Yes, imagine that, my life has once again played out in such a dramatic way that I feel it makes a pretty good story. And, oh how I love having a story to tell! If you could see me right now, happily hunkered down with my laptop and a cup of coffee, I know you’d laugh to yourself. “Wow, that girl really loves telling a story.” You’d also think, “Wow, that girl needs a shower and a box of hair color.” That’s why there will be no photos with this post.
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that, last October, we moved our family in with Papa Bear’s boss. You might not know very many single men who would enjoy an instant family, but our recently divorced Mr. Bossman insisted that he was just lonely enough to make it work. He had two extra bedrooms, and we needed to be closer to Papa Bear’s job (which, from where we were living, was two towns away and over a mountain pass).
I thought we’d last a week…tops.
At the end of the first month, the three grown ups sat down and decided there was no reason why our situation shouldn’t be long term (I think it was my cooking). I didn’t think it was fair to Bossman to simply toss him onto a public blog, but there were many blogworthy moments that went unblogged.
You miss my cinnamon rolls, don’t ya Boss-y-man?! And glue stick wars? And blowing it up with Baby Bear?
It was a fun, fun season in all our lives.
Last month, though, Bossman was offered a job near his hometown. It’s the job that was on his ten year plan, and he didn’t want to pass it up. Papa Bear felt ready to run the business with Bossman out of state, so it seemed like a good move for everyone involved. For reasons that are not blogworthy (boring), however, we could not stay in the house. We had a three weeks to look for a new place, and we felt that was plenty of time.
In the first few days, we picked up local papers and talked to the property managers. We were looking within a pretty wide price range, so we were confident we’d find a rental within a week. We didn’t. Friends knew of friends who were renting, and we waited days at a time for phone calls. Every call finally returned the same answer, though, “No,” of course for a dozen different reasons. Most of the time, opportunities were just barely missed (or, were they?).
We sat down as a family, I sat down with the kids, and Papa Bear and I prayed together one very specific prayer during the entirety of those three weeks, “God, please show us where You want us and give us wisdom.” Cuddle Bug prayed, “God, if you don’t like the house we like, we’ll agree.” And then we kept on house hunting like mad people.
Somewhere in week two, we found the cutest little a-frame house. Two bedrooms, two baths, a large living and dining area and a very adequate kitchen. It was the enormous garage and a deck with breathtaking views that made Papa Bear and I fall in love. It was partially furnished, and I swear (cross my heart) that the upstairs bedroom looked like a room from Snow White’s cabin. Little beds lined the walls, and I actually squealed when I saw it. “This is the one!” I said excitedly, and Papa Bear agreed. Cuddle Bug continued to pray, “”God, if you don’t like the house we like, we’ll agree.” And oh, how I tried to agree!
We were so sure, it seemed so right, that we didn’t do much looking for the next few days. And since the only other place we’d found was a perfect three bedroom on the golf course made imperfect by the fact that it was for sale (and would most likely be shown often), we began to pack and plan for our first choice.
It would be an entire week before we’d learn that the owner of our favorite little house had decided to take it off the rental market and move back in. My head spun around and around for three days (which made everyone dizzy). Papa Bear was the stalwart hero while his loving wife went insane. He called on every ad and talked to every. single. person. in town. No one else was renting. Everyone else was selling. And buying, at mountain prices, just isn’t in the cards for us right now.
It was official. We were homeless. At least, it very much felt that way.
In what I thought was a fit of desperation, I called about a two bedroom mobile home just a half mile from Papa Bear’s work. The ad read, “No pets,” but it also listed the lowest rent we have ever paid in our married life (I could think of a few reason why that might be God’s will). I was going to beg and plead. The sweetest woman with the prettiest Spanish accent answered the phone. I explained our situation, and apparently I talked a mile a minute (faster than her brain could translate Crazy into English, poor thing), because when I finished talking, she answered encouragingly, “So, it’s just you and your husband and a small dog?”
She explained to me that her owner would not allow more than four people in a two bedroom because of bad experiences in the past. Then, she sweetly offered to call the owner and ask again (which meant I would be turned down twice in one day).
I practically crawled back to the bedroom to dramatically announce to Papa Bear, “We can’t even get into a trailer! Apparently, there just isn’t a place for us here…anywhere!”
