Phew, these last few weeks have been a parade of craziness. I mentioned in this post that my husband finally was hired to a fantastic position as a Senior App Developer! To say that I am proud is an understatement. He worked his TAIL off for the past two years and, praise be to God, has been properly rewarded! Thank You, Abba!!
The moment we received that call to tell us, “You got the job!” it was like gunfire was shot to begin the race to get out of Florida. We were already prepped with what we were going to do, as I am a researcher at heart and like to get a jump start on things so that we can make quick decisions as information comes in or circumstances shift. It was intense, but awesome because forward movement is always better than stagnation.
It took a few days to finally make the jump, but once we did, we moved fast. Within two days, our trailer was packed up and ready to be sold to a local dealer who could spruce her up and sell her for a profit. All of our earthly possessions were packed into one tiny U-haul trailer or shoved in the van or car. Then, we were off.
Driving from Florida to North Carolina went very smoothly, thankfully. The trip took us two days, with one night at a hotel, and then, we arrived! For the next two weeks, we lived in a hotel, which was lovely, but still not a place to really settle in.
But, this week we moved into our apartment where we will be able to breathe a bit while waiting for our house to finish being built.
Then, God’s Will be done with that house.
I have not told you that story yet.
About a year ago, while we were still in Florida, in the throes of my husband’s college pressure, things were quite stressful, tiring, and just entirely heavy for me for many days. There was a day, though, that I was able to get out by myself (a rare thing indeed for most homeschooling mamas of little ones), so I did. I went to a nearby lake, sat on a swing hanging from a tree, and watched ducks waddle into the water and swim off. It was a beautiful, peaceful day.
But, eventually, I needed something else to do and I decided to revisit my childhood delight of walking through model homes. I have always had a thing for model homes. Even when I was a pre-teen I would go into them and just ask if I might walk around. They were so clean and orderly and designed. I loved them.
On this day, I found a model home to go look through and stumbled onto a “Parade of Homes” Tour going on, which meant that they gave you a list of homes to go look at in the local area. So, I went. I enjoyed walking through the enormous houses, but seriously, I wanted nothing to do with like 99% of them. They were ginormous. Too big for my simple nature.
I’m the person who, as a kid, was able to find the most simple, least stylish, cotton dress when my mom took us dress shopping for my second-grade communion ceremony. Everyone else was all dolled up in lace and satin and pearls, and I just wanted to be done with it already.
Houses are the same to me. I enjoy walking through them or looking around, but there is totally a Mama Bear Just Right size that I feel when I find it. And, the ginormous houses were not it…at all.
Until I walked into one home in particular. The house was deceptively large. It looked smaller since it was a rancher, but when I entered into it my Spirit just began leaping around within me. I heard God whisper, “I have many plans for you…” a reference to my Jeremiah 29:11 life verse He has whispered to my heart repeatedly in the past decade-plus.
The things that immediately attracted me to this house were 1) a full guest suite with room and bath on the first level, 2) two separate sitting areas, 3) a large open layout, and 4) a beautiful open kitchen. And, I had reasons for every single key point.
#1 For years now my husband and I have talked about how we want to have a guest suite in our home so that if friends or relatives need a place to stay, or come to visit, we have that available. The principle of caring for our aging family members is also something we have felt pressed on our hearts for some time. We want to be able to offer a separate space where our older family members might live if they no longer desire to live alone.
#2 Although we love our children, there are 7, which means that noise just comes second nature to all of them. And, in our time of living in a teeny tiny space we have found that there is a great blessing to have room to spread out a bit and live. We envisioned two spaces that would allow for us to have the kids enjoy some tv or game time together in a protected space while mommy and daddy could enjoy some downtime separately and still all stay sane.
#3 The large, open layout is just a real need as a mom of little people because I prefer to be able to see them easily when I am doing things throughout the day, like cooking or laundry, etc. Open layouts allow for that far more easily than the walled-off, sectioned homes. Plus, they’re beautiful!
#4 A lovely, open kitchen is just a dream after working with a teeny kitchen for nearly four years. I want to be able to have my little people helping me in the kitchen, but I tend to get anxious with small spaces and lots of little people, so I have not been able to really permit that as much as I like to. Not to mention, I want my older kids to also begin to gain freedom and ability in the kitchen. At this point, they are surely adept at breakfast or a simple lunch, but dinners have not quite yet been touched. We are all looking forward to a more family-centered kitchen environment.
