I will extol the Lord with all my heart. ~ Psalm 111:1
Last week we moved into what we are dubbing our “forever home.” It’s been hectic and crazy, as all moves are, but it has also been a time of sweet celebration for our family. The Holy Spirit has led this entire venture, and so we unashamedly refer to it not as our house, but God’s. We’re amazed and thrilled He is entrusting it to us, and we want to obey Psalm 111:1 and extol the Lord for what He has done. I have several blog posts rolling around in my head, but between trying to find our new normal and only recently installing the internet, I have not had much time on the computer. So today’s post is simply going to be sharing with you all the story of our move. I need to write every detail down before I forget.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. ~ Psalm 103:2
One Sunday morning last October I was sitting in church watching a video highlighting how God was moving in a satellite campus which launched only a year earlier. As I watched it, I experienced an overwhelming desire to volunteer for the next satellite campus, which is set to open late 2016 or early 2017. The “problem” was that we didn’t live near that town, in fact, we lived in a whole different state. My interest made no sense, and I remember praying, “Okay, Lord, if you are calling us to that campus, You will have to give Jason this same desire.”
In case you don’t know much about my husband, let me just tell you, he doesn’t make decisions lightly. He weighs all the options and scenarios and waits for neon signs before moving forward. So asking God to work through Jason was my way of surrendering this decision.
So you can imagine my surprise when that same Sunday Jason said, “There is just something about the new campus that makes me go, ‘hmm?‘”
I wasted no time in telling him that I had it too! I took his comment as a confirmation from the Lord, but Jason was a bit more hesitant to enlist. We agreed that we should pray more about our desire. We did, and for months nothing changed. We both felt led and interested but hesitated because it made no sense. We lived so far away, and the drive would limit our involvement. Who would want to cross state lines (and horrendous traffic) to come over for dinner?
The pieces started coming together in late April.
Jason was offered a job, starting on September 1st, 2016, in the city where the new church is going to be. In fact, it is only a couple of minutes up the road from the hospital. After some prayer, we accepted that offer and decided this career move was part of God’s plan. The neon sign Jason was waiting for to allow us to make the commitment to help launch this satellite campus. However, we committed with the caveat that we would only be able to help on Sundays, simply because of the distance.
We shared with them “our plan” of hopefully moving out there sometime during the summer of 2017, and would participate more after that time. In our minds, we thought it would be wise to work at his new job a couple of months before moving out that way just in case the job wasn’t a good fit. Our old house offered a great geographical location with many options while living in a small town might limit where he could work without a long commute. We also liked the idea of having a year to save up for a downpayment and get our house ready to sell.
A weakness of mine is looking for real estate online, and so it didn’t take long before I decided to look at homes in that general direction. It was hard to form opinions on homes since we had never even laid eyes on this town. So, on a Tuesday morning at the end of May, we spent the morning driving to the different homes we had bookmarked. Nothing seemed to be a good fit. It became evident that we had very differing opinions on what our next house should include. I was disappointed, but Jason very patiently reiterated that our drive was a reconnaissance mission and that we were still 12-18 months away from making a move. He even suggested that perhaps we would have to buy land and then build because there didn’t seem to be any house on the market that encompassed our unique tastes.
Then Friday came.
I was (again) browsing homes and a new listing showed up in my feed. It was beautiful, and as I read the description, I realized it had everything Jason and I had ever talked about wanting.
- It has 25+ acres and a couple of creeks (Jason’s desire)
- It is only 2 minutes from the interstate and is close to a few different towns (mine)
- It has a working orchard (Jason’s)
- And a wrap around porch (mine)
- The house sits on a giant hill (Jason’s)
- And features picture windows and a turret (mine)
- We both mentioned the desire to have a prayer room; this house features a library that could easily become a prayer room.
I promptly called Jason up and said, “I found our house!” His response was a sarcastic, “Sure! We will go look at it with all of our free time and buy it will all our extra money.” However, when he arrived home that afternoon, he asked to see it. And within minutes, my husband who never makes rash decisions believed we were to buy that house. I agreed.
