the condo

A prayer. And a laugh.

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that test our faith in the biggest ways.

I received a text today from Peter, the Pakistani man who is living in our condo with his family. The text said that the condo is not heating nor is there any hot water. He was asking for help (understandably so - Central Ohio is facing another 20 degree snowy day).

I was ice-skating with Harper when I got the text, and knowing that I would need to deal with this overwhelming heat issue sent me from calm, patient momma to raging, irritable grump.

As our time ice-skating ended, my daughter was becoming tired, hungry, cold and perfectly temperamental for a four-year-old. Instead of handling her with the mature grace of a grown woman, I reacted with annoyance to her every whine, complaint, and tear. It was unpleasant, and that’s putting it pleasantly. In the back of my mind was lingering the reality that my Saturday was now going to be consumed with condo repairs and the associated time and money. Tension was building and my innocent daughter felt the weight of it.

As we drove home from the skate rink, I started in on my self pity party. Who am I going to find to help on a Saturday? I don’t even know where to start with water heater issues. And how much is this going to cost? We simply can’t afford the repairs. If this winter hadn’t been so brutal, this would never have happened. And winter isn’t even over yet. I don’t have time for this. I don’t have the money for this. And I certainly don’t have the patience for this.

Internally I was on a tirade, contemplating a vow to never help another person ever again because it always leads to more work for me.

It wasn’t long before all my self-pity turned into God-blame. Surely this was all His fault.

As I shifted from self pity to God blame, the dialogue in my head began to evolve. I found my hard heart warming, a bit of the crustiness breaking away.

Okay, God, fine, so I need to deal with this heat issue at the condo. And every other time that I have encountered an issue like this, you have been there. Not always in the way I wanted or expected, but in the end, you were there. And the result was always blessing. So maybe I’m going to have to deal with this unexpected inconvenience this weekend. But for good reason. Help me to have faith in that.

As the stiffening of my heart began to release, another dialogue emerged. The shrinking tension became apparent as I near laughed out loud realizing I hadn’t even yet prayed that God would fix the heat issues that were plaguing the condo. All the time I had spent stressing (and shaving years off my life in the process), I could have been praying.

Harper and I arrived home, and I walked into the house feeling lighter than I had felt only minutes earlier. Though I still needed to deal with the issues at the condo, my irritability and frustration was lifting. If anything, God took my prayer for the condo and used it to soften my heart.

As I was relaying to Matt the text from Peter, my phone alerted me of another text. There was no holding back the laughter as I read Peter’s words: “Sister, for half the day, no hot water or heat, but thank God, hot water and heat is coming now. It’s ok.”

I looked away from my husband, fighting back tears, as I realized how surly and sour my heart had initially reacted to this measly first-world problem. I was even more overwhelmed with emotion realizing that God had this entire situation under His control the entire time. He was there. He is there. He is here. A flush of humility warmed my face as I processed His faithfulness and my lack of it. Why does He continue to love me unconditionally? The emotion was too much, and all I could do was smile. And laugh.



The condo on a mission, continued.

So what was God's answer to our question, "What should we do about the condo?" And if you don't know what the bleepity-bleep I'm talking about, start here.

After God made it all too clear that selling was not the answer, we started praying about renting. It wasn't even one week into that prayer when God answered in a way we never expected. Back to my journal entry from December:


Meanwhile, I was catching up on some bloggy blogs, and I came across a post that my Pastor published.

Here’s what he wrote:

I met a man yesterday who was left with no alternative but to flee for his life from his home country and his own countrymen. Yes, this happens.

This man is a Pakistani pastor, which itself is not life-threatening, unless you proselytize (share about your faith to nonbelievers in an effort to convert them). If you stay in your “holy huddle” as most churches do there (and here??), then you are “free” to worship. But if you move to the Gospel’s Edge seeking to reach others for Christ’s sake, as he did, then you will initiate your own death sentence. As a result of sharing his faith, he was threatened death six times while close associates lost their lives. He escaped by the grace of God and arrived here just days ago.

Now, he and his wife, along with their three children are in Columbus. But they’re without a home, transportation, funds or a job.

This pastor and his family have a few specific needs, in addition to financial support:

Place to stay (apartment, mother-in-law suite, hotel, etc.)

Um, WHAT?! How about AN EMPTY CONDO??? Could they use that?!

You bet your bottom dollar that I was all up in this precious family’s business, trying to determine if they still needed a place to live, and guess what, THEY DID!

And in less than a week, they had moved in.

