Alrighty, peoples! Next up is my dear friend, Jennifer. I met Jennifer back in 2008 and quickly realized that this woman is strong. Her faith is strong. Her heart is strong. Her love for people is strong. This woman is an encourager. She will look you square in the face and call out giftings in your life. She will do whatever is within her to help call out the lies that the enemy might be feeding you. She speaks Truth. She speaks love. Jennifer is a stunning woman that exudes femininity. And she is a woman of great faith. Here is her story:
Time was running out. This was the last weekend before I had to sign a contract of some kind. I had been doing what I knew to do, but nothing was coming through. Weekend after weekend, day after day...nothing. I knew God had put this search on my heart, but didn't He know that this was cutting it a *little* close?
On Memorial Day 2010, I asked my dad out on a breakfast date. Conversation flowed over coffee and massive IHOP omelets. At some point, the conversation turned to what I was going to do when my time with my roommate, Laura, ended that October. I told Dad that I think God wanted me to look for a house. I had, after all, written that as one of my goals that year: Buy a house in November. I don't know why I picked November. It just suited. Dad was all on-board with that. He said, "Didn't you tell us that you wanted to buy a home after 2-3 years of living in DFW?" And the lightbulb in my memory went off - Yes, I had said that! Totally forgot about it, until that moment. So with his blessing, I started to walk with the Lord on a journey to find a home.
I would go into house after house, dreaming of what it could become. I didn't know what I could ask for in a first home. I didn't want to sound like a picky first-time home buyer. I just told my realtor that I wanted to live in Fort Worth, and if at all possible, I wanted wood floors and good windows. In my heart of hearts, though, I had a ton of ideas on what I'd like. I painted that picture in full detail: a mosaic backsplash in the kitchen, white cabinets, a gas stove, a roof that was in good shape, dark-stained hardwood floors, three bedrooms. The list went on! The Lord was the only person I told. I was grateful for whatever He gave me, so painting this picture was pure fun. My most secretest wish? A red door. A good red, not a cheap one. ;-)
Meanwhile, "normal life" was CUH-RAY-ZEEEEE! It was consumed with packing up Laura's and my apartment, painting it back with primer, scrubbing it down, moving into Laura's new house, helping her scrub and paint her new house, sewing a wedding dress for a friend somewhere in there, going to weddings, prepping for Laura's wedding, transitioning a brand new team at work, and doing regular everyday stuff to live. (My heart rate is increasing as I type. Excuse me while I hyperventilate!) I was tired and worn out. Time wasn't waiting for me.
There was one townhome that had been in the picture for awhile. Great price, just remodeled, hardwood floors, appliances that came with it...but for whatever reason, something didn't sit right with me. I figured that I needed to be more "open" lest I started missing the forest for the trees. Something had to happen that weekend to allow the month long processing time for escrow and such. I didn't know what to do. Desperate, I told the Lord, "Father, I have to find my house by this weekend to close in time. If You don't show me something besides this townhome, I'm going to assume that You want me to put in a bid on it." Wouldn't you know that it had sold the day before!
Ummmm......Lord? You there? I obviously have to keep looking. But how am I going to "know" what house is the right one? Did I miss it? In that moment, He whispered, "You will know it when you see it." Peace flooded my heart.
Back to Zillow.com I went. As I looked through the same houses I'd seen before, there was one that caught my eye. It was in Ft. Worth. Looked like it had a cute kitchen. The more I looked at the pictures, the more I thought, "Wow, this could be it!" I laughed, "But Lord, let's be honest...I've said that before." To which He replied, "You'll know it when you see it..."
That Friday, on the LAST possible weekend, I met my realtor at the house I saw on Zillow. Guess what it had? A red door! I opened that darling (not cheap, but really deep) red door to find the picture in my heart sitting in front of me. I'm talking the backsplash to the gas stove to the new roof to the shade of the wood floors, people! I turned to my realtor, saying, "This is my house." There wasn't a doubt in my mind.
The first night in my new home was full of emotion. Weary from the intensity of the past months, I fell to my knees and balled on the kitchen floor. I was overwhelmed and awed at the miracles He did to show Himself faithful on my behalf, many of which I haven't even mentioned in this post for the sake of length. It's fun to talk about a red door and all, but really, it's just icing on the cake. From the conversations He and I would have in the car, to the nights of crying out to Him for relief from life's stress, to the moment when He whispered sweet assurance to my heart, to watching Him perform literal miracles...walking with Him is the greatest joy. His faithfulness is the greatest adventure. Seems He likes settin' the stage for His glory! Just when I thought (and I thought it MANY times) He was cuttin' it too close, it turns out He was really setting up my circumstances so that there'd be no doubt in my mind that HE did it!
Oh, and remember how my goal was "Buy a house in November"? Well, because my closing date got pushed out twice, I closed November 5th! :-)