I want to tell you a story about blessings.
A few months ago, I decided to rejoin the rat race. I was getting frustrated trying to keep up with clients who wouldn’t pay. I was also beginning to feel slightly bored. I found a job in an area that was a 50-minute drive away from where I lived. I had started to consider moving to be closer to the job, but this job honestly sucked, and I had a weird uneasiness about it, so staying true to my commitment to never allow that which threatens my peace, I walked after about a month. I’m so glad I did.
About a week later, I found another job, right by the previous job! Literally meters away. It appeared that I would need to move, after all. So I called my landlord. I never got to meet my actual landlord. I dealt with his assistant, who I guess I should call my landlady, but oh, well. This is how the conversation went.
Me: “Mo… I might need to break my lease.”
Mo: “Really? Why, what’s going on?”
Me: “I got a job in [town].”
I thought it would be a huge fight. For the duration of my stay, Mo had been like a mother to me. Maintenance came over as soon as I made the slightest squeak about a problem. However, when it comes to breaking leases, all niceness usually fades away, and that’s understandable.
Well, not only was Mo okay with me breaking my lease six months early; she also offered to help me look for a place. And help she sure did! At eight o’clock that night, she sent me an email with a list of apartment complexes close to my job. She also gave me valuable advice and continued to keep in touch while I hunted. The complex with a flat roof had had flooding issues. Any complexes on one particular street were not to be touched. Be sure to look at the apartment you will move into before you sign the lease, as it might be a world away from the model. Try this area, it’s closer and it’s owned by the same people. Mo was very helpful, God will surely bless her.
I found my current apartment after months of searching. I believe I started looking around August. I looked at several apartments, but there was always something wrong with them. The first time I saw the posting for my current apartment on Craigslist, I liked it, but felt that the wording was a little intimidating. I have always had pleasant landlords who end up becoming like family and I didn’t want to feel like I was on edge. I also did not want another lower-floor apartment as I was terrified of mold issues and having to keep the lights on all the time. It was also a little pricier than I wanted.
One of the first apartments I looked at was beautiful and perfect for me. I loved the little patio overlooking a golf course. However, I felt that the owner wanted to be too much in my business. She wanted to run a credit check and call my job, which are all well and good and even expected, but on top of that she had so many other rules and didn’t seem to be giving me a straight answer about the rent amount. She wanted so much upfront that I got the impression she had bills to pay and was trying to use her new tenant to pay them. So I passed.
The Craigslist posting for my current apartment was still up.
I found another apartment right by that same golf course complex. It was a little older, but the owner had repainted it and recarpeted it. He did not want to know any of my business – just wanted the lease signed. Two things bugged me about this one, though. The previous owner’s stuff was still in there and it appeared they were in the middle of an eviction battle. The second thing was the bathroom. I am very particular about bathrooms. “Would you be able to change out the toilet bowl and that sink for me?” I asked. He agreed. For some reason, I didn’t believe him. He also said I needed to keep the previous owner’s stuff in the apartment with me until the police came in to move it out. Starting to sound a little dodgy, right? I’m female. I live alone. I did not need that kind of drama.
The Craigslist posting was still up, and kept getting renewed every few days.
The next apartment, I instantly fell in love with. Mo had recommended this one, and she knows how picky I am, so I knew I would love it. But just as I was getting ready to sign the papers, I found out that they were a tax-credit property and I needed to make under $28,000 a year and could not be a full-time student for the duration of my stay as that would be seen as ripping off the government (getting help with school and with living expenses – and apparently it does not matter if you pay your way through). The apartments were so beautiful to me. I loved the new appliances and the bathroom. I’d always imagined tax-credit properties to be dingy, moldy, crazy places, but for this one, I even had to take off my shoes just to look at it. LOL. Not sure what was up with that tree, though 😀
I did not qualify. I wanted to cry. The Craigslist posting was still up. I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with the property. From the pictures, I could tell it was pretty decent. Why was nobody willing to rent it?
Finally, I looked at one apartment I was sure I would get. The complex was so beautiful, the property looked like a park and was right by a lake. I was a little uncomfortable because I was not shown the exact apartment I was going to live in, and it was slightly above what I wanted to pay, but I decided to apply anyway, and – shock on me – I did not get it.
“What? You’re not giving it to me? Did my landlord say something about me?”
“No, actually, your landlord thinks the world of you and said nothing but great things about you. It’s just… the property manager…”
“What? Is there any way I can speak to him directly?”
