Ohhh, house hunting! This is a dream I’ve been working toward for a while now. My daughter and I had been to open houses every single weekend for months! At 8, she was using terms like “backsplash,” “open concept,” and “hardwood throughout.” Bless! It’s amazing how much we’ve learned going through this process together. Figuring out what we’re drawn to… what’s really important… where we can see ourselves building memories.
I’ve prayed and visualized about this for a long while… Coming through a divorce, I took time to rebuild, emotionally and financially. I had moved us abrubtly and we’ve been in an apartment ever since. Our place is lovely, but it’s always felt temporary to me. Forced. Not the place I envision us for years to come. To be able to decorate and invest in our future is a luxury we don’t currently have.
I’ve moved frequently in my life… For a while, it was at least once a year for over 10 years (from college through graduate school and beyond). Thinking back, the last time I felt really settled was when I bought my own little townhome back in Virginia. It was a fixer-upper, for sure! The man who owned it before me must have been some kind of lumberjack, since every inch was covered in some type of wood! Even the bathroom had wooden roofing shingles, on the inside! He did do something special in the living room, though… floor-to-ceiling mirrored tiles in the living room that weren’t hung straight, so they gave a funky fun-house mirror effect! It needed some love, to say the least, but I fell for it immediately. I walked in and it felt like home. I could see past the (MANY) cosmetic issues to it’s good bones.
Not unlike dating…
I tend to meet someone new, see past all the flaws and glaring character defects to their potential. I tend to give lots of grace in this area… have even gone against some of my so-called dealbreakers to date someone. It comes from a place of good intentions… knowing full well that I have many faults myself but still wanting to be loved and accepted. So, how can I not extend that to someone else? But, if I’m being honest, I’ve given in on things that are important to me… which leaves me feeling uneasy in my own life. It feels inauthentic, which chips away at my spirit until I become someone I don’t recognize, in a relationship that isn’t what I’ve wanted or needed. It’s a lonely place to be and it’s from my own choosing.
When starting the house hunting process, I was fully open to compromising. My dream home would have a beautiful kitchen, a library, and a screened in porch. Those three items were on my wish list and I knew it was a slim-to-none chance to find a home with all three. But, with God in the mix, that’s exactly what happened! I still am in shock that it’ll be our home in a month. It was eye opening in so many ways… that with God, anything is possible… but also, that this house was so worth the wait. I had put an offer in on another home that was beautiful, but didn’t have everything I hoped and prayed for. The offer was rejected and I was disappointed but moved on, knowing that if it was meant to be, God would work it out. So, on we searched… and searched… and then the house that will become ours came up.
My realtor, and friend, knew of my dream of a screened in porch and literally pulled this house out of thin air! It wasn’t even on the market, but she worked her magic and found it. The owner, an agent herself, had put the house on the market last year and it didn’t sell. This is crazy because in the area it’s in, the houses don’t last more than a few days without getting snatched up, especially staged and kept so beautifully. So, she rented it out and was about to put it back on market this year. My agent got to her before that happened and told her she had the perfect buyer! She sent me the link and I was in shock as I looked at the pictures. It was everything I had hoped for. The seller accepted my offer and told my agent that she now knew why her house didn’t sell last year… because it was meant for my daughter and I. When my friend told me that, I wept… It all felt so right.
That’s the feeling I pray to have with my next relationship… that it will feel right… not only having good “bones” but all the extras that I desire too. A dear friend of mine once told me that God was working on the most wonderful man for me, as He was working on me… That he would come “wrapped in a Tiffany’s box with a white ribbon.” So, why was I “settling for a Wal-Mart bag??” That image made me laugh right out loud! That visual is something I will never forget and have thought about when meeting someone new.
Dating in your 40s comes with its own set of complications… parenting schedules, exes, emotional baggage, geographic desirability, dating style, online apps. It’s not for the weak! It’s not something I ever imagined being part of, but it is where I’m at. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the logistics instead of remembering that God is in control and He has a plan better than any other. If it’s meant to be, God will work it out. That it’s ok to be choosy, to know what I really want and need to feel “at home” in a relationship. That even though a dating app tells me to “widen my preferences” to get more options, that I’ll hold out for the guy who is “move in ready” versus the “fixer-upper.” Until then, I’ll work on “remodeling” myself to become my best version. To keep my focus on God. To build a home that’s filled with love… a place for our little family to find comfort, for our friends to find peace, and to serve God. All else in His time.