A new home

Spirit Lead me where my trust is without boarders……

A year ago, I was basically homeless. Literally couch hopping from week to week, were I was staying depending  on if I had Oliver or not. Thankfully, because of some incredible friends, I was never turned away, and always had a bed open for me and my son, even if that bed belonged to a friend’s 3 year old and had avengers sheets.
I was at my wits end. Oliver was unsettled and unhappy, and I was scared to death. I was on my own for the first time in my life and I was failing completely. My life was upside down.

A couple of months before I’d spent most of my time at one of my best friend’s house helping her prepare for the most epic tea party themed birthday. The house next door to hers was vacant and had been for a long while. We’d spend hours painting furniture talking about how amazing it would be if I could live right next door instead of driving 25 mins to come over every day.  I remember the day the house went up for sale, and I was heartbroken. A silly day dream dashed. I knew it was never going to happen, but I enjoyed the thought. Then, one day, in the middle of my couch hopping journey, I got a text- “Come and knock on my door….” with a picture…. of my house…… with a FOR RENT sign out front. I began to weep. I was at work and I was in such disbelief. I began to pray. God and I were working on a very thin string at that point. I was in a deep valley, and while I was trying to trust the plan I knew He had set for me, I was very much in a place of “Prove it.” with Him. “Are you there God? It’s me…. Lauryn. Is this you? Did you do this? Is this for me?” So I set up standards I wanted Him to meet. If you want me to do this then prove it. “If this house is meant to be mine, it will be less than $600 a month. No. If this house is meant to be mine, it will be $550.” So I called. And I spoke to a lady who was currently in Florida. They just bought the house 3 days prior. “How much?” ‘$600…..’ Oh. Not mine God. It’s not mine. *Just ask* “Could you do $550?” ‘Let me talk to my husband.’  20 minutes later I get a phone call. “We can do $550.” ‘Um…. Okay. Oh. Wow. Okay. When can I see it?” A couple of days later I’m meeting a woman I’ve never met at the door directly next to one of my best friends. I’ll never forget walking into the house for the first time. It had so much character but was so empty and in so much need for love. Just like me. It had fire places. 3. I love fire places. It had built ins in the dining room begging to be filled with cookbooks. I was smitten. But guarded. I couldn’t do this. There is no way I could do this. People don’t go out on their own for the very first time and then less than 2 months later get the perfect house. I told her I’d call her on payday.
In the days following I again told God to prove it. If this house was meant to be mine you are going to have to make it happen. Because I can’t on my own. I need my paycheck this week to be over $550. I need it to cover the first month’s rent and me still have money in the bank. My paycheck came…. $556. Oh. Okay. Well…. I can’t cover rent and a deposit. She waves the deposit. I hear you God. I hear you. September 1st rolls around. I’m standing in front of the house yet again. I signed my lease. As I’m standing there, my best friend’s mom drives by…. Then backs up. “What are you doing here?” ‘I live here now…. This is mine.’ I couldn’t process the words coming out of my mouth.
Over the next several weeks I spent many lonely nights sitting with boxes and crying. I didn’t know what to do. For the first time in my life I was completely alone. Slowly, the cookbooks make it on to shelves. Clothes were hung in the closet. I’d sit on my couch every night with candles lit around me, trying to use as little power as possible and I’d lesson plan or make a menu for when Ollie was home. I’d live for the days he came back. I had one goal. To build a home for him. A place he could feel safe and have a space to learn and grow in. On nights he wasn’t there, I sat alone and I ate popcorn for dinner. I was sad, but at the same time, so much at peace. My quirky little house, the one God literally gave me, was becoming home. My home.

A few weeks after moving in, a boy from my youth group when I was a teenager, came back into my life. We started texting back and forth. I told him about my little cottage in Heflin. He laughed because I had no TV so I sat at home at night with my candles reading books. He offered to bring me a TV to borrow. The day he came over to my cottage for the first time, my water had been turned off. The power, I had turned on in my name. The water was already on so I figured I’d just pay the bill when it came. Guess what, adulthood doesn’t work that way. I had no water. After that little lesson once the water was turned back on, well…. It wasn’t hot. Ever. So that boy, came over, and lit my pilot light (what the heck is a pilot light and why is it in my basement???). That boy came over every chance he got. He changed light bulbs, he found water meters, he moved boxes from the middle of my living room floor to the basement. And slowly but surely, I fell in love with that boy who time and time again, came to my rescue, who helped me stumble through learning to adult for the first time in my life. He worked out of town so we saw each other as often as possible but it was never enough. A few months later, he brought 2 little boys with him when he came to visit. 2 little boys who would eventually help me put up my Christmas tree. 2 little boys who would steal my heart.
Over time, that boy left being on the road and came home for good. My home became our home. And it was hard. My little cottage for 2 became a home for 5. We went from seeing each other maybe once every couple of weeks to literally never being apart. It made for a lot of growing pains but it also made for some beautiful memories. We began going back to church. For the first time together in 15 years. Our relationship to God growing stronger and our relationship to each other growing more concrete. The days grew longer and we spent our Summer as a family running from baseball game to baseball practice. The drive weighing on us. We knew as it got closer to the boys going back to school, the drive was going to kill us taking them to school every day. A 30 minute drive each way. Not counting practices. My days in my cottage were coming to an end. August came and the drive is draining us dry. Buck’s new job has been longer days than expected and if he was home he was asleep. My grandmother broke her hip and ended up in rehab. All the transition hit me at once. And I broke. I was ill, I was angry and I didn’t know why. I was lonely and I was frustrated. The world was spinning too fast yet it felt like nothing at all was happening. I found myself in yet another valley.
So I went to God again. I began to journal my prayers. I prayed for a spirit of peace and joy and gentleness. I wept for him to take away my spirit of anxiety and loneliness and abandonment. I begged for the understanding that fighting with me was not the same as fighting for me. And I felt God begin to break me open. To give me clarity. To fill me with a spirit of worship. I began to get excited about finding a new home closer to the boys’ school. Closer to the community I was growing quickly apart of.
Then the day came we began to actively look. I woke up with a great attitude. Then we walked into the first house and my spirit of excitement and hopefulness was quickly replaced with absolute anxiety and sadness. This is not my home. My home is with my fireplaces and my built ins and my cookbooks and my candles and and and and…… I messaged April. I need prayers now. I was doing my best to hold it together in front of Buck and I felt the tears stinging. She sent me affirmations and prayers of peace. Buck and I went and sat down at Waffle House for breakfast to talk about our options. And that’s when I finally couldn’t hold it together anymore. I told him my fears of leaving my home. The one God gave to me. The one I’d started a new life in. The one I rekindled my relationship with God in. The one where our love began. I love my house. It’s become a comfort blanket to me. I wasn’t ready to be shaken up again. This past year had been so hard. So full of change. I wanted to be settled.  And as usual he breathed into my soul the words I needed to hear. “Do you believe in us? This is our stepping stone to bigger things. This is where we will have our first home completely together. We’re so involved in this community it’s time to come home to it. As long as we are together, we can make anywhere home.” And on and on and on he soothed my nervous spirit. I know it’s not a house that makes a home. I know it’s the people. And I have my people. As long as my boys are there, and as long as he is by my side, I will have my home. This afternoon, we signed our lease. It will begin the same day my current lease ends. A full circle. A life time away from the where I was a year ago. I won’t be building a home alone. My family will be together and building something completely new. And it will be beautiful.

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Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

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