Wednesday was supposed to be the magic day, the day my old house went on the market. Yesterday, though, my real estate agent contacted me. She thought it was ready.
And so the listing went live.
I read through the listing, gave the “okay,” and then waited.
Immediately, my daughter went on Zillow and read the listing and observed that Zillow listed my four bedroom house as three even though my real estate agent had written four.
I texted my agent.
She texted me back.
Over the course of the afternoon, my daughter reloaded her Zillow window, saw the listing was correct.
And then noticed the number of people who had viewed the house. The first “save” was recorded.
As the evening elapsed, I felt like I couldn’t leave my phone even though I knew that my house, which was special to me, really wasn’t that out of the ordinary. Sure, I raised my children in that house. Sure, I had written books and gone through major professional triumphs in that house.
But those were my moments, my personal victories which made that house special to me.
Even though I moved a lot as a child, I don’t remember the stress of moving. I remember putting things in boxes and several months later opening the same boxes and putting my belongings in their new places. The hiatus on my life was over and I could resume playing or reading or writing or whatever participle was important to me at the time.
Moving is stressful. Getting a house ready for market is a “nightmare” as many of my friends described it.
I was expecting the nightmare. I knew that spending the day teaching and then coming home and spending hours painting or switching out plugs and lightswitches to get rid of the ugly contractor tan would be exhausting.
I knew it was going to be stressful. Moving is stressful. Got it. That’s life.
But what I didn’t realize was the stress of sitting at home and watching my phone’s screen remain dark because nothing was happening.
Sure, the house hadn’t even been on the market for 24 hours. Come on Graceless, be reasonable here.
TV and movies make it seem like moving into the new home means an end to the stress. Open the boxes and let the stress release like toxic helium balloons that will never pop or corrupt the atmosphere. They’ll just float up into the universe and be swallowed by a conveniently helpful black hole.
But the stress, the anxiety is still there.
What if the house doesn’t sell quickly?
How long will we have to wait for the magical phone call that someone else fell in love with my old house?
What will the inspector find that might cost money which seems to evaporate like raindrops on a hundred degree baked road?
I have waited and waited. More people have viewed the home, more saves have been recorded and the weariness just seeps deeper into my bones.
Throughout this entire adventure, I keep on hearing God telling me to trust. And today, I found myself not trusting anyone or anything. I just stumbled from one landmark to another, trying to find some modicum of normal life.
But, you see, just because I indulge in my personal-stress-god doesn’t mean that God will allow me to ignore Him. Like the message He sent me through the Methodist church just down the road, the one whose marquee reads “Peace be within this house.”
Or the woman in front of me at Walgreens whose shirt-back read something along the lines of not worrying about fighting the monster in front of me but, instead, trusting the God inside of me.
Which was just like the sermon in church last Saturday about responding to the Goliaths of the world like David, trusting in God, and not like Saul, panic and despair.
This move has been exhausting and painful. Because of the move, my son chose not to move with my husband and me into the country but to remain in the city. My son is a theater major at the local university and he has no need to drive on the highway at two in the morning because I needed to be happy.
So as I was leaving my home, I, to a degree, left my son, which caused me to despair.
I have cried…a lot….throughout this move. The anxiety became a despair-shaped monster that tried to swallow me.
I am not David holding on to five stones that were gathered from a stream. I stood in front of my giant and quaked and sobbed. Any stones that I might have had were bits and pieces of dust, a broken glass, a black-leaf bag filled with tape and old newspaper.
But I trust Him. I have tried so hard to pray and thank Him for the challenges that have been faced. And, at times, I think I meant those words. Paul exhorted us to rejoice in our tribulations.
But I failed at times. I haven’t always shown the love of God in spite of my best intentions. I have said things I regretted.
Today, God gave me the holy-smack down when He showed Himself to me in a way that I couldn’t deny. He stood between my giant anxiety and me and gave me peace. He gave me reassurance.
He gave me my family. He showed me His love through the loving and gentle words and actions of others. He reminded me that I must trust Him through the entirety of the journey, not just the first two-thirds.
The house will sell.
Whatever needs to be fixed will be fixed or we’ll renegotiate the price.
This won’t last forever. But God does. And will. And I trust Him to provide. He will provide. He helped me buy my first house. He gave me my family. He has provided for my children. And now, He has given me my second house just as He will pass my first house on to the right buyer.
“Trust and obey. For there’s no other way…”