Packing boxes are strewn haphazardly throughout our house.
Last week we signed our first ever official tenancy agreement.
We have an official moving date.
We’re on the move.
Signing that piece of paper signified signing off the end of an era—the end of our lives being lived in our beloved beachside suburb, the end of daily driving these familiar streets, the end of my oceanside runs, and quick corner store trips for bread and a sneaky croissant. It’s goodbye to our little primary school just a handful of metres away, that has faithfully schooled all three of our children and was one of the best decisions we’d ever made for them.
I’m believing that we’ll look back on this decision one day – one that we made slowly, carefully, over the course of this year – and say exactly that: well THAT was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Staying put, in many senses of the word, just doesn’t make sense for us any longer.
While it isn’t easy, this stretching and growing, and ground-taking, and intentionally pursuing the things we know are calling us forward, it’s also exhilarating.
The big smoke has been calling us, and we’re answering the call with gallant gusto.
Yes, to adventure. Yes, to new. Yes, to refusing to become stuck.
Signing that piece of paper also signified the miraculous provision of God.
You see, we’ve been hunting for a home in a particular area, for months. I’ve been watching the rental market since February, seeing beautiful homes come and go. In the last six months though, Western Australia has become a very attractive place to live – thanks mostly to our closed borders, and zero community spread of Coronavirus. So suddenly the rental market is flooded. We began viewing homes, and applying against hundreds of other applicants. Emails beginning with, “We regret to inform you…” had become a regular part of my week. We stopped showing the kids the houses we’d viewed, because we were getting their hopes up for naught.
What are you up to, God?! What can I learn in this? How can I trust You more? Why do you hate me? Became regular prayers thrown up in exasperation, or anxiety, or anger, or trust and surrender (sometimes all of those emotions in quick succession, on the daily).
What if we didn’t get a house?
“Well, we can just stay here another year. Re-enrol the kids back into their old school.”
The thought made us all feel suffocated.
I journaled this on the 13th December:
“Everything and everyone is annoying me. Everything hurts. Like when you get those invisible prickles in your skin, and you’re mildly aware that they’re there and then something brushes against you and it hurts. Everything is brushing up against my prickles. It feels like nothing is moving forward — there’s resistance in everything we want to do.”
Two days later I received a message, in response to a post I’d made in a Perth Rentals Facebook group, which went a little bit like this: “Hi Emma, I’ve seen your post. Here’s a link to a house I’ve put an offer on in the area you’re looking at. It settles early January, and I’m looking for tenants.”
My heart leapt, until I saw the price she was asking for the rent.
I replied. “Thank you so much for reaching out, the house is beautiful and in the perfect area, but unfortunately out of our price range. This is the maximum we can afford. I’m sure you’ll find tenants very quickly in this market. Thanks again anyway.”
A couple of hours later, the miracle: “It’s more important to me to find the right tenants. I can drop the rent to your price.”
I was tentatively hopeful – after all, this could be a scam.
But what followed was a phone conversation in which our future landlord says, “I think you guys are the answer to my prayers”, and then a meeting for coffee, in which we discover mutual friends (friends we had only just made at church a few weeks before, and who happened to pray for us to find a house there and then, standing outside church), and in which confirmed the authenticity of what was happening.
I’ll be honest. A part of me was still worried this wasn’t real, or that something would go wrong. Maybe when we viewed the house in person, it would be too small. Maybe she was just a very good scammer. Maybe she’d find another tenant who could pay her original price. Surely this is the miracle we’d been hoping for… it’s too far-fetched to fall apart.
A week later we’d seen the house and signed the paperwork.
Now, we have a house to move into, and a story to tell.
The story I’ll tell myself when I doubt God’s faithfulness, or His timing, or when I try to anticipate the way in which He’ll answer my prayers.
Because He’s always escaping the boxes I try to confine Him in.
I must remember to let Him work His way, and stop worrying about the way He’ll show up or not, and let Him surprise and delight us His way.
Praying that you find the same surprise and delight this year too.
Here’s to packing a house, and new adventures.