Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Didn’t I Already Learn This?

I’m constantly amazed at my ability to falter in my faith.

Our house is officially under contract; we did come to terms agreeable for both us and the people who are planning to move into our house, and our closing date is set for September 29. In case anyone is wondering, yes, that is in 25 days. And no, we don’t have a house to move into (or even one we are seriously interested in looking at in the neighborhood in which we’d like to live).

We'll be saying goodbye to our little house

Throughout this process, I’ve been great at talking the talk. Whenever a person came to see the house and didn’t like it, it was easy to assure my husband that God had the perfect buyers for our house and that he knows where we are going. But now it’s time to walk by faith and trust that God has a place for us, and I find myself faltering.

I wonder why we put our house on the market in the first place (even though we had plenty of reasons, chief among them DH’s very long commute).

I find myself secretly (or not so secretly) hoping our buyers will decide to exercise their option and break the contract. We could sell the house at a more convenient time.

I worry: how are we going to get everything packed and moved? I have more than enough work to do for my classes with nothing else added on. DH is preparing to take the first CFA exam this winter and keeps reminding me that he’s terribly behind in his study timeline. Oh, and have I mentioned that I am really, really, really (and that’s not enough emphasis–seriously!) terrible at packing and moving? So, we will hire someone, but that means we need to find someone.

Did I also mention that DH is in a wedding in New Mexico the weekend before our closing date? One which we are both planning to attend (and for which I still don’t have a plane ticket.) Don’t worry: we’ll also be out of town the two weekends preceding that one. As in, this weekend is the only one that has us in town between now and closing.

And when DH’s car broke down on Tuesday morning, bringing the “someday we need to replace your car” to a more urgent “what car are we going to buy and how long can we hold out before we have to do it?”–well, I think that was a final straw for me. And I’m sorry to say I spent most of yesterday succumbing to fear and worry and unable to focus on my studies.

I like to think I was doing okay with the whole thing. That I was trusting God and expecting everything to go the way it should. But I think maybe it hadn’t all sunk in yet. I think I was in denial. And I was quite happy there.

The ridiculous thing about this whole situation is that I thought I had learned these lessons. In fact, just a few months ago, on this blog, I was asking God if I had learned enough yet. And here, too.  I was ready to move on from not being pregnant. So ready.

And here I am, still learning the same things: Trust me. Don’t fear. Don’t worry. Wait on me.

But my gracious God has changed my circumstances. Instead of battling infertility today, I’m dealing with doubts and questions over where we will live and how things can be done in the time that we have. And how our finances are going to work between moving out and (hopefully) moving in and buying a car and paying for movers and flying to New Mexico
and . . .

While I let myself get hung up on the circumstance, on the day-to-day, and on the things about which I have limited or no control, I haven’t been trusting like I should. Yet God is good. And he is calmly whispering to my heart: I’m still here. I’m still trustworthy. I still know. Remember the battles you’ve been through before? I carried you through those, and I’ll carry you through this.

So I’m glad for the wake-up call. This isn’t really a trial: it’s an opportunity to put my faith in practice. I’ve not done so well the past week, but by the grace of God, I can do better today. And tomorrow.

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Unexpected Blessings

Our God is amazing. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And I love how he blesses us in ways that he knows we will appreciate–even when we haven’t asked for a specific blessing.

DH and I are in the process of selling our house. That is, we have our house on the market and are waiting for God to send the right people, the ones he wants in our neighborhood, to come and buy it. We’re sad to be leaving our house, because, frankly, we really love it. But the location just doesn’t work with seminary night classes and a baby on the way. We need a place closer to school and closer to DH’s office so he will be able to come home in time to watch our little blessing before I need to head to class.

We don’t need to move now, but we’ll need to move by this time next year–or else we’ll be tracking down babysitters for short time frames to cover the gap.

We received our first offer on the house on Friday. It’s exciting and a little overwhelming to think this move might actually be happening. If the perspective buyers accept our counteroffer, we need to find a place to live. Quickly! And although there are not any houses we’re interested in buying in the neighborhood we’re looking at, I feel completely at peace about the possibility that when we move, we may be moving into something temporary, instead of buying a new house.

Or, God may provide a perfect house for us at the perfect moment (I hear his timing is perfect). Either way, I’m not worried. Which is, in itself, a clear gift from God that I didn’t specifically pray for.

And it’s still possible these folks will decide this isn’t the house for them. They could reject our counter and walk away. They will have a 10 day option period, from which they could walk away. They could run into financial issues that prevent them from closing and leave us back where we started. And maybe no one else will come to make an offer on the house before we take it off the market at the end of September (I’d prefer to move pre-baby, sure. But not particularly close to my due date). But I know it’s in God’s hands.

Orchid on my bathroom counter

Oddly, I was reminded that God is taking care of this by an orchid I purchased for our master bathroom counter. It’s a really pretty plant, with two flowering spikes adorned by pale pink flowers that almost look vintage. I’ve been enjoying it since we put our house on the market about a month ago. But one of the spikes is starting to lose its flowers. And I was reminded, when we heard news of the offer on Friday, that when I had purchased the orchid I had thought to myself that it would be nice not to need another one before we got this place sold.

