So, I’ve decided to take a post off from our regular, hilarious ramblings, rants, and recommendations.
Real-life moment here.
We seem to have a lot going on in our little world at the moment. First, my brilliant husband scored a job, so we know we’ll be staying put for at least a few more years. He defends his doctorate dissertation in early April, so that’s coming up very quickly. In a stroke of not-great timing, I’m heading to Arizona for a week with my mom and cousin for a fabulous trip to celebrate our decade birthdays (more on that later). My wonderful mother-in-law is coming down to grandma for a week, but still, it puts some extra weight on my husband.
We (uh, I?) also have decided to house hunt for a little more elbow room since we’ll be sticking around a little longer. In case you’re not in the market for a new house, I’ll let you know that things are a little crazy right now. Houses come and go within days…or even day! I find a lot of my free time eaten by Zillow and house showings. I try to rally the baby troops by exclaiming, “We’re going to see three empty houses today! Whee!”
I’ve been on the house-hunt trail for about a month or so. It’s been fairly fun, as dreaming of living in a new, fresh space makes my little planning brain sing. The husband has been awesome with my “Can you come home early to see a house?” texts.
However, some real life has set in.
A few weeks ago, we found a great house. It had only been on the market for one day. It was dated, but priced really well. The location was perfect, and the layout suited our little family perfectly. I could see my kids’ toys in place and Olivia’s little crib tucked into her new room. There was even an in-law suite for guests. It was a done deal. I texted my husband and set up a time with our realtor to see the house again that evening. I crossed my fingers that my husband would see the magic in this wallpapered home.
Spoiler: He did.
Spoiler #2: On day two of this house being on the market, it already had two offers.
We put one in anyway. We were fairly certain we’d won the bidding war, so I went to bed thinking of inspections, taking down wallpaper, and how to move all of our junk a few neighborhoods down the road. I was set! I could stop hunting and settle into our new home. I felt relieved and excited.
Until I got that text message the next day from our realtor telling me the seller went with a different offer. Same number, but the buyer waived an inspection contingency. Ugh!
And a few dreams died.
Maybe that’s a little extreme, but those little feet wouldn’t be slap-slapping on that particular tile floor in our future. And that made me a little sad.
So, moving on.
I then saw about 10-15 houses in a very limited area with specific features and a certain price range. I’m being picky, because why not? I can always broaden my horizons later.
One of those houses was a sad-looking foreclosure. It checked every box on my list of wants, but was in serious need of some TLC. It didn’t even have power and had sat empty for a year. After my first visit, I left feeling itchy. I wasn’t interested.
The more I hunted, though, the more I thought about that house that needed some love. My hyperactive imagination told me it simply needed a sweet family to rid it of wallpaper and ugly tile, of overgrown bushes and its leaking roof. I decided to take my mom for a visit (yes, before I even took my husband. Mom is a bit more optimistic about projects, and, well, my husband is stressed about his current project. What was it again? Oh yeah, the biggest final exam of his life…).
Well, she saw the potential. And I saw more potential. And my kids had a blast wrestling on some stained carpet of their future playroom. Things were settling into place. I set up a third showing to bring in the husband. Even he saw the potential, especially after I encouraged him to pretend he was finished with his defense.
Now, remember this house needs some love, serious love. Not quite Extreme Makeover: Home Edition love, but Chip and Joanna Gaines would certainly be welcomed to join the party (seriously. Anytime, Gaines family. I’d love to hang out). So, we made an offer. Not a huge offer, but a serious one. I then brought in the next level of offense: my father. Dad loves me so much he climbed around in a strange, leaking attic to look for problems. Unconditional love, people.
My husband and I set a top number and waited to hear from the seller. Then the realtor left a “call me as soon as you get this” voicemail.
Out of left field, there was another offer on the table.
We were told to give our “highest and best” offer within an hour, and the seller would let us know. We did, and, I assume, so did the other guy.
And I continued to pray.
Most of my prayers sounded something like this: “Father, you can see our future here. You’ve given my husband a job, so I know our ministry in this town hasn’t ended yet. I know it’s selfish, but I’d love to find a new home for our family, one with a little more space. But, hey, you’ve blessed us so much. I can learn to be content to stay where we are. I ask you to move us when and where you want us to go.”
Yes, that sounds pretty humble, but I have to admit that I was already redecorating that house. I wanted to paint the exterior gray with white trim and talk my husband into a bright yellow front door. Super cute, right?
This morning, we heard they went with the other guy. And you know what? It hurts to watch a few more dreams die. Again, I realize this is over dramatic. But it makes my heart hurt. I wanted that future for my family, but I’m back to Zillow and house showings.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
Y’all. I realize losing out on a house purchase is next to nothing compared to the real trials of this world. I feel a little bashful even admitting that it hurt me, especially with what some of you must face. The word “trial” even seems a little extreme here.
Then again, it’s still a test of my faith. I’m still trusting God to take care of my family. I’m trusting that he wants what’s best for me, even if it looks differently than I expect. I want to be made perfect and complete (“mature” would be another appropriate synonym here), but it’s sometimes hard to rejoice in the trials. Sometimes, though, I need to quit planning.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
Maybe, when I’m sitting in my next home with its ideal layout and perfect location, I’ll read back over this and share a chuckle with God at how short-sighted I was. I hope so. But sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. It makes me glad I believe in God (and his Son) who made both the forest and the trees.
Sorry for the downer, fair reader. I just wanted to take a few hundred words and record my little moment in history. It’s hard to pray “Thy will be done” with authenticity. I’ve been a Christian since the sixth grade, and I still don’t know how much I’m getting right. Thankfully, we have grace on which to fall.
Let’s count our blessings and look forward to seeing God work.