For 14 months our family has been praying about where we should live. A year ago we wondered if it was California or New Zealand, then it was praying for a house in Wellington, and then when we landed here it was a question of do we stay at the beach or still try to get back to Wellington. I am happy to say that, for now, we can close that book and will not be praying about housing for some time.
Back in July we were contacted by the vicar and his wife of the small church we attended in our neighborhood in Wellington. They were looking to buy a second home and wanted us to live in it and be a part of their community again. They were attracted to our desire to live in community with those around us and wanted another family to journey with in using the church to reach out to the local community. We were honored to say the least! And felt excited that an opportunity had come up that would allow us to be back to a familiar place. They put a few offers on some houses and each time they were outbid. Meanwhile, my kids were adjusting to life here at the beach where they have the freedom to explore and ride around the town and most importantly, they had made friends.
As time went on, after my first weeks here where I was angry that critters were living in my attic, I started to just plant roots instead of waiting to see if the Wellington option would work out. And then, what to my wondering eyes should appear! Not a miniature sleigh, but a beautiful house in Wellington with the hopes that our family would occupy it. I felt confused by this, because we were in a good place, and no one wanted to move. We prayed and wanted to be willing to move, but if you asked us, we were happy here. I had the chance to live in the nicest and biggest house I have ever lived in, and yet, suddenly, I realized it’s not about a house. We shared our uncertainty with this couple, and as you can imagine, I was nervous. They had just done the most generous thing and we were not sure if we would accept the offer. At one point, Catherine told me that her mum had a vision of the house being a lifeline. She said, “When I saw you that day at the playground you needed a lifeline and I didn’t have one to offer you. And now I am throwing you a lifeline and you aren’t taking it, and I find that very interesting.” And while her husband thought that was a bit frank, and personally, I think Brian did too, it was the thing I most needed to hear. It became clear that we weren’t in need of a lifeline. If this house is intended to be a lifeline I definitely wouldn’t want to take that away from the person or family who desperately needs it.
Since we tend to teeter on the fence, we asked them to tell us when they would like a final answer and they gave us five days. I was happy to know that we wouldn’t be sitting on this decision for 5 months as we had about the move overseas. Knowing that we weren’t in need of a lifeline helped us be at peace with telling them, with certainty, two days later via email, that we were going to stay at the beach and that we can’t wait to see how the story unfolds. We still had planned to chat at the 5 day mark, but since we had an answer we wanted to let them know about it as well.
Another pit in my stomach as my phone rang for our FaceTime call. I hoped that they would be gracious with us, but would understand if they were disappointed as well. God is so so good and what they thought was their plan B was His plan A. There is a young man, 18 years old, who used to attend the church, but the family had moved back to Tonga and had been living their for the past 6 years. He had come back and was looking for a house to rent for his mum, dad, grandmother and younger brother to come live in and no one would take him seriously. His race and his age and his financial situation made it difficult for him to be able to rent something. The family had pretty much given up on the idea of moving back to Wellington. Little old grandma, with the faith of a giant, said, just give it a few more days, I feel that something is about to happen.. When our friends, approached the young man, not knowing any of this part of their story, he said, This is a miracle!
God doesn’t owe us His perspective on things, and we don’t always get to see how things will work out, but what a blessing to the 4 of us, Brian and I and our friends, Paul and Catherine, in Northland, to be able to take this journey together since July. It has been no doubt confusing at times, but what an amazing ending to know that this idea of a lifeline, was God-given and intended for a family desperately in need. And the idea of going back to the familiarity of Wellington is exactly what I needed to get me through my first weeks here, even if it never were going to become a reality. The young man’s name is Brian. And so we joked that they probably were hearing from God that the house was for Brian and that he will be coming from another country. It was just a different Brian! I am so happy that I got to be a part of this journey and see God’s hand at work in very tangible ways.
So if you need me, you can find me here in Waitarere.