Part 1.5 - Renting
Soooo the journey of selling our old home (Part 1) was quick, in retrospect of course. While we were in the thicket of it, yes it felt like forever! It was always our plan to sell before seriously looking for a new home. I was convinced I would find the perfect house before ours sold and then we'd have to watch it sail down the river with another crew aboard. I'm that way with a lot of things. I don't like to look for things until we have the money for them. Sure I window shop to some degree but I didn't want to do any SERIOUS house shopping until we knew our house was under contract. With that being said we always knew in the back of our minds that there was a possibility that we'd not find a house in time and we'd have to rent.
Well that possibility became reality, even though I never really thought it would. We looked at a few house but God had not yet revealed our house which seemed to work out okay since we had all the drama with the first contract falling through and then getting another one. I had even begun looking for temporary housing when we found the "Hoof" house. With this house we were going to do a quick close and so if we rented back our old house from the new owners for a few days we would have been just fine, however that was not the case. The "Hoof" house didn't workout (more to come in Part 2) and so on May 10th, just a few weeks from closing and being homeless (literally), we realized we'd have to find a house or apartment to rent in between homes.
This moment was one I have so vividly etched into my memory. I remember talking to my mom and step dad on the phone when we realized the "Hoof" house wasn't going to work out and I needed to rally and figure out where God wanted us to go. My step dad told us to pray together. I got off the phone and laid with Matt in our bed and I told him I didn't have the words to pray and I don't think he did either. Our emotions were everywhere. Our thoughts all jumbled together. Our kids and our well being on the forefront of our over loaded minds. But in these times, times when you can't come up with the words, our loving God is there no matter what. Romans 8:26-28 tells us "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant conditions, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is working into something good." (The Message translation).
Just a few weeks earlier in my Thursday Bible study, before we'd found the "Hoof" house, I randomly asked if anyone knew of a place or had a place that my family could rent because we were about to be homeless (said in a joking manner). A lady I barely know, Darlene, (since she'd missed much of the study due to her husbands illness) said she had a place. It was in a part of town I wasn't familiar with and we exchanged information. About a week later she called me to say she didn't think the house would be ready in time for us to use it and I told her no problem since we'd found the "Hoof" house by that time, we wouldn't need temporary housing. I was so grateful for her willingness but was grateful too that I wouldn't need it.
Fast forward now two weeks and I'm at the same Bible study in tears and speechless. Frustrated and scared. Upset and nervous. In God's arms and waiting on His provision. Just two days earlier, Tuesday evening, I had found out that the "Hoof" house was no longer viable and we'd have to pass on purchasing it. The inspection report came back and it was revealed to us that we'd need another place to live and our house hunt would forge on.
The Wednesday in between finding out we'd need temporary housing and Bible study, I had begun the day on the floor, in tears and on the phone with my mom. After getting all the frustration and tears out I began looking for townhouses and apartments. I must have called over 25 places. In the end I had two apartments complexes that could take us. The apartments available were both two bedrooms. Each one would have to be nothing less than a 6 month lease. Both of them cost over $1200 per month. And after a half day of searching I was at ends with God.
Really!?! He wanted me to put my family of 5 into TWO bedrooms. Let's not forget the cat. Plus we'd have to rent a bigger storage unit because we were not fitting our whole house into a two bedroom apartment, not to mention all of the stuff in our shed. I just cried and cried what felt like all day. I couldn't believe this is what God was asking of us?
So at Bible study that next day I just couldn't hold myself together. I just couldn't understand what God was doing with us and why. I wanted to put my faith and trust in Him who has it all worked out and I honestly had no other choice but why on earth a tiny little apartment God...really.
At the end of the study the women, oh my sisters in Christ, all showed such support as I poured out my heart. It was then that Darlene approached me again. She said "I just texted my husband and he said we will do everything in our power to get the house ready for you if you want it." I must have looked as beaten down as I felt, I could see it in her eyes as she looked at me.
The next morning we went and looked at the Darlene and Ray's rental house. Oh I can tell you now I was looking at it through God's eyes and not mine. It was in need of lots of love! It never looked unlivable but it was in rough shape. But they were going to work hard, he assured me, to get it into better shape. They were going to put new flooring in the kitchen and two bathrooms, new toilets, new vanities, new paint throughout, paint the kitchen cabinets, put up ceiling fans, new stove and dishwasher, new fence in the backyard, new shed doors, new window treatments, new kitchen facet and garbage disposal, clean up the hardwood floors, resurface the tub and put in new tub surround walls and some other things that are alluding me know. They had only 2.5 weeks to get it all done before we needed to move in. And God willing, they did got the majority of the work done hours before we moved in. And answered prayers we didn't even know to ask for. This house fit our needs- however temporary- God provided!
For instance, there were no washer and dryer here. Matt and I thought we could do the laundry mat or maybe rent a washer and dryer from one of those "Rent-a-Center" places or at times bum off friends. But the day after we walked through the house Darlene texted me that they were going to put a washer and dryer in too. Tears fell once more- we didn't even ask God but He knew. Although the washer and dryer proved to be the first of many trials we faced while living in the rental. You see, they didn't get hooked up until 5 days after we moved in- unknown to us until the day of move in. But hey those five days taught me that I wouldn't have lasted 6 weeks without a washer and dryer! God knew, oh yes, He knew!
