One surefire way to test the limits of your faith in God is to apartment hunt in New York.
We knew we needed a new apartment five months ago, but could only really start looking the last week of June, because of the way the market works in New York. Even then, barely anything worth seeing was listed before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We found something great within two days of determined searching—but it was two days of searching after five months of waiting. Our friends commented that our search seemed short, but for me it felt like forever.
The search was a good reminder of how important it is to trust in God, how without that trust, life can easily take a downward spiraling journey to the borderlines of despair. I was stressed and thought about virtually nothing else for a couple of weeks, all the while trying to keep in mind the same verse that came to me when I wasn’t sure my business was going anywhere:
“Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29
By God’s grace, I reminded myself to keep thinking of the lilies and know that God had gotten us this far, and He certainly isn’t going to stop helping us now. It seems that the good things in life are always the ones that come with struggles. If that really is the case, then the anxiety suurounding this hunt meant we were in for something great.
We scoured a couple of rental search engines online for the first week of July—it’s really the only way to do it, we’ve found. You can’t just use one realtor, because they may not have all the listings, and there’s always a chance that your dream apartment will be a no-broker’s-fee listing. Plus, all the really good ones are snapped up in about twenty-four hours, so you need to be on your toes. If something’s posted for more than a few days, you figure there’s got to be something wrong with it.
As a token of our search, here’s a list of the apartments we saw online and didn’t even bother to view in person.
These all fell within our approximately twenty-block radius, had two or three bedrooms, and were priced within our range, which swung about $500 wide.
With these out of the running, not too much else was left. Among what remained were the apartments we made appointments to view, only to trek there (with Jacob . . . although not at nine p.m.) and find no realtor, no phone call, no text message, no nothing. Then there were the ones for which we didn’t even get a response to our call, or text, or email. Frustrating!
Finally, we found it. It wasn’t one we called about (called something like six times and texted once) because that one had an application in on it by the time we got a return call, but another unit that had just been listed. We saw it as soon as possible—John rushed to Brooklyn from Manhattan once I told him it was a good one—and fourteen hours later (sleeping in between), with a just-baked banana bread in hand, we signed the lease.
Our new apartment is in a better location than I ever dreamed of—the good supermarket is at one end of the block; our Sunday church is at the other. The good bagel place is right around the corner. A fancy food market is just four blocks away, the little kid playground at the park is super close, and apparently it’s in a very desirable school district, should we still be there when we need that. The living room and dining room feel like one wide open space, which we love, and the backyard (that’s right, backyard in Brooklyn!) is not only deeper than any other we’d seen, but it also already has a swing set assembled there. Have I shared how much Jacob loves swings? Almost as much as he loves beef.
Oh, and there’s room to grill, so double-win for J-money.
This week, I’m feeling like a lily. God has cared for us, provided for us, and shown me yet again the awesome power of prayer and faith in Him.