Everyone is tidying up. It feels like it. Maybe it is more accurate to say many people are watching ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix. I read her book a while ago about decluttering and being tidy (The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up). I pulled out all the clothes I own, the clothes ‘sparking joy’ were kept, the other ones donated. I folded clothing using her method for a few months…well, until one of those days when nothing looked good on me and I tried on every item I own (or so it seems) and everything got half-folded, half-crammed back in.
I am working on decluttering our house at the moment. Decorating and decluttering is the order of the day. There’s a purpose to this – we’re making it ready to sell. In a downward spiral of events we’re in a position where selling and moving to release some funds is the only sensible way forward, barring a spectacular miracle (not ruling that possibility out, but the Bible tells us God gives us wisdom when we ask too).
In the process of sorting through papers at the weekend, I found an email from October 2009 which Tim printed out and kept.
‘I think we should go for it…’
I’m writing to him at a moment during a work day about moving to Canada. For months we were in indecision, the opportunity was there, then both at the same time on the same day we had a surge of faith and conviction that it was the right thing to do.
By January 2010 our house had sold and we were staying with some dear friends in the couple of weeks before we flew here. It was a time of many phone calls and filling in forms – it takes a lot of work to tie things up in one country and move to another. Tim had the visa for the temporary work permit, we booked our plane tickets, but we didn’t yet have a place to live. We talked of renting somewhere and then buying, but I wasn’t keen as I knew the kids needed to get settled as quickly as possible.
An email popped into my inbox from a friend in Canada with a picture of a house and the phrase, ‘How about this one?’ The details were of a four-bedroom house we hadn’t come across before. In a few days our friends viewed the house, sent us pictures. It was just right. We put an offer in, it was acccepted, and, after a few more phone calls and form filling in, we paid the deposit.
We landed in Canada on February 4, 2010, relieved to get through immigration and have our passports officially stamped with our work permits. Once we were in Fredericton, along with all the arriving in a new country bureaucracy, we needed some of the cost of the house to be covered by a mortgage. A friend of a friend helped to get it arranged even though Tim’s job didn’t start until the April. We closed on the house on February 15. Our belongings started their journey in a twenty foot shipping container from our old house in Lancing, England, on January 20. They arrived on that closing day. Arrival before the date would have cost us storage fees, arrival after would mean we’d struggle with no stuff in the house! The timing was perfect.
Looking back we see God’s hand in this story, taking care of us and providing a house big enough for us and the four children we had living at home then. We found ourselves with a lovely family home, surrounded by great neighbours…and somewhere we could invite people into.
It’s now almost nine years of memories in this house. Growing children; family meals; Sunday lunches with friends; curry nights; movie nights; barbecues; kids birthday parties; new year’s eve parties (no matter how hard we tried they always ended up as Just Dance parties); Christmas parties; any excuse for a party; many, many Life Group nights; and even a rehearsal dinner. Friends hanging out, friends and family from away to visit, space to have other people to stay who then became friends…so many friendships were made in these four walls and mostly around our dining table and in the kitchen…and out in the garden/yard too.
Each room holds its own memories of laughter and tears. All the stuff of family life.
Remembering the story of how we came to buy this house is a good thing to think about as we prepare to move on. At first glance at our present situation it can seem like we made a mistake. If we hadn’t got this house, maybe we wouldn’t be struggling now? I don’t think this is the case. Life takes some unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes several bad things can happen one after another. You do everything you can to do things right and still things go wrong.
All we can do is pray, trust, and keep going.
In the one episode I’ve watched of Marie Kondo’s show, she starts off by sitting on the floor of the house with her case studies (the family). She greets and thanks their house in a few moments of silence and meditation.
I don’t buy into that sort of thing – our house is just another thing after all. Rather I thank the God who cares about the smallest details of our lives, the one who sparks joy in my heart. ‘He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live’ (Acts 17:25,26 NIV).
If He brought us here in such a miraculous way, He will help us find our next home.