We have to sell our house.
We actually just bought it a year ago.
I am also a licensed Real Estate Agent.
It was my dream to have our own house and a yard and a front porch, a garage, a driveway, a street my kids could play on with their friends…and we finally got it.
I was 8 months pregnant and was just let-go from my full-time salary job that was our primary income and we had just entered escrow. We ended up falling out of escrow because of that and we thought we had for sure lost the house.
Turned out that our lender moved numbers around and since we had been paying so much for childcare, since we no longer needed it anymore because I was at home and not working, that we still qualified for the house.
I remember my husband saying once we fell out of escrow that “Maybe this was a blessing in disguise, maybe we had no business buying a house.” And then I cried lol.
I had my heart set so much on the idea of having our own house for so long, that I saw passed all the red flags that were in front of us saying that we should not buy a house.
I was pregnant with our fourth child and we had just moved back in with my parents to save money to “buy a house” or to put down first month’s rent to move into a rental home. The rental market in our area is extremely competitive and houses go FAST. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone and never got any info on the houses and was so frustrated. So we just thought it was easier to buy a house after all and everyone says that buying is cheaper than renting.
Well, in the LONG RUN it is cheaper but short term, it is not. What we needed to focus on was the short term. But I didn’t want to do that. I was stubborn (per usual) and “knew” I was right and my husband was just being difficult and just wanted to make our lives harder.
We had spent 6 years hopping around the country with the military, going in and out of family’s houses because we were focusing on paying off debt instead of paying for a house. Luckily we had very generous family members who didn’t mind little kids running around and keeping them up all hours of the night.
Needless to say, I was just fed up. I was so tired of seeing all my friends move into their cute little homes and make it their own, or not have to walk up a big flight of stairs with all their groceries while carrying a carseat with a small child in it at the same time. I was just so focused on what I DIDN’T have. I was envious of literally everyone else.
So I pressured my husband into letting us buy a house that we were not financially stable enough to truly afford after he came back from his fourth deployment that he would go on a month after we had our fourth daughter. I swore that I would save money while he was gone. And I did. But not enough. I spent more than I should have and I could have just saved most of what I spent.
But I didn’t.
It’s really hard keeping up with your friends. Its hard to not be jealous of the financial stage they are in their lives and then look at your own and think why you’re not at the same place as them. We don’t all make the same decisions and we don’t all make the same mistakes. So are all at different stages of life. Unfortunately, we have made a series of bad financial decisions. And now, we’re paying for me not being able to be more patient.
I have a habit of feeling uneasy and then immediately trying to “cure” that uneasiness by finding a “solution.”
These solutions are never the cure. In fact, they end up being the problem. Instead of being patient and waiting in that uneasiness, I push it away as hard as I can, jumping at any opportunity that will make that uneasiness go away. Its hard for me not to do that.
I’ve grown up thinking my whole life that if you encounter a problem, you fix it. You find the solution. You work more. You work harder. You change your mindset. You buy this, you buy that. You google this, you google that. You youtube this, you youtube that. This is a great outlook to have…unless its a situation that God is clearly telling you that you can’t fix it this time. You have to wait.
Well…I don’t like waiting. I’m the opposite of patient. I need things quickly, efficient, smarter not harder, now or never, all or nothing…that’s me. Over the last 8 years I have been challenged by what my natural reactions to things are. Its been like a very long stretched out learning experience that will never end.
Right now, we are in a small group for the first time as a couple. I’ve been in a ton of bible studies over the years and have prayed and prayed that my husband would have the desire to go to one so we could go to a couple’s small group. He’s always either been on deployment or he thinks we don’t have time or he just simply doesn’t want to. I think a part of that is fear of rejection or fear of people not understanding him. Sitting in a room full of self-righteous people who will judge him. This is a valid concern for all of us and is human nature. And for the first time in 7 years, we’re in our first small group together. Who knows what either of us will get out of it, he is on his own journey with Christ, as am I. And I have to remind myself of that. Sometimes when you want something SO bad, you forget that you can’t control the outcome of that desire. So you try to hold onto it for as long and as tight as you possibly can because you don’t want the smallest gap to exist that may allow something in to take it away…even though you don’t have it at all. That desire is just that, a desire. A want. You don’t have it. You dream and wish for it and hope it happens one day. You pray for it. But God is the ultimate decision maker. It took me years to figure that out. Apparently, I’m a slow learner. A slow learner who wants things fast. Go figure.
But during this small group, we are talking about trusting God and a few times we have gotten off topic because I have mentioned something about being confident in Christ, and knowing “who I am” in him.
