“The Story” or “Why I Should Listen to My Wife More”

There is one thing you should know about our marriage — we are really good for each other. Why, you ask?

The positives: Lara is a dreamer, and loves to look toward the exciting things in the future. I’m really good at being in the present and engaging with what is directly in front of me.

The negatives: Lara can sometimes get ahead of herself and develop unrealistic expectations. I sometimes fail to plan and expect it all to work out by itself.

We really are so good for each other. Lara reminds me of the big picture, and I remind Lara of where we are at right now. A great illustration of this dynamic (and most of all, how Lara was right) is the story of how we got our new apartment.

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Lara has been fiercely excited for this next season of life to begin. She has been such an amazing supporter of my desire to get more education at Trinity, and has been so excited to make concrete steps toward moving to the Czech Republic. As early as June, she was looking for housing and jobs close to Trinity, despite the fact that it was still three months before our current lease was up. I kept telling her, “Lara, it’s too early to be looking!” She would nod and agree, but wouldn’t let my pessimism dampen her search.

In mid-July, I come home from work one day, and Lara announces that she has made an appointment to see two apartments. “But we still have a month before we are able to move,” I say. “I know, but they sounded like they would be nice, and you never know…” she replies.

I went along with it, but was incredibly skeptical about the chances of us actually finding a place. After all, it was way too early to be looking, and we were probably just going to leave disappointed, so why even try? It will all work itself out, won’t it? This is probably a waste of our time and energy right now.

So we went to see the first apartment. This showing confirmed my skeptical position. It obviously wasn’t what we were looking for, so we thanked the landlord, and moved along. 

Next, apartment number two. 

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As we drove, we took a turn off the main road into a quaint neighborhood full of cute houses and lush greenery. We wound through several streets and ventured further and further back. I check the house number, and see the “947” on a white two-story home. We greet the landlords, and walk through the first-floor apartment’s blue door. 

If you are married, you know the feeling of being in complete agreement with your spouse without having to say a word. You know the feeling of being completely on the same page, thrilled and amazed, by simply casting a glance at your significant other. You look, and you know. “Yes, this is where we want to be.”

It was perfect. Exactly the right size, the right style, the right location, the right price. But it also exceeded our expectations: a charming and quiet neighborhood, a spacious kitchen, basement laundry hook-up, and a yard. We would even have our own guaranteed parking spot (something we could never have dreamed of in the city)! 

We rushed to complete the application and returned that evening to deliver it personally to the landlord. We were warmly welcomed by 89 year-old R. into her home. That evening, R. told us about her life as an immigrant from Italy, raising a family in Highland Park, and her intentions behind renting. She told us that she rents to Trinity students because she wants them to be happy. She lowers the price of rent to help Trinity students be during their demanding time of study.

The next day we received an email confirming that we had gotten the apartment. Our landlord held the apartment until our previous lease was up, and did a number of work projects while we prepared to move. She even waxed the floors herself! On the day that we moved in, R.’s daughter brought donuts as a housewarming guest, and it was then that we knew — “we are not in the city anymore!” 

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God could not have orchestrated it more beautifully. He truly does provide for every need of ours, and more. And He provides us with partners who think and act contrary to our natural method of life, and so brings his blessings to fruition. I am so grateful that Lara was right to be looking for apartments, and that I was wrong to put it off. The day after signing the lease, our landlord told us she was being flooded with emails and phone calls inquiring about the house. But this place was already taken, and Lara and I received even greater confirmation that this is exactly where God wants us. And so we have so many reasons to give him thanks and praise.

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Surviving and Thriving — We Have Moved!

It’s official — we have moved! 

Lara’s parents and sister Hannah got to come stay with us for a couple days at the beginning of the month, and after spending a couple days out in the city, we started the daunting task of packing. You never realize how much stuff you accumulate until you start trying to fit it all in boxes…

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For example, I never think I own THAT many books, but when Hannah and I started packing my fifth container (which I can barely lift on my own), I may just have to admit that I may have a problem. Yay for more school and more books to collect!

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With the help of our family (we couldn’t have done it without them!) we got the bulk of the work done, and finished the final smaller things in the days afterward. As far as moving was concerned, this also always takes so much more time than you think. I had (thought I had) learned this last time, so we started bright and early at 6:30AM, so as to give ourselves plenty of time. Good thing we did!

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We had rented a cargo van, and milked it for all its worth. Some good friends of ours from school, Aaron and Eli Winter, as well as my good friend John Perrine (who will be at Trinity with me this fall), helped us load and unload in the morning. Our new place was a 30 minute drive from our old place, and we ended up making four trips, with my brother Caleb and his wife Haley helping us with the final load. 

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And soon, the apartment that had looked like this…

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…looked as if no one had been there!

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Having started at 6:30AM, we finished the day and were able to lie down to sleep at 11:30PM that night. That’s a good old 17 hours! Good thing we started early! We were both exhausted, but so grateful for our friends and family who helped us, and most of all thankful for God’s gift of a new place to live for this next season.

As we drove that last load of boxes and furniture up from Chicago to Highland Park, we were grateful for a move to signify the start of a new season of life. The last year was difficult, and God taught us so much, but it often felt like we were just merely surviving and trying to get by. As we settle into our new house, we are asking God that these next years would be years of thriving. We want to be healthy in our marriage, in our emotional life, in relationships with our friends and family, and in our spiritual maturity as we grow closer to God.

Here’s to surviving the move, and beginning a season of thriving!