Over the last several months, I've done a lot of thinking, mostly trying to figure out why it was we had to leave Illinois in the first place if only to return two years later...and I've come to the conclusion that the reason is really simple.
God was building our faith.
When we left Illinois, I was full of panic and fear. About everything. I was convinced that I couldn't hear God, couldn't make a decision on my own...that other people always knew better. But I don't feel any of those things anymore.
Now I know that God wanted to pull us out of our comfort zone to help us heal, to help us learn and to instill in us the kind of faith he relies on.
I'm starting to understand it now.
I know I've said when we listed our CO house I had the most extreme peace that it would sell. I can't explain it, but for the first time in my life, a potentially scary situation didn't scare me at all. Our house sold in four days and my response was "Yeah. I kind of knew that might happen."
And then...a lot of extreme gratitude for the Big Guy.
Deciding where to live in Illinois was significantly more difficult. See, we already own a house there. It's a lovely house. In a lovely neighborhood. With lovely renters.
When we left, I thought I was leaving my dream house... but for a number of reasons, returning to this house isn't ideal. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say, we wanted to ensure that this move was a move back but not a move backwards.
And everything we'll be doing is about a half an hour's drive from where this house is located.
So, we made the crazy decision to buy another house in Illinois. We asked God from the start to close the door if this wasn't what he had for us. And then we made a list of the things our new house would need. A wishlist, if you will...and boy, were we picky.
See, we weren't going to buy unless we could find something we loved.
Here it is:
Houses in Colorado are not private. At any given moment five different neighbors can see into our house. Outside on the patio, we can hear four different conversations. We're used to life in the fish bowl, but we're tired of it. We need a little privacy. (And I like to walk around in my pajamas for the better part of the day so this was number one on the list.)
2. Four bedrooms.
Could our kids share? Of course. They did in our rental house, but let's just say...it was a very long year. Ethan falls asleep within three minutes of laying down. Often, Sam will still be awake three hours later. This is not a good fit.
3. An office space for me.
We knew four bedrooms AND an office space were a tall order... but I work from home. Not only writing novels, but for Webster's Pages. I need a dedicated space to get this done. (Incidentally, Adam is talking about completely redoing an office space for me. Apparently my scrapbook room "isn't a room for a grown-up."
I said, "we're grown-ups now?"
I said, "Does this mean we can't shop at Ikea?"
He walked away.
4. A studio space for Adam.
I know. Now we're just getting ridiculous. Our Realtor probably wanted to smack us. But Adam has recording equipment that's just plain ugly. (Sorry, hon) And beyond that, it's hard for him to record music for the shows we're writing when he's in the midst of the craziness that comes with having three kids. So, we knew it was a long shot, but we put it on there anyway.
5. A big yard. Preferably fenced.
I know what your'e thinking... But it was a dream list so we decided to dream big. We actually wrote these things down and sent the list to our Realtor.
Adam later added "a 3-car garage" to the list, but not surprisingly this was never part of my search criteria.
We knew what we wanted...a house that lives well, and since we always had it in the back of our mind that we didn't have to buy, I never felt crazy pressured...and that was a very nice change.
Adam flew out to see the first production of Hercules, the latest show we wrote, and while he was there, he saw fifteen houses.
He narrowed it down to five. I then narrowed that down to three. (One had cats and smoke...both of which I'm allergic to. One was too expensive.)
A week later, I returned to Illinois and look at even more houses, including the three he'd seen. I narrowed it down to two. Both of which were on Adam's original list.
I slept on it and went back the following day...and while I loved the #2 house, I knew the #1 house was the one. You know how you just know?
Well, I knew...
But that, my friends, is just where the story begins.