I leaned against the wall, slid down into a sitting position, and took a deep breath to take it all in. The spacious empty room. The mustardy green paint, peeling just a little in a few places. The old white doorknobs and dark wood paneling. The winter sun peeking under the window shades, despite the harsh cold outside.
We’d already been there two hours, just exploring every room, every cabinet, every closet and window view, and I knew it would only take one word to change my world in a hundred ways I’d never dared to imagine. The crossroad was here, in the third floor of a hundred year old house.
Deep breath. “Yeah. Yeah, I could see us living here. Okay.”
With a few words, I was flying north.
In 2013, I said I wouldn’t turn down an adventure, and ended up setting out on the biggest of my life… learning to love and experience life with another person. A year later, I kept saying yes. And in just a few weeks is a wedding and new beginning in a whole new corner of the country. But the joy of it is I don’t have to begin alone.
The thing of it is, being in a relationship, falling in love, and keeping love alive over many miles means a lot of things. It means saying yes every day, praying a whole lot for wisdom and direction, and being receptive to that leading. We knew we were meant to be, that the only explanation for Chris and I even finding each other in the first place was that just maybe God really does weave our stories out of our sight, giving us gifts along the way, and calling us always onto deeper, bigger things.
So we trusted that we were meant to be together, and we trust still, daily, that the pieces will fit together. One big gift we couldn’t deny was a little apartment practically handed to us.
I still remember Chris texting me about it. His dad heard about the apartment from a couple of co-workers. Their elderly mother owned the house, and one floor waited vacant. The week before I was planning to come for a weekend, he visited and sent me pictures. And wouldn’t you know, it was perfectly imperfect, the kind of place we could start our married life.
A week later, as I sat on the floor of the dining room, trying to imagine me and my husband (husband? wife? those words still feel strange, like they should belong to someone else) starting a life there.
If I’ve learned anything about God in the past couple years, it’s that sometimes all you can do is ask for help, but sometimes His mercies come in surprising ways. I was asking for direction, provision, and yeah, maybe a job for Chris in Florida. He gave us direction, provision, and a first home. He’s given us everything we need to start, and then some. Some things are unclear, but the future feels wide open to terrifying freedom. We have each other and a roof and plenty to eat and a working furnace. Hearts full of love, eyes wide open.
Isn’t that all you need to make a home?
After lingering a while, letting the moment sink in, we went downstairs to meet the landlady. She offered us lasagna and answered the questions in a surprisingly easygoing way (“Do you want a security deposit?” “Nah.” “Um, can we paint?” “Oh yeah, sure.”) The following months were an emotional whirlwind: telling family and friends about our plans, talking about leaving my job, planning wedding and moving details.
In the midst of the tears, the work, and the coming to terms with future life changes, I’ve watched too how Chris has transformed this little place into our home… painting walls, buying furniture, filling the cabinets. I send a box of kitchen supplies. He sends pictures of the way morning sunlight streams through our new curtains.
It’s a powerful, beautiful thing to wait and watch as love prepares a place for you.
So basically… about two and a half weeks, I get married, we fly to Maine for our honeymoon, and then we start on our new adventures in Fall River, Massachusetts. For everything I’ll miss, there’s also a lot of excitement ahead. And not gonna lie… experiencing four seasons excites me *and* I’ll be closer to the beach than I ever was in Florida. Here’s to the new.
I welcome all kinds of moving tips right now. Because at the moment, I know I need to purge and pack, but I’m procrastinating…