Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I saw this verse framed and sitting on a table at the entrance of one of my patient’s homes back in 2011. It caused me to pause and take note. I had been privately petitioning the Lord to help us sell our house in the middle of the housing crisis. We had not even bothered to list it for sale because of the unfavorable market at that time. We loved the house, but it was costing us too much time and energy to drive an extra 30 minutes each way every day. Plus, we were thinking that if we eventually did start a family, the Hoover City School System would be our choice of schools because of their excellence and the ways that they celebrate diversity.
We had been married 7 years and had both finished graduate school. In my job, the more I worked, the more I got paid, so I was in the habit of working 55 hours per week Monday-Saturday. We were following our Dave Ramsey plan and being conscious stewards of the money. There was a neighborhood in Hoover that we would visit literally every weekend for a few years and walk through the Open Houses. We would take photos of every detail that appealed to us—paint colors, light fixtures, door knobs. In our wildest dreams, we would one day be able to afford to live there.
We were working hard, doing everything we knew to be right by God, following the path toward the American Dream, and being patted on the back for it. As I have alluded to in previous posts, we came home one day to a note in our mailbox from someone interested in buying our house. It had never been put on the market. Thirty days later, we had closed on it and moved all of our furniture into storage. After looking at probably 100 houses and writing 25 contracts that didn’t work out (because Daniel refused to purchase something that wasn’t a good deal) the dominoes fell into place for us to build our dream home in our dream neighborhood at a great price. We lived with family and saved all of our money that year to put toward the house, along with all of the equity from our previous house. We financed it on 15 years with a plan to pay it off much sooner.
Half way into the building process, however, our world collided the Jian. Everything inside of me was focused on her best interest at that point. I worried about her mobility because this new house we were building had 3 stories including the basement. When it was nearing time to bring her home, I had a strong sense that I did not want to continue working my job full time anymore. This was an idea that had been laughable to me for the 33 years prior. We got her home, and I did continue my job full time for another year, then went to part time when I realized I could simply not do it all. Frequently I would mention to Daniel that we should just sell the house to free up our resources (time, money and energy.) I prayed and prayed about it, and for several years, the answer was obviously: Not yet.
Then we found out about Faith. I went into panic mode when I thought she was going to need a transplant immediately after coming home. This would require us to get an apartment in Pennsylvania possibly for a few years. We put the house on the market out of fear. And surprise, surprise: It didn’t sell.
This past October (2017) Daniel and I attended an annual dinner/fundraiser with Lifeline (our adoption agency.) There was a guest preacher from Uganda who told about his work in a village of deaf children there. In their culture, it is believed that if you are deaf, you are cursed. They are treated worse than animals. Brother Raphael has devoted many years to working with these children through a school for the deaf and blind. They are taught Sign Language and life skills. Most importantly, they attend church every week and are taught the gospel and that they DO matter. That they ARE important and are SO loved that God himself sent his OWN son here to die for THEM! So many lives are being changed, including the lives of the family members, friends and neighbors of these children.
I got home that night and began praying for guidance. I felt like there was so much good that could be done with our resources if we had a house that was less expensive. Our current house was fine before the girls came along, but now that I was working a small fraction of the hours I once worked, drastically reducing our mortgage would take a lot of stress off of us as well.
We listed the house for 3 months, but I was never 100% certain that it was the right thing to do. I kept questioning if we were doing any of it out of fear. Fear that God wouldn’t provide what we needed each month if we stayed. I was also very concerned for the girls. Their lives had been turned upside down so many times already, I was very conscious about trying to keep things feeling as safe and secure for them as possible. I kept praying that I would know for certain if we should sell or not.
Three months passed, and no one had written a contract. I had been very stressed trying to keep the house “show ready” with the girls and the dogs and still having to work a few hours each day. I told our realtor that I couldn’t do it anymore. I told her that if God wanted our house to sell, He would do it even when it’s not for sale.
And that’s what He did!
Two months later, I got a text that if we were still interested in selling, there was a family interested in looking. They wrote a contract for a great offer a few days later. Their house was not even on the market yet. A woman living in Las Vegas heard about their house and wanted to fly to Alabama and look at it the following week. She wrote an offer, had it inspected, and wanted us out within 6 weeks! I knew for sure we were supposed to sell this house, but now there was another problem. We had no idea where we were going!
Long story short, we looked and looked and looked, wrote a couple of contracts that didn’t work out, investigated every option with input from experts in all of the Hoover schools. But multiple circumstances kept pointing us to one house in particular. We had never planned to move into this new neighborhood, because it would require Jian to go to a Middle School different than the one she was planning to attend next year. I don’t really know the reason yet, but I do know for sure that this is the house hand-picked and gifted to us. Maybe I can go into more details in another post…
Here is the rest of the story:
Two weeks before we moved into our new house, I received an email from Lifeline saying that Brother Raphael from Uganda was going to be in Birmingham. They wondered if we may be interested in hosting a dinner at our house to welcome him!!! Only God could work out these details and give us that assurance that we had done the right thing. I had been planning to go on a trip to Uganda for the past 2 years, and it never worked out with our girls needing me at home. I have been sad and yearning to talk to Raphael in person about the work there and praying that when the time was right that God would work it out. This past Tuesday night, our entire family and several friends did meet him and were able to soak up so much good information. I know we were encouraged, and I think he was as well.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
This verse is still true for me today. The only difference is that the desires of my heart have drastically changed. It’s amazing how the Lord can do that.
And, as far as the girls are concerned, they like this new house even better than the last one!