Friday, March 13, 2015

When God Writes Your House Story

We just bought a house (I'll let you know which one we bought at the end). Since getting married 6 1/2 years ago, we've lived in 7 different houses and apartments, but this is the first one that we've bought. It's been a crazy ride!

If I wrote my house story, it would look completely different. God writes our stories much different than how we would write them, but I've learned to trust him in that. He's so much more wise than I am. He can see eternity past and eternity future and every single little thing happening on every part of the planet this second, and I mostly only see right now and right here. And in his wisdom, he chose a house for us. And it's not the one I would have chosen. But as I've poured my heart out in prayer to the Lord over this house, learning to trust him more than I ever have before in my life, I've come to peace that even though this isn't the house I would have picked, this is our house. This is where we belong for now.

So let me take you on a little house journey. This is the journey God has taken us on to find our house.

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House #1: Six years ago, we started the process of building our own home. It was going to look similar to the one below. Oh, my heart. I remember how much I loved this house. I remember all the plans. All the excitement. And then I read Crazy Love, and Francis Chan's words challenged me that we were just chasing after the American Dream, and that building this house wasn't God's plan for us. So we called off the build.

House #1

House #2: At this point, we began seeking missions. And this part of our journey took up the next four years of our life. And I planned and dreamed and anticipated living in a house like the one below. Most people wouldn't find it too glorious. But I love missions. I wanted to reach the unreached in Papua New Guinea. I dreamed about a simpler life in a simpler house doing just that. But in August, those dreams came to an end, and God made it clear to me in the months following that I needed to let go of that dream for now. So I let go of this house.

House #2

House #3: So then we started looking for houses in northern Indiana, as we felt this is where God wanted us for now. The first house we started looking at was a ranch style home. As I have had more kids and have realized how hectic going up and down stairs twenty times a day can be, I always said I only wanted a ranch. So we loved this house online. It was on an acre lot with a little garden in the back. But by time our financing checked through, this house was no longer on the market.

House #3

House #4: But this house was! And guess what? It went against my #1 rule... that the house had to be a ranch. But Ben asked if I would consider it, and it was in my favorite subdivision, so I did. And I fell in love with it. And I was certain God opened my heart to this house because this was supposed to be our house. It was a wonderful cape cod home that was still set in the 70s. Seriously.dated. I dreamed about all the fun renovations we would do. The best part was that it had been on the market for a year and the price was just lowered to really low. But... we found out they took someone else's offer. And I was devastated. I asked God why he opened my heart to this if it wasn't to be ours. But in hindsight, I think he opened my heart to it so that he could open my heart to other houses, that would eventually lead to our house. I don't think I ever would have considered our house if I hadn't opened my heart to this one first.

House #4

House #5: So then we found this ranch-style home. It needed some updating, and it was a short sale, so the price was right. It had a pool, which I wasn't fond of, but Ben and the girls were. So we made an offer. And they took another offer. Losing this house wasn't as hard as the first, and I was beginning to learn to trust God deeply with this whole house hunting thing. There were many nights of listening to Bethel Music's "It Is Well." Sometimes we need music to remind our soul how to feel.

House #5

House #6: This lovely quad-level was our next find. Honestly, through this process, I fell in love with all things 70s and all things ugly. Ha! I just loved seeing all the potential. This house was a foreclosure, and we had a heck of a time getting in to see it. The realtor was never available, and the lock was broken. But we eventually did see it, and we got really excited. There was so much space for a great price, and we could fix it up! But there was one problem. It was only available through a sketchy online auction website. We read too many bad reviews and didn't trust buying a house that way. So we kept looking, but my heart (and my Zillow) kept looking back to this one.

House #6

House #7: We looked at two more houses that were a definite no, and then this foreclosed house came on the market... my friend Emily endearingly named this house "The Bowl Cut." Bahaha! But, even though it was a bit (a lot) ugly on the outside, I could see all the potential. We searched "mansard house renovation" on the internet for hours, finding out how we could make this bowl cut into a more modern style. I didn't love the location, but I did love the fireplace and the size of the rooms and the basement. But, when we went to make an offer, we found out that because the heater had issues, our mortgage company couldn't finance us for it. 

House #7

House #8: At this point, I felt like we were just going to have to wait until something new came on the market, because I had looked over all the houses in our price range, and there was nothing. Except that quad level. I still kept thinking about that and waiting for it to come off of the auction website (and back to the regular market). But because house was on my mind, I went back through all the houses available one more time, and clicked on the one below. I was certain I had looked at it before, as it had been on the market for two months, but I realized I never had. While others have told me it's not, I thought it was just so ugly. I don't know, something about that roof. But when I looked at it that day, I realized there was potential, and I liked the location, and I thought if we put dormers on it, the house would look way better. (I should mention at this point that I have a carpenter for a husband, so I can dream BIG when looking at houses... it's wonderful!). So we went and looked at it. The price was higher than I wanted, but it had already been lowered once. After looking at it, I struggled. I didn't feel completely at peace.

House #8

My heart and head continued to think about that quad-level. I really, really loved the location, and I really, really loved the potential. So I went back on Zillow and checked one more time, and I saw it had come back on the regular market. And the price had dropped! I was so excited! So I told Ben, and we called our realtor to see if he could check on it. 

And then we found out that this house had the same problem as Bowl Cut house, and we wouldn't be able to get financing for it. And my heart was sad. And I struggled to feel peace. Ben felt like we should go for House #8, but I wasn't sure. So I prayed about it, and then I told him that I thought we should offer $12,000 less than asking price. I knew this meant we might not get it, but it felt right. So we offered that.

And they countered with a number $5,000 higher. It was still a number in our favor, especially considering the price had already dropped, but I still struggled to feel peace. I prayed and prayed, and checked all the houses on the market one final time. And God worked in my heart, and stirred me to say yes.

So this is our house!


You know what? Even though I have a peace that this is our house... this is the one we are supposed to have... it's still not the house I would have picked. I still would have written my house story different. If I wrote my story, I'd be living in House #2. I'd still love to live in Papua New Guinea. And maybe someday. But that's not for our story right now. And I would choose House #4 second. And House #6 third. And THEN I would choose our house. That's fourth out of eight. So yeah, I would definitely write my house story different. But when God writes your house story, it's the best. Far better than when I write it. I trust that with all my heart.

6 comments:

  1. So cute! I can't wait to see what you guys do with it and how God uses it to bless you and others! In our 6 years of marriage we have lived in 6 homes (counting the loft as one...since we lived there for 4 months total). I didn't love all of them and none has been "perfect" or "ours" but I'm learning now to not wait to beautify and make something our own. Home is home.

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  2. You KNOW I love house hunt stories. Alisha, I'm so thrilled for where God has placed you (even though it's not next door to me!). Can't wait to see how He'll use you there and what He'll do in your heart/marriage/family in the meantime. It's a great story when God writes it!

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    1. You KNOW you were my influence to write my house story :)

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  3. Ah your house!! I felt that way when we bought ours, too. And now, after less than two years and countless renovations, I will feel so sad to leave it. The memories made here were priceless. Hope you make just as many good memories in your new abode!

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    1. Can't WAIT to see how God uses you next! So excited you're going to the MTC! We live by an airport now and it makes me think of you often!

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