s power. But they did conquer a city. How did you deal with the violence in the Bible?
When we read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, we’re really confronted by violence. The Bible is worded in the way that its authors perceived things. So they’d often say that God slew and destroyed people and cities because that’s how they perceived what was happening. And the ancient world was filled with slaying and destroying and attributing different acts to gods.

Over time, the concepts of God and Right and Justice changed—rose. (I’d argue that they rose because the people came to know God and His will better as they were put through the furnace fires of challenges.) The end effect was that Jesus was able to speak of God as a loving dad, rather than as vengeful potentate. Many people longed for that concept, and some really understood it! But as we modern people read the OT we have to learn to see the true story going on behind the violence—to see the truths about God that led to the growth in thought that allows us to be appalled by the violence in the stories. So in my study, I looked for lessons in the stories, key useful ideas.

Can you share a lesson or idea that came from such hard stories?
There were so many stories—Jericho was one. The destructive plagues in Egypt and all the soldiers drowning as they pursued the Children of Israel was another. The lesson that dawned on me as I slogged through the violence was this: Good destroys evil. When someone brings an awareness of the presence of God, the source of all good, to a situation, evil is simply destroyed—just by its very nature. But … if you are holding on to the evil, or are deeply intertwined with the evil system, holding onto it as part of your identity, your experience will be that you go down with it. Moses kept saying, “Let us go.” Pharaoh kept saying, “No!” And then there were plagues and crashing waves. As long as you hold to the evil, you will find yourself in the floods or fires that are destroying it … until you let go. That’s all you have to do. Just let go to be free.

You all certainly “let go” and trusted God. What happened with the pecan business, and how did you manage financially?
The little pecan business made progress: we got into a bunch of nice stores, including upscale ones like Neiman Marcus, but it never provided enough income. So they shut it down, and my husband got a new job. It was clear that God was in control. And in the end, we didn't really even have any financial difficulties. We always had everything we needed.

The length of time our savings lasted, and the length of time it took to feel we'd given the pecan business its best shot, and the length of time it took my husband to find a new engineering position once he started looking, all just flowed together very harmoniously. It kind of felt like God said, “Climb down this cliff into the mist where you can't see the bottom,” so we did, and we found our feet touching the ground just as our rope ran out.

We ended up selling our house in Dallas and staying in Austin where we bought a new one, the house we’re still in today. The whole move to Austin was a blessing because our children got to grow up with one set of grandparents close enough to see them every week. And I was able to finally make my way through the entire Bible.