A Red Door
‘It has a red door!’ I said as we drove past the house we were scheduled to view. We were on the search for another home for our family, this was our fifth move in our third city and we were praying we would find a place before the imminent arrival of our first baby. To many today a red door doesn’t mean much, but that wasn't always the case. Through research I discovered that traditionally, a house with a red door indicated a home was ready to provide shelter to a tired traveler. For our family red doors have been signposts of God’s faithfulness time and time again.
Five years ago when we were searching for an old church for our wedding ceremony, almost every church in downtown Guelph turned us down. Whether it was the size of our ceremony that they could not accommodate or the fact that we weren’t a part of their parish, or requirements that didn’t allow us to be married by our long-time friend and pastor, we were running out of options in our favourite city.
After coming to a place of disappointment and defeat, I received a hopeful response from a jovial South African minister who said he’d be willing to consider our request. When we visited the church I noticed the doors right away, a faded red colour. I had always wanted to get married in an old church with red doors, but that had seemed like such a small detail in the chaos of searching for one. Johan was such a kind man who, after meeting us, agreed to let us use the church building and our pastor. We even asked him if he would be willing to officiate as well and be a part of the ceremony. After our meeting I was so humbled. The fact that God loved me so much that he would provide us with a church with a red door. It reminded me of how a parent loves and knows their child so well that they can surprise them with something so simple yet significant to them.
It was a couple years and a couple moves later and we were in the midst of an urgent search for a new home in Toronto. We wanted a place where we could find community, a place we could walk to our favourite shops, a place that was a short drive to the hospital where we were studying. While driving through one neighbourhood a “For Rent” sign caught our eye. After parking, we entered an English garden, which appeared out of nowhere within the busy Toronto streets – we called it Narnia. Within it we found a historical second floor apartment that had just been newly renovated. A two-minute walk down the road was one of our favourite coffee shops. The antique door out front was red.
After landing my first job in our field of study, we decided we would move back to familiar ground. After searching for a home in Guelph, and being turned down by landlord that ‘liked us’ but unfortunately went with someone else, we were let down. ‘Well that house wasn’t right for you, it didn’t have a red door!’ my mother-in-law consoled. She was right; we shortly found another yearlong rental that was even better. It was a century home that had been refinished. It had gorgeous character and was such a haven for our family. The weekend we were moving, we found out we were pregnant after praying and waiting for a child. The house we moved into was also a short walk away from downtown and my favourite local coffee shop. In that house I would give birth to our first child, Elenour Hope. The door was painted a ‘God is faithful’ red.
The following year, there we were searching for yet another home. After driving up and seeing the red door I had so much peace. Despite the many other applicants, the landlord chose us. We signed the lease the day before our daughter’s due date. This is the home I watched her crawl for the first time, the home I rocked her to sleep. This is the home I watched her endlessly discover as she toddled around; another red door, another reminder of God’s goodness.
We just bought our first home. This is our sixth move in yet another city but we are finally putting some solid roots down. This may have been the hardest of our searches, month after month of viewings, missed opportunities, a rejected offer. We knew we didn’t have the capacity to buy a fixer upper, especially with our second baby coming in a few short months. We scheduled a day filled with showings and we prayed that our search would be over soon. After the last house of the day didn’t feel like a good fit, the realtor mentioned he was also showing another house down the street and offered to show us. We didn’t plan on seeing it originally since we were unfamiliar with the neighbourhood, but with no promising prospects, we agreed. Without an appointment, we dragged our 11 month old, who was amazingly cooperative that day, to one final house. It was a beautiful home with so much potential, but I didn’t want my heart to get attached. It had a free standing tub and a reading nook and was right by a beautiful willow tree and little forest that had been left untouched. My husband’s eyes lit up, he saw our kids growing up in this house. We all prayed in the kitchen, my parents joined us. We didn’t know the daunting road still to come with multiple offers and a fast paced bidding war; but once again, God was faithful. He provided us with the home in a "shake-your-head amazing" kind of way that cannot be explained by anything else but His hand at work.
There is no question what colour we will re-painting our front French doors.
|Our Guelph Century Home|