The For Sale by Owner sign caught my eye as my good friend and realtor, Wayne Stoneback, drove down the street. He was telling a great story, but I wasn’t listening. I was looking in the side mirror, trying to see the house we had just passed.
We had planned to check out another place in the cul-de-sac, but now that one didn’t interest me. I asked him to go back.
The house had a brick front with stucco accents over the garage, large windows, trees and shrubs, and an inviting front door. It looked like me, like it could be my house.
“Do you want to look at it?” he asked.
“Yes, please.” He called the number on the sign and asked the homeowners if we could come in, even though we didn't have an appointment. They agreed, and five minutes later, they walked us through the house, giving details, answering questions.
Things I liked immediately: The family room walls had a mottled but smooth-to-the-touch taupe faux finish; the kids’ bedroom was tucked behind the master, so a little girl could be close to her mom; the bright master bath featured a big tub that could hold lots of bath toys.
And then there was the sunroom, with light pouring in all the windows. Oh. Perfect for a little girl’s playroom, with built-ins for her mom’s books, TV, and photographs.
We walked out onto the small patio in the backyard. Green grass, wooden fence, a little rise leading to a shady, piney area where a swingset could go and two Labs could explore.
On top of the rise, I looked down on the house and the patio. And then I got a vision of my little girl and my nieces playing on a sunny, summer day--sifting sand in her sandbox, running up and down the slope, eating lunch on the patio, swinging in the swings. I could see it so clearly. I knew in my bones that this was the one.
“Let’s make an offer,” I said to Wayne.
Soon after that, my little girl and I moved in and began to make a new life for ourselves.
My nieces did come frequently, and the girls played outside and all through the house. So did the dogs.
The beauty on the outside became more evident as the seasons changed. In the spring, coral azaleas, a lavender crepe myrtle, a yellow jessamine vine, and other shrubs and trees bloomed. I added two pink dogwoods, one for my girl and one for my first baby, lost through a miscarriage.
Inside, my artist friend, Laurie Fuller, stenciled words like “Bienvenue” in the kitchen and quotes like “Awake My Soul” in my room. She also painted clouds and fairies in my daughter’s room and flowers in the sunroom. It was our house, and she helped me make it our home.
Now, even though my daughter isn't little anymore and we live in a different house with my husband, I think of that place as sacred, as God’s gift to her and me. It was beautiful inside and out, because it was a gift from Him: a cozy, safe place to live while my heart healed, my little girl grew, and my life as a single mom unfolded.
Do you have a sacred space? Maybe somewhere beautiful or cozy or wild or comforting? Maybe a place where you could rest while your heart healed or your life changed? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on Facebook.