As Roger and I begin to prepare ourselves for the possibility of yet another change in our lives, I can't help but reflect on the past six years.
Being a young married couple, still in college, we didn't really think ahead far enough while we were planning our wedding as to where we were going to set up house after our oh so exciting honeymoon.
Let me explain.
We both had jobs in town and campus housing lined up for when the fall semester started but we were getting married in mid May and the college said no to us moving in over the summer. My first though was "well, we can live in my parent's basement until class starts. Then move into married student housing." My future husband said ABSOLUTELY NOT!" In retrospect I can understand his feelings. He wanted to provide a HOME for us. For US!!
One afternoon, about 2wks before our set wedding date, Roger was sitting on the back steps of the library on our college campus. He was praying specifically about our housing issue. Where could we find a place that was cheap and would rent to us from mid May to early August? That's when he looked up and saw the Baptist church across the street and remembered that they had a small room on the third floor of their Sunday school/ preschool building that they allowed the campus ministry intern to rent during the semester. He took it as a divine revelation and took off running across the road to speak to the minister. The plan was a go!
Let me describe our first place a residence:
It is a massive old house that the Baptist church owns. The bottom flour is a preschool. The second floor is used as Sunday school and a Wednesday afternoon men's fellowship lunch. The third floor, the attic, has been turned into a small bedroom. We stayed in the attic. There was enough room for a matres, a couch and a small closet. We had to go to the second floor to use the bathroom and cook in the kitchen.
Boy do I have some memories about that place. I'll never forget walking down the stairs in my pjs to get some breakfast, only to be met with a room full of smiling men. "Ooops. O forgot about that Wednesday fellowship lunch thing. Sorry. Let me just grab a pop tart and I'll be out of your way." Or the time we attempted to get a bed up three flights of stairs only to give up and be satisfied with a full size mattress on the floor. It wasn't the BEST of situations but it wasn't our parent's basement! It was our first home!
In August we moved on to campus. Being cheap we moved all of our stuff one car load at a time. It took forever. FOREVER I worked two jobs (campus safety dispatch and coffee shop barista) while Roger worked three (minister, campus library and campus safety dispatch) and we both went to college full time. It was rough but we were in it TOGETHER! So, you can imagine how shocked we were on November 27th, 6 months after getting married, when we discovered I WAS PREGNANT. :0 Oh NO
I wanted to crawl in a dark hole and die. Instead I went into the bathroom and refused to come out. When I finally did emerge I was greeted to a campus apartment FULL of candles and a smiling husband!
The following June, a month before Paul was due to arrive, we were informed rather abruptly that our college would no longer be providing married student housing and that we were to move out as soon as possible. Once again we FLOORED but OK, "I guess we'll put all our stuff in storage and move into a hotel until we find a place to rent."
Once again God provided and the President of our college offered to rent us a house that the college owned that just so happened to be within walking distance of campus. Good thing!! we only had one car and we were trying to figure out how we were both going to be able to make it to and from class with a BABY.
We gathered family together, trucks and vans, and moved to a little, old, crappy, falling down house that the campus owned and DID NOT take care of. I was 8 months pregnant and completely miserable. That was a HOT summer. HOT HOT HOT
Now, let me explain this crappy dwelling place that we were so incredibly blessed to have!
The porch was falling off (it finally did and the college put cation tape around the house. It looked condemned), there was a family of raccoons that lived in the attic, the gas furnace was ANCIENT, the tub leaked MASSIVE amounts of water, and the kitchen floor was so old that if you moped it the dirt turned into mud. But once again, it was HOME. We made it a home!!
A few things that I will never forget about that crappy house:
1. The raccoons
- It was snowing outside and I was making hot choc on the stove when I noticed a raccoon paw scratching through the light fixture. We called them all by the name of Sam "Oh look Roger. Sam wants some hot choc too. He's just part of the family!" That's when a bunch of the PHA's (his fraternity brothers) came over with axes and baseball bats, determined to rid our house of raccoons. It didn't work.
2. The leaking claw foot tub
- It got so bad that we would just turn the water off to the whole house. In the morning we would walk down into the dirt floor basement and turn it back on in order to take a shower. Or sometimes I would just walk over to the College's fitness center to shower and get dressed for class.
3. Having friends over at all hours.
- our house was right behind Roger's fraternity house. At all hours of the day and night we would get knocks on our door "Jasper, I need to talk. Can I talk to ya!" I think we were the resident PHA therapists!
4. Bring our first baby home
- That July we had little baby boy Paul!!! He turned into the campus baby. I'll never forget Dr. Ward rocking him while teaching class or the afternoon that come of the PHA guys offered to babysit while roger and I went on a campus date!
After Roger graduated from college I still had one more year. We decided to leave the old crappy house for an apartment across town. Little did we know that it was drug deal station. After several small issues....
- guns being flashed in the parking lot
- watching a drug deal take place while eating dinner on the patio
- having to call 911 after finding our neighbor trying to break into our back bedroom.
....... we decided to move.
When we moved into the triplex we though we were living the big life! We had a yard! now, we had to share it with three other families, but we had grass! We had a deck! we had a garage! Then all of a sudden we had another BABY! WHAT!?!??! There was just something about not feeling like we were living in the third world that made us unable to keep our hands off of one another. :)
A couple of months after Anna was born Roger was offered a youth minister job, that would later turn into an associate minister, 30 minutes away. We decided we had enough for a down payment why not buy a house! So, be bought our first home!
On the day of the closing we picked up Subway and ate lunch sitting in the living room floor. We later ran around the house doing crazy kid things. Just think of Tom Hanks in the movie "Big". We were that giddy and yes, THAT nervous.
Now we are in the mist of another change. A church that we have been watching from a distance since college is about to present Roger to the congregation for a vote. Within the next couple of weeks we will know whether are not we will be moving to a new town, to a new church Family, putting our first home up for sell and saying goodbye to the relationships we have formed over the last two years. It is scary. But we have been through so much TOGETHER. the key is TOGETHER.
After looking over all our past situations and how crappy they were, I couldn't help but notice a recurring theme. We were TOGETHER and we were HAPPY. We weren't always happy, there were those days or weeks of despair, but we were for the most part HAPPY. Because of that I have peace. I am peaceful about this new adventure in our lives and look forward to the relationship that will form along the way.
It is out story and I love OUR story!