This is going to be a looooong post, but I'm excited to share with you the way that God is working. Read further, my friends!
Before Joshua was born, we were trying to figure out how we were going to survive financially.
To say we were strapped for cash was putting it lightly. We were drowning in debt, living in a home that was upside down, and trying to figure out how we were going to live on one income.
Once we knew that we had a special needs baby on the way, we started planning. We quickly realized that our current home was not a suitable home for a baby with special needs.
At 130 years old, our home was falling apart. It sucked us dry financially with upkeep and constant maintenance, not to mention it was a 2 bedroom TINY little home. We would have made the size work, but we weren't sure how. It also was not great with the whole energy efficiency thing....it sucked our bank account dry.
We decided that our only option was to try and sell it as a short sale and try to find a rental that we could afford, or worst case scenario, move in with my parents.
After a year and a half of trying to sell the place (with SO many headaches along the way), it finally sold for an unbearably low price, but we were thankful to be done with it.
We were able to find a wonderful rental a few towns over and basically started life over. Buying a home was not an option for us because of the affects the short sale had on our credit, so renting was a perfect option. The place we found to rent was heavenly. 3 bedrooms, an eat in kitchen (rather than having to walk through the entire house to get to the dining room like we did at the old house), well insulated, and absolutely NO lawn maintenance. HEAVEN, I tell you!
Well, after dad died, my mom quickly realized that she needed to move out of their home. She works 40 miles east of where they lived, and she couldn't afford the mortgage or the gas to get to work. So she put the house up for sale and decided to look for a new home closer to her work.
Since she decided to move, we had nothing tying us to the city just west of us any more. My parents aren't there and we haven't yet found a home church there (we have been attending one that could potentially turn into a home church). Most of our "business" i.e. work, shopping, etc., is all east of us instead of west.
So we decided to look for a home to rent closer to Shane's work. Where we live now, we are 15 minutes from everything. (I find that I spend more gas just getting to the grocery store or to my friend's house, than I would like to even think about.)
After searching Craigslist for rentals, I found one that looked promising. I called and got some more information and quickly realized that it wasn't for a rental. It was for a lease to own program through an extremely reputable local builder. They work on a case by case basis to help get families into new homes with special financing until you can secure the financing to pay for the home. (I'm always a bit skeptical of these things....they always sound too good to be true.)
After explaining a bit of what we have been through over the past few years, the salesman that I talked to encouraged me to figure out what our credit looked like and then get back to him. So, I did just that. I hopped on freecreditreport.com and quickly got an estimate for our credit scores.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw that both my score and Shane's score were well into the 700's. WHAAAAAAATTTT?????!!!!! No way that is possible. Not after the short sale. (at this point, all of our debt has been paid off and we are living completely debt free except for those darn school loans)
So, I called the realtor who sold our house for us and talked to her about it. She gave us some information and encouraged us to look into possibly buying again.
At that point, I thought, "No way. This is a mistake. We will find out that our score is much lower than this."
So, I called the salesman back and told him what we found out. He encouraged us to come in and fill out a pre certification application to see if we would qualify for a home loan. Once again, I thought, surely, we would be shot down. (This is where I began praying like a madwoman for clearly opened or closed doors- if we were supposed to do this, the doors would open, if not, that they would SLAM shut.)
Fast forward a few weeks. We got a call. An "Open Door" call. We qualified for a loan. Not only did we qualify for a loan, but our previous mortgage holder shows our short sale as "balance paid in full." WHAAAAATTTTT?????!!!!!! Is this too good to be true?!?! There is NO WAY this is right. Things like this just don't happen to us.
Not only was this an "Open Door" call, it was also a call that told us that not only can we buy a home...we can BUILD a brand new home (for just a little bit more than we are paying in rent). And not just any home. We could build a 4 bedroom home in a great, up and coming, neighborhood minutes from Shane's work.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! We were just looking to rent. Nothing more. We were looking to be closer to Shane's work and my friend, Molly. We were praying that God would provide the perfect home at the perfect monthly payment at the perfect time. Never in my wildest dreams did we think we would be buying....never in a TRILLION years did we think we would be building!
We continued praying that God's path for our lives would be completely clear. We prayed that if there was any reason that we should not do this, that it would show itself and that we would not be at peace with this. We began fervently asking God to lead our every step.
And He did. He opened doors wide for us. Just after we signed the purchase agreement, Shane went to work and found out he got a raise that covers (pretty much to the penny) the difference between what we pay now in rent and what our monthly mortgage will be (not a big difference at all, but enough). We also found out that the church that we originally were thinking about trying out, but decided not to because of distance, is just down the street from where we will be living.
Just this past weekend, we met with a designer and picked out all of our flooring, colors, cabinets, hardware, appliances, doors, etc. We were able to share a bit of our story with the decorator- the story of our losses, and our struggles with faith. We were able to tell them how God has opened this door for our lives, and how this is the one thing, other than Luke, that has gone right for us. The decorator was brought to tears listening to our story. She shared her faith with us and we shared ours with her. We also found out that this particular home building company (is that what they are called?!?!) does a lot of mission work overseas and holds Bible studies on Wednesday mornings. Yet another "yes" for us- to know that we are building with a mostly Christian company.
I know that our blessings are not material items. I know that there is more to life than material things. We have always been thankful for what we have, and we try to be good stewards of our money. We are living with almost no debt (darn those pesky school loans!!!) and try our hardest to live within our means. We certainly are not perfect, but we do make conscious decisions to try and honor God with our finances.
I feel completely shallow when I say that God has blessed us with a brand new, beautiful home that will be ready for us in August. But, I know that this is a blessing. God has provided for our every need, and apparently this is a need for us. He has opened doors so incredibly wide and I am humbled to think that He is allowing this to happen.
This house is not frivolous by any means- there is no extra froo froo. We had a very modest budget to be building a home with. But it is exactly what we need. 4 bedrooms and 1600 square feet of blessings for our family. It is a place that we can finally settle and establish ourselves. It is a place that we will call home for years and years to come.
I feel like our lives may be coming full circle. God has used the pain of our lives to bring beauty and finally stability. He has used the tragedies to provide for our needs in ways that we never expected. I am humbled, honored, and thankful.
As we draw closer to August (which is also Joshua's 2nd birthday), I can't wait to be sharing the building process with you. I can't wait to continue to share with you how God is working. I'm so thankful for these open doors.