And, it looks like we may not. Again, contingent on whether we actually get under contract or not–but still: another blessing I didn’t specifically request.

I think it’s great to be very clear with the Lord and let him know what you’re wanting. And sometimes he says yes, and sometimes he says wait, and sometimes he says actually, I have something else, something better in mind.

But I love that the Lord chooses to bless us sometimes when we haven’t asked for anything. These little unexpected blessings can be easily overlooked or brushed aside. Or we can see them, recognize them, and then thank the Lord for his good provision and good gifts that we didn’t even articulate.

As I’m starting seminary today–my first class begins tonight at 6 p.m.–I’m glad to have the reminder that God is looking out for me even in ways I don’t think I need or don’t think to mention. And I trust he is looking out for you, too. I pray this school year will be an excellent one for all who are heading to class or watching loved ones go back to school. And that we will better notice those blessings from the Lord we never expected.


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Existing in Real Life

I feel like this is the first day in over a week that I’ve been able to just be still.

I don’t know how I get so busy. I felt like I had so much time over the summer, and then as school started my schedule got more filled and, well, I think I had been taking the margins in my life this summer for granted.

But busyness isn’t all bad. I’m busy with fun things and fulfilling things. And if I hadn’t also been recuperating from a cold last week, I think I would have had more free time to write and do more of the things I love to do and feel called to do. (And maybe my floors would have a little less dog fur on them.)

I really wanted to write last week about getting to meet another blogger. I actually do exist in real life (though, full disclosure, Ria is just my blog name), and so does Caroline, an amazing and beautiful spirit-filled woman. I loved getting to share actual physical space with her and her lovely husband in their living room just over a week ago. If you haven’t seen her blog, I’d recommend stopping by In Due Time to see how God is moving in her life.

In-Due-Time

She and her husband were so welcoming! The boys mostly watched football while we talked about a lot of things, but mostly about what God is doing and teaching us in the midst of our trials. And we prayed together. Can I tell you? There are no words to describe how I felt God moving during that prayer.

And I’m so grateful that DH, who hasn’t really ever talked to anyone about this IF stuff in person outside of our parents, had the opportunity to be there with us.

It is amazing to see this couple’s faith in practice as they wait on God for an expected miracle. I just can’t wait to meet their baby (or babies!) whenever God brings them! What joy that day will be!

It was such an honor to be able to share a little real life with them. And it made me want more of it!

I’d like to extend the invitation to anyone who reads this little blog of mine, if you’re in the Houston area and craving a little “in real life” time, please feel free to e-mail me (fillmynest (at) gmail (dot) com) and we’ll see if we can’t set something up! I’d love to pray with you or just to talk. And if you’re not in Houston but want someone to talk to, e-mail me anyway!

And I am just reminded how very blessed I am to be living today and to have the ability to connect with so many beautiful people through the Internet. It’s hard to imagine going through this without the blog world and all the people who have blessed me through their posts and comments. Thank you all.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.
(I Corinthians 1:4)

To share these difficulties, and to one day share each other’s joys when our babies finally do come, is such a gift. And I am so very thankful.


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Not Making Plans

It’s so hard to make any plans when you’re infertile. Partly because infertility alone is something you never planned and you can’t know how it will be resolved. And partly because one of the lessons of infertility is that we don’t have as much control over our lives as we might think or desire. So what’s the use in planning anyway?

So, it’s been a while since my last update. We checked out apartments, but we just couldn’t see ourselves going from a house to an apartment again. The dogs like having a yard, and we like that they have a yard. We started looking for a house we could rent. No luck on that front. At least not yet. We’ve gone out a few times to drive around the various neighborhoods near downtown. The Heights gets a lot of hype, but I’m not sure I get the appeal. I mean, you still can’t really walk anywhere, and Houston’s public transit system is lousy, so it’s not like when we lived in Arlington, VA, and only had to pull the car out of the garage once or twice a week.

I loved one little part of town; it’s called Montrose. It’s eclectic and really cute, and it actually seems pretty walkable; there are restaurants and coffee/tea houses dotted throughout, a couple of nice parks, and the zoned elementary school is actually a magnet Montessori school. Montrose is also slightly less expensive than the Heights, though I don’t really understand why.

As an aside: We’ve learned some interesting things about Houston Independent School District, though we have more to learn if we end up moving into downtown and having children. But the key takeaway so far is that HISD has a really robust magnet program that includes the aforementioned Montessori elementary school, an elementary school with a dual language program, an elementary school that is 100 percent gifted students, middle schools with various magnets for gifted programs and arts and other things, a high school that is specifically geared for kids who want to go into a medical profession, a high school that offers an international baccalaureate (not yet clear on what that is), a fine arts high school, and a number of other things depending on what a child might be interested in. I’m really kind of fascinated by all these programs and curious about how they work, but it explains a bit about how housing prices can be super high in areas zoned to mediocre to poor elementary schools. Where you’re zoned seems to have little effect on where your children actually attend classes.

