Something shifted yesterday. It happened somewhere between putting my KitchenAid on the counter for the first time, and figuring out that the $6 painting scored from departing missionaries was going to look great in the dinette. Maybe it was finding those two inches to scoot the sofa over, giving us a bit more space to pass behind the armchair to the hallway. It could have been discovering that my Rubbermaid canisters and some spices will work on the shelf built for–but unable to accommodate–our microwave. I know the cup of chai on the sofa and the strategy session with Matt helped.
Somewhere along the morning, the house we are moving into in Atenas became home.
Last Saturday, bright and early, after 9 months of language study and 2 complex final exams, our transition to Atenas began. We followed the lion-share of our belongings down the highway, praying along the miles for dry skies. And that the twin mattress on top wouldn’t succeed in its ambition to learn to fly. I ran bucket brigade when the 6″ capped pipe protruding from the wall where the fridge goes (that we were told we could trim back) turned out to be a pressurized water line, rather than a drain line. Our awesome neighbor hack-sawed a padlock to gain access to the house’s water shut off valve, and built us a wall-hugging cap with its own shut off.
While incredibly grateful for the miracles–a dry transport, a re-roped mattress, a now-dry kitchen floor, a house full of things to help us do life–I was also exhausted on every level. Our comfortable furniture (a rare find here) was uncomfortably large for the living room. The piles of boxes and sudden appearance of appliances made the 1,050 square feet feel very small. Every conceivable surface needed to be cleaned. I knew that God would settle my heart over time. I knew that we would find places for everything and joy in the house God had given our family. But sometimes the space between the dreaming and the coming true is hard ground to travel.
Back in San Jose for the kids’ last week of school, I continued to pack, pray, and process. Our language school house feels barren without all of our family’s comfortable things, and that has helped to point our focus toward the place the Lord is planting us. Yesterday, under cover of the school day and a play date, Matt and I loaded up the car to critical mass and head to Atenas. And the Lord moved.
The walls were in the same places, but the space in my heart expanded. We still have a mountain of scrubbing and sorting to climb, but I’m starting to appreciate the view again. Today the kids close their books on this school year. This weekend we begin life in our new home. And because of the Lord’s gentle, patient work within me, that feels like a great thing.