Today, I had a little haunted home tour planned for Halloween on Paper & Glam. Before I post pictures of my "dreamhome," it feels like I should tell the story of how I ended up here. It's my favorite kind of story. The kind that unfolds from a mad hope and ends with a win for Love.
My prayer is that you find this story encouraging, and I hope I've done the grace of it some justice.
"I'll tell of Your story, and I'll carry Your name...
because nothing compares to what You've done for me."
- The Michael Gungor Band
When I moved to Denver, I wanted to live and work in Greenwood Village because it feels like the backwoods I grew up in, it feels like home. The work piece fell in my lap a couple months after I moved. (Sidebar) Work story: I met a VP in an elevator, who was impressed that I was humble enough to wait tables with a top 50 education...she gave me a chance to use my degree. Humility wins! -- Back to the Dreamhome story...
Greenwood Village caters to corporate jobs. There are 30,000 here. However, this part of Denver does not cater to affordable housing. There are 6,000 households in Greenwood Village, in eight square miles, with a medium income of $110,000/year. These aren't great odds for a twenty-two year old, fresh out of college. (Something about knowing the facts makes it more fun to make them irrelevant.) I figured that if God wanted me here, He doesn't care about the details. Right? So I started my home shopping in those eight square miles. Of course, the first place I toured was a humble 800 square feet of perfect, and a mile and a half from work:
Built in 2009 | Never been lived in
Granite counter tops in a kitchen that made me want to make yummy food.
A pool complete with cabanas that reminded me of San Diego.
And most importantly...it felt like home. It felt like where I belonged. It felt priced according to its' magnificence, at close to double my budget. I kept looking but there was no comparison to what I started calling "The Denver Dreamhome." It was too late, I'd already seen it, I couldn't let it go.
Eight months of winter later, it had been a season of things just not coming together. I'd been to twelve churches and toured more housing than I care to remember. Yet, I still did not have a home of my own, or a church to call my home. There was also an epic knee blow out, and some kinda crazy mystery illness diagnosed as "chronic fatigue" (a.k.a. we have no clue). My faith was stretched so thin I could see through it. If God was paying attention, He was NOT cooperating.
One day, I was sitting in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble having a meltdown, when Leah called (a friend who has been by my side for 20 years). Something about our conversation renewed my strength, reminded me who I am, and reminded me who God is. (Leah, I never thanked you for that day, thank you.) I started making bold moves: I went to a new church every weekend, I read Romans 8 everyday, I gave 10% of every paycheck away, I prayed without ceasing. I did everything I knew to do to come out with a win in Denver.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us...
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?
25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us? NIV
One snowy day in May 2010 (yes, it was still snowing in May), I was sitting at my desk waiting for my interview to transfer to Cigna of Southern California; when I got an e-mail saying the position was filled. My heart started pounding....and the "dreamhome" haunted me, again...oh, the pain of it. So I went back...
I found the property manager I talked to a year before, asked if there was any housing in my price range, and anticipated an awkward exchange ending with no. He said there was "one left they couldn't seem to lease, so today he lowered the price 40% below market value."
And you know how this ends...
Down a familiar hall...
In front of a familiar door...
With a number I remembered on it...
The door swung open, and there she was...The Denver Dreamhome. Sitting empty...a year later, like it hadn't been a day. It was exactly the same inside: brand new, untouched, never-been-lived-in. I tried to keep it cool, like if I got too excited the property manager might realize this was CRAZY. I asked if I could cruise around the apartment solo before I made a decision. (Read: lay on the floor, make a carpet angel, and cry.) The door closed. I was alone. And that small still voice in my heart said,
"Yes...this is your home.
I saved it for you.
As grace would have it, I took a picture sitting on the floor that day...laughing at my boots keepin' it real in the dreamhome.
Housing in Greenwood Village, Colorado doesn't exactly "go on sale." Unless, God decides Greenwood Village is having a sale today!!! If He wants a certain Denver Dreamhome to remain unoccupied for a year, until it's priced at 40% below market value, so He can lead me back to where I started, trusting in Him alone, to drown in His grace, and love, and provision...then He will.
In one 30 minute lunch break, I went from moving back to California to making a permanent home in Denver. If God wants you somewhere, He does NOT care about the details, the odds, or any opinions. He's just going to find a way.
Be encouraged. God is by your side. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is on the move. Today, right now, God is working behind the scenes for your good. If we don't give up or give in, we will eventually come out with a win...because Love wins.
God is Love. He is the Love that finds a way.