I've decided to buy a house. I looked at some properties before I moved last summer (read about that here and here), but I didn't have any peace about making such a big decision. The timeline would have been rushed, and I wasn't sure what part of town would be best for me. Perhaps more importantly, I was so overwhelmed by all that had happened in the first half of 2012 (finishing a dissertation, finding a job, leaving my Texas home of six years), that I didn't have the emotional wherewithal to commit to a house. I've been really happy with my apartment for the last seven months, and anyway, if I had bought a house last year, I might not having anything exciting to say in my Christmas letter for 2013.
So far, the process has been calm and simple. I contacted a Realtor I trust, selected a few houses as preliminary favorites, and tomorrow we will visit them. It all seems so ordinary, and yet this is a moment I have dreamt about since I was a little girl. I feel there ought to be festivities, or rituals of some kind, to mark tomorrow as a special day: The Day She Goes Out into the Wilderness to Seek Land and a House. (Granted -- this isn't exactly the wilderness. But let's not forget I live behind a place called "Catfish Junction," and within walking distance of a bow-hunting shop).
I'll save my grand celebrations for the day I actually purchase a house, with another soon after, when I plant a garden and can check off another item on my "Let's Be a Literal Proverbs 31 Woman" list. (I don't really have a list, but maybe I should. Between spinning wool into yarn, putting purple sheets on my bed, and considering land to purchase, I'm not doing too badly.)
Until I can host an official housewarming (what a wonderful term!), I want to be steady and diligent in prayer for this undertaking. Here's my prayer for this weekend:
God who settles the solitary in a home: thank you for all the houses you have already given me. Thank you for the snug white house on ninth street, the dorm room on the second floor of Burnett hall, the garage efficiency on Maple Avenue, our "lighthouse" apartment on the banks of the Brazos, my last bright room in Waco, and these little chapel-rooms in a land of bays and bayous. Thank you for all the people who have shared these homes with me: for my parents, assorted cats, one dog, for Rachel, and Mari, for another Mary, for Adrienne, for Jenn & Grant. Thank you for the food I could place on shelves or grow from the ground. Thank you for the money to keep the lights shining and the water running. Thank you for the guests and friends who visited these rooms and made them homes.
God who is with us, please guide and bless this newest search. Take me to houses that are solid and well-built, with strong walls and good ground. Lead me to sidewalks where children could play and where neighbors know one another. Give me wise questions to ask about wiring and roofs, and let my imagination see how a place might welcome friends and strangers.
God who loves, let me dedicate this place to you before I own it, before I even see it. Give me a house that I may continue to welcome students, make friends, house the homeless, and give beds for weary travelers. Let it become a gathering place and an outpost of your kingdom. Let it be a homely house in a dark world, let it be bigger on the inside, let its windows be called "Wonder" and all its doorways, "Hope." You, God, are our true home, and I pray my house will bear witness to that.
In the name of Jesus, who made a home with us, amen.