Friday, August 7, 2015

Pursuing The Dream


We have lived in the only home we have owned for almost 12 years.
We have only one bathroom and what will shortly be 4 teenagers (3 of them being girls).
We live in a neighborhood where I do not feel safe letting my children play outside (it wasn't always this bad...)
The bus system in our neighborhood is sketchy, to say the least.
While people in other countries live in cramped quarters all the time, because we have the freedom not to do so, it is very difficult to live in such confined space...i.e. there is literally no room to spread out or be alone.
We are in a position financially to possibly explore other living options.
We believe that this is God's timing, to move forward to our forever home.
We have absolutely no idea what God's time table will actually look like.


We bought our first house 11 1/2 years ago.  It was a starter home, something we believed we would only be in for a short few years.  I had envisioned no more than 5.  At the time had 3 babies, essentially.  Katherine was 2 1/2, Kaleb was 1 1/2 and Abbey was about 6 months old.  As you know though (and as we quickly found out), life can sometimes get in the way of your dreams.  You get busy, you incur more debt, and sometimes your goals seem to get farther and farther away.

For Kris and I, the thought of buying a new house wasn't something we ever talked about seriously.  We dreamed about it and sometimes wished our financial situation looked a whole lot different.  But sadly, we just were not in any position to make it a reality.  I think only twice over the last 12 years have we considered moving with any degree of seriousness.  And each time, when we ran the numbers, it just wasn't going to work out.  So our excitement was short-lived and we soon went back to being content where we were at.

But over the last few years, Kris who is much more financial minded than I has completely improved our financial picture, if you will.  We paid off a personal loan that had been a burden for many years.  Our overall debt was more than cut in half.  While I recognize that it is stressful for him at times, the best financial decision we ever made was to put Kris in charge of our finances.  When we married and I wasn't working, it made sense for me to contribute.  One of the ways I did that was to pay the bills and manage the money.  But I am the kind of person that, if I have money, I will spend it.  Saving is very difficult for me.  The only way I can even save now is for Kris to save money for me without telling me about it.  I am very impatient and impulsive (I guess those go hand in hand).  And if I see something I want or the kids need, I am tempted to just buy it and hope everything else falls into place.  Don't get me wrong - the bills were always paid.  But there were times when there wasn't anything left to save while I was in charge.

Many years ago, under the weight of depression, the impulsiveness I had with money became a problem.  I incurred some credit card debt that, for a while, I hid from Kris.  But when you hide, it ALWAYS comes to the light.  Do not be fooled into thinking that you can control it and you can keep it hidden until you get it to go away.  Life doesn't work like that.  Sin doesn't work like that.  Kris finding that secret debt I had hidden was the best thing that could have ever happened to us financially.

He quickly realized that he needed to be in charge - no just because I couldn't seem to control myself, but also because our kids were growing up and we had nothing in the way of savings or any future provision for any of us.

So over these last several years, my smart, number-loving husband has been able to pay off debt (both mine and ours) and put us in a position to where we can seriously begin the process of moving out of our current home.

We have begun the process of evaluating our situation and making a plan to save for a down payment, looking at houses to see what is out there, even going so far as to find a real estate agent.  Our dream quickly came to a halt, after I found my dream house, because the first real estate agent we talked to essentially told us there was no way we could get out from under our current house.

It has been the craziest roller coaster ride I have ever been on.  The emotional toll this has taken on Kris and I has been high.  Getting our hopes up, feeling them tugged at, getting them up again, just to have them dashed to the ground.  The situation was looking pretty bleak - and here I was with the home I wanted, on the verge of fulfilling a lifelong dream to built the house I want to grow old in.

You begin to ask questions - hear me, not to question God, but to ask Him questions.  Like, "God, I know you are moving us forward, but I don't see a way - so what's the plan here?"  We were left just hanging in limbo, unsure of what direction to turn.  We came to the conclusion that we needed to practice patience and wait.  We still had some meetings in the works and would continue with those, trusting that God would reveal when it was time to take the next step.  This led us to Wednesday night, when we met with a second real estate agent.  I believe this woman is part of God's plan for us.  I won't go into all the little details that show me God's fingerprint - though God's pretty cool with the little things.

We left that meeting Wednesday night feeling like it might actually be possible to keep moving forward.  But because of all the ups and downs, I am trying hard to just wait and not get ahead of the process mentally.  I still want to build my house.  I still want to get out of my neighborhood sooner rather than later.  We have another meeting tonight with a broker or lender (I'm not sure if those are the same?) and our new agent.  It could go either way - we could get good news that will really make our dream a reality, or we could be told that the current value of houses in our neighborhood will make it impossible for us to move before all of the kids graduate from high school.

So as I was thinking through all of this on my drive to work today, I heard God reminding me that His timing is always perfect.  That I need to be patient and trust Him.  And that in the lows, in the disappointments and the potential reality of having to resign myself to another 6 years at my current house (because I don't want to move any of the kids during their senior year of high school) - God said clearly to me that I needed to let it rain.  Whatever happens, sometimes you just have to let it rain.

And of course, as you know, God uses music to speak these messages to me.  So, as I listen to Mat Kearney sing "Let It Rain" it goes straight to my heart.  If we get bad news tonight, I will let it rain.  I will continue to trust in the only One who never ever breaks his promises.  It is a lesson I often forget, but one that I recognize is really the only way to get through the rough nights.  As Switchfoot says, the shadow (or the rain in this scenario) PROVES the sunshine.  You have to have the rain to get to the sunny days.  And one sunny day is better than the worst rainy day.  Because we serve a God who loves us and care about our heart's desires.

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