So much has happened in the past month. Within the last 30 days, Andy and I have discovered a serious mold problem (among a mounting list of other problems) in our old place, attempted to stick it out, started getting sick from it, had to stop using the little A/C that we require because (without the proper instillation/drip pan) it was making the mold problem worse, attempted to get our landlord to notice us, discovered a 30-day notice clause in our lease, searched like crazy for a new place, sent our 30-day notice (which still failed to get our landlord to notice us), prayed like crazy that we would have enough money to actually be able to leave, found a great place with a highly recommended landlord which we sadly couldn't afford, were directed to a roommate who could share the cost, signed the lease, packed up our stuff, moved about four blocks to our new place (above), found a fridge, unpacked, prayed that the fridge would start working, spent a week settling in, cleaned the old place, gave the keys to the old "landlord," and finally bought food to put in our newly repaired fridge!
By now, a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders and we are spending a quiet Saturday in our new place. To be honest, though, the events of the the past month temporarily catapulted our economic situation into an entirely different realm than we were previously experiencing. I have often heard it said that many families in America are just one emergency away from poverty and I certainly believe it. Without the added pressure of a new deposit, we probably could have squeezed by, as if we were fine on our own, as if we didn't need anyone. Honestly, this is the way my sinful nature likes to live, feigning capability. Even the act of applying for food stamps was a little to close to admitting our true desperation for my comfort. Still, I am ten times more comfortable allowing my needs to be supported by an institution than by my willing brothers and sisters. Why is that? It may seem strange to be talking about our financial need so openly, but I only say this to express how dependent we are on God's grace and His people. There is so much in the story of our moving experience that is completely dependent on the generosity of the wonderful people in our lives. It was a good friend who found us this place and a roommate to share it with. Other friends graciously offered us cleaning and painting jobs at their homes so that we could build up the money for a deposit. A good friend of ours gave us a wonderful reference on our housing application that made the landlord eager to give us a discount. My family came down to help us move out and clean. A friend of my mom's gave us the fridge that we needed for our new place and a kind repair man gave us a discount on the price to fix it. Add to this countless other offers for help that might have been more quickly accepted if not for my pride. In the end, we are living in a way better place and paying considerably less each month than we were before. People have been so eager to help and things have fallen into place so well that I can't help but be utterly convinced that God has not abandoned us, that our need is actually a gift, the gift of tangibly experiencing God's grace and love more than we possibly could have otherwise. I truly believe that, as human beings, we all desperately need each other more than we are willing to admit. Maybe situations like these are just tangible reminders of our deeper spiritual need for community.
On a lighter note, here are some more pictures of our new place. We couldn't be happier with it. It feels peaceful and everything works well. It even has air conditioning and a dishwasher, which, though I hate to admit it, are two little luxuries that I'm pretty happy to be indulging in. I think it will take a few weeks for this to feel like our actual home that we get to come home to each day. Right now it kind of feels like we are on vacation from our old place! In all of this, I continue to be amazed by God's mercy in providing us with far more than we deserve or could ask for. I feel completely surrounded by a never-ending circle of grace upon grace.
crafty husband fixing the chairs
our little miracle fridge