Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Blessing of a Lifetime

We made a lot of sacrifices when we became a single income family, but the hardest one was not being able to buy our own house. We have been renting a small farmhouse from Matt's parents for the past three and a half years and we often wondered if we would ever be in a position to own. Even when I was working, we passed up several opportunities to buy because we knew it would jeopardize my ability to stay home. When Matt got hired at his new job, we thought maybe we could finally afford a house. We knew it would still be a bit of a stretch and I might have to work part-time to make ends meet, but we decided to start looking.

That was six months ago. We started the process by saying a lot of prayers. We asked God to keep us open-minded, level-headed, and patient. We asked Him not to let us get carried away with unrealistic expectations and to steer us away from anything above our means. We asked Him to keep us hopeful when deals fell through and humble if we ever did succeed. And if all that wasn't too much to ask, we jokingly threw in a request for a nice ranch-style home out in the country with lots of trees and a big master bathroom - the vision of the dream house Matt and I created when we first got married, but knew we could probably never afford.
Next, we had to decide on a price range and we came up with three possibilities: (1) what we could afford if I didn't work at all; (2) what we could afford if I worked part-time; and (3) what we couldn't afford. We always checked the price of new listings before we looked at anything else. We figured there was no point in falling in love with anything in range number three. Finally, we had to pick a location. We knew we wanted to move closer to Matt's work and we love the small towns and the schools in that area. Unfortunately, there aren't many houses for sale at any given time in a school district full of such small towns. We didn't find much at all in our price range. Over six months, we saw only 4 houses.

We never got discouraged, though. We put all our faith in God and we both believed with 100% certainty that He would provide for us, just as He always has. We even fell in love with one house, but we encountered obstacles with the seller (it was a FSBO listing) and we were very uncertain about the price because it would have been a stretch even if I did work part-time. Since we had agreed not to push past any uncertain feelings, we walked away. We took the obstacles as a sign that it wasn't meant for us. Still, we were disappointed and wondered how it might be possible that anything better could come along.

Then last week, we got a listing for a log cabin. Neither of us has ever been interested in living in a log cabin, and it was almost out of our price range. Still, we felt an urge to go see it, but we didn't know why. Our realtor set up a showing. We hated it. What a waste of time... or so we thought.

The next day, I got an email from our realtor saying that he had driven past a home for sale on his way back from the log cabin. It had only been on the market for a few days. I looked at the price, and it was in price range number one (which meant that I could still stay home full-time). Most of the houses we found in price range number one needed so much work that we couldn't afford the repairs, so I wasn't very hopeful, but I opened the listing anyway and looked at the details. It was brand new (built in 2009) and was easily enough space for us to raise a few kids without ever needing to move again. I was sure this was some kind of mistake. Without skipping a beat (or consulting Matt) I immediately told our realtor to get us in there.

We fell in love the minute we pulled in the driveway. Before we got too excited, I asked our realtor about the price. He's a successful builder in town and a trusted family friend, so we knew he would give us a straight answer. It's a long story, but it turns out that the house is very well built and the price has nothing to do with its condition. The people had to move for personal reasons, and they needed it sold fast. We made an offer last Thursday. An hour later, the house was ours. If all of the inspections go well, we'll be living there by Christmas.

For the past four days we've been walking around in complete disbelief. We feel like we won the lottery. I break down in tears several times a day - tears of joy for this dream come true, tears of gratitude for the Lord who gave us this incredible gift, and tears of confusion as I wonder how we could possibly deserve such an amazing blessing.  By the way, it's a ranch in the country with lots of trees. Oh, and the master bathroom is awesome.

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