In light of the house-hunting of my two oldest of late, I was sharing the story of how Alan and I found our home with a friend, and she said I should tell you, too, so here goes! We moved to GR from Marquette (which is an 8-hour drive) some 22 years ago while our 7 kids were still quite young, so we really wanted to find a home before we arrived with a van full of kids and a moving van stuffed with early-American (hand-me-down) furniture and miscellaneous junk. We lined up a dozen homes that sounded interesting, loaded the kids into our trusty van, and came down for a whirlwind tour on a snowy Saturday in late winter. I had a dear friend, an only child of an only child, who lived with her husband and only son as well as her mother and grandmother in “the perfect” home for them…which you can imagine would be a unique home indeed! When I asked how she’d ever found such a home, she told me that she’d just prayed for what she needed, which was a first-floor apt. for her grandmother and mother, and the rest was just a surprising and wonderful gift from God. So, after considering what my 7 rambunctious, outdoor-variety kids needed, I prayed, “Lord, we need some land with personality where the kids can play outside.” In Marquette, we lived in the middle of 50 acres of incredibly beautiful forest overlooking thousands of acres of Dead River flood plain and ending at the Dead River Falls. It was one of the most beautiful pieces of God’s great wilderness in Michigan’s interior, and I knew it would be irreplaceable. However, run space was my #1 priority, so that’s all I asked for. The morning we began our whirlwind tour, Alan and I prayed for guidance before reading our daily chapters from the Bible, which just happened to be near the end of Jeremiah. I was particularly struck by such verses as “Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness” (Jer. 48:5), and “Leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth” (Jer. 48:28). So, by the time we got to Jeremiah 49:30, “Flee, get you far off, dwell deep…” I said, “Okay, Lord. I hear you! Don’t live in the city. You want us to live in the country.” But, just as I was saying that, I heard Alan read the next verse: “Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation…” and I felt like the Lord was telling me to be actively involved in GR. In fact, the Lord had specifically laid Jeremiah 29:7 on my heart as “my” verse for the move. But, I was totally confused by the sense that we should both “flee” the city and “Arise” and go into the city. How can you live in the country and the city? That thought was simmering on the back burner of my heart as we inspected all the homes. At the end of the day, the unanimous, clear favorite for everybody was a little home built into the side of a tiny hill with a walk-out basement (“dwell in the rock…in the sides’ of the hole’s mouth”) on a lake with almost ten acres, including a patch of field and a stream running through the woods. Definitely ideal from the standpoint of run space. So we went back for a return visit. “The only thing I don’t understand is the property line,” I remarked to the realtor. “Oh, I should have mentioned that because it’s a funny shape, and it’s actually two lots: One in the country where your house is, but also one in the city. You’re right on the border.” Bingo! Chills down my spine and the confirmation I needed. We bought the house and have been wonderfully content here at “Tanglewood Cottage” ever since!
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).(In case you’re wondering, all the picture are indeed from Tanglewood Cottage.)