What a long journey… So many things have happened… I don’t know where to begin. So, I will begin with today and work my way back, sharing as much as I can remember. The blessing in it all is that God has given me this gift (at least, I think it’s a gift) of forgetting a lot of the yucky stuff that has happened throughout my life. After getting through the valleys, I seem to leave the memories behind. I am so thankful that God doesn’t make me go back through those valleys, collecting my memories. He allows me to leave them tucked deep in the past.
We woke up this morning, anxious… Adrian found us a rental house, and we had to wait for a week to find out if the house would get an “occupancy permit.” It’s a brand new house, so needed an inspection to make sure that the builder had everything up to code. The builder had guys there all day yesterday, finishing up some last minute details. I was worried that they didn’t have enough time…that something would delay them…that we wouldn’t pass inspection…
We just got the call…and… WE HAVE OCCUPANCY!!! Oh, what a blessing. The countdown in a camper can end.
Now we can start the countdown to the day when we will, again, be homeowners!! We put off construction until Spring. With all of the delays, and “tomorrows,” Adrian and I decided that it would be better to rent a house for the Winter, and start construction when the weather warms up.
Jump back, two week… I loaded up all of the kids and drove back to Minnesota. I prayed for a reason to go back… I didn’t want to just leave because I “couldn’t handle it here,” but that was exactly what was happening. I was falling apart, living in a camper…hearing false promises and listening to lies. I started to feel like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t breathe, my heart felt like it was going to explode, I couldn’t process thoughts… I got a call, THE call, that gave me an excuse to go back to Minnesota…and I jumped at it. (Please forgive me for not elaborating. It was a private issue.) I loaded the kids into the van, picked Ike up at work, and just started driving East. I had many gracious friends who offered to have us stay with them. I am truly blessed by all of the love that my friends pour out on me. We stopped at a hotel in Bismarck for the night. I had hoped to drive straight through, but we were stopped in traffic for a very long time because of a tragic motorcycle accident. When we were finally on our way, again, I was just too tired to drive the rest of the way. I texted Adrian, and he rented us two adjoining rooms at a hotel. The kids LOVED the space!! They all took baths and showers, then stretched out on their beds to watch TV. When sleep finally took over, and the hotel rooms grew quiet, I had time to think about what I was doing… What was my plan? I didn’t know… I did pack all of our stuff – mine and the kids’. I guess, deep down, I knew that I wanted to call it quits in North Dakota and stay in Minnesota… I just hadn’t put it into words. I had talked with Adrian about it, but I hadn’t told anyone else. I fell asleep, thinking over my options. I decided that going back to the camper was NOT an option. Whatever I had to do to stay out of the camper, I was going to be willing to do.
We woke in the morning, ate a yummy continental breakfast, and reloaded the van. We left Bismarck, and headed East. After driving all day, we finally pulled into my friend, Theresa’s, driveway! There was a warm welcome of boys waiting to greet us. The littles were all very excited to see their friends, and I fell into Theresa’s arms and just let her hold me for a moment. It was such a blessing to see our beloved friends! The littles spent a little time getting reacquainted, then went to bed. Theresa and I stayed up late, talking and sharing.
Over the next several days, the littles and I visited Tony, Sheila and their littles – we enjoyed great conversation, the kids and Tony played video games, and we shared a pizza; we visited my mom and dad – lots of talking and tears, and a tasty barbecued dinner with my mom’s famous ring noodle salad; and we visited Grandpa Maday – so many hugs to share, and he spoiled the littles with treats.
It was a blessing to share time with each of them.
I was also able to spend a moment with my sister, Jennie – just long enough for a quick hug.
We spent our nights with Theresa and her family.
The littles loved snuggling with her new kittens, and the wee boys enjoyed lots of stories while sitting on Theresa’s lap.
Theresa and I enjoyed quiet times in the evening, while the littles slept, crocheting and sharing.
When I was in Minnesota, I realized that I had grown so bitter at Adrian…at his job…at North Dakota… I truly felt that I couldn’t catch my breath. I was bitter about the lack of housing. I was bitter because I felt that Adrian was content with hearing “tomorrow” over and over again, and he wasn’t doing anything to better our situation. I was bitter about all of the lies that we’d been told over the many weeks that we’d been in North Dakota. I was bitter about everything! Little did I know, there were many people praying for us…for our housing, for our marriage, for our children…and that God was working.
One evening, as I was crocheting with Theresa, all of the bitterness was lifted. It was just GONE. I couldn’t understand it. Nothing, really, had changed. At that moment, Adrian was on his knees, crying out to God….and God was working on my heart. Even though I had made an elaborate plan to stay in Minnesota through the Winter, God had other plans. He spoke to me…and told me to go home. (“Wait! Go home?!” I thought. “To the camper? Lord, I can’t!”) I just kept hearing Him say that I had to have faith. Because my bitterness had lifted, I could suddenly grasp onto faith.
As I was letting go of my bitterness, Adrian was working on getting a rental home. It was a whole lot of work. Getting a rental home in Williston is not an easy task.
The littles came up with a super great idea…. On the evening that God had told me to go home, the kids said, “Let’s go home tomorrow and surprise Daddy!” The littles all helped to load up the van, and were in bed early in preparation for the big day of driving back to North Dakota the next day. We all went to bed, excited that we’d soon see Adrian. Morning came and, after tearful goodbyes, we were on our way.
The kids and I came up with a plan to surprise Adrian. As I drove home, I texted him as if I was still at Theresa’s. I got gas when I left Theresa’s, and got cash out of a cash machine (so I wouldn’t have to use my credit card, and Adrian wouldn’t know that I had left Minnesota). I used the cash to get gas and food on our way home. As I pulled down our dirt road, I texted Adrian, asking if he was going to bed. He texted back that he was watching TV. I pulled up to the road, in front of the camper, and turned off my headlights and engine… I walked quietly to the camper door, and knocked. Adrian said, “Just a minute.” After a moment, he walked to the door and said, “Troy?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “WHAT?! NO WAY!!”…and opened the door. He lifted me off the ground and hugged me tight. Then he walked down to the van to get the littles. They were all so excited to see their daddy!! Bobbi walked out of her house and we hugged for a long time…emotional about all that had happened. Bobbi hugged my littles, then we said good night. The littles snuggled into their beds, and were soon asleep. Adrian and I spent hours talking and snuggling.
We spent the next several days unloading our storage trailers into trucks, and driving our things over to the rental house. We had many wonderful people from church helping us. Adrian, Troy and Bobbi had spent a lot of time getting work done on the house, in preparation for the inspection, while the littles and I were in Minnesota. Everything that we could do was done, and then it was just a matter of waiting for the builder to get his stuff done…and then waiting for the inspector to do his inspection. Waiting was awful!! The camper has grown tinier and tinier over the past several months. The constant shaking of the camper is enough to make anyone feel like losing their mind. Eating “camper food” has lost it’s fun. Suddenly, everything about the camper drives me crazy!!
At last, this morning came! The day that we’d been waiting for!! Again, we found ourselves waiting… Just after noon, Adrian called. We have occupancy!!! YAY!!! The littles and I will be heading to the rental house soon…and we will begin to make it our home for the next year. Our days of waiting for “tomorrow” are finally done. “Tomorrow” is here. Thank God!!
This is the ending of one journey and the beginning of another. God’s got this…whatever the future brings. We are just along for the ride.