I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe that God is going to use the condo, once again, for the sake of His Kingdom, for His glory, in a way that I would never choose but in a way that is so much better than whatever measly idea I could conjure up on my own.

I am in awe.

And I just don’t know what to say. What to do. How to be. Because I am a measly girl who serves a mighty God. And wow. Just wow. Wow. Wow.

As I look back over the last few month, I see the evidence that God was movin’ and shakin’ and jivin’ all along - just not in the ways that I thought. Too often I seek God through my finite perspective, and when He shows up in totally different ways, I miss Him. Because I’m too focused on my way, not His. But God has graciously given me retrospect, allowing me to look back and see what He was doing. How He was working. And it’s beautiful. Because so much of His work is in the small nooks and crannies of my hard heart. His work is a too soft blanket over my messy life. He loves me and prepares me and guides me, even when I’m bitchin’ and moanin’ for some grandiose laser light show.

He’s always jivin’. It’s just that sometimes we need to thirst before we can be quenched. What we perceive as a dry spell is just as much for our good as the moments when we feel God’s presence overwhelming.


And so the condo stands full. Full of a family and life and Jesus. And I am beyond thankful. Because ONLY GOD. Only He can direct the steps of my puny plans into a majestic and eternal journey.

Only God.


The condo on a mission.

If you've never heard the story of our condo, start here. Only God can take a few measly walls, some splintered souls and dried up intentions and make eternal masterpiece. Only God.

Only He can take what I thought was a story with a beginning, middle, end, and slap me open with His relentless, "It ain't over, baby!"

And oh baby, it sure ain't over.

I suppose it makes most sense for me to let you see what I wrote at the beginning of December. Yes, let's start there:


My fingers shake with jitters – thin bones itchin’ like fleas to jump skin.

But this is too good not to type.

Oh God. I thought you had moved on from the mess I offer. And here you are, knocking open the door of my heart, draining me empty, filling me whole with your will.

Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

It’s been a year and a half since I received that phone call from my friend, Jess, asking my family to live in her house. And shortly after we were invited to live in someone else’s house (RENT FREE), we were given the opportunity to allow someone to live in our condo.

Between us and God, mountains were a movin’.

At least that’s how it felt. Over the course of the next several months, we were jivin’. It was as if God tossed us into the front cart of the Matterhorn and together we sped through the majesty of His creation, touching lives with each twist and turn. It was exhilarating.

Except it wasn’t us at all. It had nothing to do with us. It never did.

God was movin’ mountains and homes and lives and for a moment, He gave us a peek.

But then a few months ago, sometime over the summer, everything slowed down. It was as if we pulled into the loading dock, got out of the car, and the amusement park had vanished. And God, He felt distant. And I was bitter. I had this inner conversation (prayer) that went something like this, “Dude, God, yo, remember me? {Sometimes I pray in jive.} Remember us? We had something and it was real. Don’t you remember? Things were happening, man. You and me, God, we were legit. So what’s up? Where you at? Because I thought we could get back together and start rockin’ again. You in?”

Cue crickets.

In fact, not only did I feel silence from God, but Sharon, the one who had been living in our condo, moved out. And so now we had this home – this condo – sitting empty. Leaving us with a decision – what should we do with the condo? After everything God had already done, it just felt wrong for it to sit empty.

And so we prayed – God, what should we do? Sell it? Rent it? Allow someone to live there? God, please show us. Direct us. Lead us.

Cue more crickets.

We got nothing. Nothing. We felt zero peace about any of those options. Yes, we would love to sell it and be able to save money for a future home (the Browns, the family who is allowing us to live in their home rent-free, will return to their home some time in the next year.). Or we could rent it, so as not to lose money on a sale, and still be able to save money. Or we could allow someone to live there who needs a home – but who?

And still nothing. Nothing. To be honest, I was frustrated. Because now this condo, this condo with a story and a history and quite frankly, this condo on mission, was empty. And it didn’t make sense.

So we went with our flesh. And we put it on the market. Because we would love to sell it and save.

But the answer to that decision became obvious almost quicker than it took us to put it on the market. Within a week of listing it, we lowered the price because of the surrounding market, and within a month, we received an offer so offensively low that we knew we needed to reconsider our decision.

And so just last week we started talking again, maybe it’s time to put it on craigslist and find a renter. Maybe that’s what God wants. Because clearly selling it isn’t the answer.


And clearly, it wasn't.

But what was the answer?

Only God.

Stay tuned for the answer . . . tomorrow.