more than we could ask or imagine

“Now to him
who is able to do
far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” 
~ Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)

below is a fairly long story (what can i say?  i’m a sucker for details).  and there are no pictures.  but it is a pretty wonderful story about God providing for us (yet again) more than we had even asked or thought!

before leaving for OKC, we had several financial set-backs that led us to decide to look into apartment managing once in pasadena.  now, for those of you who live in arizona, let me just explain that apartment complexes in the pasadena area are very different than arizona.  in arizona, a complex is typically HUGE, consisting of several hundred units and managed by a separate office with full time staff, maintenance, security, etc.  not so in pasadena.  there, the complexes are MUCH smaller, ranging in size from 8-40 units on average (from what i’ve observed.  i’m sure there are exceptions, obviously).  and typically the owners of the complex will hire a “manager” who lives in one of the units and handles the various issues as they arise (collecting rent checks, submitting maintenance requests, generally enforcing policies, showing vacancies, receiving applications, keeping the laundry room clean, etc).  instead of a salary, the manager receives either free rent or deeply discounted rent.  and with rent running anywhere from $1100-$1800/month (where we were looking), it’s a pretty great way to save a lot of money. 

given the set-backs that we had encountered, we decided that this would be an ideal “job” for me to do while at home.  i love being at home and i’m great with details/administration – perfect fit, right?  our friends, ryan & chalene, have been doing this for a few months now and told us about the management company they work for – and how they will hire you without requiring state certification, as they prefer to just train you themselves.  since the state certification class costs around $500 and consists of a month of evening classes, skipping this whole process sounded VERY appealing to us!  so shortly after arriving in OKC i set to work on drafting a resume and cover letter. 

(sidebar: oh gosh, can i just say that it was very intimidating to create a resume and cover letter?  i’ve honestly NEVER had to do that before.  and it also felt so weird to be all trying to promote myself and make myself look as wonderful as possible.  talk about uncomfortable.  but praise the Lord for the internet and all the tips and examples i was able to find online!)

i sent the email off on monday morning (feb 14th) with a sigh of relief and a lot of prayer.  prayer that God would grant us favor with this company and that they would have an opening for us.  zach and i felt very strongly that this was a wise pursuit and something God was leading us to do.  therefore, we were willing to sacrifice a great many preferences when it came to our living situation.  we knew that this management company has over 25 properties throughout the san gabriel valley (pasadena and surrounding suburbs).  honestly, we were willing to live anywhere in the vicinity if we needed to.  we would take any floor plan and any location and we were budgeting up to $500/$600 month “discounted” rent if we needed to.  the only thing we felt that we really needed was 2 bedrooms. 

a few hours later, i received a call back asking if i could come in for an interview the next day!  uuuhhh.  i explained that i was out of town for my husband’s job training and we would be back in a few weeks.  i mentioned being open to a phone interview or a webcam interview but they said they prefer to do interviews in person and that i should just call them once we get into town.

we were both encouraged by the prompt response but bummed we couldn’t get anything rolling until we got to california.  oh well.  we decided to continue praying that God would keep the right place available for us, even though we had to wait at least 4 weeks. we immediately started looking into living arrangements with family/friends in pasadena since we would need a place to stay when we got there.  our goal was to try and live with family/friends for a month or 2 and pray that God would open something up for us quickly.  not ideal, but we were trusting God’s plan and timing.

friday morning – yes, 4 days later – chalene (our friend who is already doing apmt managing for this company) calls me.  she says that she just stopped by the company office and brought up my name and took the opportunity to talk me up and tell them how great she thought i would be in a position like this.  well, God apparently used that (and the favor that ryan & chalene have with this company already) to prompt them to be interested in a phone interview!  chalene said that they wanted me to email them a few pictures of me and zach and then they would like to talk on the phone.  and then chalene gave us even MORE amazing news: they have a current opening for a manager at an apartment complex in sierra madre that they wanted to interview me for!! 

