Monday, June 17, 2013
Walking by faith and not by sight
A lot of angst has filled my heart these last weeks, maybe months.
We sold the house we live in. We've lived here for 18 years, and my kids grew up here. Jonathan, the fourth, was born a month after we moved in, and his graduation party will be the last event we celebrate here before we leave.
We've decorated, remodeled the kitchen, upgraded the bathrooms, installed hardwood floors, finished the basement, built decks, installed a pool. It is pretty much just how we like it now...
Except, right now it is full of boxes, and I've sold off most the basement furniture.
This is our home, where we live, eat, sleep, shower, laugh, cry, fight, pray, study, play games, read books, exercise, recover from illnesses, watch TV and wash clothes. It's our dwelling place.
When we sold it, we received a closing date, the date by which the new owners will pay us and move in, the date by which we must be out. Out of our home.
We started looking for another house, in a new town, 775 miles away.
We had a lot of trouble finding a house. Online, we saw a few homes that looked nice, but they sold before we could get out to see them. We made a trip and looked at 18 houses with a realtor one week. We really liked one, but it also sold before we could make an offer.
We tried making an offer on a house that Shawn hated, a fairly small, conservative ranch with a nicely finished basement. But they wanted crazy money for it and we couldn't reach a deal.
A second trip out to look at 11 more houses turned up another possibility: a remarkable Victorian that had been moved to a new basement on an acre lot in the country. When we decided to make an offer on it, we called our realtor... and she told us that the owners had just accepted a different offer that very morning.
Frustrated, we regrouped again and made an offer on a house that was bigger, fancier and more expensive than what we had ever wanted. It was in good shape, in a good location. There was another offer out on it, a contingency offer. The realtors told us, "Don't worry. The other buyers haven't even put their house on the market yet. They had a death in the family in another country, and they need to make a big trip. They really just want a way to get out of their offer. There's no way they'll get the house." We negotiated with the seller, and the lawyer sent a registered letter to the other buyers, giving them 48 hours to match our offer or lose the house. They matched our offer. We lost the house. In the meantime, the ranch sold, the one we'd negotiated for earlier. We were pretty completely out of houses.
Many tears fell, many heartbeats pounded, many nights the weight of darkness pressed my breath away. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, and I felt as though God was simply hiding His face from me. Mornings, I would wake and look at the eyelet curtains over my windows, the new oak floor beneath my bed, my familiar walls and the hallway to my bathroom... and I would cling to my mattress, trying to escape the thoughts, "You have to leave this place. You have to leave this place."
I thought of Abraham. "Go to the land I will show you," the Lord told him (Genesis 12:1). Abraham did not know where he was going, and neither did I.
"Jesus, please intercede for me," I begged, "Because I can't pray anymore. I don't know what to pray. I don't have any words left. Please intercede for me." Fearful, I cried to the Lord, "Help Thou my unbelief," I pleaded, using the old KJV wording because I was helpless to come up with words of my own.
We were out of houses and we didn't have time to make another trip to look at more. Finally, Shawn agreed to ask his sister and her husband (who live about 90 minutes from our new town) to meet our realtor and look at three more houses I had dug up online. They were kind and generous enough to spend a day and a bunch of gas for us, and give us their remarks. They were unable to get into one of the houses... no key could be found. That left two, and they said the first one was a clear winner over the third one.
So we negotiated for it. And got it. We're waiting to hear about the home inspection now, but this could be the one.
We sang a song in church yesterday, and this phrase keeps coming back to me: "We walk by faith and not by sight." We walk by faith and not by sight. To the place He will show us. Help Thou my unbelief!