November 28th; it was a Tuesday. I’m really thankful for that actually, because it meant Branden was home. Tuesdays are his day to teach and my day to work. I could hear him with the boys downstairs, working through a history lesson while I got my makeup on.
Door bell rings. We weren’t expecting anyone. I hear Branden open the door.
“How are we doing sir?” he says in his normal cheerfulness. “We haven’t seen you in a while.” I’m trying to listen a little bit. A few back and forths. It’s Martin, our landlord. I can’t hear exactly what’s being said, then I hear the door close. They’ve stepped outside.
Our landlord hasn’t been great, mostly hands off and non responsive to our calls and texts. He’d left some landlord-y things undone; nothing major, but enough to be annoying. Branden was right when he said we hadn’t seen him in a while. I’ve actually only ever met him once in the year we’ve lived in the house.
A few minutes later I hear Branden walk back in. He tells the boys he’ll be right back, and I can hear his footsteps coming up the stairs. Our bedroom door opens.
“Did you hear Martin?”
“I heard he was here. What did he need?” I admit, I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I got.
“Well,” Branden was almost smiling, which made me both interested and a little nervous. “He’s sold our house.”
What followed was a series of… words… at an increased volume. Mostly short phrases or disbelief and bafflement. It did seem almost comical, if it wasn’t true!
“He said we didn’t need to worry about being out before Christmas,” Branden said calmly. He has a calmness about him when I’m…reactive.
“Well that’s good! Since the tree’s already up!”
Wow. A few more exclamations from my end. No cursing, I promise 🙂
There wasn’t really anything else to say. I was more surprised than worried. God has shone over and over that He knows our needs and always takes care of them. And sometimes it seems that He actually enjoys doing things in a way that completely throws me, where things are out of my control and only He can take the credit. Anybody with me there?
To be honest, maybe I felt okay because Branden and I had already been talking about moving closer to the city. We are living in Cobh, a little port town, famous for being the last place the Titanic saw before sinking. It’s actually on a separate island, and not on the way to anywhere. This had proved a little challenging during our first year in Ireland. Many Irish people have grown up in smaller towns or stayed in the same area all of their life. Also, the cost of owning and operating a car is relatively high here, with a gallon of gas averaging between $6 – $7. Commuting is seen as a big inconvenience, and a 20 minute drive can mean the difference between really spending time with people and almost never seeing them.
Our lease had officially ended a few weeks before, and our landlord situation had led to some discussion and prayer about what it would look like if we hypothetically did move…someday…in the imaginary future. Not right now, right before Christmas, and literally the week our church was also moving from our current building into a school. Yeah, lots of transition.
Branden prayed with me then. A very honest – we don’t know how this is going to turn out but we trust You – prayer. Then he was back to the history lesson and I proceeded to spend the next hour praying…and looking at rental listings online.
That afternoon we talked to the boys. They took it really hard. Ethan was sad, Silas angry on the outside, but really sad on the inside. We all really like the house we live in now, and remember how amazingly God provided for us through it when we moved to Ireland without knowing where we’d be living. It was His gift to us, not just a house, but physical evidence that God cared about our hearts, generously giving us a place to call “home” as we followed Him across the world.
Also, the last year has been a collection of losses and victories with the neighborhood kids. Our boys look different, talk different, don’t go to regular school, and talk about Jesus A LOT! Not something I want them to stop, and I’m super proud of them for, but it has gotten them into some difficult situations in this very religious, not open to discussion, Catholic versus Protestant environment. The few friendships they have actually settled into have been hard fought and, after leaving many friends behind in the States, an issue that sits close to their hearts.
Later, sobbing through tears and talking about both the church move and leaving Cobh, Ethan said, “Everything we know is changing again.”