We sold our house.
I'll admit that when others would tell me with wide eyes and goofy grins about how their house sold in a day or three days or a week, the envy would start gurgling up from the deep dark recesses of my dark and broken heart. More than once I have closed my eyes and prayed that light would creep into the dark shadows and send envy (and her good friends bitterness and jealousy) on her way. I would pray and ask Jesus to remind me that he knows my needs and my circumstances and not only that, but my wants as well. I would ask him to breathe a little faith and trust into my sails so that I could live in peace - the kind of peace that waits on him to open doors and shove you through them.
When house-selling season came upon us again this year, we had all but decided to hang tight for another year. The stress and sweat from last year's attempt were still sticky on our skin and I was not looking forward to the kind of mother I become when my resources are depleted. We reasoned that, if it was time, God would speak that word loud and clear. And so far, he was silent on that subject.
But then, a friend mentioned that her friend was looking for a house and would we like to show her ours? Was this the word we were waiting for? Was this an open door and a gentle nudge to go, get moving?
So we did a few updates, cleaned the place up, touched up paint and shuffled some furniture around. The friend of our friend came and looked at our house, and then graciously passed on it. What seemed like an open door had slammed shut again. There we were once again, with a house all dressed up and no place to go.
At first I was discouraged - all that work for nothing. But soon our conversations changed from "what a waste of time" to "it was worth a shot" and "we'll try again next year" to "well, we did all the hard work, why not give the market a try again?"
I called our realtor who encouraged us to try to sell it by owner. So we (the Husband) worked on a few more touch-ups and last Thursday night he stuck a sign in the yard. I created a listing on fsbo.com and put an ad up on Craigslist. The next day we had several calls and Saturday we three appointments: an agent previewing for her buyers, a no-show, and then a kind couple who were looking for a house to buy for their daughter.
And to our complete shock: they loved it. They made an offer on the spot. And we accepted.
The next day, we wrote up a contract and we will close at the end of the month.
This home has hosted the minutes and hours of nearly our entire marriage.
We fought and yelled and apologized and forgave each other.
Isn't that always the way? All the complaining about what it lacked and I managed to skim over and dismiss what it has given us. Family. Safety. Life. Home.
I'm reminded of that Joni Mitchell song, Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
And now we are moving on.
We already painted over the lines on the wall that marked Lila's growth.
We are trying to imagine our future in a new neighborhood.
We are taking pictures off the wall and packing up knick-knacks.
We are preparing to live with my parents for a least a few weeks until we find a new house and preparing the girls for the change and transition as best as we know how.
We are researching school districts for their special needs services and Google-mapping neighborhoods for parks within walking distance.
We are analyzing our priorities and praying that our hearts are open to God's direction. We want a house we can stay in indefinitely. A house we can open wide for friends and strangers. A house that we can use to further the kingdom and make wrong things right. A house with bedrooms for future children - be they biological, adopted or fostered.
We want to temper our instinct for safe and pretty with the reality that perhaps safe and pretty are not all they're cracked up to be. As Jesus said, "it is the sick who need a doctor," so we are asking where the sick are so that we can be a part of their healing and, in the process, bring about our own healing and redemption as well.
We are casting out our line into the foggy darkness of the future and praying that it takes hold somewhere wonderful - even if wonderful surprises us.
Won't you come with us?