I spoke briefly about our marriage and a small portion of my testimony last night. I talked about how my husband and I met very young, around the age of 13/14 and for many years I was extremely infatuated with him. My identity was completely in him, not in myself or in God, but him. My happiness was dependent on him. Even though I was saved at 10 years old, I apparently didn’t truly believe or know that because I was placing my identity on a teenage boy who only cared about food and his hormones.
I shared how once we got married, I was so excited that we were finally married and that would be the answer to all my prayers.
Then, my marriage was taken away from me. For what seemed like years. And it was instant. Just because we got married, it did not solve any problems and it made me feel completely worthless. My husband did not act like my husband and he was very cruel and angry at times. When I say my marriage was taken away from me, I don’t mean that my husband passed away. I mean that my idea of what my marriage would be like, was taken away from me and replaced with what I thought was a nightmare.
The man I had put my identity in for the last 8 or so years (at the time) was rejecting me and acted as though he didn’t care about me whatsoever. His heart was hardened and empty and lonely. He was living away from family, around people he did not know, who didn’t care about him and making him feel less than. So ultimately, he turned around and treated me the same.
I held on to our marriage like I was hanging off a cliff while clinging to a rope for dear life. I held on no matter what weather poured down on me, no matter how many insects ate away at my body while holding onto that rope, no matter how much my muscles were fatiguing. I held on, not understanding that there was a safety net underneath me that would catch me once I let go of that rope.
One day, after hanging on for dear life for a few years, I let go. I let go of all my dreams for our marriage. I let go of all of my fears of being alone. I let go of the man who I thought was my husband and the person I built him up to be in my head. I let go of the person I had been holding on to and shoving my identity in for 12 years.
I figured out who I was. And it didn’t matter if he knew it or not. It didn’t matter if he was there or not. I found that I was in Jesus the whole time. And it didn’t matter if my husband would ever come back or if he loved me or what he thought of me. Jesus was where I was, Jesus loved me, Jesus was there, and Jesus knows me.
So as I shared some of this with our group last night, I realized that I had already come to a moment where I knew Jesus had me. I already knew that Jesus will be there to catch me when I fall, no matter where I land. I already knew how to trust him. Because I was forced to trust him, I literally had no other choice. And he caught me. Or rather, he picked me up off the floor after I fell and healed all of my broken bones and made them even stronger.
So, as I have been talking to this group about our financial situation, and how many jobs I’m working and that I really can’t keep up with this rat race anymore and for them to pray for us to find better jobs and this and that. By me jumping at every opportunity at extra money that “could” possibly help us, it has only been stretching me too thin, making me emotionally and physically unavailable for my kids and resentful toward my husband. It has been making me so busy that I don’t have the time or energy to pray for my marriage or my family. And it has ultimately been showing me that my trust in the Lord does not exist around our finances. It exists in my “identity” and our marriage, but I haven’t been putting my trust in him around our finances. That’s where pride becomes a sin. We think we are more than capable of providing those things for our lives that we don’t need the help of God, or that we don’t want to “wait” on him. We need the money now and waiting in that tough season will be too hard, so sure i’ll go take that job that makes me $12 an hour and takes me completely away from my family, even though I am already working a full time job and doing my own business on the side. Instead of leaving space for God to slide in and fill that gap for us, so we have rest to enjoy the blessings God has given us.
I also hate letting people down. So when I quit a job, I feel as though I’m screwing them over. But I don’t think about how my family is feeling and they could be feeling as though I’m screwing them over by not quitting.
And I’m not saying you shouldn’t work and provide for your family, but when you are working completely at the cost of your family and your relationships, that’s where I don’t think it is worth it and where I don’t think God wants you to be either.
Make room for rest in your life. Make room for God to step in and show you how mighty he is, because you are not mighty. You are meek, and weak. And you do need the strength and power of Jesus. It doesn’t matter how much you don’t agree with his plans, trust me…you WANT those plans. Don’t spend years chasing something that is not part of God’s plan. Because that is all you will do…chase it.
So, I’m making a decision to trust God with our house. I don’t know if we will be able to keep it. I don’t know if we will lose it and go into foreclosure and have to do a short-sale. I have no idea. But I know that my identity is not in that house, its not in the idea of our family being “stable” like the other families we know, it’s not in our family having the perfect amount of bedrooms and bathrooms or a backyard or living on a cul-de-sac, or even staying married to my husband.
My security and identity are in Jesus, and I have to give him room to work in our lives. The outcome of my life has already been decided. I just have to trust that he knows whats best for me and my family.