On October 10, we received the test back. Cladosporium. The mold that was living in our house. Three weeks prior, I picked up a home mold test kit and laid it out for an hour in two places in our tiny, cozy home, and waited. 96 hours later, the petri dishes that had once been clear were now covered in white and black splotches of mold. We sent the test away, and alerted our landlord and waited. The kind of restless waiting that feels like you’re at a green light, but you just can’t get your car to shift into the right gear. The kind of waiting that could yield so many different results, so you can’t even plan in the waiting. We were testing because James got sick the night we got home from our honeymoon. He woke up for work the next day and was congested and coughing. We chalked it up to the hours we had spent in airports and on planes the previous day, but something was up. I was normally the one that got sick, not James… Two doctor’s visits and two rounds of steroids later, James is still sick. The kind of sick that made me feel utterly helpless as a wife. We tried cleaning the filters, we tried natural remedies, we tried changing the pillows. Nothing was working.
So when we received the tests back and we finally had a name for the culprit that had invaded James’ immune system, we finally had an answer. There was satisfaction. An “Aha!” We drafted a letter to our landlord and knew immediately that we had to leave, or that something had to be done to rid our precious house from the mold that was living and breathing in it. I finally felt like the waiting was worth it. For about 2 hours.
Then came the daunting task that is finding a new place to live. We had inherited the house we lived in from my past roommate and she inherited it from another couple in our community. The house had “been in the family” for 3 years. It fell in our laps. It was easy, it was affordable, and we made it our own. Now we would have to search elsewhere for something new. The Daily Mail did a survey in 2014 that ranked buying a home more stressful than divorce, bankruptcy, and losing your job. It was the number one most stressful thing in anyone’s life. The numbers don’t lie.
We found ourselves online constantly, touring homes and apartments, discussing the options, and just overall being let down. It all came to a crux when we decided to drive through the city and look for “For Rent” signs, and found nothing. We got home and I collapsed into a “We-don’t-have-enough-money-and-we-will-never-find-a-place-to-live-and-if-we-stay-here-you’ll-still-be-sick-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-dooo-oo-oo-o,” puddle. Just a massive, angry, desperate, puddle. I busied myself making rice because what else do you do when you’re spiraling down into misery and James was trying desperately to pull me back to the light and reality. He said to me, “I married the girl that always calls on Jesus first, where is she?”
Where was I? I’ll tell you where I was – I was relying on everything else to come through for us, except God. The next day, I was praying for peace and started flipping through my journal and found a prayer that I had prayed months earlier – “Jesus, give me faith in my unbelief. Push me to be more like you – faithful. Ignite in me a propensity of faith. May my first and last response be you, Jesus. Give me faith to see you for who you say you are and to believe that you are for my good and your glory.”
Thanks a lot, Tory. Here I was a weepy, sad, confused mess, and here Jesus is – answering my prayer. Giving me an opportunity to be faithful. And how was I responding? With anger and pride and pessimism. Here is what I came to realize that that prayer meant: to be faithful and hold fast to Jesus and His promises in the cloudy, foggy, desperate times, and in the joyful, fulfilled and close times. I had figured out how to live on the mountaintop and praise, but Jesus wanted to show me how to live in the valley and praise.
So here I am, at the precipice of a journey of faith, of stepping into the unknown. This faith doesn’t look like stepping out on the water or packing your bags to move to the mission field. It’s the kind of daily faith. The moments that we don’t normally accredit to God, but that he always comes through for. This journey isn’t scary or time-sensitive, but it’s the unknown. But I have the full confidence of God on my side. I am standing at the beginning of the path, and I know what the end looks like – it’s me, giving glory to God for coming through and showing himself faithful, again.
Does that mean that I give up trying? No. Does that mean that I give up looking for a perfect place? No. What it means is that I trust God for the outcome, not me. At the end of the day, we have placed our utter and complete trust in Him; so it is His name on the line, not mine. It will not be my wit or skill that found us a home; it will be God’s sovereign hand. He does not need me to defend him or come to His rescue; He just needs me to be obedient, faithful, and patient. To trust him that he holds all things together and he is the answer to our questioning. Will it still be cloudy? Absolutely. Will I still act in the waiting and searching? Yes, I am committed to be proactive, and prayerful. Am I believing for a miracle? You bet. Do I doubt that God will come through? Not one bit. Will I still be afraid and confused? No, because my God is a God of peace, and I will wait and celebrate the day that he will prove himself true once more.