Now, as I walked through the house, I felt a peace settle within me that I had not expected at all. I turned a corner into the kitchen area and saw myself standing there talking to a few teens in a moment of pure bliss. Again, the whisper, “I have great plans for you…,” along with specific square footage.
The Lord has given me a handful of visions for my future before, usually about things that I might otherwise have decided to turn left when He knows right is best. He told me years ago that He was going to give us two more sons, provided me with their names, and a vision of a time when I would be sitting with them in utter bliss, enjoying the moment of peace. These sons have arrived and are a true blessing in my life, for sure. As far as the house situation, I would never have been open to a larger house without His express Word to do so.
He knows me so well.
But, I had no means of getting such a house, nor any idea when such a vision would transform into reality. So, I tucked it back into the corners of my mind, able to be revisited when times of frustration or disbelief of better days arrived…and they arrived plenty.
I never really knew when the vision’s timing would be revealed, but when my husband got the call for hire and we knew where we would be moving, I began looking at houses for sale to get a leg up on house hunting when we arrived. One house, in particular, kept coming back to me, even though it was not yet even built. It had all of the things that were the most important to me, including some bonus features that just added another level of blessing. It was, however, out of our price range by $15k or more. So, I kept looking.
Then, my husband went to NC for a final meeting with the people on the team, and while there he spontaneously decided to do a walk-through of a model home while waiting for time to pass for his flight. Guess which house he walked through? The model of the one that kept catching my eye.
But, we still knew the price was too high.
After a week, and a bazillion tasks on our end, we were on our way to NC and I was in contact with a realtor to help us once we got into the area. She asked me for a list of homes that I wanted to see, so I sent her all I had as my top choices, including the one I knew was outside of our price range. The next day she reported that the house’s price had dropped by $17,000! We were thrilled!
We jumped to see that house first, went through the model home, and made sure it was what we expected. But, there were enough green lights from God on the house, not to mention the consistent reminder of the vision He gave to me a year prior, that it took very little thought to sign. On day one, we had a house under contract. It. Was. Awesome.
So, now we are waiting for the house to be built according to the plans that had been determined, selected by the company, but guided by the Hand of God for sure! This house was MADE for us!
Transitioning Into a New Normal
Transitions are interesting periods of time. They are intense, fast-moving, often emotionally wearing, and seemingly endless. But, in truth, they do come to an end. We DO find a new normal, and we DO learn new ways of living in new circumstances.
One thing that I have been very present to through these past three weeks is that moving from poverty to having a nice, steady income is a lot like bringing a new baby into the world. I mentioned in this post that waiting for my husband to be hired was so much like waiting for birth to begin, or waiting for the final birth to occur. The emotional burden was incredibly similar to birth.
Now, as we transition into a new norm for living, I sense the same overlap: both obtaining gainful employment after a long season of unemployment and bringing a baby into the world require a season of transition, stress, intensity, and re-balancing. Both require learning to live in a new way, re-centering ourselves and our peace on God through new circumstances, and enduring trials and struggles that accompany the blessing. Along with the birth of something beautiful also follows a drain of resources.
With birth, postpartum blues, emotional upheaval, physical depletion, etc. are all normal parts of the cycle, which is why it is so important for new mamas to take it easy and not try to do everything at once. When literally starting over from scratch, the same is true, too. I expected a period of emotional emptiness for most of our family.
The long season of trials has surely had a toll on our emotions and senses, and I know it will take a bit of time for the Lord to help redeem the years and restore our hearts and souls. So, I am working to allow the transition to unfold slowly and to take my time, which is NOT something that comes easily to me, but rather a lesson that has been forged through fire.
Thankfully, though, the lessons of these past several years continue to renew me day by day, even if the mercies are new every morning and I need them each and every day. One day at a time we are settling into our new normal, and learning how to live again with space and the ability to stretch out a bit more. It is for sure a blessing, as every step of this journey has been and continues to be.
So, for now, I am so thankful for the time to rest. It is so very much appreciated after trudging through the wilderness for many years.