I munched on a piece of calamari and stared into the eyes of the love of my life in sadness. It was our 18th wedding anniversary and both of us felt a little lost as we looked for the millionth time on our phones at house listings. I choked back tears and felt sheepish explaining to my love what was on my heart. This move felt like God’s will from the beginning. My husband received a job-offer at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, SC, tailor-made to his gifts and talents. I was confident in my ability to blog from anywhere, so it seemed like an exciting adventure. But now…after looking at expensive housing options that didn’t speak to me, I began to doubt that I’d be able to keep blogging with passion in a house I hated. It felt like such a spoiled, first-world problem, and I was ashamed for being such a baby about it.
At this point, I had given up hope and my heart was grieving. After looking at 100’s upon 100’s of homes in the Greenville, South Carolina area, none of them felt right. None. Although every home we’ve ever lived in has been far from perfect, I have always loved each and every one from the moment I laid eyes on it. “Home love at first sight” has always been a thing for me. I can typically see past outdated wallpaper and hideous decor choices and just see the amazing potential each home has to offer. But not this time. This time my gift, my “designer’s mind eye”, felt completely and utterly broken. I couldn’t see much of anything beyond the overpriced builder-grade architecture and future gut jobs we couldn’t afford. Love it or not, we needed to move in less than 60 days, and it was time to put the heart aside and get ruthlessly practical.
Sipping my mojito, I thought about all of the blessings and hardships Matt and I have endured as a couple over the last 18 years. God has always been faithful to us through it all. We could do this. We could choose a house we didn’t love and make it into a home. The time had come, and we needed to make a decision on a house this week. If it meant picking the most practical one, so be it. It was time to settle for good enough and pray that we would love our home and neighborhood in time. Matt pointed to another brick colonial on his iPhone and asked what I thought. It was fine. Perfectly and utterly fine in every respect. I would will “fine” to be good enough, and I chose to surrender it all. All of my hopes, desires, wishes, and dreams. All of them were placed on the altar as I prayed one last time for strength to be content in all things.
We moved around a lot growing up and a beautiful home we could make our own was always a priority. My dad, who passed away several years ago, always understood my mom’s love and need for a beautiful home. I knew my dad would want me to find a home I loved, but did God really care? I wasn’t so sure. I don’t believe in “prosperity gospel”, the belief that God blesses those God favors with material wealth, and I generally believe God is much more concerned with our character and service towards others than granting us our desires for material possessions. Perhaps I was supposed to live in a home I felt nothing for in order to learn some greater lesson? I shared these thoughts with my husband and was reminded of Matthew 7:11.
If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
But we had asked. We had prayed and prayed for months for something in our price range to pop up that we both loved. There was one property that seemed ideal at the very beginning of our home search journey, but someone scooped it up before we could even view it. We figured there would be others and we sat down as a family to dream about what we all wanted the next decade of our lives to look like. The boys have only ever known city life, and they begged to live in the country. They wanted chickens and goats or at the very least a yard and maybe some woods. We wrote down a list of all the things we desired. Some of the things on our family’s wish list included: over an acre of land, 25 minutes or less from Matt’s work, 9 foot ceilings, 2500+ sq feet, bonus room for the boys, an office, updated kitchen and bathrooms–or priced low enough to remodel, old architecture preferred but character most important, a white house with black shutters would be a bonus, storage space, near a creek, and with horses over the fence would be a dream. We dreamt big and didn’t edit our list, but we knew we’d need to make concessions as time pressed in on us.
Before I went to bed that night, I checked the listings one more time to see if maybe some new and amazing house had popped up. It hadn’t. I prayed for peace, and I also did something I’ve never really done since my dad’s passing, I talked to my dad. I won’t say that I prayed to my dad because in my tradition that is frowned upon, but I was gut-wrenchingly honest about all of my fears and doubts to my Heavenly Father and my earthly father. I asked for help accepting things that were beyond my control and was vulnerable enough to ask one last time for the things we desired most.
Image source via Zillow.com
The next day, I was outside painting my back porch and an email notification from our beloved realtor Christy from Our Southern Home popped up. It was a new listing that had just hit the MLS. I flipped through the first few pictures and felt my throat catch and my heart race. I texted Matt the link and asked him what he thought, and he said, “Love it! GO, GO, GO!!!” I leapt into action and called Christy to ask for a showing. She immediately called to schedule for that afternoon and somehow someone had beat us to the first showing. I knew in my heart that we would most likely have to fight for this property.
Image source via Zillow.com
As Christy showed us each room via Facetime, I tried to contain my excitement and my tears. As she walked outside and panned to horses over the fence I started crying and hid my face from the screen so she couldn’t see. Horses over the fence you all!!! Each item on our family’s prayerful, wished-for, hoped-for, longed-for checklist was answered in this home. It was “the one” on first sight in every respect, and I was willing to fight for it to be ours. The people who saw it just before us apparently felt the same. We entered a bidding war for the house, and our contract just barely won. It was stressful and nerve-wracking, but worth it! We close on June 20th so please pray everything goes smoothly for all parties involved!
Grace is getting what we don’t deserve and it always unravels the heart. I felt completely and utterly unraveled after having our contract accepted!
So yeah. I basically bought a house online and couldn’t be more thrilled about it. That is something I never in a million years thought I’d do, and I can’t thank Christy enough for her patience and diligence in showing us so many properties in person and via Facetime. The girl is a SAINT you all, and once again I am so humbled and honored to be a part of the blogging community. Home bloggers are seriously some of the best people on the planet. This process has been a challenge from the beginning and her care and attention to detail have made it so much easier. I’m excited to show you more of our home once we move in! I think you’re going to love it as much as we do! Thanks for following along with all of my many stories over the last 10 years. The stories will continue!