Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Stirring up and settling in…

God has been working on me.  A lot.  I could almost stop this post right there.  (Ha, some of you would probably like that!).  Anyway,  I have been blogging off and on about our adventure in listing our house for sale and our subsequent discovery of a beautiful, run-down and worn-out pre-foreclosure that my heart has been longing for ever since I laid eyes on it.  And, therein has been the problem.  I think my heart started longing for it a bit too much.

When we listed our house, it was entirely on a whim.  I have a crazy habit of scrolling through to look at what is out there, especially as I have been bitten by the DIY/decorating bug in the past couple of years.  We noticed that there were some homes that were larger than ours for the same amount of money (or a little bit less) thanks to the sadly booming short sale/foreclosure market.  Will and I did put some prayer into it and felt like we should just give it a shot and see what God does- a couple of days later we talked with the agent whom we worked with on selling our last home and voila!, we had entered MLS territory.

What started as an informal adventure grew into an ache and desire to somehow acquire this home that Will and I both felt was like our dream home.  It wasn’t normally what I would have pictured for myself, and it needs an incredible amount of work, but the potential is enormous and the location would be perfect for our family.  Since it is located in a neighborhood across the street from our church, we would often go by and pray over the house and for whomever is meant to live there, be it us or another family. I had it planned out in my mind’s eye- the front and back yards, the beautiful front room with the two bay windows, a room for homeschooling…knowing how attached I was becoming to the house, I also began praying that God would help me keep my desires in check and remove them altogether if need be.

All that to say– one day, six and a half months into the process of having our home listed, I was outside pushing my 1 1/2 year old in the swing under our big, beautiful old oak tree in the backyard.  My 3 1/2 year old was sitting on the bench swinging her legs and waiting for her turn.  I drank in the moment with all five of my senses and felt contentment wash over me.  I felt something lift inside, and knew then and there that God has answered my prayer.  Not in the way I wanted, but in the way I needed.  While I still love the house that we had been praying over and I would still love to live there, my overwhelming desire for it is gone.

It’s ironic, because before we started this process, I was reading Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life– I even wrote a post on it here.  There was an anecdote he shared that has stuck with me, and I remember thinking about it after we listed our house and vowing to keep it in mind.  It was the story of a farmer who decided to put his farm up for sale.  After he wrote out the ad describing his property, he sat for a moment, realizing that he already had everything he was looking for.

When we bought our current home, we were aware that it wasn’t in the middle of town. We knew that sometimes the 20 minutes down I-40 to get to town would feel inconvenient and longer than it really is, especially with two young children.  And we knew that there were things we would someday want to change about the house- like adding on a sunroom or screened porch, adding on more square footage for our bedroom and bathroom, and so forth.  But, we also knew we loved our lot- it is surrounded by old oak trees, other hardwoods, a very nice size, not too close to neighbors, and our house is situated on a small, pretty hill.  We can easily see the stars and it is quiet enough that I can hear the orchestra of a myriad of creatures at night.  It is a small neighborhood with just one street that ends with a cul-de-sac.  The house is quite pretty, isn’t cookie-cutter, and is certainly large enough for our needs, especially with our current family of 4, and will be large enough whenever we grow to five (God-willing).

So yes, it is still for sale, for another month or so.  But I’ve settled into it in a whole new way, and more importantly, this process has helped me settle into God’s will in a whole new way as well.  It’s been painful at times, but He’s using it for good.

Faith, Random

Choose Your Own Adventure

Almost two months ago, Will and I decided to put our house on the market.  Umm, yes, we did just move here almost two years ago.  But one night as we sat talking, the topic of moving just kind of materialized.  We are okay in our current situation- we have a lovely home, a nice sized lot, privacy, quiet, and a safe place for our children to play.  We are close to I-40 and can zip into town when we need to.  But we also would love to lower our mortgage payment and settle into a home that we want to be in forever.  We prayed about it and felt it was a “go”, so contacted the agent we worked with last time and began the process of listing our home.

The day after we decided to list our house, I headed off to the grocery store with Asher.  He had fallen asleep on the way there and was still asleep as I neared the store.  Well, I did what any mom who is desperate for her child to get a good nap will do…I kept driving.  Asher (at that point anyway) was not doing much sleeping thanks to the arrival of his top molars, so I chose to drive into a neighborhood a couple minutes down the road in order to see which houses were for sale and prolong his nap.  I had been skimming the local real estate MLS and knew of a couple I wanted to drive by.  Once in the neighborhood, I missed my turn and decided to find a driveway to use to turn around.  I pulled into the random driveway and looked up.  The house in front of me was charming and I looked a little closer.  No for sale sign, but there were some papers posted on the door, and it was evident that it was likely empty due to the major overgrowth of the shrubs and the junk on one side of the driveway.  Being the nosy curious person I am, I walked up to the front door and read the paperwork, then responded with a mixture of elation, hope, and sadness.  The paperwork revealed that the home was in pre-foreclosure.

(I find it heartbreaking that foreclosures have become so common, and Will and I have both taken time to pray for the current homeowners, whatever their situation may be, since discovering their situation.  That does not mean, however, that I would want to pass up the opportunity to own this house and restore it back to a lovingly cared for and special home.)

After reading the paperwork on the door and getting back into the van, Asher began to wake and we head to the store.  The house stayed on my mind and I told Will about it when I got home.  The next day after church, we drove by the house and Will’s reaction was like mine.  We had both fallen in love with it.

The ironic thing is that this would normally not have been a style that would have caught my eye.  It is part brick, which I usually am not a fan of, and it is not in the best of shape.  The unattached garage definitely needs some work (meaning, a new roof) and we haven’t even seen the inside.  But, it feels like home to us.  I have never felt that way looking at a house before.  And there is a part of me, the part of me that is passionate about renovation and design, that would love to find ourselves in a home that has character and that we can make our own.  Our current home is quite beautiful, but it doesn’t strike the same chord in me.

Yes, I know.  It is just a house ultimately.  But Will and I are going to give it a shot and do our best to make it our own, God willing.  And let me just say, becoming the owners of this home would be ONLY due to the Lord because 1) the number of obstacles in our way is quite remarkable, and 2) this is a home we could NEVER afford without it going into foreclosure AND without God’s hand in it.

So, I will be chronicling this adventure on the blog and whether our current home sells or not, and whether we get our true dream home or not, God gets all the glory.  I have to remind myself daily (sometimes more!) that it is His will that matters, not mine.  And the whole process, while it makes me so nervous that I feel sick in my stomach almost, is also quite exciting!  It really reminds me of the Choose Your Own Adventure books I read when I was a kid.  You know, if you want to continue in the home you live in, turn the page; if you want to move into a new home that will require a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears and make your realtor wonder if you are a little crazy, go to page 37.

Here’s to page 37!