Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home

This will be long so bear with me...Over a year ago Marcus and I started looking at houses. We LOVED our current home but we needed a little more room inside and out.
When we bought our home we "gutted" the backyard. We installed a fountain, tons of river rock and stone, added a pond, a ditch to help with drainage and built an outdoor kitchen.


A couple of months later we found out we would be welcoming a baby the next year. Our backyard was/is beautiful but it's NOT kid friendly. Walker has fallen so many times on the stone, the fountain, ditch and landscaping make it impossible for him to play in the backyard. He can only ride his toys in a circle and I'm terrified he is going to fall into the pond. The inside of our house is wonderful and I know that people live in much smaller homes than what we live in however we only have three bedrooms. If my parents lived ten minutes from here three bedrooms wouldn't be an issue but they live almost two hours away. When they come to visit us they have no where to sleep. My brother has stayed with us a couple of times but he has to sleep on an air mattress. He is almost 6 feet tall and weighs WELL over 200 pounds. It's not comfortable. I want my parents and brother to be able to come and spend the night and feel at home. With the toys, my elliptical and a closet full of hunting gear setting up a bed in the third bedroom isn't an option.
These plus many more reasons made us want an extra bedroom, a bigger kid friendly yard but we didn't want to be in the poor house. Marcus and I promised each other when we got married that we would NEVER be house poor. I want to enjoy my home and not be be scared every single month when the mortgage comes due. Don't get me wrong there have been months when that has happened but God has provided and never once has our house note gone unpaid. Still I don't want it to be a constant issue. I also want to continue to stay home with my kid(s). I never thought I would enjoy it but I do. I LOVE spending time with Walker. I know it's not for everyone and there are days when it isn't for me but the majority of time I can't imagine being somewhere else. I want to do this with any children we have in the future.
So we made a list of things we wanted in a new home:
-4 bedrooms or more(this would allow us to expand our family and allow my parents to stay overnight)
-a workshop in the back
-something we can afford even on the months when work is slow
and
-something that needed a little fixing up.
We considered building. After all Marcus owns a construction company and works with some of the BEST builders in the state but we knew if we lived to see our grandchildren our next home probably wouldn't be our last. We wanted to hold off on building until we were positive about the kind of home we wanted. So after some consideration we decided to do something similar to what my brother in law David did...buy a fixer upper, do all the work ourselves, live in it for a few years and then sell it. This would allow us to put a LARGE down payment on our "dream home". Marcus is very talented and because he is able to do so much himself, get materials at cost and has several other friends in the business who have offered their time to us we knew that buying a fixer upper would allow us to get more for our money.
We looked at probably fifty houses. Everything was either was out of our price range, had a terrible yard, was in the middle of nowhere or was in such bad shape that the resale on it wouldn't be worth fixing it up. We had pretty much accepted the fact that we wouldn't be able to find anything and had started trying to figure out other options such as converting the back porch to a playroom and renting a storage building for Marcus' tools.
About four weeks ago we went over to Marcus' parents house and his dad showed us a few things on MLS, he is our realtor after all :). We didn't see anything and ate dinner. After dinner we checked MLS one more time and there it was!!!! Our "dream home"! I tried not to get too excited. It had more bedrooms than we planned on, a HUGE yard perfect for Walker and a workshop. On top of all that it was a foreclosure, it was in our price range and it was in the same neighborhood as my in laws. It was nine o'clock at night and freezing cold but luckily our realtor can't tell me no and was happy to drive us over. We got out with flashlights and looked over the outside but there was no way to see the interior. Marcus, Walker and I headed home. Marcus and I didn't sleep a wink that night. We decided that we would start praying about this and praying about it daily. We had prayed in the past but not consistently. While we were so excited we could hardly stand it we knew a lot of things had to happen in order for us to one day call this house home. Our current house had to sell first and foremost, we had to make sure the house wasn't in horrible shape or beyond repair(that has happened so many times!) and we had to get approved for a mortgage. The next day my father in law got the code to get in. My in laws looked at it before we got there so when I walked in their back door I said,"Is it worth my time?". So many times it hasn't been. My father in law smiled from ear to ear and nodded. My mother in law came around the corner and said,"It's great! It's PERFECT!". Boy was she right. We walked through it and it had everything we wanted. We went in a bedroom upstairs and Walker, without even knowing that we were considering living in this house, Walker says,"This is my room. Where are my toys?". Cosmetically the house was awful. The tile was terrible, the paint was terrible, the light fixtures were the pits and the carpet looked like people had dumped a load of dirt on it. The wood floors were scratched beyond repair and there were other issues but they were all things that we could fix and fix at cost. Every repair Marcus could do himself. We left on cloud nine.
