Thursday, May 07, 2015

99 months, 29 Days

Eight and a half years ago, I fell in love with my family's current home.

Tomorrow (God willing) we will finally close on the sale of the house we left in early 2007 to move here.

We have reluctantly owned a 'second home' 6 miles from our primary one for over 8 years.  The story doesn't make sense according to the way I long thought 'trusting God' was supposed to work.

The first home Ryland & I purchased together--where I cried tears over infertility, adjusted to life in a brand new town, welcomed a new puppy, discovered we were pregnant, renovated to prepare for a rapidly growing family and ultimately brought our babies home was a source of great joy. It was truly a wonderful home.

A series of events led us to our current home quite unexpectedly. Everything was so smooth in the beginning and bathed in prayer that the sale of the old house was almost a given in our minds. Until it wasn't. The Housing Market Crash of 2007 was squarely upon our community the very month we closed on our new home and listed the old. Once a sweet blessing, the house slowly became a big burden.

We didn't go down without a fight.

We lived with minimal furniture in the new house for months so we could show the home staged with furniture but without three toddlers.
Our kids turned 3.
We cut the price.
We rented it for a year.
Our kids turned 4.
We cut the price again.
We renovated bathrooms.
Our kids turned 5.
We rented again.
We cut the price again.
Our kids turned 6.
We did a landscape overhaul.
We cut the price again.
Our kids turned 7.
We repainted the entire interior.
We replaced carpet.
Our kids turned 8.
We thought we had sold it twice.
We had to walk the road of mediation after an ugly ending to a contract.
Our kids turned 9.
We cut our price.
We had another contract fall through.
Our kids turned 10.
We rented again.

We've been out of the house twice as long as we lived in it. Many frustrating situations presented themselves through this roller coaster process. The ownership of a house we loved but did not want or need was costly--to our emotions, our time, our finances--and at times put a real strain on our relationship.

I have struggled for 99 months and 29 days to find what God might be teaching me. We tried to follow Him faithfully through this whole process. We prayed. We sought Godly counsel. We followed the 'rules' and it was still messy and difficult.

After all these years, it seems I should feel more celebratory about the closing tomorrow, but the most I can muster is a sigh of resignation. I am grateful, but I am tired of this chapter. I don't think the check will satisfy what I really want: a neat, big lesson I could wrap up in a bow. (I like those.)

As I walked around the property this morning for a final inspection, I asked God again: What was the point? The loss of time, substantial money, energy would be so much easier to swallow if I could count it as the cost of some lasting lesson.  Make this count for something God. Show me what you have been up to so I can feel some value from this long, frustrating road...

Please make this make sense so I can understand. I promise to tell the story of Your faithfulness--just show me what it is...

But He hasn't yet. And maybe that IS the lesson. God doesn't function in a transactional manner. It is not ours to know what or why. Faith really is just walking in obedience and trusting Him for the rest. Even when it is hard. Especially when we can't wrap it up in a bow and explain it away. Real faith is knowing that the way He is at work may, in many cases, never make sense this side of heaven.

I learned lots of small lessons along the way. Hard ones that stretched me and grew me...but should 'small' lessons cost so much?

Honestly, this was just time and money. It wasn't cancer, terrible abuse, a horrific accident, devastating heartbreak...but one day it may well be. This world is not our home. Life gets messy. No one is immune.

And I pray we will choose to trust, even when we cannot see. Even when I do not get my neat bow. Even when it costs me. Especially in those times.

He is God. I am not. He is wise, trustworthy and concerned with an eternal picture.

99 months and 29 days feels like a long time, but it is nothing in light of eternity.

Maybe one day I will get my big, neat lesson from this...or maybe learning to practice this type of faith when it doesn't make sense was the lesson.


J & A said...

So glad it sold (in God's time, to be sure, ha!). :) One question - it looks HUGE - was it not big enough for five people??? That might be the jealousy talking, though as we're 7 people in 1800 square feet... ;)

JMom said...

Haha. No, space was NOT the was proximity to hospitals primarily. (Every minute counts on call.), yard and access to neighborhood pool--plus we are old house people!

Aja said...

Two house owners here as well, in the lovely real estate market that is post-recession Florida. God has been good to provide renters for us, but the time and money has definitely been an issue for us as well! Funny enough, I was just explaining to my 4-year-old today that sometimes we don't understand why God makes the choices He does, but we have to accept that he is God and we are not and He doesn't really owe us an explanation. I compared it to if his toys demanded he play with them a certain way (I know not exactly the same, but again, he's 4 and I wanted him to understand). Glad you are able to hopefully close this chapter and move on!

JewelKat said...

I am so happy for you! I thought you already sold it, so this makes me even happier for you. You know we feel your pain as we just sold ours this past Fall. At the closing, before we started signing papers, I said to our agent and the closing attorney that this was like the first time you give birth. You know the baby has to get out of your body at some point, but you literally don't believe it is going to happen. It's so foreign you can't really even visualize the moment the baby is out and breathing on its own. I truly never thought we would get rid of that house. I just deleted our maintenance contacts out of my phone. It's so nice to only have ONE of everything! Mazel Tov! Julie W.

Helen said...

So glad for you! When my husband and I were newly married, we drove 2,000 miles along with 7 other people (in a large van) around Christmas or New Years, and broke down in a very small town. We had to wait 4 days for a part to come in. We connected with a church and various families put all of us up and took care of us, many of the 9 of us were sick. We looked for a reason why, but think it had nothing to do with us, we were just blessing the people of that church! They needed an opportunity to love on someone, and we needed help. Maybe someone was really blessed by renting out your house one of those years, and you may never know.

Denise Ross said...

Congratulations on the sale. I love what Helen said - great perspective :)