After nearly five months of relentless searching, my husband and I finally found the apartment we knew was meant for us. We knew it the moment we opened the door. The process of obtaining a co-op in New York City is excruciating, and it took over a month for us to complete it. The 14 page application, 8 letters of reference, credit checks, tax returns, bank statements, a meeting before the board, and even an inspection of my husband's current residence. The stress of it all took a heavy toll, but we kept our faith throughout the process: this place is ours, and we have God's favor.
The moving company was scheduled to come in 8 days. Then we found out that our application was denied. No reason was given.
I think "stunned" is the word that best sums up our initial reaction. We knew, we just KNEW, in our heart of hearts that the apartment was ours. And then...it wasn't. What now?
I was waiting to post here on the devotionals site until after things were settled down. I wanted to share with you the amazing story of how God had shown us the perfect apartment in New York, and found us renters for the condo in Florida, and how I transitioned seamlessly to my new life. And yet, here it is nearly May (3 months after I quit my teaching job), and none of those things have quite come to pass.
Apparently, that's not the story I'm meant to tell. We don't have the 'happily ever after' yet. But here's what I do have...and I suspect this is what I should have been sharing with you all along:
The satisfaction of doing the work God has called me to do. I've posted more information about my educational consulting jobs here on my other blog, but the most important detail is that I love my work and I know I'm making a difference. It's satisfying and challenging and fulfilling and I can't believe this is really what I do for a living now. Though it requires flying back and forth to New York, quite honestly, I've been doing that for years in order to see my husband, and I'm thankful that I no longer have a full-time job in Florida that's continually pulling me away from him. We are together most of the time, and when we're not, I get to be with my best friends and family in Florida. It's the best of both worlds in a way, and it's clearly what God wants me to be doing for now, so I'm content.
A new appreciation of both my husband and the spiritual growth I've made through our relationship. Curtis is the person you want in your corner during tough times, the one who sees the big picture and is unwavering in his belief in God's faithfulness and provision. That side of him has been profoundly evident over the last few months...and it was even more amazing to see how he's helped me become that person, too. After the apartment debacle, I was not the blubbering mess I once would have been, requiring his encouragement while I played the self-pitying "Why, God, why?" card. This was our first major blow as a married couple, and it truly made our bond stronger. We came together on the same level spiritually to support one another, and that was POWERFUL.
A deeper understanding of the character of God and faith in His ways. We've spent hours talking about who God is and what He's done for us, reflecting on how He has always provided, and sharing the lessons He's taught us in the meanwhile. The catalyst for those conversations was something the enemy meant for our harm, but the resulting spiritual growth is irreplaceable. There is nothing, NOTHING, no material possession in the world that could replace the fullness of knowing God...not for a moment would I trade that apartment for the deeper relationship I have with Jesus. I truly count it all as loss compared to knowing Him.
A feeling of peace that I can only describe as supernatural. I know that I'm following God's plan for my life. I'm committed to serving Him, and I trust Him completely. My soul is at rest.
Sometimes it's more encouraging to hear from other Christians who are IN the fire and storm, rather than just those who have come out on the other side. So if any of you are waiting to see what God has in store--trusting Him to give you a spouse, or a child, or a home, or a job--please know you are in good company. The tough times are always the opportunity for the most growth spiritually, and if you can connect with the Lord in the middle of it all, the rewards are beyond description. I'm not sure that I can yet count it ALL joy like Paul did, but I'm closer to that understanding than I've ever been.
Thank you all for your unwavering prayers. I'm going to continue posting teacher devotionals, now that I've broken my little streak of writer's block. And in God's perfect timing, I'll post back with fantastic news on the housing/moving front. The awesome thing about serving our God is that He can change any situation around on a dime, clear out of the blue. There WILL be an upcoming post that includes the phrase "But suddenly, God...". You can count on it. :-)