I’ve talked in former posts about the vacation home we bought in Sandpoint, Idaho. We bought it last July to make it into a vacation rental. Sandpoint is a six-hour drive from our home, so it’s not exactly convenient. It’s a log home, and the culmination of a long-held dream of mine.
We bought it from a bachelor who had two basset hounds who piddled on the carpet, and who had free rein to go in and out all day long–and not through a doggie door. This man left the two French doors wide open all day long while at work, so not only were the dogs at liberty to go in and out of the house, but so were the bugs. And since the property is on 8 acres in very heavily wooded wild country, I was surprised that he didn’t fear other varmints coming in as well.
This beautiful yet neglected log home was screaming for a woman to get hold of it. I had a vision for how it could look. So in late July, I began to undertake the project alone. I had to furnish the 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house from the ground up, replace the carpet, orchestrate the remodeling of one of the bathrooms, and become a handy woman extraordinaire. Little did I know that in the process, God was going to do a work in me.
You see, two years ago, when I turned 50, I might as well have hit a brick wall at 90 mph. I was NOT READY to hit 50, no way. It took me nearly a year to adjust to the concept. And I went to God and said, please, I want to be like a race horse breaking out of the starting gates at 50, not one just being put out to pasture. This may sound like so much drama to someone who’s 60 or 70, but we’ve all got our stuff, know what I mean?
The beauty of God is that He takes such prayers seriously. He knew I needed to feel vital and strong and capable. So He gave me this project and as time went on, He ensured that I did it all by myself. There were a few times when my best friend planned to drive from Utah to help me, but always, something huge happened that kept her from coming up. And she kept saying to me, “Apparently you’re supposed to do this by yourself.”
So I gathered furniture from Craig’s list and nearby antique stores, put it into a U-Haul trailer and drove it over, just my faithful dog and me. I made 4 trips with a trailer on the back of my Tahoe. And when I would arrive, either God would place someone there to help me unload the big stuff, or I would somehow manage to figure out how to do it myself. One time, I had hired two young men to come and deliver wood for the wood stove, and so they helped me to carry a large armoire into the house. Another time, my real estate agent’s son came and helped me.
When I began to paint, I had to buy a 10-foot ladder, because the ceiling in the main part of the house is 12 feet high. At one point, the only way that I could get up to do the trim on the ceiling above the kitchen counter and bar was to literally place the 6-foot ladder on the counter in a closed position, lean it against the wall, and climb carefully up, praying the entire time that God would keep me from falling.
My husband has never returned to the cabin since he saw it for the first time in July. Although that bothered me for several months, I was also happy to have the absolute freedom to do with the cabin whatever I wished.
Last Tuesday night, I returned from a week at what I have named “Little Moose Cabin,” after the two baby moose and their mother who sauntered across our property several months ago. It was my final push to get everything done and ready for vacation renters. It was a very intense week of doing things like putting up a hanging light on that lovely 12-foot ceiling, installing closet doors and curtains on the French doors, cleaning the interior logs of the 1/4 inch of dust on them, etc.
The two women who will be managing the property and rentals arrived at the cabin a few days after I’d gotten there. They already manage another small cabin we have two hours from our home (this cabin came completely furnished), and live in the Seattle area, like I do. They had agreed to try to manage the cabin long distance and had driven all the way over to Sandpoint to see “Little Moose,” to take pictures, and to gather information about the area. I was excited to have them there, because I wanted to ask them some questions, to pick their brains, and to just compare notes and have fellowship. They were going to be there for 3 days, and I had expected at least an entire day of talking, sharing, etc.
They came, oohed and aahed over the cabin and its decor, took scads of pictures for the website, and left an hour and a half later. I assumed I’d see them the next day, but they were too busy getting to know the area and gathering information. I was deflated, resentful and felt very let down. I realized I’d wanted them to “hold my hand” for a while.
I called my best friend and told her that apparently no one was going to hold my hand through the process–not even my management ladies. She said, “Gwenn, God is holding your hand.” I thought back on it, and realized it was true.
He had orchestrated that my neighbor on the property next to us is a skilled contractor and he has done wonderful work in the cabin that I would not have been able to do. This same neighbor is well-known in that small town, and brought me a wonderful electrician who has also done great work–and is even going to give me a pair of moose antlers for the cabin!
God took great care of me on my trips back and forth to Sandpoint. On one trip, I was driving back to the cabin from Home Depot when this huge clanging noise occurred in my wheel. I was leaving the next day and was annoyed that such a thing would happen. I got it into a mechanic who said my emergency brake had completely fallen apart and was banging around inside the wheel well. It then occurred to me that God had made sure it happened while in Sandpoint, and NOT while driving through the miles and miles of desolate country on the way home.
God showed me through these last seven months that with Him behind me and beside me, I can accomplish much more than I ever thought, and that 50 is just a number. He has renewed my youth like the eagle, and given me new mountains to climb. He has given me a beautiful log cabin that I hope will bless others as they come to stay. He has never left me, and He has stretched me and challenged me and given me renewed confidence in myself. Praise Him.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10