Three years ago my sister and brother-in-law decided to rent a big farmhouse on the outskirts of town. After building and selling a handful of beautiful new construction houses, they didn’t anticipate falling in love with a dated farmhouse amidst corn and cows, but they did. Months later when they took a job in Bakersfield, CA we sat around the table of their farmhouse, sad to see it go. My mom wondered out loud, “What if Dad and I move into this house?”
It wouldn’t be the first time. For some weird (maybe somehow dysfunctional but I’m going with ‘weird’) reason it’s not the first time we’ve shared and rotated houses. Yes, we move embarrassingly often. Yes, we somehow make it a party every time. Our moving boxes see many moves before they go to the burn pile.
When Lance and Jasmine left for Bakersfield, my parents took over their house. It became grandkid heaven with fields to explore, a river across the street, and ultimately a three–story tree house my dad constructed.
In less than a year Lance and Jasmine, for various reasons, decided to move back. They were hunting for a good lot and my parents offered to let them stay (with their five kids) in the big farmhouse while they figured it out. It took awhile. It took a long while. When the lot was purchased there was still a house to be built. Thankfully, nine people fit in the farmhouse and somehow enjoyed more than a year of being smushed together.
This past January, the new house was complete and my parents had the farmhouse to themselves again. After we got Lance and Jasmine moved, we discussed our own situation. Our year lease has been up at our own sweet farmhouse and we knew the owners were ready to sell.
Once again I landed at the table in the farmhouse discussing the situation with my parents.
My mom offered first, “You know we love this house but we’d give it up in a heartbeat if you want it. There’s only two of us and six of you.”
I thanked them but didn’t take it seriously. The last thing I wanted was to add a move by kicking my parents out of the beloved farmhouse. But, “Just in case” they began looking at options.
I began praying. Ideally, I wanted a home that Sean’s sister could live with us in. The farmhouse was ideal–room for his sister, an affordable long–term rental, and Darla could have her own room (my bonus request). I asked the Lord to not only work out the timing but two other things– 1. That we could honor our landlords in the notice we’d give and the Lord would bless their generosity toward us by finding a buyer for their house. 2. That my parents would find a house they loved, not just something they were willing to settle for.
A few weekends ago I got a message from our landlords, “We know the house isn’t listed but we have people interested.” We showed the house. The people made an offer that looks promising. I’m hoping it’s the blessing for our landlords I prayed for.
The next day my mom called. “The small house down the road from our farmhouse is available! We might want it and then you could have the farmhouse. Let’s go look!”
The small house is 1.4 miles from the farmhouse on the same road. It has the same fantastic sunrises and sunsets, with nearly half the size and maintenance. We were squealing as we walked through, ideas for paint and furniture spewing forth.
In two weeks we get our turn in the big farmhouse, with Sean’s sister having one wing and the rest of us in the other. My mom left us her chickens and some coffee tables. The kids are elated to have my dad’s epic tree house. There are some feral barn cats that shoot me threatening looks but I’m pretty sure I can take them.
It feels slightly ridiculous to pull out moving boxes … again. At the same time, I’m incredibly thankful that for each season God seems to provide exactly what is needed. I’m willing to throw things in boxes, order a stack of pizzas for the help, and do another round of packing tape and sharpies … for this.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...