With Easter less than a week away, it feels like spring is officially here! The azalea trees have all bloomed, bringing a profusion of magenta and white petals to adorn their branches. The days are longer, the colors more vibrant, and the emerald lushness of the landscape the last few days reminds me of the hills surrounding Belfast when I visited Northern Ireland in college. But that’s another story for another time. The weather in our corner of south Georgia, on the other hand, would like you to think it’s July or so since it’s been in the mid-80s the past week with no signs of letting up. But we’ll count our blessings!
It was this same time – the week before Easter – two years ago when my hubby and I first drove down for the week to do our house hunting trip. With our PCS date (our Permanent Change of Station, or moving date for those who aren’t military) just around the corner in the first week of June, we were excited to check out the area and most importantly to get a rental home lined up so we’d have an place to call home, ready and waiting, for when we did move. When we arrived in town that week, the humidity and heat were unbearable. It was like being wrapped in a soggy, hot blanket pulled from the dryer too soon each time we walked out the door. The temperature was in the high 90s and low 100s all week, and the muggy heat left us drained as we set out to check out houses, especially for someone like me who had grown up in the arid climate of Colorado. Hubby and I thought we were going to die! Okay, okay, maybe it was mostly me that thought we were going to die out here…thankfully, that year was just a bit of a fluke, and it usually waits to get that hot until at least June now!
But we were incredible blessed that week too. Through God’s providence, the perfect house for us came on the market the same day we started our search in town. We certainly did our homework: we had each spent hours reviewing and scoring the online rental listings based on our set of pre-defined and weighted criteria like location, price, etc. over the month or so before our trip (See, as much as I hated decision matrices in college, they can be oh so helpful in real life!), compiling our top 10 listings based on our composite scores, and then mapping them out by agency and the order we planned to visit them on the map to streamline our search. My hubby sure is a great planner when it comes to these kinds of things!
We packed our hunt into that very first day and ended up looking at roughly 14 houses since some of the rental agencies had new listings to offer on top of the ones we specifically came to see. After having looked at a handful of the houses that morning, none of which quite felt like home, the next rental agency that afternoon had just what we needed, fresh onto the market as of that morning! Our home is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, with a yard for Ike (unfortunately not fenced, but we’ve made do just fine), in a neighborhood of mostly young families not to far from work, grocery stores, and Ike’s favorite – the dog park! Here are a few pictures of the house I snapped on our walkthrough that day:
Our kitchen, sans refrigerator, the inclusion of which we later negotiated in as part of the rental agreement.
Dining area off the kitchen and…
The two spare bedrooms, now our guest room and office. And finally…
Our master bedroom!
I’m reminded now of Proverbs 16:9 that says “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (NLT). As much as we planned ahead for that trip relying on our human knowledge and judgement, God had other plans to bring us to the house we now call home, and for that I’m incredibly grateful! Having been informed that there was another prospective renter considering the property, we took that evening to pray about it and think it over before dropping by first thing the next morning to turn in our rental application and work out the details. We were able to negotiate to pay half-rent for the first two months to secure the house since we didn’t move in until June. Perhaps the best part of the story had nothing to do with the house itself. The rental agent at the time, Lucia, invited us try out her family’s church once we made the big move. The church was one that had been on our list to check out, and when we went that first time, we fell in love with the way God’s word is proclaimed and with the heart of the people for God there. It’s been our home church ever since! When Lucia and her family moved, we met the new rental agent who replaced her, Brittney, who also went to our church and has since become one of my very closest friends here in Georgia! God works in awesome ways!
That’s all for today, but I hope to share some pictures of our house now that it’s decorated and lived in for a few years sometime in the near future. Wishing everyone a happy Monday!