Be Careful For Nothing–The Journey and Joy of Home Searching

Andrea and I were blessed greatly when we first moved to Pennsylvania with a place to live.  Our church has a beautiful Prophet’s Chamber that we were able to call our home from early June until August.  It was absolutely perfect for us newlyweds.  Was it big?  Definitely not.  Was it luxurious?  It seemed like it to us!  It had two bedrooms, a washer and dryer, and easy access to the church kitchen.  It was also very quiet–seven miles to the nearest town over 100.  We loved every bit of it.  It already had furniture, decorations, and appliances too.  It was everything we needed and more.

As the summer was winding down, I knew that we were going to start looking for somewhere else to live.  We were content in the Prophet’s Chamber, but I have this complex in my mind about not “overstaying your welcome.”  I knew that Pastor would have let us stay there for as long as we wanted, but I also knew that they built the chamber for guest preachers and missionaries–not us.  So, in late July, we began to keep our eyes open for places to rent. Andrea likes being around people–I do also, but I like peace and quiet sometimes too.  So that means Andrea preferred to live in the town, and I preferred living in the country.  It was during our home search that we discovered that Andrea is a “city-girl” and I am not that much of a “city-boy.”  The country idea got shot down pretty quickly, though.  It was usually twice as expensive, if not more, to rent in the country around here.  We then started to look around Red Lion for an apartment.  It seemed like we spent an immense amount of time in the newspaper, Craigslist, and driving around.  Finally, in early August, we had found it!

On Charles Street in Red Lion was a nice duplex with two bedrooms, a little kitchen, a family room with lots of windows and a little back yard.  It was definitely older and had some paint issues, but we knew that we could live there and be happy.  We talked to the landlord for a while, and soon after told him we would like to rent the home from him.  He was a good, honest Christian man that I think looked forward to us living there.  We were overly excited too!  He called Pastor Starr as a reference one day, checked our credit, and officially offered it to us; and we quickly accepted.  We were thrilled that we would have our own home soon!  However, I got a call back from our future landlord just an hour after we accepted.  He sounded distraught and discouraged.  We were soon to be also.

You see, he had a granddaughter who also posed interest in the same home even before we did.  She had delayed giving an official answer for a few days, then we came into the picture.  Just after we had accepted, she called her grandfather and said that she wanted it.  I am thankful that I was not in his situation.  I am not going to sit here and judge his decision; but out of necessity, he gave the home to her.  He was very apologetic.  He offered help to us in many ways–even inviting us out to dinner.  But, no matter what he said, we were back at “square one.”  All of that hope and excitement in us was crushed.  I am proud of how Andrea handled it, even though I knew it hurt to have “the perfect  place” in our hands, then all of the sudden, God took it away.  I remember her asking me, “Why do you think God took it away?”  She knew the answer, but just wanted it affirmed from me, I believe.  “God must have something better for us.”

So, the search began yet again.  Driving, driving through Red Lion and Dallastown; reading, reading the newspaper; and praying, praying that we would find where God would have us to live.  About a week after the first place fell through, we saw a sign on East Main Street in Red Lion that said, “For Rent.”  As normal, we called the number and talked to a man eating dinner.  We found out that the rent was low, and it had three bedrooms and a lot of square footage.  The next day, that landlord showed us the apartment.  Honestly, it was a disappointment.  It looked kind of old, strangely designed, and lots of useless space (which means a lot of natural gas in the winter!).  We left thinking, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  We also would not have been able to move in for a month.  Glenn, this landlord, was also a Christian, but we just didn’t want this place.  We walked down the stairs, and began the short walk to our car a little down-hearted, but still confident that God would give us what we needed. Just as we were opening the doors to our car, Glenn shouted at us and informed us of another apartment that he rents that was just a few blocks away.  He offered to show it to us right then, but warned us that it was a little smaller and a little more rent.  We thought, “Why not.  We have nothing to lose.”

So we followed Glenn in his Toyota Tundra through an alley and to this other apartment.  We walked up a long, single-flight stairwell to a simple white door in a turn-of-the-century building.  We thought we had walked into a mansion.  The place was bigger than we had imagined, had a lot of windows, and looked almost brand-new.  It was everything we dreamed of and so much more.  The only problem was cost, I thought.  I asked him what it was, thinking it was going to be way more than we could afford.  Andrea and I for those split-seconds held our breath.  He told us a price that was even less expensive than the very first duplex we thought was perfect!  We knew that this time we had walked into the perfect home for the Speckhals family.  After Glenn told us the rate, without even thinking much, I told him we wanted it.  He said that would be great under one circumstance: we had to be in the apartment within a week.  Even better!!!  We left so thrilled that God had found us just the right place.

Andrea and I were talking just a few days ago about our whole housing “drama” just over a month ago.  Now we know the answer without a doubt of that question we had asked before: “Why do you think God took that first place away?”  Because he wanted us to know that he was in control!  We could try and look our hardest for the “perfect place;”  but He wanted us to know that He was the only one in control, and that He was the only One who could bless.  What a wonderful lesson we learned, and are still learning.  I hope and pray that this is just the first step in trusting God more in our lives. Now, the problem was that we had ZERO furniture.  Over the last month God has given us beautiful things to fill our little home with.  Finally, I think we have a full home.  Sure, we don’t have everything brand-new–but Andrea and I both like it like that.  Here are a few pictures on our newly furnished abode.

Our library/hallway. The picture is taken from our bedroom. The angled thing is the stairwell to our attic. Straight ahead is the living room and kitchen
Our living room taken from the library/hallway. Our spare bedroom is to the right.
Our living room looking to the west. The library/hallway is to the left, and the kitchen is to the right.

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