“There’s a place,” he answered softly. “This is where God has us right now, so there has to be a place.”
I answered with a deep sigh (the kind from the depths of despair), then I wandered aimlessly around the house. I was packing, but I didn’t know for where! At that point, our backup plans were looking like our only plans. First backup: the kids and I would head five hours north to Colorado while Papa Bear slept on my parents’ couch (their place is too small for all of us, but it’s just twenty minutes from Papa Bear’s office). Second backup: the kids and I would impose on a dear friend in the next town while Papa Bear slept on my parents’ couch on snowy nights and with us on the others (but this plan would only work for a week or so). Third backup: we’d all skip town together, with our savings, and start over somewhere where we could afford to buy a house (but this one was never really on the table, because Papa Bear feels God is asking us to stay, and if I’m honest, so do I). Fourth backup: We’d take the house on the golf course, even though we were told it would most likely sell before summer time and we’d have to do this all over again.
I’d love to tell you that my faith was high and that I knew God would come through in the final hour. I didn’t, though. I panicked. And that’s when our backups crumbled, one by one.
1. The kids and I could leave for Colorado because Papa Bear drives a work truck. That is, he did drive a work truck. Wednesday before last, the work truck just stopped working. Now, he’s depending on the family car, and we’re not going anywhere.
2. Our family has a dear friend in the next town. She has a gigantic house that is set up for people to come and stay (she counsels drug addicts and other wounded people, you can’t step inside her home without breathing Jesus). So, because it had come to that, I asked her if she had room for us. Oh, what’s that? You guessed it? She didn’t (she would have loved to, but she didn’t).
3. Third back up: n/a
4. We decided to take the house on the golf course. “The market is bad (like it is everywhere), maybe it won’t sell for a year or more.” Plus, it was gorgeous and the view was amazing. So, why did I get a pit in my stomach every single time we talked about it? Why was the only decision that made any sense making me sneak off to the bathroom and pray, “God, we’re about to make a decision that I’m pretty sure is the wrong one. If I’m hearing you right, would you please close the door.”
And, that’s exactly what He did. When Papa Bear called to tell me it had rented only hours before he arrived at the real estate office, I laughed so hard that I cried. And my faith? It grew like Pinocchio’s nose.
Sometimes miracles aren’t glittery, sometimes they just happen in the heart. When you can’t explain why you love something that you’re not supposed to love. That’s a miracle, baby…and it’s my favorite kind.
When I wrote this post, I could have gone on and on. And maybe I should have. But the point I was making, simply, is that following (not just believing in but foot in footprint following) Jesus makes you unbelievably happy. It’s true, you might not get the things that you once thought you needed to be happy. But you will get your [new] way…His way. Joy looks exactly like happy, it simply isn’t altered by circumstances. It’s real and steadfast and dependable.
I knew that whatever God threw our way in the eleventh hour would be His way. I knew that if it was His way, it would be good, and for our good (no matter what it, in my fleshly eyes, it looked like to me). My excitement didn’t come out of obligation, it came from experience. I know that my God is for me! I rested in Him for no more than nine hours, and then I didn’t call…
my phone rang.
Out of everything we had seen, it wasn’t the option I would have chosen. But you know that peace like a river? I was as giddy as a school girl. The sweet woman who managed the mobile home (with her equally precious husband, it turns out) had called the landlord, again, without my leading.
“I thought I would ask her for you one more time.”
“I just think I want to help you.”
Have you ever had someone you’ve never met go out of their way for you? It felt like the hand of God, and I sat on the floor, and I cried.
We hopped in our car and headed over to look at the smallest home we’d seen in our three weeks of searching. The kids ran through and claimed it, and our little non-dog (he was there on approval) seemed pretty happy, too. I can’t explain it, but it felt as much like home as anything this side of heaven possibly could. Y’all know how much I love space saving and minimizing, and my brain spun excitedly as I thought of the possibilities for organization and multitasking (Walmart.com is gonna love me).
So, we took it. We’re home. All seven of us (plus one dog), and I couldn’t be happier if I tried.
As far as pictures, you’ll have to give me a week or two. Right now, Papa Bear and I are cuddling on the floor because we are too tired to get the rest of our furniture out of storage. Whew, it’s been a long three weeks.
I’m ready to get back to
blogging life, now!