Yesterday, we moved what very well might have been the last car load of our things from our house into our tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment. It was bitter sweet, but more sweet than bitter.
Let me share with you why.
Several months ago, well really almost a year ago, my husband Kyle mentioned to me that if he were to be accepted into the Honors College that we might could have free housing included in his scholarship. At first I thought, "Wow! That would be amazing!" But the more and more I thought about it, the less and less I cared for the idea. We lived in a beautiful house. I had bought it before we were married during the first few months of my teaching career. I felt like I had worked hard in college to someday live in a place that was as nice as it was with its granite counter tops, tall ceilings, white crown moldings, large windows topped with window crowns, ceramic tile, I could go on and on.
At first, I was even upset that he might so much as suggest that we move into an apartment. How dare him! I had worked hard to secure this home for myself, and now it was ours! I was shocked that he wasn't more grateful for what, in my eyes, I had contributed to our relationship.
Plus, it was all speculation in the beginning. He had not even filled out the Honors College paper work, or written his essay, or had his entrance interview yet. Why was he so quick to jump into something that was so unsure?
We had been considering the possibility of me not returning to my teaching position in the fall. We really wanted to start a family, and neither of us wanted me to continue teaching after we had children. We prayed and prayed about what to do as at this point; Kyle did not have a job other than summer security alarm sales. I was the primary month to month breadwinner.
As we prayed about what to do, there was a man in our church that approached Kyle about a paid business marketing internship. We were very excited about this opportunity. It was going to pay well, and he was going to be able to continue to work for the home security company selling alarms during the summer. We considered ourselves blessed then, and kind of stopped praying about how it would be possible for me to stay home, and changed it to praying about more whether or not it was the best thing to do.
After what seemed like months of prayer, we still were not sure what the Lord's plan was for us. We knew that He had provided a way for me to stay at home with our children with Kyle's new paid internship position, but we had been trying for several months to get pregnant, and still did not have any good news to share. We did the math, and it seemed like I would need to return to teaching another year even with Kyle's new job. We just though the finances would be too tight.
About that time, Kyle quite unexpectedly met the owner of a small company that manages a few non-profit organizations in the Little Rock area. He was willing to pay Kyle double what he was earning in his job as an intern, but it would require him to work more hours. Kyle was okay with that especially since the summer was coming and he would be making enough money that it would not be necessary for us to travel across the country for him to sell home security. He did work around 50 hours a week during the summer, but it was all worth it because we both wanted to stay at home this summer in our house close to our friends and family.
Well summer flew by and fall came, and with it time for Kyle to start his first semester in the Honors College. It turns out they really like smart, non-traditional students with a 4.0. :) He was pretty excited about it, but he was still going to have to work 30 hours a week to sustain our family in our current home. I was really nervous that he was taking too much upon himself. My fears became reality and we had to cut his hours back to 20 a week well before midterm. It turns out that you have to earn your keep in the Honors College. He had a reading and a small paper due for every class meeting, 3 days a week. We were not prepared for that kind of work load, but we had put a little bit of money in savings and thought that we could get by on it and still stay in the house.
I guess that I had been so upset at Kyle the first time he mentioned moving into Family Housing that he waited until we had to cut his work hours to mention it again. He really expressed to me that he thought this would be what was best for our family. He wanted me to be assured that we would live in a house again someday, but right now in our lives that it really didn't make much sense. We would be able to save so much money by living in Family Housing, and so many people would take a free roof over their head in a heartbeat. He had prayed about it, and knew that it was what was best for our family in our current stage in life. He knew that we could be happy there. It would mean that having children would be easier on us financially, and that we would have more time to enjoy them. His commute from home to school would be drastically decreased. We would have more time to spend together and to do the things that we love.
I began to think that this wouldn't be a bad plan after all.
We submitted our request for Family Housing during the middle of September. The Housing Director told us not to expect an opening until at least Christmas during the time when semesters change. "But do not be surprised if you do not get a call until the Spring semester is over," he said. "We usually only have a few that move out of Family Housing a year."
I was secretly really disappointed. I myself had prayed about this decision and had received a beautiful answer that I needed to follow Kyle's lead. He was right. This was going to be what was best for our family. I was sure that we were pursuing the path that Heavenly Father wanted us to be on. I felt like we had failed Him, that we had waited too long, and now we were too late. I was nervous about how we were going to make things work since I did not have a teaching position this school year, and now we would have to make a house payment from our savings account.
Then it happened.
About two weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk in a small school where I was able to find work filling in as a long term substitute during a teacher's maternity leave. Kyle called and since I didn't have any kids in my room at the time, I answered. He said, "Your not going to believe this. The housing office just called me and told me that we have an apartment, Whitney. I can go pick up the key whenever I get a chance."
I knew right then that God had been listening to my prayers. I knew that we had just witnessed and were a part of a miraculous series of events. At that moment, I could truly feel and see God's hand in our entire life together from the moment we were married until now. I was able to have great peace in knowing that He is always with us, and had our best interest in mind.
Now we are almost all settled into a new apartment. It has been somewhat of a challenge, but when I think of everything that we have been given, I quite literally feel very humble and think about what a blessing it is that Kyle and I have such strong faith in Jesus Christ, and such a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. I know that He will lead and guide anyone who will have faith enough to take the first step.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me."