“God Showed Up In…” is an on-going series of stories of men and women who have seen God and His power in the “ordinary” moments of life, specifically in 2018. I often forget that God is in EVERY aspect of my life, and my hope is that this series reminds us that God is present and orchestrating every detail in our lives.
We’d been living with my parents for about a year and a half.
I actually just now had to stop and count how many months we had been living there, because in total, it ended up being about 2 years almost to the week!
We’d been living in northern Indiana, where my husband and I had both attended college, met, dated, and settled down. Originally from Indianapolis, I had always wanted to be able to move back “home.”
But moving “back home” ended up meaning, in every essence of the word, HOME.
Between job circumstances changing unexpectedly (read: an unavoidable significant pay cut due to their budgets) and months of searching for a job either in our surrounding area, OR in Indianapolis, our choice was forced upon us.
My husband, our two-year-old, and I needed to move.
We needed to list for sale the house we’d purchased not even a year prior.
We needed to pack up everything we owned (while I was 8 months pregnant).
We needed to say goodbye to life-giving friends (who were very much like family) and a church we had called home.
We were moving.
I share this to give you a slight picture of the uprooting that had happened leading up to this moment in 2018. I share it because while this story may sound like some kind of Fixer Upper HGTV show, it, in fact, had a pretty MESSY beginning.
Messy in that we were NOT living what you would call the “normal” American dream.
It was messy in that, after moving to Indianapolis, my husband sacrificially worked two jobs (one which was on second shift, helping people who have mental illness and are in a facility to get help).
It was messy in that we were still living with my parents when I went to the hospital with contractions, delivering our daughter and bringing her home to my parent’s house.
It was messy in that my husband ended up shifting his entire career path. He went back to school for more education, got a teaching job at an inner city school, and did weekend and night classes while working full time at a new job to work toward his certification.
My parents were incredibly gracious with our whole messy presence (I’m talking the entire picture including the continually strewn toys on the floor!). They both were more supportive than I can even express in words. They sacrificed for us, encouraged us, and came alongside of us. They met us where we were. I still cannot picture this experience without thinking of how much they loved us through it. God loved us through them.
Now it was time to find a house (one that wasn’t my parents).
My dad is actually in the home building industry, and he and my mom saw SO MANY houses with us. Our incredibly patient realtor hung in there with us through… you guessed it…
Whether it was poor construction or homes that required too much money invested in fixing them, we were knee deep house hunting. Renting in Indianapolis is incredibly expensive, and would not have been wise at all financially for us. We needed to find a house to buy.
So, fast forward to the January day I opened my computer and saw a new listing that had been sent to our inbox.
I saw the price, and wanted to write it off.
Houses at that price point were NOT in good shape. We’d seen our share.
But the pictures… well, the pictures didn’t seem too bad…
The market in Indianapolis is incredibly hot. SO hot in fact, that house are hardly on the market before an offer is made and accepted. You have to act fast.
I called our realtor, set up an appointment, and within short order, we had packed up my kids, meeting my husband (after his elementary school teaching job) at the actual house.
And we were shocked!
It actually wasn’t that bad.
Sure, it needed a lot of help. Most of which we thought—even after a professional inspection—were cosmetic needs.
The person who was property managing the house actually stopped by while we were there looking at it to check on something. We connected, asked questions, and heard the backstory of the property.
Even though we had seen a lot of “mess,” put multiple offers in on houses over MONTHS only to have ALL of them fall through… we jumped on it.
And we got it!
There are incredible beautiful details that would take us sitting down over a BIG cup of coffee to share all of them, but between the God-orchestrated appointments, our encouraging realtor, the house’s listing agent, the kind elderly home owner, and my dad looking at the house who encouraged us that this was something we could fix… it just had God’s hand all over it.
He shut SO MANY doors on SO MANY other houses. But God opened the door to one He wanted to use in our lives.
I wish I could say that the credits could start rolling now and that this story has a picture perfect ending.
Spoiler alert: It doesn’t!
There was a LOT of messy still to come (like having to have the sewer line cleaned out so we could actually flush a toilet, drywall removed, and gutting the kitchen and bathrooms).
And even though our house is now beautifully remodeled and we love it and it’s so awesome for our family, it still has messy sinful people living in it.
There are many many days that I don’t take time to see or notice what God is doing in the middle of the hassle, the crazy, the parenting, the working.
I may not notice, but God still is. He’s asking me to turn my eyes to Him and cry out for help in my mess.
He’s still remodeling me even though a lot of times I just see the gutted walls, the problems, the heartaches, the painful choices. He’s there.
He was involved in remodeling us even before we packed up everything and moved with our little family.
He was remodeling us as we searched for jobs, searched for a house, and as we navigated the messy process of remodeling.
He doesn’t stop.
And friend, He won’t stop with you.
This mess isn’t the end of the story, because you are still reading this. You are still breathing. He still has a plan.
So in the middle of what feels like gutted walls…He’s there.
He’s working a beautiful work transforming your heart.
Katelyn Ng is a believer, a grateful wife, and mama of two half-Asian babies. She’s an Indianapolis photographer and watercolor artist, but in her free time Katelyn takes delight in background music, warmly lit candles, and more cream in her coffee. Katelyn is learning to cultivate good things daily, right where she is in the beautiful mess of everyday life. You can follow her creative pursuits: Katelyn Ng Photography or Northlane Lettering.