Several of you have written to ask me how the house stuff is going-- which is so nice of you! Whoever thinks that blogging doesn't build real relationships should read my email! I appreciate your concern and prayers for our guidance as we have been in the selling/buying process. I told you I would share the story of the sale of our house and let you know when we bought a new one. And so, today, I am. Warning: this may be another long, rambling post similar to yesterday's!
As many of you already know, we listed our house last year on the first of May. We were very excited and anxious for the house to sell and sell quickly! I just knew God was going to send a buyer within a few weeks. When that didn't happen, I became very discouraged and naturally went through all the "Is this not what you want for us?" "Are we out of your will?" kinds of questions in my conversations with God. We left the house up with our first realtor for the entire length of her contract-- which we had signed for six months. She was a nice lady, but just wasn't the person for the job. When the contract expired, we took the house off the market and did what Curt had been saying we should do the whole time-- we added a new deck, put in new carpet, and re-tiled and updated our master bath. We had a goal of relisting the house once spring hit with the hope of the house selling this time with a different realtor.
In the midst of this, the realtor we were going to list with decided to go into full time minstry with a church in Miami, FL and moved away! We had to scramble to find another realtor and ended up going with one we barely knew but had a good feeling about. Let me tell you, we could not have been more pleased with her. She has been so good-- and I think she and her family might even come to our church, which is a whole 'nother story I hope to share with you someday! Because it is a very cool story in itself.
So we listed the house in March and started the waiting process all over again. I don't mean to complain. My friend Karen has a house in Michigan that has been on the market for going on three years!! She reminds me often that I have nothing to complain about. (Please join with me in praying for Karen's house to sell if you feel led to do so.) But nevertheless, I did have lapses where I would whine and throw myself a pity party. Typically the only guests at these parties were me and God-- and even He tended to make excuses about needing to be somewhere else where people had real needs, pat me on the head and make a hasty exit.
At one of these pity parties, He let me finish my tirade before answering in a way that most certainly put me in my place. He said, "Foolish girl, your house not selling has very little to do with you and everything to do with the couple who is going to buy it. They are not ready and until they are, your house will be on the market. Instead of complaining about it, you should pray for them." I will tell you that, in that moment, I got the strongest sense that we were going to know the people who bought our house, even though that didn't make sense at all. No one we knew was in the market for a house!
Weeks went by after that and I waffled between acceptance and begging. Curt and I had even started seriously discussing adding on and just taking it off the market. We were nearing the one year mark and just wanted to be done with it. And then one day out of the blue, I got an email from my friend Carissa who had been in Momtourage with me last fall. One day when I was whining to them about my house not selling, she said, "I wish we could buy your house but we aren't ready to do that yet." I made some lame joke about us being ready when they were and promptly forgot all about it. Well, Carissa was emailing me to let me know that she and her husband had just sold their house and would like to come see ours! That night as Curt and I were talking about it, he said, "They are going to buy our house, Marybeth. I just know they are."
Though they didn't give us an offer right away-- and at one point it even looked like they were going to go with another house-- they did make us an offer and they did buy our house. We close with them on June 30th. The timing, of course, was perfect as it gave our kids enough time to finish the swim season with our neighborhood swim team. We were amazed again by the way God had worked it out so perfectly! I don't know why He still surprises me the way He does, but He does. I am blown away by all of it-- but especially the lesson He taught me that when things aren't going right, I need to take the focus off my plight and realize that my waiting might be for someone else's good. I need to stop making it all about ME.
After we got their offer, it was time to start looking at houses-- which was the part I thought was going to be "fun." I had looked forward to it for so long-- yet it wasn't nearly as fun as I had anticipated. It was stressful. We saw a bunch of houses and even made an offer on one that was turned down because the seller basically wanted asking price. While he might have deserved asking price, it was just too much for us to pay. There was a house in our neighborhood for sale that actually met everything we said we wanted-- five bedrooms, a large yard, proximity to the kids' schools and the same size as many of the ones in other neighborhoods that we had gone to look at. This one even had double ovens and a bonus room! Both of us were hesitant, though, as we wondered if we wanted to stay in the exact same neighborhood or if we should branch out.
The day before we went to see this house, we went to what I can only call "the dream house." This house was in one of our most favorite neighborhoods. It was gorgeous inside and out with a huge brick patio with firepit and screened in porch. It even had a separate building outside that had AC and electricity that housed a full gym!! I was drooling and fantasizing about living there. I could just imagine myself walking downstairs in the morning thinking, "I actually live here." The trouble was, the house was at the TOP END of what we could afford. We would really have to finagle to get it. We decided not to make a decision right away.
The very next day Curt came to me with a concerned look on his face. "Yesterday when I was looking over the numbers to get us into that house," he said, "I found that the only way to do it was to quit tithing." We both knew that if we did that we were venturing down a dangerous path-- a path we had naively gone down in the past-- and one we never wanted to go down again. I knew as soon as he said that that that house was not for us. As much as I wanted it to be, I had to surrender that desire and do the wise thing. At that point I suggested we go look at the house in our neighborhood that was much more affordable. We went the next day, made an offer on it a few days later and it was accepted that night.
And so we are moving to a house just a few streets over from where we live now. My friend Amy emailed me and said, "You do know there are other neighborhoods in our town, right?" But the thing is, every time we went to look we kept going over the things we liked about our neighborhood and how much we didn't want to leave it. We have realized that, while we might have been slow to figure it out, God wasn't. He knew that this was the house for us and He knew that we would be able to get it for a price that just makes a whole lot more sense for us longterm. This house has the same square footage as the house we loved and almost the same size lot. It just needs a lot of updating. But we will work on it and slowly get it to where we want, as time and money allows. We feel very blessed to have gotten this house and we know that God was watching over every bit of it. We may not have liked the timing, but it was all in God's hands. I think even the fact that we had the accountability of writing a financial book while we were shopping for a house was no accident. We were convicted by our own words and were challenged to live what we preach! God knew that as well. He provided our friends with a great house for their family and He provided us with a great house for ours. We can't ask for anymore than that!