Home Sweet Home

Dear ones,

It’s been awhile and I’ve missed you! We have had an incredibly busy summer. Since I last wrote we have moved and, blessedly, had a revolving door of visitors to the house. I have loved every second of it to the point where it was VERY hard for me to see Jason go back to work this morning, knowing how quiet and lonely this place will be now. But my heart is also overflowing with the nearness of God.

I thought I would jump on here and tell the story of how we got this house. Jason and I have wanted to move out of our condo ever since we got married 5 1/2 years ago. It’s healthier for me not to have to worry about anyone spraying pesticides or contaminating my air with smoke and dryer sheets. We also dream about growing our own food so we know exactly where it’s been and what’s on it. Not to mention a yard for June to run and play. So we finally decided to talk to a realtor who, despite my serious doubts, assured us we could find a healthy house in our budget. We put ours up for sale near the beginning of the year.

Back in February we had such fun looking at a house with the most character I’ve ever seen. Around each corner was another nook or surprise that made us laugh out loud. Our realtor remarked that it was like Narnia! “It was the sort of house that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places” (C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia). Exactly. But for whatever reason, we wrote the house off as not practical or ‘normal’ enough for us and we moved on.

Then around mid-May, a sweet woman we had the privilege of meeting later, put an offer on our condo that we could not refuse, as much as it scared me! Prior to the offer, it hadn’t become quite real to me that we were actually doing this. We had to get serious about finding a place. I was pretty disappointed with the quality of houses in our price range and knew that we would have to give something up, like a bathroom or dishwasher, which are both very hard for a person with chronic illness to give up. Also, the nicer houses were even smaller than our condo and I began to wonder why in the world we were even doing this. Well-meaning people kept telling me that God had the perfect house for us, but I knew a perfect house was not one of God’s promises. Side note, we really need to watch what we say. If God promises houses, wouldn’t there be no homeless Christians? I digress.

Believe it or not, I didn’t really get stressed until the actual moving process. For quite some time I had been praying for a house that could somehow be used for God’s glory. I knew God would give us what He knew we needed, even if it wasn’t a house at all. I gave Him the process of finding a house and He, in turn, gave me peace that I truly believe I would still have if the outcome had turned out differently.

We settled on a very small house with one bathroom, pretty far from most people who usually gave me rides to appointments, which made me nervous but I also knew I couldn’t arrange our lives around my illness more than I already had. We thought this cute little yellow house with the teal door and purple flowers was for us. After all, those are our colors and it really was a beautiful house. The problem was, the house already had an offer on it, which broke our hearts. This was even after we had fallen in love with a different house until we found out the basement was in danger of caving in. Heartbreak after heartbreak, while still believing everything would be okay no matter the outcome. The realtor of the cute yellow house told us that the contract was going to fall through so we actually put an offer on it and, after some negotiating, they accepted it as a secondary contract. That would have been all well and good except that we couldn’t be a secondary contract and have assurance that we wouldn’t be homeless after our condo closed if this contract actually didn’t fall through. The realtor wanted to get out of the primary contract but they legally couldn’t do so until it would have been too late for us.

So, our realtor asked for our backup plan. With broken hearts and some amount of resignation, Jason and I suddenly thought of the Narnia house, at the exact same time. Who needs ‘normal’, right? I still don’t know why this house was in our price range. It is HUGE and we wouldn’t have to give up anything except a garage and garbage disposal. And we would gain more than we dared to dream. Our realtor asked us if we wanted to go see the house again on Wednesday or Thursday. This was the last week of school for Jason and he had multiple meetings to prepare for so we originally said Thursday. But then Jason decided we needed to see the house again ASAP even if it meant he was up all night, so we went to see it Wednesday. We fell in love. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such excitement in my husband and it was such a joy. I could not stop laughing because this house is so quirky. The even bigger surprise was that Jason’s parents, who came to look at it with us, approved wholeheartedly. After seeing the Narnia house again, we pulled our offer on the cute little yellow house and put an offer on this one. That is why the days were important. After we put in an offer on Thursday morning, we found out someone else was going to put in an offer on Thursday night. Talk about timing! What a gift to have our contract sealed!

Then, of course, the inspection process was less than fun and my stress level sky-rocketed during the actual move. It has triggered my illnesses, especially dysautonomia. So I’ve been struggling with that and acting like a healthy person far too long. I haven’t stopped for months and my body is screaming for rest, so under it’s and Jason’s orders, that’s what I’m doing today and likely for the foreseeable future.

We are so grateful for this house and I very often walk back in after taking June for a walk and become breathless with the wonder that it is ours. The excitement comes back and the warmth of such a beautiful gift swells my heart. It is perfect. It’s almost 100 years old so it has unbelievable character. There are built-ins all over the place. There’s even a claw foot tub! I didn’t even know I could dream of having one of those! I have always imagined having a music room but knew never to expect one. Guess what? I have one now! The wall looks like it was made for my piano.

But honestly, I think my favorite room in the house is upstairs. It has tons of windows and, get this, it overlooks the mountains. I have dreamed of a home with a view of the mountains but never actually thought I would have one. What a gift! Our first day here was so stressful. Since no one had lived here for awhile, it was way too hot for me and I was feeling awful and very discouraged. Then, God gave me another gift. He showed me that I could see the most beautiful sunset out those same windows. The next morning He showed me I can also see the sunrise… over the mountains! I weep over this overwhelming gift!

For a long time, I have wanted a home that felt welcoming and open to everyone and we have had many people say it is warm and inviting when they visit.  When I thanked her for opening her home, a dear woman once said to me, “This is God’s house. I’m just visiting.” That beautiful sentiment is one I want to live by. This house that is beyond our wildest dreams is God’s gift to us that we can, in turn, gift back to Him. I cannot wait to see how He uses it! One day I was trying a little bit too hard to ‘help’ God use this house, coming up with things we could do to serve others with it. While it’s good to dream with God, we also need to wait on His guidance. It occurred to me that, at least right now, this may just be God’s overwhelming gift to us. I can hardly let myself think that because I always want to DO something to please God. My brain can’t wrap around His delight in me and I wonder if this is His way of helping me understand. What could give Him more joy than me simply enjoying the gift He gave? So, we will do that until He tells us otherwise. What an extravagant God we have!

This is our house on the Fourth of July. By the way, everyone has been calling it Narnia, so that name has stuck. It’s perfect. We even have a lion door-knocker and a lamp post in the backyard. It makes me wonder if the previous owners had Narnia in mind. So now we even have a guest book called… The Chronicles of Narnia! Come visit! We would love to welcome you!

I have a lot more blogging to catch up on so, stay tuned. I haven’t forgotten. I’m always looking for beauty in the rubble!

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