Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Carneys, circus folk...nomads, you know...

...or, why my brain has been too fried to write on the blog in over a month. Brace yourselves, it's a novel.

A number of years ago, I watched one evening as some friends got adjusted to life as new parents in their 2 bedroom apartment. At the time I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm so going to wait until I have my own house to have kids." I can just imagine God watching from his eternal perspective and laaaaaaaaughing when he heard that. Why? Because here I am, 6 1/2 months pregnant, and living in a dorm room at a Bible camp on the other side of the world. Life's funny that way.

Another good friend of mine reckons that her life was quite on track until she became a Christian - then all her carefully crafted plans flew right out the window, and she's gone in a direction she could never have imagined before. Such is the wonder and the terror of surrendering control over your life to a perfect sovereign God, who sees the end beyond the sometimes confusing and dispiriting means.

Sometimes people doubt that God is big or strong enough to carry them through the challenges and closed doors in our lives. This is not my problem. No, I absolutely believe in heart and mind that God has the ability to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. My problem is getting frustrated knowing that he often asks me to go through a process of learning and growth (L&G, I call it), instead of just giving me what I ask for right away.

Such has been the case in the unexpected and unprecedented realm of housing this time around. In the first 5 years of our marriage, we rented a grand total of three different places. Though having come to New Zealand only 2 1/2 years ago, we will be soon be onto our sixth place of residence - that's twice the houses in half the time! As we ran off to the Eastern Hemisphere partly to escape the domestication of all our friends by mortgages & children, this nomadic lifestyle was only amusing and slightly annoying for the most part.

But then, somewhere along the path to our 30th birthdays, we got old! We went from footloose and fancy-free to yearning for the house and babies we'd avoided for so long. While those things are all very well and good, what do you do with those longings when you're still in the middle of the itinerant existence? Get pregnant anyway, apparently, then search for a more settled place to live. The second part of that equation has never been a problem before - in fact, we once found a house in 13 days on an emergency basis that turned out to be one of the best and most lengthy tenancies we've had!

Naturally, we didn't anticipate any major roadblocks, since it's not like God didn't know we are extra in need of a house on account of the forthcoming extra dependent. But alas, I guess my hormonally-enhanced self was in need of a good L&G experience right now.

We'd been responsibly working on finding the next house since January (a lease takeover from friends), in order to be sorted when we had to leave our old place in early April. All was cruising along until we got back from our South Island trip in March and found out that one of these friends was unwilling to let us into the new house until a month after we lose the old place. A weeks-long, frantic scramble for temporary lodging ensues. Once that was finally sorted, the bottom really fell out when the owners of the new house, who had previously told us they were fine with us taking over the lease (even the week before), decide that actually, too bad for us, they're going to give it to someone else. Cue big, fat, blue funk on both our parts.

Now I know that God is good, but I was definitely a little cheesed at him in this situation. After all, I had been depending on him, and it seemed the situation was divinely appointed: original timing was good, beautiful spacious house, available long term, helping out our friends, etc. And now looking down the barrel of homelessness, I was fully of the attitude that "I don't want to grow my faith, I'll just take the security and blessing now, please!"

*sigh* All right, all right, I'll commence with the growth already.

While we have definitely had to choose to consider it all joy encountering this kind of trial, we've been gifted in other ways to help it not be too burdensome.
1) The great house that we lost is rather out in the sticks, which could have proved difficult at times approaching my due date and as a new mum.
2) The more we heard about the situation, the owners of that house have seemed increasingly high maintenance and demanding - not ideal, even if you're good tenants.
3) Last but not least, I'm not one who would say that I really "hear from God", other than praying and trying to follow his lead. That said, twice now I've had inspiration for people to contact for help when virtually no one else would that I cannot claim credit for on my own; they really just occurred to me out of the blue.
3a)The first was to ask my old boss about the room here at the camp, which has been soooo helpful.
3b)The second was to ask some old landlords from 2 winters ago if their house would be available again this year. Low and behold, it was! After a delightful lunch meeting with them, we finally have somewhere to go and get set up before you-know-who makes an appearance. It's much more accessible, the owners are obviously wonderful, and it's furnished so we can easily sort through and offload some of our things, which we've been wanting to do anyway (amazing how much stuff you can amass, even when playing at "world traveler").

All I can say is, "Fine, Lord, once again you knew what you were doing all along and I was silly to give into fear and doubt." Oh, that and, "HALLELUJAH!"

Thank you to all of you who prayed for us on this, it was a big encouragement - and to Mom P. & Bethany for the steady stream of reminders of their thoughts and support, even when I know they'd much rather have us home :)

P.S. I'd have added some pics for interest, but thought the types of images around which this post revolves (i.e. shots of random houses we've lived in, and us looking shell-shocked), would not really be an enhancement.