I went to Wal Mart a couple of days later and bought a for sale by owner sign for our yard. We stuck in the yard on a Thursday night with a few flyers and waited....Not a single phone call. I posted it on facebook and had two people interested but nothing definite. We prayed. I prayed a lot! Monday came and went and we prepared ourselves that it may take a while for the house to sell and by that time our "dream house" would be gone. Still we prayed. Tuesday morning I took Walker to MDO and headed to the grocery store. While I was there Marcus called and said someone wanted to look at it in THIRTY MINUTES!!!!! Luckily I had cleaned it because my father in law was going to try and show it that afternoon but I wasn't clean. No makeup, hair greasy and in a pony tail and my clothes looked like I slept in them. I raced home and then it hit me...I knew whoever I sold my house to would effect so many people. I love the people on my street. Some of them are my closest friends. I didn't want to be the person who sold their house to a drug dealer and upset all the neighbors, especially when these neighbors were my friends. When I saw the car pull up I prayed that who ever was driving it would be a decent person. A very attractive older lady and a man stepped out. She came in introduced herself and looked around. She said,"I love it! It's perfect!" my heart jumped for joy then her friend said,"You have said that about EVERY house you've seen!" my heart sank. She said she was going to look at another one but would call us back. I knew how that worked because I have said it twenty times at homes we have looked at and never once called back. I locked the door and set out to finish my grocery shopping. Even if she wanted it she would have to sell her home I assumed and by then the other house would be gone. I called Marcus told him she liked it but not to expect anything and went on about my business. I felt at peace about whatever happened. Forty five minutes later Marcus called! Now I know my husband and when he is excited about something he CAN NOT HIDE IT! It's almost like you can hear him smiling through the phone. So he said,"Babe, she wants it! She is offering us full price and she has CASH!!!!". I almost fainted. I knew God had done this at that very moment. Even if the house we wanted wasn't going to be ours God wanted us out of this one. Phone calls were made and we found out that her house was already sold, she was closing in two weeks and she wanted to be in ours ASAP. Still I tried not to get too excited. I prayed some more and only told some of my closest friends. We started making plans to move out.
We put an offer in on our dream home and waited. The realtor called back and said there was another offer already but they would consider our offer. We rushed to get the paper work in and then we waited and waited and waited. In the meantime the lady called back and said she wanted to purchase some of our furniture. The realtor gave me the list....EVERY single item she asked for were items that we had NO room for in the new house. It was like it was one more sign from God saying here you go, it's gonna work, just be patient.
Finally the other realtor called and said they had accepted our offer but needed to make some changes. We were thrilled but knew that it wasn't for sure. Three weeks we waited to find out if we would get the house. I know some people wait longer than that but when your moving out of your current home and don't know if your going to have another home to go to it makes for a VERY LONG three weeks.
Today we got the call we had been waiting on! They had signed the contract and we had a closing date. I cried tears of joy! I know it's just a house and home is anywhere you make it...that's not where the tears came from. I was crying because God made all of this so clear. We prayed, He answered and He made it evident. I have been so humbled by how He has worked in all of this. After I posted it on Facebook I received a message from a friend and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this...She said she and her husband had looked at our "dream home" several times but never felt at peace about buying it. She said now she knew why...Because the house was meant for us and she was so happy for us. She can't imagine how that touched my heart.
I firmly believe that when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and you turn everything over to him he will handle it but giving it completely to Him is easier said than done. I am very controlling and impatient. Sometimes I feel like God doesn't work fast enough for me. In the past I would have prayed, "God please give us this house!". This time I prayed "God I am handing this over to you. If it is your will that we have this home so be it if not I know it's because you have other things in store for us and I will accept that. Just show me what you want me to do for the best interest of my family and what glorifies you". I didn't want to buy this house because we wanted it. I wanted to buy this house if God wanted it for us. Proverbs 10:22 says "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it". Stormie Omartian writes in Power of a Praying Wife that "God's desire is to bless those who have obedient, grateful, and giving hearts, whose treasure is in the Lord". I believe that. I don't want my treasure to be this home we have been blessed with...I want this home to be an example of the treasure I have in Jesus Christ. I am a sinner and I am so far from the person God wants me to be as a wife, mother, friend and follower of him but I know that without Him I will never be the person He desires me to be. Marcus and I have made some changes in our lives and they are changes that we believe will bring us a closer relationship with Christ. I believe when God works in your life you should tell others about it. I'm not saying that if you start praying for a million dollars God is going to give it to you. Only He knows if you can handle the responsibility that comes with that. I do believe that if you pray and turn it over to Him completely He will comfort you throughout the process and give you a peace that passes all understanding.
I rely on prayer so much. I don't have the prayer life with God I want yet but I am working on that. I know that prayer brings you closer to him and allows you to have intimacy with Him you wouldn't have without it. Our ladies Bible study group is reading A Praying Life right now and I'm so excited about it!
We don't close until second week of March and a million things could happen between now then. A tornado could come through and knock the house off it's foundation or everything could go off without a hitch. No matter what I know it is God's plan. After all, this is just our temporary home it can never compare with our eternal home!