In 2001, I bought my first home in Raleigh. After 14 years, I sold it. This might seem like no big deal, but as I stood in there putting on finishing touches, I cried. I remember I was a teacher when I bought English Oaks. It was my first place and I loved painting, decorating, and living in it. It was such a safe place to live. I loved the neighbors, the feel of community and having my very own space.
I lived at English Oaks for 4 years before I got married. I tried to sell it in 2004 and it turned out that I would need to spend a large sum of money to get it ready to sell. We decided to rent it. This was my first rental property and let me just tell you, being a landlord was not my forte. Our first tenants, wore stilettos on the hardwoods, were always late on rent and got drunk on the front lawn. What started off as an adventure quickly began to be a huge burden.
In 2008, after Mer and Ty, I was once again handed the keys to this house, not as a landlord but a resident. I didn’t want it, I had lived in a much bigger and better house. I didn’t want to go back there. It felt like if I moved there, I was going backward. So, I tried to sell it and it wouldn’t sell. I kept it on the market and looked at buying a new big house with a yard for Ty. I wanted to start fresh. But, God had different plans.
In October of 2008, after living with my sister for 9 months, I moved back into English Oaks. This was our new place- Ty and me. Immediately, it felt like home. It was perfect for the two of us- warm, cozy and safe. I grieved, wrote and recovered in this home. Most of the time, it was full of friends and family, all making sure we were okay. Ty rode his bike on the tennis courts, we swam in the summers and I began to slowly rebuild my life. At night, once Ty was in bed, I wept and wrote. God gave us a new start once again.
In 2011, I moved out of English Oaks for the final time. This time was to move in with my husband and his two boys. Ty and I went from a family of 2 to 5 in the blink of an eye. Once again, I tried to sell it and there was no interest. So, I got back into the landlord business. But, English Oaks became a kind of ministry house, where I let women stay who were struggling emotionally or financially. English Oaks continued to be a safe haven and a place of refuge for those who were hurting. I loved being able to provide for others what God had given me in the most difficult time of my life-a refuge.
But, as most landlords know, a property cannot sustain being a ministry house long-term and when we had Sadie Grace life became a lot more challenging logistically. English Oaks became a burden to me once more. So, we decided to sell.
It seems kind of silly to write about a house. After all, it is just a thing. But, I am always intrigued to look back and see how God leads and how His timing is perfect. He knew that I would need my house in 2008, and then he allowed me to use it to help others for years. Overall, it has been a real blessing. But, it is time to part ways my dear home.
So, I am thankful for you English Oaks and what you have taught me but now is the time to part ways, Auf Wiedersehen. (German for Goodbye-- from one of my favorite shows, Project Runway)