In 2010, Randy and I had just started the process of refinancing our suburban home when he learned his office was closing and he would be laid off for the second time in two years.
Randy works in construction management—a profession hit particularly hard by the Great Recession in our area—so this turn of events wasn’t a complete shock. But since we didn’t know when the next layoff would happen, we decided to ditch the refinancing plans and downsize instead.
Although this was the most expedient course of action, I wasn’t thrilled about it. I loved our house. I loved the bookshelves and the kitchen and the backyard and all the work I was doing on the gardens that summer. I loved that Randy finally had the three-car garage that he’d always wanted. I loved that the school was a few blocks away and the neighborhood pool was even closer. I loved that my younger daughter had learned to talk there and both daughters had learned to ride bikes and climb trees and dance and shovel snow.
I didn’t want to leave. So I continued gardening even though I knew I probably wouldn’t be there to enjoy the fruit of my labor. And as I watered my newly planted perennials and pots full of my favorite red impatiens, I prayed.
I prayed that God would help me loosen my grip on the home that I had wanted to stay in for a long time. I prayed that moving wouldn’t be such a big deal, that God would take away my desire for the house and make me be OK with living somewhere else. I prayed for the house to sell quickly to the right people, and that God would prepare just the right next house for us. I prayed like this for many days, weeks even.
The following spring—on April Fool’s Day, to be exact—we put our house on the market. Seventeen days later, we had a buyer, and on the last day of school we moved into a foreclosed fixer-upper a few miles away.
Sounds great, right? All those prayers definitely paid off, didn’t they? Well, yes, but maybe not how you think. What actually happened—in my mind, heart and body, with Randy’s work, with our houses, even in the lives of dear friends—in the months prior and years following could serve as fodder for at least a dozen more blog posts!
I always read the end of the book first, but there’s a reason why God doesn’t give us a syllabus at the beginning of a new season that tells us everything we’re going to learn that year. Had He done that during my earlier garden prayer times, I would have been tempted to dig a hole and plant myself there permanently.
Instead, I started growing some qualities I seriously lacked before: flexibility and a greater determination to appreciate what I have today, because it could be gone tomorrow.