Many more trails came to us after the washer and dryer were hooked up though. But first I want to sing the praises of God's provisions. The rental house might have been twenty plus minutes from everything and everywhere but it FIT.OUR.NEEDS. We didn't have to rent any other space. And the rent per month was a fraction of what we would have spent on those apartments! The shed fit all our 'shed stuff' and the patio fit our other outdoor stuff too (kids toys and patio furniture, etc.). There were THREE bedrooms! I never thought one bedroom could make or break me but this was HUGE after touring those tiny apartments. The biggest bedroom housed all three girls beds/crib and dressers plus three hampers and a nightstand. Matt and I had all of our bedroom stuff in a small bedroom where there is just enough room to walk around the bed and from the door to the closet (all we really need for a short stay). The third bedroom housed our many unpacked boxes, our food and Annabelle's stuff. The living room was plenty big enough and housed the majority of our furniture. The kitchen was sufficient and then there was one more room, I called it the back room- which is where we had the table and the computer desk.
The house was only ~100 square feet less than our old house. I had to laugh when my FIL came up to me they day we moved into it and said "The movers don't think we're going to fit all your stuff in this house." I just gave him the "don't worry about it- it's going to work" kind of look. And to their astonishment it all fit fine.
One thing I wasn't prepared for, and I don't know if I ever could have been was the emotional aspect of the move. With all our physical needs being met, it was hard to anticipate the emotion roller coaster I'd be on as we moved into the rental. I was sad for leaving the old house, but not in a way that made me want to stay there. No, I was very ready to put that house behind us and found 'home' somewhere else. However, I wasn't ready to find 'home' in the rental. I was very tired after the trials of selling the house and I think I was very frail. This made living in the rental hard for me. This wasn't what I had planned, I know please keep your laughing to a minimum, but I didn't like the place. Not the actual place but what it meant emotionally.
It meant moving twice and all the physical, financial, and emotional energy that this was going to take. It meant that I was going to have to stretch myself and live on faith that I didn't know I had. It meant that I was going to have to be patient once again. It meant that I was going to live in a state of limbo and have to hunt for my things and live out of boxes. It meant that I was going to have to rely on God more than ever before because God was taking us down a road that was going to cause us to hold onto our faith in Him and let the rest of it go, the rest of ourselves and our thoughts.
You see we didn't move in and have smooth sailing. No we had many trials during our first three weeks of living here. For the sake of organization I'm going to make a timeline of the tribulations and let you infer how we were broken down before God lifted us back up...
-No washer & dryer for five days
-My mom comes into town and is a huge emotion support
-We lose air conditioning in the heat of summer for four days
-We lose our bathtub as they begin work on the tub surround and fixtures for three days
-My mom heads back to her home
-We lose power after a bad storm (just 24 hours after getting AC back) for three days
As I list it out it doesn't seem as traumatic as it felt during everything. But it just felt like one thing after another and I was emotionally spent before it all began. I went to bed exhausted each day and just waiting for what would come next. It seemed like every time I took a breath and felt like we must be through the worst of it, something else came along.
My mom had gone home on a Wednesday and the following Sunday at church (when we still had no power) she said she prayed that if nothing else God would give us back our AC. That a week without it was more than enough and if He was going to continue to mold us in these ways that he would at least give us cool air to weather the storm.
But around the corner of each trial there was God provision. From friends who lent use of their washer and dryer and bathtub and cool house in the heat of the day. To the use of our church freezer for our food and refugee when the house was being worked on. To wonderful landlords who where doing things to make the house comfortable for us- including putting a new AC unit in. To having found our 'forever' home- giving me comfort that this time in our lives was temporary and that God's promises to provide and prosper us were as true during our trials as they were every other day of our lives.
I grew A LOT in that house. It was there that I really just lived on faith each and everyday, in a way I wouldn't have if we had gone from the old house right into a new house. God wants us to prosper. In 2 Corinthians 8:9, he says "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." and in Jeremiah 29:11 He says, "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." And these and many other promises didn't change just because my earthly circumstances did. God was providing for us and molding us to be more like Him and to have faith that can move mountains.
I often times want to write on here to get out all the love God shows me daily. I want to write down memories to reflect on later, memories my feeble brain might forget otherwise. But I also want a written archive of my faith journey. How God took the worldly heart of one woman and transformed it into a heart worthy of God's eternal, heavenly future. Of all the things God promises, easy is not one of them. Our selfish, sinful nature wants life to be easy and for things to be handed to us but God wants us to grow and become the person He brought us into this world to be and I don't want to be anyone else and the trials of this life will just make me realize that this is not our home! We were created for something bigger. So I'll leave you with a poem I came across and it really struck a cord in my heart. Don't worry...Part 2 is coming because our newest HOME is just moments away and I can't wait to share the story of how it came to be ours!!!