it's been a word we've seriously talked about as a family since
spring of last year. on our drives to and from school, we'd collectively ask God to provide a home in the neighborhood.
our hearts are already in san francisco, but we have wanted our roots to take hold in the neighborhood where our boys attend school and where we are building relationships.
[our back deck]
as i wrote in my post dwell
, we've loved every minute in our first place and believe that this new place begins a new season for our family and how we want to serve the city. when we share our home story in the city, people who are renters understand the agony that can come with the process of finding a home or apartment. but for others, let me shed a little light...
the vacancy rate in san francisco is less than 4% making it very nice for landlords and competitive for those seeking to rent.
our days were spent on craigslist looking for a place affordable and conducive to a family of five.
i compare applying for a rental in san francisco to applying for a scholarship to an ivy league school. it's intense and only one can be chosen. applicants will offer to pay more, bring gift baskets, submit resumes, and sometimes play dirty. the more we applied, the more our eyes were open to the reality that this was bigger than us. through the application process, we'd get awful close and then hear the words,
"the other couple makes a little more than you."
"they're just now starting their family."
"oh, it's already rented; sorry for not calling you back."
"now, how many kids did you say you have?"
(the week after thanksgiving)
monday night, we discovered we were one of the top two
applicants for a home. we gathered as a family
and asked God to give us this home.
asher prayed, "God, thank you for our new home. Amen."
we went to bed hopeful.
tuesday, i received one of these dreaded phone calls from the potential landlord. he chose the other couple. i was devastated. how many more of these phone calls would we get? the search was wearing on me mentally and emotionally. the thought of clicking on craigslist again made me stomach turn. i asked ben if he would continue the search over the holidays, if he chose. i would take a break, set up Christmas decor in our apartment and will myself to trust and wait.
[a rose blossoms in january in our backyard]
a process brings about much stretching and revelation. a process takes time...time i thought we didn't have. a process reveals much about one's character. this search was more than acquiring a home. it was a pursuit for a gift for our family. we see it as a part of the mission for living here. moms in my small group were praying for us. friends in the neighborhood wrote reference letters for us. through the stretching, we were being watched as how we would respond to yet another no. i can't say we got it right the whole time. yet, we lived this process like an open book. we had to relinquish our control. we had to submit to God's best for our family and wait on His perfect timing.
on wednesday, ben calls after taking the boys to school that he had a home viewing at two that afternoon. i told him to go ahead as i would be picking up the boys. at two, ben calls and tells me to rush over to five-two-four day street.
"you gotta see this one!"
it had been less than 24 hours since the devastating phone call. i went with hopes low.
[hutch in kitchen corner]
home was built in 1907. everything updated.
yet beautiful hutch original.
rusty, the landlord, was busy making finishing touches for future tenants. open floor space for entertaining. a dream kitchen. patty, also the landlord, remodeled with emphasis on storage. lots of windows. hardwood floors. garage. deck. lemon tree. apple tree. rose bushes. warm morning and afternoon sun. gas fireplace.
i smiled through the tour of the home, thinking,
"someone is gonna love this house."
i left with hopes low.
i put the final touches on our Christmas tree and resolved to celebrate the holidays in our apartment.
moms would come for a Christmas craft and cookies.
we'd travel to louisiana for a week.
we'd enjoy our first Christmas Day in the city.
[view out our bedroom window]
ten days passed and ben grew hopeful. i held on with a small dose of faith. ben interrupted my mom's brunch to tell me we got the house. my mouth dropped. i quickly shared the news with the moms that had been praying for us. i couldn't believe it.
"why did they pick us?" i wondered.
"i don't know, but we got the house!" ben laughed with excitement.
rusty and patty chose us. they wanted us...all five of us.
we signed the paperwork and began moving in just before Christmas. we still spent Christmas Day at our apartment.
movers and friends did majority of the move with us on december 26, the night we lay our heads down in our new home.
the craigslist search is over. God gave us a home that surpasses my wildest dreams.
[a dainty chandelier]
i wasn't looking for the gift to be lavishing. i was simply looking and hopeful for the gift. the gift of a home. but a friend reminded me of a truth about God:
God loves you and at times God lavishes His love upon you. do you know that as the only female living in this boy-filed home that there hangs two dainty chandeliers?
and do you know that as ben and i head to bed at night, we have the most amazing view of our city just above our bed?
[treat bags for our new neighbors]
though our things are moved in and our beds made.
though i've used the stove and emptied the dishwasher.
though food is in the fridge and the towels linger on the bathroom floor, there is one thing that makes this place home.
we picked lemons and placed them in a brown paper sack.
we baked 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies.
we wrote out a note with our phone numbers and emails.
we went to our ten neighbors on our street.
now, we're home.