Okay, I just did something a bit nutty, perhaps it might be considered "stalking." But I wasn't exactly stalking anyone, just a house. I asked God to lead me to this house because I didn't have the address, and I wasn't sure if I'd recognize it when/if I did find it.
Here's what happened:
Last Saturday, I went to two "open houses" with my second oldest daughter. You see, the RICH neighborhood across the big street from us was having open houses! A chance to see one of those gigantic mansions! Why pass up an opportunity?
So, as we were touring the second mansion (and to be honest, I've talked often with family about the idea of moving into a large house that would house all of us--aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc--so, I was looking to see if any one of those houses would actually be suitable for that kind of living----umm, nope). Anyway . . . back to the second mansion (okay, just learned these were "big houses" not mansions). We entered the front doors. Right before us were vaulted ceilings, a grand staircase to the right, and towering windows with curtains from the ceiling to the floor presided at the head of a long dining room table. It was awesome!
As we walked through the dining room, two ginormous pictures of a boy in a tuxedo and a girl in a wedding dress were on display. And throughout the entire house we would encounter clusters of toys, paperwork, and games stashed in nooks and cranny's, giving the home a "lived in" feeling, despite its grandeur. Up the grand staircase were sayings on the walls such as "happily ever after" and other forms of "home sweet family" in modern, scripted letter-style, and different pictures of three children floating down a hall, and pictures of Mom and Dad in wedding photos and other photos of joyous times together. In the master bedroom, a sign above the bed read something like: a kiss before goodnight, with pictures of this couple on either side. As we walked through the smaller bedrooms, one was in blue for a boy, another neatly-kempt room was for a girl, and then the last bedroom was clearly for the youngest girl where she left some of her clothes and toys piled on her bed.
In the basement a carpeted playroom stretched from one end of the house to the other and opened up to a backyard where two golden retrievers sat in the shade in their dog run, and where I could imagine these three children romping and swinging from their large playhouse/swing-set. And when we went into the last bedroom nestled just a few feet away from the playroom, I wondered why this couple was moving when they had such a lovely home, and clearly a cozy setting for their family, so I asked the realtor, "Why are they moving?'
Her answer, "They're getting divorced. And the husband sleeps down here in this bedroom."
My heart dropped to the floor. But they love each other. How could they divorce? How could they want to break up their beautiful family? So many thoughts swished through my head, and I left that house feeling absolute heartache for that precious family: for the parents and their three beautiful children.
That was on Saturday. Today is Tuesday. Ever since that day, and every time I drive by the "rich neighborhood," I think of that family falling apart, and thoughts of writing them a small note, something, anything to encourage those parents constantly leaped through my mind. Finally, I asked God if He wanted me to write a little note to encourage them, to remind me of it. I had no idea what I'd say to complete strangers. And what in the world would they think of getting an "encouragement note" from a stranger?
Well, thoughts of that precious family dogged me for three days, that finally today, I found a little card, and it "just so happens" that our preacher wrote an amazing article about healing marriages in a recent bulletin. I cut that out with the information of our church with a little message written in the card:
LOVE is written all over the walls of your house and in your photos. Your marriage is worth fighting for! ---From someone who's been there.
I was ready. Got the message written and it seemed perfect that the article about marriages was available. I sealed the envelop with the note and article inside and grabbed my oldest daughter to accompany me on finding that "big house." Here was my plan, Lord Willing, I was going to tape this envelop to the front door of this lovely home where they could find it (it's illegal to leave unstamped envelopes in mail boxes). But the question was, could I find the house? I drove up and down streets, trying to jog my memory of where that house was. How in the world was I going to find this place? I didn't have the address. I kept my eyes open for a "sales" sign, all the while praying, "Lord, if You think this is a good idea, please lead me to the right house." I mean, can you imagine leaving a note like that on the wrong door?
During these thoughts and prayers, and giggling at the insanity of this night-time adventure with my daughter (it was around 10:00 at night), I drove by a house and stopped. That might be the house I was looking for, but I wasn't sure. That's when I realized, I never really got a good, solid look at the front of the place. So, I prayed and drove on. After driving back home in hopes of finding one of those many brochures we'd collected of the homes on that day (this one was worth $800,000), and not finding it, and not daring to wake the daughter who accompanied me that day since she had to be up at 5:30 the next morning for school, I headed back out with my oldest daughter, the envelop and a prayer.
Back in the neighborhood, which is only two minutes away from our house, I drove by that one particular house we stopped at, and I saw a man standing in the front yard with his dog. I didn't dare stop, but I couldn't help but wonder if that was the place.
"He looks like the man I saw in the pictures that were in that house," I said to my daughter. "I wonder if that might actually be the place?"
So, I made a U-turn, and pulled up to the house, butterflies in my stomach and a prayer on my lips. I parked across the street, and left my door open, since it was the only light, other than the nearby fancy-smazzy street lamp. As I crossed the street toward the man who had a handsome face and ruffled hair and was on his cellphone in the late hours of the night with the two dogs I suddenly recognized from the home I was in, he told his friend in the receiver to hold on and asked me kindly and with an edge of concern in his voice, "May I help you, Ma'am?"
With my nerves loosening in the slight breeze because of the man's comforting, helpful tone, I asked, "Do you have three children?"
He nodded, a kind friendly grin, almost like I was meeting a old friend, or someone I knew.
"Then I have the right place," I said sighing with a smile, not sure if he could even see my face clearly. So I told him, "I came to your open house."
"Oh, really?" he said, with bright eyes shining in the lamplight and one of his dogs sniffing and rubbing against my legs, tail wagging. "When was that?"
Trying to remember when I'd come, I finally said, "Just a few days ago." Then I laughed, remembering the day. "Oh, yeah. Saturday."
With a nod and a bright smile that I thought should look tired but didn't, he asked, "Oh, so are you interested?"
Of course, he would ask that, but it still caught me off guard. I'm sure he was wondering why I didn't let him know I wanted to buy his $800,000 house during daylight hours.
I just said to him, "No, it's not really what we were looking for." Of course, I said this with the previous thoughts of my grand scheme of having three or four families moving into his home. I chuckled at myself, and then handed him the envelop.
Without hesitation, he gladly took hold of it, and as we both held the card together I said, "This is for you."
"Oh, thank you." He took the card with such eagerness, it was as if he was waiting for me to drive by and give him my little note.
So, after he thanked me, I thanked him, but before I could turn around, he asked me my name. And I said, "Sandi."
And then he said, "Thank you, Sandi," and turned around, calling his dogs, and walked toward his open garage.
I slipped into the car where my daughter waited, and we drove away, thankfully finding our way back out of the neighborhood, but the first words to my daughter were, "That was a God thing."
I mean, who in their right mind goes out so late at night into a neighborhood (where you know there's surveillance) with the plan of sticking a card to an immaculately polished door, where there's no traffic on the roads, no signs of any person on the streets, where lit and unlit homes that back up to golf-courses have doors that are tightly locked and possibly rigged with alarms . . . but the one house you're trying to find has it's owner standing on the front lawn with the two dogs I recognize, practically waiting for me . . . REALLY?!
That's a God thing.
It's moments like this that make me thankful to be alive. Please pray for this family. I SO want them to stay together and work things out and have the kind of marriage they've obviously dreamed of having. All things are possible with God. I just hope and pray that they know that too.