Battling for land

We Nichols are still battling for our own little patch in the new homeland. We never could have foreseen what a battle it would be, but here we are – involved in our third attempt to buy a house. I don’t know the outcome at the time of writing, but I know that I will be glad when we’ve broken through.

Our hunt has been colourful and heavy on the educational end of things. Once I wandered through the arches of a pink kitchen humming along to ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’ playing on the radio. I saw a cherubim playing the flute. I saw electric hob rings with bespoke sort of frilly hats made to fit each one. I’ve seen a lot of yellow artex. A LOT of cream ceramic floor tiling. “Man Caves” with medals hanging up and the heads of various animals, some as big as my daughter’s whole body. I’ve been in a reiki healing room, and I’ve seen one clay willy. Readers, these things come to ME, I don’t seek them out.

We’ve been getting our heads around school runs from different areas; crime rates in different areas; properties being reclaimed by the banks; the concept of ‘overcapitalising’ (whereby you spend too much on improving a house then you can’t get it back because the area has a set ceiling of value); different systems of putting in ‘applications’ to buy a house and the ensuing waiting game… lots and lots of NEW.

In my experience God never wastes a chance to work in you through this kind of malarkey. We need a lot of house – we’ve got 3 kids including 2 teenagers, plus we’ll have a lot of visitors, plus we both work from home… we kinda wanted an outdoor space for the family, maybe a pool (it sounds like a luxury in England but it’s actually quite common here as it’s so boiling hot). We need space to gather lots of people together (because thats why we’re here in the first place). Last but not least we need to make our money work for us as we’re not getting a wage so it’s important we get a house where we can make money (by renting out a flatlet or improving the value somehow). I feel strongly that the kids have paid a massive price for this move, and I want them to have a place to cavort and have friends over. We haven’t come all this way to be squashed indoors! So YES – it’s quite a list, and the estate agents are struggling to come up with the goods. Some of them I’ve seen more than my own family.

People told me again and again and AGAIN “God has got a house for you”, and “Don’t worry about a house”. I think I wrote before about the promise in psalm 16 that I have tucked away in my heart. “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” 

SO what do you do with a promise when you’ve looked around maybe FIFTY houses and they’re either hideous or lacking in a room or two, and you’re at the END of a long haul not at the beginning so you have less energy for bravery and adventures. Well I’ll tell you how NOT to react to God cos it does me no good whatsoever:

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“What are you trying to prove?”

“How will we know when to hand in our notice on this rental place because we need two months notice, and what about our stuff arriving here, not to the new house and how will all that work out? It’s impossible”

“Why do you want us all so depleted at this time when we need our energy?” (NB. fretting about the logistics as outlined above: THAT’S depleting, rather than God himself!)

“What’s the point of a promise if I don’t know where/ when/ how?”


Instead I think it’s better to just do the whole trusting thing … which is REEEEEEEALLY boring at times and you’re tempted to feel like you’re being a fool.  Helpful things to say to God:

“I don’t know what you’re doing but I love you anyway” (cue: worship music and some interpretive dance if you feel so inclined. A glass of wine if not.)

“I believe your timing is perfect”

“I trust you and your character and faithfulness – your grace has lead me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home…. “ (Ring a bell?)

“Thank you for stripping me back where I need it as you obviously know what you’re doing more than me”.

That kind of thing. Sometimes I’ve won and sometimes I’ve given in and been a miserable doom-filled old trout. But every time I see a house, I get a bit excited, I can’t help myself! Except this one time:

So Colin had a bee in his bonnet about getting a bit of land, so I fixed up the appointment. The boys have been home ill (and there’s even talk of Fin being hospitalised if he doesn’t start holding food in soon) so we all went along to ‘get out into the air’. Half way there it’s apparent this place is waaaaaay too far from school for us wimpy Brits. The sky turns black and the car is being buffeted around amidst lashing rain, lightning and hail. Dad is ploughing on, ignoring the shrieking and mockery. We finally get there and we’re greeted by a man with a knife wound slashed across his face – terrifying, especially with the lightning cracking around us. Nobody speaks English. 3 large frightening dogs. A family of lodgers in their nightwear, trying to give us one of their many kittens. Buck wandering around the barbed wire fence. A sunken bath in a tiny room made of wood, as if we’re in a little ship out at sea in a storm…

Thank you God that you have a house for us up your sleeve.