We saw the house for the first time two days later.
We drove to it, and the sight alone took my breath away. Together we sat in the driveway and prayed. We asked God to protect the house if it was supposed to be for us and to take it away from us (and our hearts) if it wasn’t. Then we called our realtor. We scheduled a viewing on Tuesday, and by that time we showed up, we had already made up our minds. God was calling us to this house. Within 24 hours, we put in an offer.
On Friday, June 1st, a week after first seeing it online, we had a signed contract.
There were so many complicated layers to this transaction that we realized it could fall apart at any moment. The couple was going through a divorce, which of course presents many uncertainties in and of itself. Additionally, the house is unfinished on the inside which we were comfortable with because Jason has always dreamed of building a home or owning a fixer-upper (we call this our “finisher-upper.”). However, the unfinished state did offer some challenges with the appraisal process. There were many moving parts, one which included a cash buyer that was ready to swoop in halt our progress, but we continued to pray for the Lord to protect it for us or take it away. We wanted His will more than we wanted the house.
Every single time a hurdle came up, we easily jumped over it, and the process continued to move forward.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. ~Isaiah 12:5
We didn’t want to risk a “contingency” contract and prayed for God would sell our house. Jason has always been aggressive with house payments leaving us with a bit of equity in our home that we want to use to pay down the new home loan quickly. The first two days our house was on the market we had three showings, but then nothing. For weeks no one even looked at the house. We dropped the price and bought new appliances (in addition to the new carpet and paint we had already done). Still no action. We kept reminding ourselves that we needed to trust God’s character. He led us to that other house, and we knew he could sell ours. Maybe not in our preferred timeline, but He would be faithful.
Then one night at the end of July, our neighbor texted wanting to talk with Jason outside. When Jason came back in, he told me our neighbors wanted to buy our house. That’s right! God sold our house without us even having to show it. We worked out the details and within a few days, we had a signed contract. Here’s the kicker, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. We are set to close on our old house the day our first mortgage payment is due on the new house. It was a tremendous blessing to be able to live in our home this summer instead of being slaves to showings or keeping our house spotless.
Even though we weren’t planning on buying a house this year, over the last twelve months Jason audited our spending and cut out all unnecessary expenses. He felt convicted to be a good steward of our money, and his obedience to the Lord’s prompting gave us enough money for the downpayment even without having to sell our house first. God knew this house was coming, and I’m thankful that my husband was listening to Him long before a move was even on our radar.
I don’t know all that God has planned for us at our new place. Nor do I know why He dropped our dream house into our laps, but we are keeping our spiritual eyes open. We have fun visions for hosting marriage retreats, raising lots of children, and using our space to be a complimentary bed and breakfast for missionaries or pastors in need of a respite. However God wants to us this property is fine by us. Like I said earlier, it is His, not ours. We are just the groundskeepers.
God is never late or early, He is always right on time.
I share this story with you in hopes that together we will see God’s goodness and trust that whatever situation we find ourselves, there is no hurdle too complicated for Him. And, I’m not just saying this because of my current situation. In fact, I can’t think of another occasion in my life where He has lined up so many complicated pieces so quickly and with such ease. Most of the time when he brings Jason and me to unity over decisions, it seems to be a long and drawn out process. But no matter our earthly expectations, we can celebrate that God works everything out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Also, I write this knowing that life won’t be easy or mess-free in this new house. Because we live in a fallen world, and Jesus Himself promises us that we will have trouble (John 16:33), we will experience pain and setbacks in this new house. Recording and recalling the good will help us rely on God’s unchanging character during more challenging seasons where His fingerprints aren’t so clear Ultimately, I pray that sharing this story glorifies God because, just like with our house, it isn’t our story, it is His. I don’t want to keep to myself the great things He has done.
Let the whole world know what he has done. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8
Let’s extol the Lord together! What great things has he does in your life?
*house image pulled from Zillow.