“Well [stutter-stutter-stutter-long explanations-jargon]…”
“Oh, so once I’ve been denied that’s it, I can’t appeal that…”
I don’t know what it was. My paperwork was great. I felt terrible and was beginning to lose hope. I looked at several other apartments – dingy, moderate, beautiful, all with something wrong with them. One complex I drove into and found the Sherriff’s car in the parking lot. Another one had horrible reviews online, and as the property manager was walking me to the model apartment, I observed the facial expressions of the people she greeted (studying Communications has several benefits! Lol), and they did not seem happy to be greeted by her. Another’s reviews said the walls were so thin and you could hear your neighbors peeing above you. I passed on all these.
The Craigslist apartment was still right there, beckoning me. There were different versions of the ad, and one seemed much nicer. The complex was closer to work than any of the other places I had looked at. Seemed like just the perfect size at 750sf. I felt like my previous apartment was too big – my friends don’t believe it but I prefer smaller spaces to big ones.
One day, on my way home from work on my first week of training, I decided to call the owners of this apartment. I was leaving at 4, and she would not be able to meet me until 5, when she left work. I decided to go get an oil change and meet her later. She gave me directions and we decided to keep in touch.
What happened thereafter is a long story, but I was unable to make it that day and phone issues meant I could not listen to my voicemail until the next day. I was sure she would dismiss me as a joker and I decided to forget about this place.
But a week later, the fifty-minute drive I had been doing for close to two months now with both these jobs was beginning to take a toll on my patience. And the apartment was still there. I called her. We agreed to meet again. I wondered why she was being so nice to me. I was sure she was trying to get payback and would stand me up as well. But no, she didn’t.
I drove into the complex and loved it. It had a park-like setting as well. The previous park-like complex was dark, wooded, and beautiful, in a Little Red Riding Hood kind of way. This one was more lush, green, and golf-like, similar to the one with the many rules. I looked at it and immediately knew I would take it. It was not extremely new. It was built in the 70s. But she had put in all new carpeting that was a color I could stand – and loved, in fact – and had just bought a new stove. She was adding some final remodeling touches to it.
I found out her brother had posted the “strict” Craigslist ad. “I like my version better,” she said, in reference to the milder, friendlier version of the ad. She gave me forms with the information she needed. I assured her that I would email them back to her that night. On my way out, I met her husband, who had just gone to the hardware store to get some stuff to fix the sink. They were lovely. I loved them immediately and hoped they loved me too.
The next day, she called Mo and called me right back, saying the exact same words the other lady had told me: “She said nothing but great things about you.” She also added, “My husband and I had a great feeling about you. I called your job and I know they’ll call me back, but the apartment is yours.”
I could not believe the favor. Not only had Mo allowed me to break my lease, she had also helped me find another place and given stellar recommendations to everyone who contacted her.
Here’s another thing that happened. I got my new keys two weeks early, and my new landlords said I did not have to pay a pro-rated fee. I’ve lived here for two free weeks – something none of the other landlords would have agreed to. I’d paid my rent at my previous apartment, so I technically had two residences for the last two weeks of October. I get a kick out of the fact that my mailbox is right outside my door. I can literally reach it with my door open. I’ve never lived this close to a branch of my bank. I love my neighbors. I saw a teeny, almost-invisible spot on my toilet seat and asked to have it changed – I selected my own brand new toilet seat and it was fixed with no problems. And now, I’m toying with the idea of buying this place.
Why the long story? Well, because yesterday and the day before, I was reflecting on this issue and what a great analogy it is for a heaven-sent marriage as well as any other blessing sent by God. Remember the post about how a man knows he’s home? What God has called yours will wait for you, no matter how long it takes, and you will get it at the right time, with favor, goodness and mercy following you all the way. You might think you know what you want, and I think God will allow you to try it out, but even what appears perfect to you might not be perfect for you. When you finally get what is yours, not only will you know – you will also have peace about it and joy in it. My apartment is not the newest on the block – it probably wouldn’t qualify for MTV Cribs. It’s not the most modern. But everything I needed is just right, and it has all the features that I appreciated in the apartments I viewed, as well as some I didn’t have in my former one. I love my bathroom, I love the size, and even the things that I didn’t think I was crazy about, I have come to appreciate.
Your husband or wife might not be the hottest or richest person on the block. He or she might not be magazine cover material. But the person God chose for you will have everything you need. The things that are a big deal will be just right, and the things that you’re not so crazy about will grow on you. Just like this apartment stayed on the listing for months, the right person might be just under your nose. Just like I wondered why nobody was taking this apartment, you might ask yourself why nobody wants or ever took this blessing, and the answer just might be that God is saving it for you.