I pulled on new purple running shoes. I tied them with a vengeance and pulled my hair up hastily in a pony tail.
“I’m running,” I told Jason curtly. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes.
I forced my way into the humid night air and started running for the first time in four years. My feet were light and my legs remembered what to do in spite of the weight of my anger. I ran fast and hard and my mind re-played the events of the day.
I had found the house we were to move into. I knew it from the first moment I walked in as we made our way around the owner who bounced a baby on her hip apologizing for the mess the workers had made up in the master bathroom. A stairway ascended on the left at the entrance to the house. All four bedrooms up, along with the laundry room. To the right french doors opened into an office with built-in bookshelves. After that straight down the hall in the middle of the house was the dining room on the right, then the kitchen with the den on the opposite side, built-in shelving surrounding the fireplace. The backyard, a very large backyard, was accessible through the breakfast room. We filed through the house, Jason, our realtor Susan and myself. And I tried to suppress the giddiness I felt. This was it. This was our house. And it was actually in the same price range as the other houses we had looked at that day. The other houses with the animal smells.
A frog jumped across the sidewalk and I leapt sideways so as to keep my new shoes from unnecessary disaster. There are frogs everywhere these days. Frogs and mosquitoes. For this is Houston, TX. The place where you swim through the August night with running shoes on. I had only been running for a few minutes and already I was drenched in sweat. But it felt good to be out there. The blood in my veins raging with life and pushing the oxygen everywhere. I felt free to wrestle with my anger.
I had sat in Susan’s office that morning while Jason stood because he couldn’t find another unoccupied chair in the building. She was printing off comps in the area of the house I was certain was to be ours. But Jason had a different perspective and upon reviewing the paper, his doubts in the house were confirmed. We studied the comps, our heads banded together in concentration as I had risen from my seat, the paper in my hands. But it didn’t look promising. The house had been bought for a song a few years before and the owners had done some work to it (work which my carpenter husband cringed at) and were now selling the house at the top of the market value. The numbers spoke for themselves, but Susan suggested we get some lunch and talk about it and then call her back with a decision. Or an offer. Preferably an offer.
So we went to Chick Fil A, during possibly the busiest time of its career, and decided to sit and talk about the house. Our kids were in Dallas with my parents that week. You would think we would have gone somewhere a little less kid friendly. But no, Chick Fil A with the lines and the kids and the noise. I looked at my man, after a prayer of thanks for the chicken, and still holding his hand I spoke dogmatically, “This is the house we are going to buy.” He had looked at me painfully and shook his head. I started spouting all of the reasons it was right for us and he just listened and waited until I was finished and then he began to tell me the reasons it was wrong for us, the biggest reason being the price which would not benefit resale. And it went on like this all day long. Me whining, pleading, crying as I tried to make him see what was so clear to me. And he calmly and lovingly (O how I hated that!) held his ground.
Didn’t I deserve this house? Didn’t our family deserve this? We had been living with Jason’s parents for one year. One year! And our house in Dallas was finally being sold and we could finally purchase a home! I turned to run around the subdivision lake and as I ran words came softly to my heart. Words that I did not welcome and that I clenched my fists to. Because I knew who was speaking them to me and it was not what I wanted to hear.
“It’s not about you.”
It surprised me as I heard myself involuntarily sobbing into the night. I knew what I had to do, but I bloody battled it. I balled my hands tighter and swung them faster at my side, picked up the pace.
My sweet friend Gilda and her husband Rudy had met us to pray over us just a week before. “You are in a race,” she had spoken to us wisely. At that time we still had not known where in Houston we were to even look for a house. The day after we met to pray together God made clear to Jason that we were to look in Katy, TX for our home. Though still a long commute to work, it would keep us close to family and in the neighborhood of our church home. And that is what we need for we have been called to foster care and adoption.
My heart began to soften as I thought about our calling. And I could see with new eyes the ugliness of my heart. I had found something I wanted. And it was something good, but my grip on it was deadly. It was desire gone viral.
“O God,” I prayed into the night. My tears mingling with sweat. I paused before the final surrender and I could sense His goodness surrounding me. I could trust Him with my desires. And then finally, softly I broke. “I will submit to you. I lay down my desires and entrust my heart to you.”
The freedom of submission swooned my heart to peace. I set back for home.