Really, we’ve been going back and forth. We keep checking out the Houston real estate website (har.com), to see what houses are available. We’ve talked about buying a little bungalow–similar in size to what we would have expected to live in if we’d stayed in DC, though the DC houses all had basements at least. These houses are about 1000 sq. ft. less than what we currently have–but I guess we have more space than we really need for two. Most were built between 1920 and 1940 and have been remodeled inside. They are on decent sized lots that a developer would stick two townhouses on if it were sold for lot value. If we bought one of these bungalows, then, maybe in a few years, when we can afford it, we could add on to the house or even tear it down and build new. Which would mean that we could wait until we had a better understanding of our future financial situation. Part of the issue is that we don’t know how much DH is likely to be earning in the near future, especially since it seems his industry is really bonus-oriented.

So, everything is up in the air. We contacted our Realtor to see how much he’d have us sell our house for if we sold it now. And we did go to an open house last weekend in the Heights. But, we’re hesitating. Maybe we will wait and try to sell our house next summer, after we’ve had some time to adjust to DH’s new schedule, and after we’ve had a chance to see if infertility treatments work for us or not.

Then again, maybe we’ll go look at some houses tomorrow when DH gets off his last night shift and decide we don’t want to wait.

I just wish we could decide and stick with it. Also, I wish the houses where we are looking weren’t so expensive. Or that we had the capital to buy a lot and just sit on it until we could afford to build. But that is definitely not to be.

But what if it’s just greener grass because it’s not what we have now? A temporary antidote to general dissatisfaction?

And why does it have to be so difficult to make any plans?

In the two-weeks since I last wrote, something unexpected happened. I’ll post on that next, as this is already long enough.


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Changing Spaces

Strange things are happening here.

DH got promoted a few weeks ago, though he’s still working his shift schedule until the new guy is trained and ready to replace him. At this point, that means at least one more night shift.

But this week is a normal M-F work week. So DH is spending his time with the new department and doing the new hours.

In his current position (not the promotion), he was working 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. (or vice versa on nights), Wed.-Tues. most weeks, and 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. one week out of five. The latter would be the normal working hours (maybe to 4) for him if he’d stayed in the department he was in. At those hours, he expects a 30-40 minute commute. Which is long, but doable.

In the new position he’s in a new department. So he’s working 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. About the worst possible time to go to work in Houston. His morning commute has increased to at least 50 minutes, and the trip home takes even longer. He’s spending about two hours per day in the car.

I think I posted before about things we did because we expected a large family. Moving to Katy was definitely one of them. It has great schools–and we live right behind the elementary school where our kids would theoretically attend classes. It has nearby parks and pools. And it’s a really family-oriented town.

But maybe we don’t want to be so family oriented right now.

DH has been hinting for a while that he’d like to live downtown instead. I saw that as something we would do if infertility treatments don’t work and we’re not likely to have children, or if we won’t have more than one or two kids. We did, after all, build our own house. Which we moved into last June (yes, approximately one month before we received our infertility diagnosis).

We’re all moved in. We ordered cabinets to install in our study (planning to put book shelves above to the ceiling and make it a little library). We just bought new bedroom curtains and bedding to finally get our room done. The only room that hasn’t been finished (or isn’t in the process of being finished) is the nursery–which is empty save for the books that are waiting for the aforementioned bookshelves.

When we moved to our house, we expected to be here for a long time. Long enough, at least, for our kids to go to the school right behind us. Long enough that we would join the church and be able to really get involved for the long term. A long time.

So, of course, if makes perfect sense that today I’m going with DH to look at fancy downtown apartments. And that I expect to spend my Memorial Day weekend getting our house cleaned up so we can put it on the market. It makes perfect sense, right?

It’s not just the commute, though I guess that was the final straw. It’s because we don’t have kids yet. We don’t fit the family-oriented culture. And when we go out, we go downtown. There isn’t really anything here outside of going out to dinner. And while I’ve made some friends and connections here, DH’s co-workers are mostly downtown and neither of us really feels like we have a solid group here.

Yes, we have friends we’ll want to visit. But we’re moving 30 minutes away, not to a different state or anything.

This has been a long time coming. And while I’m not looking forward to renting again, or to leaving my beautiful house, it is a good time to sell. And since the house is pretty new, we don’t have too much work to do to get it ready. We might even make some money on the house, and it will definitely free up the capital we invested, which wouldn’t hurt to have in the bank to help pay for treatments.

And we’ve had amazing support from DH’s mom. When we told her we were thinking about moving, she said that she and DH’s dad had just been talking about how they didn’t think Katy was really the right place for us right now. It was a very nice confirmation that maybe we’re doing the right thing.

But I hate moving. I wish I could wake up and just already be moved. I am a terrible mover. And I’ve never sold a house before, so I’m nervous about that. Thanks in advance for any prayers you can send our way–both that we’re doing the right thing, and for things to go smoothly. I really appreciate it.