We pulled up to the front of the house, my face still hot with frustration.
I hardly even glanced up. I was too tired. Maybe from eight months of searching for the “right” house? Maybe from getting lost on the way to see this one? (pre-GPS days) Maybe from the argument we got in on the way there?
“It’s too far north,” I kept saying. “It’s so far away from everything.”
We sat in the car for a minute. “Well, we’re here and they’re expecting us. We should just go in,” he said. My husband, forever calm and reasonable.
“We can just call and tell them we changed our mind. This is just so far away.”
I finally looked up at the house we were coming to see. Nothing special grabbed my attention. But I knew going in made sense. We were right here.
Buying our first house wasn’t the process I expected and this felt like another check in the “no” column. This was the first house we looked at that was “for sale by owner.” Family who lived nearby had called because they saw the sign in the yard and always thought it looked like such a cute house.
I sighed and opened the car door and stood on the sidewalk. I absentmindedly rubbed my just-a-little-bigger-than-normal belly. I was certainly anxious to be settled somewhere before our first child was born. Everyone had told us we’d “know” when we had found our house. We hadn’t come close to that feeling yet so I was pretty sure they were wrong.
We walked up the stairs to the house and rang the doorbell. I plastered a smile on my face since this was going to be awkward, meeting the people who owned the house and walking through it while they were there.
We were greeted anxiously as well, but I don’t remember that part as much. I just remember this sense of calm that washed over me when I stepped through the doorway. The owners chatted with us for a few minutes and then let us walk through as we pleased. To be honest, I was kind of speechless as I went from room to room. Nothing amazing stood out to me as I looked around. But I felt so much peace.
When we walked upstairs and stood looking out into the backyard, the view of the small swing set and yard, I knew. There was no way of explaining it. I just knew. And I could tell watching Jason, he did too. I could see us here. I looked at him and whispered, “I think this is it.” He nodded and smiled.
Writing this 11 years after we bought our first house is bittersweet. When we bought our house, we knew so little. We didn’t know we’d bring five children home. We didn’t know how many times we’d rearrange to make more space. We didn’t know that a home filled with memories would bring so much joy. We didn’t know the people we would break bread with together around the table. We had no idea the things we would experience in our lives that our home would be part of. We had no idea how many times we would witness God’s faithfulness to us, the way we would see His hand move, and the way our faith would grow within these walls.
I’m reminded of King Solomon’s words (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3):
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.
Might I add to that, a time to buy and a time to sell. Plant and uproot.
Just like we knew when we saw this house that it was meant for us, we also have peace that it’s now meant for another family.
I know the obvious next question is, “so where are you going?” However, there is no obvious answer. The honest answer is, “I don’t know for sure.” What I can say is that we are going after a dream. A dream we’ve been praying about for years. A dream that requires more faith than ever. A dream that requires many steps of faith, one at a time. And a dream that many people cannot understand.
One of my pastors has talked a bit about waiting to share those things that God has put on your heart, to sit with God with them to be sure what He’s speaking, so that when you do share, you do so with great confidence in what He’s spoken, especially when the doubting voices of others might cloud your heart and raise doubts. This has resonated with me so much because this dream is something I’ve sat with God on for many years. I’ve hinted about it here and here. But I’m not quite ready to share it completely. There’s even a little hesitation in saying what I’m saying now. I believe there’s “a time to speak, and and a time to stay silent.” In this time of remaining silent, in this season of financial difficulty over the past few years, I have done much, much waiting for clarity. Much, much waiting on God. And much, much growing in faith and perseverance. But also, much, much learning about the character of the God I serve.
In the midst of cleaning and getting the house ready, my muddled brain of questions has been calmed. Even though we are heading into a great unknown, I’ve had a great sense of peace, just as I remember from many years ago. Because I know a few simple truths. We serve a good, good Father. He is gracious and faithful. I have surrendered this dream to Him again and again. He knows my heart. And I believe He’s with me and dreaming along side of me, as any good Father does.
AW Tozer’s writing, when it doesn’t leave me scratching my head and rereading it fifty times, challenges me to the root of my soul. One of the things he said that has resonated and challenged me many times over the past year is this.
God is looking for those with whom He can do the impossible~what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.
There’s nothing about pursuing our dream that we can make happen on our own. But here’s the thing I know for sure. I’ve invited the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. I stand with hands raised in full assurance that God can do what seems impossible. And if He doesn’t, if we go after this dream and its not the right path, He will make it straight again. And if nothing comes to pass we dream about, we will still serve Him where He leads us.
But the call of adventure and dreaming with Him over the past few years is ringing loud.
And so we take our first step.