Children are good at making mistakes and getting into big messes. Along comes a parent and soon everything is sorted out.

There are times when I (as an adult) have made big mistakes too. In fact, I’m always making mistakes. But one big one that sticks in my mind was when we moved to the fish farm and our dreams turned sour. (See Post: The Mistake of the Dilapidated Cottage). I was thinking about how that mess was put right. The first problem we had was finding somewhere new to live.

Have you ever rented? If you have, you’ll know that there are always far more people wanting a place to live than there are properties to rent. And frequently a landlord may choose a tenant with no children rather than lease his house out to a growing family. So when we had to move from the farm back to town, our prospects of finding our ideal home looked dim. I reminded myself that we’d never been homeless before. Always we’d found a house when we needed one. Just sometimes we had to be patient and persistent (and keep on praying).

So it was off to town to do the rounds of the real estate agents. We found a few properties that sounded like possibilities and hurriedly filled in the application forms before returning home, to sit anxiously by the phone while we waited for news.

Days passed and it seemed like all our applications had been rejected. Losing confidence and trust, I felt fed up with the whole situation. Then the phone rang: It was an agent. “I have found several other possible houses. Would you like to view them?”

It was already late afternoon. I just wanted to stay at home. I didn’t want to drag all the children into town when probably none of the houses would be suitable. But I also knew I had to find us somewhere to live and that meant following up all leads.

The first two houses were far too small and I didn’t hold out much hope for the third. But we were in for a huge surprise. The final house was spacious, in excellent and attractive condition. The kitchen was a dream and I immediately imagined Andy cooking up a feast in it.  There was a pleasant garden, a garage, a workshop, and a quiet location right opposite the playing fields. And we could afford the rent. It was a fantastic house and I eagerly asked for an application form. I had some questions for the agent: Had anyone else looked at the house? Would the landlady consider renting to a family?

The answers were “No” and “Yes”. By bedtime that day, we had a home.

Now that certainly wasn’t a normal house. When Andy saw it for the first time on moving day, his eyes opened wide. He couldn’t believe what I’d found for us to live in. Well, I don’t really think it was me who found the house. It just sort of came to us.

We lived in that haven for three years. It sheltered us from the world while we waited for Thomas to be born. It was our safe harbour while we were grieving for our son after his death. And then one day our time was over. The landlady wanted to move back into the house herself. We were sad to move but we knew our sorrowful hearts had healed enough to allow us to leave our safe refuge from the world and move on.

When we were looking for our next home I was telling another agent our requirements. I mentioned the rent we wanted to pay. “You won’t find a property to rent for that price,” I was told. I replied that for the past three years we’d paid exactly that for a magnificent home. The agent shook his head in disbelief. I know that house was meant for us. Why else would there have been no other applicants for such a wonderful bargain property?

I always think of that house as a gift from God. We made a mistake moving to the fish farm but God stepped in and sorted out all our problems. Just like a parent, He helped us by picking us up and setting us back on our feet. He didn’t say, “You got yourselves into the mess. Now fix the problem yourself.” No, He was compassionate, forgiving and merciful, just like I must be when my own children fail.

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