I have been - very slowly - reading an amazing book by Priscilla Shirer called One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land. In this book, she talks about how the Israelites wandered around in the wilderness after being rescued from slavery in Egypt and compares it to how your or I handle difficult times in our own lives. My one-sentence summary hardly does the book justice. It's wonderful.
Anyway, I have been MIA from blogging lately for several reasons. Where do I start? A little over a year ago, we moved to this house in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. We still live on base, but we're so far removed from everything, that when John is away, it feels very isolated. All of our neighbors have been students, so they've been pretty transient. In the coming year, I have lots of John-less days to "look forward" to. When we returned here after Christmas, I very nearly had a breakdown. All that consumed my thoughts was how alone I would be this year, and all around me were New Year's resolutions and people's optimistic outlooks on the coming year. I couldn't find one thing to look forward to. Not even one. And I know that sounds horrible, but there it is.
During a whirlwind, one-night stay, John's grandmother picked up this book that I'd started reading before we did all our holiday traveling, One in a Million, and marked a page, saying it was very good and to read it. I have no idea if she'd read the book before or if she just stumbled across this passage. Two days later, I read it.
"...the wilderness increases the opportunities to see God work miracles, not just in some faraway place or for more deserving people. The wilderness opens the door for God to show his supernatural power right here, in my life - in your life.
In our experience. In our emotions. In our emptiness."
Wowza. That was some timing, Granny, because empty is just how I was feeling. And the pity party I was throwing myself? It wasn't much fun, either.
After lots of tears and an evening of discussing solutions, we decided to look for a new place to live - one that would be more convenient to friends, civilization, church, and while we're at it, that would send Aidan to a better school when fall and kindergarten arrive. (Kindergarten! Am I this old???)
We did lots of hunting on our own and didn't turn up much. Rental homes in areas that we liked were either far too expensive or far too small, or already taken by the time we called. Our final act of desperation was to contact a local real estate company that also handles rentals.
After seeing their list of rental homes and finding it wanting, the realtor I was in contact with asked me why we didn't consider buying a home. Why, indeed? Because we've lived here for five years. Because Murphy's Law is that as soon as we buy a house, we'll get orders to move. Because it's SCARY. But we started talking about it, and talking about it, and talking about it.
This is the third time we have considered buying a house here in Louisiana. My thoughts? When God throws something in your path more than once, maybe you should give it more than a passing glance.
We decided that we would at least look. We could buy a house that would be appealing to a renter, with the intent of renting it if and when we have to move again. I talked to the realtor. I talked to a mortgage broker. I had a list of houses that the realtor would show me. I browsed the MLS listings obsessively, trying to determine from pictures if any of these could be "our house."
On Thursday night, I went to bed with a particular house on my mind. It was strange, because the photos I'd seen of it were fairly unimpressive. Well, maybe not unimpressive, but there wasn't anything about it that was really different or stood out from any of the others. But I fell asleep dreaming of it, all the same.
On Friday, the realtor took me to see nine houses. Nine! I was very intimidated going into it, because they were all new construction. I was terrified that they would all run together and I wouldn't be able to remember which I liked and which I didn't. I prayed for discernment. I prayed to know, without a shadow of a doubt, when (or if) I saw the right house. The house I'd dreamed of the night before was the fourth house I saw. It was wonderful. The best features of the house weren't in the MLS photos. I looked at five more houses after it, and none compared. It's not that it was nicer or larger; it just made more sense to me.
We deliberated all weekend. John loves the neighborhood, so he was willing to let me put in an offer for the house without having seen it, except in my photos. It's smaller than our current house, but we ultimately decided that this is not a bad thing.
Anyway, through all of this, the deciding, the looking, the debating, I was anxious. I have never felt so anxious in my life. There was an open house on Sunday. I just knew that the house would sell quickly after other people had seen it. I have also never prayed so hard - for wisdom, for discernment, for the house to sell if we weren't supposed to have it, for it not to sell if we were, etc. And there was also uncertainty. Should we keep looking? Should we try to find something bigger? Should we spend more money?
On Monday, John and I decided that we would put in an offer for the house. By this time, my knees were worn out from praying, but as soon as the decision was made, I felt almost instant calm. I finally got a good night's sleep, free from worrying.
The next morning, back to the book, I began to read about emotional healing. One line I underlined says this, "Only God can quiet the screeching fears of one whose worries are keeping her up all night."
No kidding! There is no other explanation for it. I'd thought I'd be a nervous wreck as we wrote up our first offer and waited for a counter-offer. No nerves. I felt completely peaceful. I have been a basket case the two times we've bought cars, so this is nothing short of a miracle to me.
So....to conclude this story, we are now in contract for a lovely house. I'll have to share some pictures once it's ours.
Blah! I really didn't intend to write quite so much. I really wanted to share how much I've been learning from Priscilla Shirer's book and how it has helped me, and I'm afraid I've come out sounding like I've just done some major retail therapy.
Anyway, read One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land, ladies. I think it's wonderful, and I'm only halfway through.