now let me just explain something.  sierra madre is amazing.  if you’ve ever seen the show “gilmore girls,” it totally has a “stars hollow” feel to it.  small, quiet town with a little “town square” that lots of the residents walk to/through or just sit outside one of the restaurants or coffee shops and read the newspaper or chat with each other in passing.  it has a very safe feel to it as well because the police officers are basically bored and therefore a bit hyperactive when it comes to catching such dastardly criminals like jaywalkers and those-who-park-their-cars-on-the-street-without-a-permit.  my cousin and her husband used to live there and we all think it’s just the most adorable place ever.  literally, this would have been our dream town to live in.  and the complex that this company owns is located less than a block from the park and maybe less than a block from the aforementioned “town sqaure” area (which contains a starbucks and the favorite pub that zach and the band guys have been frequenting for years on band practice nights).

so back to chalene’s phone call.  while we’re still on the phone, she tells me that she is on her way to look at the apartment complex for me! 

(somewhere in here i texted/called zach and he was stoked about this possibility!)

she calls me back a few minutes later as she’s walking through one of the vacant apartments – not the exact one we’ll be living in, but basically the same – and describing it to me and letting me ask her all sorts of random questions about it (how are the wall configurations in the bedroom?  is there counter space in the kitchen?).  i know, i know, i said that all we cared about was having 2 bedrooms, but i figured i might as well ask since she was there!  (and yes, there were 2 bedrooms)  i immediately jumped on my computer and emailed off 3 pictures of the Husband and me with an email letting the hiring lady know that i was eager to schedule an interview at her earliest convenience.

i’m not even joking – 10 minutes after hitting “send” – my cell phone rang.  i was expecting to have at least a couple emails back and forth deciding on a date and time for a phone interview, but i guess not!  before i knew it she was asking me questions.  well, more like 3 questions.  ha!  i’m not even sure i can qualify this as an actual interview experience given that all she really wanted to know was:
– do you work outside the home?  (nope)
– do you plan to get a job outside the home or would apartment managing be it? (nope – this would be it)
– will you be getting back into town in time to accept april 1st rent checks? (um, yes, we are planning to arrive the evening of march 19th)

and that was that.  the lady said she was comfortable giving us the position (!!!) and just needed us to download the application from the website so they could start the paperwork process. 

“oh, and the rent there… let’s see, it’s normally $1525 for regular tenants… but for the manager… it would be… $300.”

i was speechless.

i got off the phone and texted zach some crazy message in all caps about needing to call me right away.  he called and we both couldn’t stop saying “i can’t believe this.”  “i know.”  “sierra madre!”  “i know!”  “$300/month!”  “i know!”  “we can move in RIGHT AWAY!”  “i know!” 

i got off the phone with zach and just bawled.  i was completely overwhelmed by God’s amazing kindness and provision.  all i could think was “more than we could ask or imagine…”  literally, this was far more than i had even been praying for!  gosh, we were just praying there would be an opening somewhere, that it wouldn’t take more than 1-2 months to find a place and that it wouldn’t cost us more than $500/month.  and here we were basically handed a 2 bedroom apartment (and from what i can tell from the floor plan, it appears to be larger than what we had in Arizona!), in our dream town, for dirt cheap, waiting for us, that we can move into as soon as we get into town.  unbelievable. 

then i called our parents.  🙂

we filled out the applications that night and emailed them off the next morning.  i followed up with a phone call about a week later and the lady says, “oh yeah, we’re all good.  we’ll give the keys to chalene so you can move in on the 20th and then we’ll see you on the 21st to finish up a few more paperwork items and go over a few things with you.” (and a few other comments about setting up our electric and gas, etc etc)

it still feels a little surreal.  we are beyond excited and continually amazed and how God provides for us so abundantly!  this is not the first time we have experienced such a thing, and i’m sure it won’t be the last.  i hope it encourages all of you readers as it has encouraged my own soul to reflect on the goodness of our providing God.  this experience has continued to grow my personal prayer and my faith and trust in God and His ability and willingness to move on behalf of this children. 

“…according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.
~ Ephesians 3:21 (ESV)

2 thoughts on “more than we could ask or imagine

  1. Hurray Lord! Thank you Andrea for posting this story. Hearing of His faithfulness is awesome indeed! So so very happy for you guys!!! That sounds wonderful!!

  2. LOVE THIS!! Thank you Lord, for being so good and so gracious…for showing us how much you care!! Thank you, Andrea, for taking the time to share the details! I am so excited for you guys!

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