For the past ten years we've lived in the same home. That's longer than we've lived anywhere as a married couple, and longer than anywhere I've lived in my entire life. Our home was a true blessing. It was spacious and comfortable, and although we bought it new, we made it truly ours by finishing the garage space into 2 more bedrooms and a bath, adding two gas fireplaces, board and batten, adding a deck, and more.
The years flew by and the children grew older. One by one, they left the nest and left us in a house far too big for three people. We were driving 90 minutes one way to get to church, and put our house on the market with hopes of a quick sale. Two years is not quick.
Last October, a couple from our church approached us one Sunday morning with a proposition of sorts. She is a professor and was going to be teaching in Europe from December 31 until early July, and they didn't want to leave their home vacant over the winter. Knowing that our home was for sale and that we were desiring to move to their area, they asked us if we might pay a small amount of rent to stay in their home. We prayed and prayed, looked at our finances, and decided to say yes. Our hope was that our home would sell in the time we were house-sitting and we could be mortgage-free, allowing us to save money. We could then buy a home in the summer. Not being in our home would allow it to be shown at a moment's notice without us having to make everything look just so.
And so, on December 31, 2013, we loaded winter clothing, school books, and kitchen things up, and set up housekeeping in a house that didn't belong to us. We lived with their furniture, and most of their clothing still hanging in the closets. It was...odd. I haven't posted a lot this year, but not one person questioned when my kitchen suddenly looked entirely different than it had before.
We hoped and prayed, and I looked at oodles of homes that were for sale. Winter was harsh, and spring came along. Still, our house sat. Verne had to travel back weekly to mow the yard, weed the flower gardens, and keep up maintenance on our home. I'd go back once a month or so to give everything a quick dusting, run the vacuum, and make sure everything looked just right. We were both starting to feel like our own home wasn't even ours. That's a strange feeling!
Spring turned to summer, and finally, one day in June we got an offer. We were elated! We made an offer on a home. It would work out perfectly that we could stay in the house we were sitting in until closing day for both properties.
And then it all fell through. The prospective buyers for our home couldn't get financing. I was spending the day with Autumn and Abigail when Verne called me with the news. He had taken care of everything, letting our realtor know that we wouldn't be able to purchase the home we had a contract on.
The next evening we took Abigail to youth group, and went for a drive. Suddenly, the rainbow in the photo appeared. We were so upset. Distraught, really, and it was as if God was telling us that He cared for us and it would be okay. Still the news was hard to swallow.
Way back at the beginning of the year, Verne talked to the Director of Children's Ministries at our church and told him he'd be willing to teach Sunday School as a substitute. He never heard anything again until the week our house fell through. Verne was asked to teach Sunday School for the entire month of July. The children were studying the Lord's Prayer, and Verne's month was on "Thy will be done."
As Verne taught each week, he shared with me that he didn't know if the children were learning anything, but he sure was. It was as if God was speaking directly to him with each lesson. Mid- July we packed our things and went back home. As much as we wanted our house to sell, we were both at peace.
The day after we returned home we got a phone call. The house had been shown four days prior, and the people decided to make an offer. We accepted. The house we were going to buy previously had already sold, and we made an offer on another home. We were both really excited as we liked this home much better than the first one. The day for inspections came, and we couldn't wait to get back into the house to see it again. Only, as we entered the house the inspector looked uneasy. He had bad news. Very bad news. Invisible to the naked eye, he had found quite a bit of water damage, roof damage, and active termites. We were deflated. There was a bit of going back and forth with the seller, asking for things to be repaired. To be honest, they agreed to most of what we asked for, but we were still very uneasy. We decided to walk away from the house. It was three weeks before we had to be out of our home, and we had no idea where were were going to live.
Back to the internet I went, scouring the webpages for homes for sale. I had seen most of what was on the market in our price range. Pickings were slim. I found six homes that could work, and set up an appointment with our realtor. As the day of our appointment drew near, Verne asked me what I wanted for our 25th wedding anniversary, which just so happened to be the day were were going to look at houses. I replied, "I want a home."
As a homemaker, it isn't easy to be displaced for 7 months, not really being able to make things yours, and living with someone else's things. Once I was back in my house, I was too busy packing up to enjoy it.
August 5th arrived, our 25th anniversary, and we set off. The list dwindled as one homeowner wasn't willing for us to view their home that day, and another house had renters that needed more notice. As we walked into "the one", we both knew. We loved the yard, and the house felt like home. We continued on through the list, had some lunch with our realtor, and asked if we could go back to "the one".
Our closing was a short ten days away and we knew that even if the sellers accepted our offer, there would be no way we could have everything done in time to move into the new home. We also knew no one would want to rent to us for just a few weeks. It was looking like we might have to stay in a hotel, and that was going to get expensive really quickly. Plus, we have pets. Our realtor suddenly mentioned that a couple from our church had just listed their second home for sale the night before. I quickly asked if she thought they might rent to us short term. Of course I'd be willing to let potential buyers come and look.
The realtor made a quick phone call, and got a "Yes!" This was such a blessing to us, and it turns out, a blessing for them as well. They didn't have to make two payments this way. Needless to say, we negotiated, and came to an agreement with the sellers of the house we loved.
That's not the end of the story of how God worked out every little detail. Maybe I'll tell the rest tomorrow. ;)