Being Led and Following
Matt and I went to church this past Sunday. It’s kind of a new thing for us. I feel like we’ve been searching for a church for years, and in fact we have. When we lived in Oakland we found one in walking distance but it didn’t feel like the right fit. I loved that we could walk there and that it was in the cute neighborhood of Rockridge but that wasn’t all that we needed or wanted from a church.
When we moved to San Rafael, it came as the result of prayer. Prayers to God asking if we should stay in Oakland or if we should leave. Prayers about what was best for our family, for our children, for our marriage. It was a difficult decision. Much like attending the church that was in walking distance, there were reasons we wanted to stay but had to ask ourselves if they were the right reasons.
We were looking at selling our house during a time that wasn’t great to sell, (This was at the end of last year) and buying at a time that wasn’t great to buy, but, we grounded ourselves in our faith. It’s funny, to think about it and to write about it gives me a different perspective. I didn’t necessarily see us being grounded in anything. It felt so topsy turvy. But we were. We were grounded in the knowledge that God knew where we should be and that he would guide us to that place. We just had to be open and listen.
In searching for a house, I was literally driving to Marin 2-3 times a week to meet up with a wonderful realtor that Garrett put us in touch with, Jeff Birkenseer. It was nothing short of insane. We would meet, he would hop in my car and off we went to see the 4, 6, 8 houses for that day. I would put in a movie for the boys on the dvd player and run in and out of the houses like a mad woman. We even found a house that we liked, really liked. It was about as far north in Novato as you could get and I can’t believe we even considered it, but we did. We were feeling desperate. It had been sitting on the market for months with no offers. Perfect. We put in our offer and prayed. Serious prayer that if we were meant to have this house we would, and if we weren’t, to please make the signs clear. I don’t know if we could have received a sign that was any more crystal clear than the one we received. The very day that we put in our offer, which they countered and we countered back and in the moment of time before our counter was faxed back, they received another offer. Higher than ours and they accepted it.
When we really looked at our financial situation and my preparing to leave my job at Gap, we realized that it would have been a huge mistake for us to have bought that house. We decided at that moment to change our game plan and rent. We made our list of exactly what we wanted in a home and after more trips to Marin to see rental homes, I found the one we’re living in. I revisited my list not too long ago and I was amazed that almost everything on the list was before me. We absolutely LOVE where we’re living and thank God time and time again for leading us to this place.
We live in a beautiful suburban spot. The streets are wide and flat so the boys can ride bikes around the neighborhood, the elementary school that is one of the highest ranked in the area, is a half a block from our front door and there is a church, 5 minutes drive from our home that we are beginning to feel connected to. We’ve attended this church a few times and each time we feel stronger that it’s the right place for us to be. Marin Covenant Church is a non-denominational Christian church with a wonderful nursery and Sunday School program. The people that we’ve met are warm and friendly and most importantly for Matt and I, not pushy. Our children like being there and I enjoy the casual environment. I can bring my tea with me in the morning and drink it while hearing the Word.
As if to confirm our move was the right path and to drive the point home in our minds, our house in Oakland sold in just three short months. We had amazing help with the process and followed what we felt in our hearts to be the right things to do. Our realtor and friend, Ericka Jennings scheduled our open houses and because she lives across the street from our old home, was there to care for the house in our absence. We can’t thank her enough for all of the hard work she devoted to us. (Thanks Ericka – we love you!) If you need a realtor in the East Bay, she’s your woman! We also called the services of our friend Gloria Marth. She is an amazing interior designer who helped us pick the colors to repaint and to gave us pointers about staging the house. She also graciously helped to pick colors for the new place so that we could paint before moving in. Her help made a huge difference both with the sale of the Oakland house and our feeling settled and our new home in Marin. (Gloria, you’re the best and when we move to our next house, the really great modern one that is just waiting for us, we won’t do a thing to decorate without you!)
Now that we’ve settled in and have had time to enjoy the view so to speak, we felt it was the right time to open our hearts and minds to the church. It was a long search and difficult at times. Matt didn’t want to go somewhere he didn’t like, just for the sake of going, and I had a hard time motivating myself to take the boys to service without him. Sitting in church on Sunday, with my husband at my side and my boys in nursery content, was awesome. After the service we came home and had an opportunity to sit outside and talk. We talked about how we felt led to this place, to this home, to this church. I think for the both of us the feeling of ease was what stood out. We didn’t feel like we were struggling with this issue that had been so huge for so long and are looking forward to deepening our roots into this community in the future.
We give our thanks to God for holding us in his hands and for leading us to this place that we now call home and all of our friends and family that supported us through the process.