“I could never be lonely along the river. With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only true sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be a spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.
In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.
When the spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as the spring itself.”
Ernest Hemingway – A Moveable Feast
Archives For faith
I told you about this story in a previous post but I want to tell you all the details because it’s just that good.
When we were looking for a house in Nashville we weren’t sure if we were going to rent or buy. We honestly had no idea what kind of money we were going to have at the end of the transaction. We decided to look mainly at rentals because of our recent experience of being trapped in a house that had lost a large amount of its value and was surrounded by foreclosures and shortsales. And, let’s be real, we don’t know anything about Tennessee, we need time to look around.
So we looked at so many rentals. My favorite one was one that was half the size of our current house. It was precious, I loved everything about it. Unfortunately, it went under contract that same day.
We looked at many others but there was always something that turned one of us away. I would say, “too big.” He would say, “too far away.” And this went on and on and on. We finally came to one that was a great price for a beautiful house. It had a great backyard for the kids and was out in the boonies which made my lil country heart happy. We walked through with the owners and decided to sleep on it. The landlords were so sweet. The next morning we submitted our application. That night we were at the house to show the kids. In case the landlord was going to be showing the house to anybody else we decided to call and let them know we’re looking around the outside just to show the kids since we didn’t take them in the previous night. The landlords told us they’d be right over in twenty minutes and they’ll let us all walk through the house.
That was so kind of them! To drive all that way to let us in. We thanked them profusely. My lil three year old loved the emptiness and went crazy running around the inside and through the backyard. I took a bazillion photos so I could plan how to arrange furniture and such.
Two days later, hours before we were to leave town, the landlord called to say we’ve been declined. Though he did not say it was our family size we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that is why he turned us away. But to say that it was because of our family size when admit discrimination and be grounds for a lawsuit. We’re not those kind of people. But I have repented of the thoughts I did have.
Our hearts shattered. We had nowhere to live and no time left to find a house. We tried to see if we still had to sell our house. After a brief talk with a friend he told us there was no way out.
My husband and I spent our last night in Nashville awake. Our minds reeling. Regret coating our thoughts. Feeling betrayed by a stranger.
In the wee hours of the morning we both began heaving tears. Broken and feeling like we’d failed our family.
Then we prayed. We lowered ourselves and allowed Yahweh to lead us. We admitted that on our own we are helpless and hopeless. That if He wanted us there like we believed He did that He would make the paths straight.
Our hearts were softened and we got online to relook at all the houses we had been in that week. As we were looking at one in particular I saw something in the neighbors driveway. We decided to go back to that one. It was a Saturday so there was no possible way of getting a realtor to take us inside the house. Instead we went to the neighbors house. And sure enough what we saw in the driveway was indeed a large van. Complete with a gaggle of little feet stickers on the back window. The neighbors have seven children and they homeschool. A couple doors down? Homeschoolers. A couple more doors down? More homeschoolers. And not long after we moved in we discovered we had a mutual friend whom I adore with our next door neighbors!
What we thought we were missing out on when we were declined on the first house was Yahweh redirecting our steps to something better. And the price had just been lowered on the house. Something that was going to help us immensely. The downside? The inside of the house is yellow. Yes folks, yellow. And don’t tell me it’s cheery. You’re talking to a cool color person. But I am THANKFUL we have a house to live in! And they don’t mind a large family renting. Let me tell you, we’re going to keep that house nicer than we kept the one we were paying a mortgage on.
I’m so thankful Yahweh knows better than we do. So thankful that He was watching as we wept and prayed. Thankful that He is always taking care of us if we’re willing to follow Him.
Each step of this journey has been filled with eucharisteo. Sometimes it’s hard to see at first but there’s such a bigger picture. So now I will get accustomed to my temporary little yellow house. May it constantly remind me to rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction and constant in prayer.
[edited: When we moved in the majority of the house had been painted to a much more enjoyable color. There’s still a good portion of yellow but not like living inside a bottle of mustard anymore.]
Over the past six years we’ve looked for other houses to move to. We’ve looked for land. There are times we wanted to throw our hands up and move back to Ohio. We’ve had our joys but we’ve also had some really rough times. However, I would do all this all over again. Every scowl, every tear, every hurt was making us better.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I’m going to be open with you. My husband and I went through a really rough valley moving to South Carolina. This was the first time we were away from family. We were fully relying on each other. The sad part is, we weren’t fully relying on God. Our faith was tested in ways we hadn’t experienced before.