Things change on dime. And I generally consider myself to be pretty good at change. Ironically, it's been one of the constants in my life, at least over the last 6 years. I can always count on it.
Last week I told you what's been going on in our life lately. Even though the post wasn't fully positive, the ability to be honest, and ok with it, came from an overwhelming sense of hope and thankfulness that this new season (why can't I find another word for that...) has brought. One of the biggest changes, for all of us, has been moving to a new house.
When I moved to Rwanda, I lived in the orphanage that we had visited on a recent mission trip. When I moved out of the orphanage, 9 months later to start No.41, I moved a few doors down into a house that had just been built. The house was way too big for just me and, at the time, I was reading Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (which I have now read a few times and highly recommend) so I walked circles around the house and around each room praying for every person I hoped God would bless through this house. And He did, more than I could have ever dreamed. He filled the dining room with buzzing sewing machines and the living room with training classes and bible studies. He filled every bedroom with friends and sisters and with the bonds of family. And then He built another house, in our backyard.
The No.41 crew happily moved into the new space and again I prayed that God's will would be done there; a four bedroom house was quite and upgrade from the dining room and again this felt like so much more than we needed. Until it wasn't. It was exactly what we needed. The girls worked in the "living room" and made product like crazy. One bedroom became a stock overflow and one bedroom became a manager's office. The "dining room" became a new, gifted leather business. The other two bedrooms were a revolving door of anyone who happened to need it. Which would eventually be my sons.
I didn't think it would be possible to find another place that would fit our needs they way this little compound did. Sometimes I tried, like every March when our contract came up for "discussion", but it was always pretty short lived. Our landlord, even though he would never admit it, was thankful for us and we were equally thankful for his houses. And, it turns out, pretty sentimental about them as well.
March snuck up on me this year and I didn't even realize it was time for our annual discussion. When I got the text from our landlord I thought he was texting to apologize about an argument we had a few days prior, but he was telling me our yearly rent was due. I told him we would need to make some updates to the contract before that happened and I would get back with him by Monday. Then I grabbed Moses and we went for a reeeeeeally long walk to look at some houses. We spoke to a few people and took a few pictures, we chatted about what we thought were the most important things. Electricity, indoor plumbing, at least 5 bedrooms, and on the main road. Just like in previous years, I figured this little trip would get back to our current landlord and let him know we were looking at other options and, in the process, I would have a few more bargaining chips for when he explained to me how lucky we were to be in his house.
I sent the pictures Mo and I had taken to JD and asked him if he could look into a couple of the houses (or something like them) and just get me a ballpark price. I really had no idea what to expect. I explained that the last photo, the house on the hill, just behind a bank of boutique shops, was my favorite. I asked him to ask if we could track down the owner of those shops, too; they appeared to be empty. He got back with me the following day and said, "You are not going to believe this."
"The house has 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. The kitchen is inside!!" (A luxury were didn't currently have.) "It's not finished, but the owner says it can be. Also, the shops belong to him and he has offered ALL, the house and three shops, for half the price you are paying now!" And just like that, in one phone call, God showed up and showed off. Faithful. When maybe I wasn't. Faithful. When I couldn't see. Faithful. When I didn't know how. Faithful, as always.
Most years I pray over a word that God would give me. One that He wants to teach me about or use as a kind of guide for the year. This year, that word is rise and I landed on that word after hearing, clear as a bell, in the depths of my soul, "Arise, my daughter." (Maybe I'll tell you more about that another time.) For too long I had been down, but He wasn't out, and it was time to get up and continue this fight. And he had just provided the perfect battleground.
Are y'all about done here? This is getting pretty lengthy and we're just getting started. One of the downsides of not communicating, I suppose. Well, I guess that just means more soon. :)