2003 – Broussard, LA
Rain streamed down the window pane as I sat in the middle of the floor sorting through boxes. It rained every day and my naturally curly hair quickly emerged from its slumber to soak in the humidity. Everything in Louisiana was different from the life I had come to know and love in Texas. Transition was hitting me hard and I was tired from living in uncertainty.
The majority of our life’s possessions were tucked away in storage. We only planned on living with of one of the elders and his wife for a matter of weeks. But, as days and months went by there was an overwhelming sense that we may never move out. I slowly began unpacking and making the most of our one bedroom castle. A wedding picture here, a blanket there. Displaying small personal items made it feel like we belonged and that helped put a silver lining on the situation. At night I would lay in bed and remember what it was like to sleep in our own bed, have a stocked fridge and spend evenings curled up in front of the television. My how life had changed. But I held onto hope that things would get better…eventually.
The elders home we lived in was beautiful. We had our own bedroom and bathroom down the hall. The couple who took us in treated us with incredible kindness and generosity. I felt bad that we were living with them for so long. It was beyond embarrassing. Time and time again they reassured us that it was okay and always made us feel welcome and comfortable. But, like any newly married couple we longed for a home of our own. A place to display all of our lovely wedding gifts, a home in which friends or family could visit us and most importantly we longed for privacy.
As we waited on permanent housing to open up, our pastor made the decision to build duplexes on the church property for his newly acquired staff members. We were thankful for his offer but, it was not something we asked him to do. After all, the church was still paying for the brand new sanctuary it just built and struggling to pay us a decent wage. All we really wanted was a dependable salary and the freedom to pick out our own housing accommodations. But when the subject was brought up we were made to feel guilty for questioning his generous decision. Words such as patience, trust and blessing were used to put us back into submission to the “big picture”. So, like any good disciple we kept our mouths shut and did our best to make the most of the lengthy building process.
Almost 1 year from the time we arrived, we moved into one of the duplexes. We had a view of the sanctuary and lived on the church campus. Our rent was cheap in order to accommodate the small salary we were given to live on. To make ends meet we gathered canned goods from the church’s food pantry whenever we couldn’t afford groceries. We lived on hand me down clothes and ” financial blessings” from members of the congregation. Life was simple, but we were happy. We finally had a place to call home. It felt like things were looking up, the tide was turning and we were learning the ropes.
But as we began the process of planting roots in our new hometown, we could not get past the feeling that something was wrong…very wrong. Our hearts were heavy and we could not figure out why.