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The French Door Connection

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:19

trailer den

Me in our little den in the trailer

I sat in the middle of the den floor crying. I’d had enough of our little mobile home in the country.

“Can we please move into town?” I begged my husband, John. “It’s lonely and scary out here. I can’t take it anymore.”

After some discussion, he looked at me doubtfully, “Okay, if you can find a house in town for under $45,000, we’ll look at it.”

John left, thinking he’d saddled me with an impossible task. He didn’t realize how desperate I was to leave this little trailer in the middle of a cow pasture.

We’d married almost three years earlier. At the time, we were thrilled to have our new mobile home moved onto his parents’ farm. It was exciting setting up house and coming home every day from work to my new husband and our small home.

But six months after we married, John and his brother decided to start their own business. So began the long days for my husband as he worked two jobs while I came home to dark and solitary evenings. In order to get to our humble abode after work, most nights I’d have to stumble out of the car in my high

John's brother, David, in their new business venture

John’s brother, David, driving their new business venture

heels and pantyhose onto the gravel driveway to open the farm gate. After more than two years of this, I decided we needed a change. I prayed John would be receptive to moving and that God would lead us to the right home. Once John gave me the go-ahead, I quickly began my search for a cute, but economical, house. Our hometown is small, so it didn’t take long to assess the selection.

I found the first house on a less-than-desirable street in town, but it had curb appeal. John asked a builder friend, Dickie, to come with us and inspect the house while we took the grand tour, expecting only good news.

Dickie emerged from under the house shaking his head. “It’s not a sound house. The floor joists are sagging and that’s gonna cost you a lot to fix.”

My dreams for that house flew right out the window.

Soon after, I heard about a house coming up for sale on one of the nicest streets in town. I tried not to get my hopes up. It was exactly $45,000 and had great potential—a 1920’s charmer with lots of character. The wide, welcoming porch would be a perfect spot for a swing and some rockers.

Even though it had only one bathroom, which was terribly outdated, the rest of the house seemed to need only cosmetic work. The exception was an odd sun porch filled with several broken windows and, strangely enough, a toilet in the middle of the open room.

toilet on the sunporch

The toilet on the sun porch

sun porch

The sun porch

When Dickie came to inspect the house a few days later, I held my breath, especially when he crawled under it and into the attic. He looked serious as he met us back in the yard. “This is a good house. Solid and well built. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this one.”

our first house

Our first house

Yipee!! I thought, trying to contain my excitement. I knew my husband wanted me to show my poker face to the seller.

“We’ll talk about it and get back to you,” John said as he steered me to the car.

Several days later we put in an offer and eventually came to an agreement with the seller. We had a house! The next few weeks were spent painting, wallpapering and re-tiling the bathroom. It was becoming our dream home.

faux fireplace

Corner “faux” fireplace before

buffet

Buffet in dining room before

Only one thing bothered me. There was an opening framed with beautiful trim between the den and dining room. Imprints of hinges in the trim hinted that a pair of French doors used to hang there. I’d always dreamed of having French doors in my home and was disappointed someone had taken them out. We looked in the ramshackle garage out back, only to find some old shutters.

kitchen before remodel

Kitchen before remodel

As we worked on our little home, I lamented to my mother-in-law, June, about the missing doors. After pondering the situation for a while, she remembered something. “You know what? I think there’s an old set of French doors out in one of the barns. I’ll look to see if they’re still there.”

I was skeptical. That particular old barn had been moved years earlier from about a half-mile away to the existing location–with the doors inside.

She called me later to say the doors were still in the barn, not one pane of glass broken. I was shocked they were still intact after their precarious journey. We still, however, needed to measure the opening. Miraculously, they were a perfect fit.

french doors

My daughter, Elise’s, first birthday party. The french doors in the foreground are the ones we found in the barn.

June holding Elise

My mother-in-law, June, holding Elise, with the doors in the background.

John and I took the old doors to my in-laws basement where we could paint them, determined to bring back their original charm. I envisioned how beautiful they would be hanging in our new home.

While we were cleaning the doors, June had another revelation. “I got to thinking about those doors and I remember now where they came from.”

She piqued my curiosity.

“The Parks, the original owners who built your house, were good friends of daddy’s. I remember Mr. Parks asking if he could put those French doors in our barn because they were always in the way. Daddy obliged him and they’ve been in that barn ever since—probably close to fifty years.”

Astonished, I realized those doors were meant for us to find because that house was meant for us. Long before I was even born, God made sure those doors were tucked safely away with my future husband’s family, only to be brought out when I asked. I knew we were exactly where God wanted us.

fireplace after

The “faux” corner fireplace after

Our little den at Christmas

Our little den at Christmas

Our dining room table set for Christmas

Our dining room table set for Christmas

During our eight wonderful years in that home, we added two children, a new deck and vinyl siding, along with many sweet memories. We also tore down the original sun porch and built it back with a new bathroom, complete with a shower and walls.

sun room

The sun room after the renovation

Our newly remodeled home decorated for Christmas

Our newly remodeled home, decorated for Christmas

Elise's first snow

Elise’s first snow in front of our house

I’m amazed as I look back over God’s protection and orchestration of our buying that house. It was perfect for us. Eventually though, our little family outgrew it. The day we left our two-bedroom bungalow was bittersweet, even though we were moving into a much larger, brand new home.

Elise helping me bake cookies

Elise helping me bake cookies in our kitchen

Elise and June

My mother-in-law rocking Elise on the front porch

Elise

Elise in her room

Bringing Jacob home from the hospital

Bringing our son, Jacob, home from the hospital. We moved three weeks later.

God had put us in that house to let me know He cares about all the details of my life, from the dark and lonely nights, to the search for a budget-friendly house, to the lack of French doors in our new home. God sees all of our hopes, dreams, and trials and wants us to know He can be trusted to provide. Who would’ve thought He’d make sure a set of original French doors would be tucked safely in a barn for 50 years until a young woman asked for them?

How has God shown His provision in your life?

3 Comments

  1. I had just read your story in Guidepost “It Started With Spaghetti”, and received so much enjoyment from it that when I found the website I felt I just had to visit it. I have just been enthralled by the story “The French Door Connection”. I just absolutely loved every minute of it, you are truly a fabulous writer keeping your reader spellbound to the very last second. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing, I for one will be there hanging onto every word.

    • Thank you, Beatrice. What an encouragement your comment is to me! I’m so glad you came to visit my blog and read one of my favorite stories. I’m still amazed how God brought me and those french doors together (as well as me and my husband!) 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It means a lot to me!

  2. Loved this story. God is so good in the details. Our mobile home field was absent cows but once the neighbor’s pigs got loose. They plowed it up good!

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