Pssstt!…..You may want to read Part 1 before reading Part 2!
After living in The House for only 7 months, Chris and I learned to find contentment and joy no matter where the Lord moved us. He was our home. He was our security. He was our comfort.
I felt peace in knowing that the Lord had taught us such an important, valuable spiritual lesson through the walls and windows and carpet and roof that made up an earthly dwelling where we lived.
I thought we were home to stay and I was okay with that.
He had a different plan.
One day last spring my younger sister Hannah and I were talking about houses, specifically The House. Our conversation turned to the house that Hannah lived in with her husband Jayson and their son Carter. They’d built it at our grandparents’ place early in their marriage, and were neighbors with our “Granny and Pawpaw,” as we call them.
Hannah and Jayson have their own story to tell about the joys of adoption and the miracle of the birth of their son Carter (you can read it here).
They’d been looking to downsize for some time because they were burdened to pay off their adoption debt. They had a beautiful house on a wonderful spot of land, but they couldn’t really sell it to downsize because it was on family land. Now, the term family land brings up different pictures in everyone’s mind, but in my mind, family land looks like home…and a seed began to take root.
I grew up a short walk away from my Granny and Pawpaw. If we wanted to visit our grandparents, my sisters and I just had to take a quick skip “across the field” behind our house and we’d be there. The yard was a haven for curious children, complete with a tire swing and a rope swing, a red barn, trees perfect for climbing, and a distant-but-not-too-distant pond. When I was almost in college, my parents moved a little farther down the road from my grandparents, and we started driving to get to their house (though it was still just down the road). No matter what stage I’ve gone through in life, no matter where I’ve lived, there has been one place in my mind that comes to mind when I think of home, and this is it.
Before I could water the seed of thought in my mind, before I could cultivate it and mull over it, I blurted out to Hannah, almost half-jokingly, “Maybe Chris and I could buy your house so ya’ll could downsize and pay off your adoption?”
And Hannah simultaneously said, “YES!”
And we stared at each other in wonder.
Hmmm. Slow this train down for a minute.
There were a few things I hadn’t thought of, like:
- I would need to “run this” by Chris, right? Yes, yes I would. Oh, and he was away on a business trip that day.
- We just moved. Like seven months ago.
- Hannah would need to “run this” by her husband, Jayson.
- Numbers would have to match up.
- Can you even sell a house that you just moved into? Like seven months ago?
- WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK?!? I mean, we just moved. Like seven months ago!
- What would Granny say?
- What about the boys? How could we move them again so quickly?
- What did God think? What did He say to do? Would He really say to move again? We’d just moved. Like seven months ago.
So we quickly went our separate ways, with Hannah excitedly assuring me that there was “No pressure or anything.” 🙂
But what she did next is what we need to do with any situation in our lives, big or small. It’s what our Father calls us to do, what He longs for us to do.
She said, “As soon as I got home, I hit my knees.”
She prayed. Hard. And I did the same. I will honestly admit, I sort of thought that this situation was too far out of reach for any of us. We’d gone through some trial in our hearts over The House, and I didn’t know that the Lord would trust us by telling us to move again. I mean, our latest move had made a wreck out of me. I’d learned a lot about myself, about the Lord, and I’d gotten closer to Him than ever before. And it had happened in The House. Did He really want us to leave now? I was doubtful. But here’s what came to my heart…
“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
My heart listened. I called Chris on his business trip. “Hey…so I was talking to Hannah…” I will say I cringed a little as I laid it all out to him. But he just laughed and joked, “I go away for one day!”
And then, it was as if my own ears heard the Lord. Right behind me on this way home, saying “This is the way. Walk in it.”
Here’s how the Lord showed us to move forward:
Chris got serious and said that we needed to pray, pray, pray. He also very realistically said he was unsure if we could even sell a house so soon (just in case you’re wondering, we had only lived there for 7 months. 7. Months.). And then he said, “Paige, we’ve just sold and bought this year. We’d be able to afford ____ amount on their house. We don’t even know what they’d want to sell it for. This can be very hard to talk about with family.”
Less than a minute later, my sister called and said that she had talked to her husband and asked him if he thought it was possible to sell and build a smaller house. Jayson was very excited. He’d taken a calculator and made several calculations and said, “If we sell it for ____ amount, we’ll be able to pay off our adoption in full!”
It was the exact amount Chris had given me.
“This is the way. Walk in it.”
Okay Lord. We will move again.
I worry way too much about what people think of me. Surprise, right? I hated the thought of putting up a For Sale sign in our yard, because we’d just moved. Like seven months ago. I loved our neighbors dearly. On the one hand, I hated to leave them. But on the other, I was growing alarmingly excited at the prospect of moving “home” to Granny’s. I worried what people would think. No one buys and sells seven months later, do they? I mean, do they?
We were about to find out.
As God would have it, I “ran into” our realtor the VERY NEXT DAY after talking to Hannah and our families about the house situation. Our friend Darren White is a public school teacher/real estate agent/ therapist/advisor/etc./etc. After I poured out the entire story to him in, like, one breath, he sat back and said a few awesome things:
- Yes, we could try to sell our house even though we’d just moved there. Seven months ago.
- Yes, people would speculate and wonder why we were selling our house so soon. But I needed to get over what people thought because–
- This whole situation could possibly have nothing to do with me. Maybe God was putting a whole plan in motion that served the wonderful family who bought the house our boys were babies in on one side, and my sister and her family on the other side. Chris and I were just the tools used in between, holding The House for someone else that didn’t quite need it. Until maybe now.
So, the sign went up on a Tuesday afternoon. Prayers continued to go up. My heart was at peace. The Lord had said to move and we were on our way home.
The day that the sign went up, one of the sweetest ladies this side of Birmingham walked into The House and decided to buy it.
Chris and I had truly been holding onto it for her until just the time she needed it. She’d recently been widowed and was moving to our area to be near her children. She felt that The House was a Godsend.
“This is the way. Walk in it.”
Was I sad to leave The House, with it’s swimming pool, seemingly endless storage, and the kitchen that made ladies swoon?
No. The House will always hold a special place in my heart, because the Lord used it to make me cling to Him; but I understand now that my family was placed there by God to hold onto it for the one who would call it home.
My home? It’s truly home. Sweet home. We traded our swimming pool flip flops for some mud boots.
We traded the tree-lined streets of a quiet neighborhood for the drive that turns into a dusty lane leading to an old red barn, bawling cows, and a sunset that takes your breath away every time.
God and His plans…they are so good. He knows what is perfect for each of our hearts. You know why?
Because He is the home of our hearts.
P.S. The night that we closed on our house with Hannah and Jayson, they paid off their adoption in full. They are going to be our next door neighbors at our grandparents’ place, building a house that is just right for them and their boy. 🙂 A huge thanks to Darren White at White Real Estate and Michelle Benefield Smith at First Bank Mortgage for helping us all. You guys are awesome.