Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Faith Can Move Mountains (and Sell a House)

We are in the process of selling our home, and, like most people selling their home right now, the market is not in our favor.  It's a frustrating process that has reached its spiny little fingers into the deepest parts of my heart and scratched at my roots.  It's left me red-face and impatient as I get my house cleaned with two-hour notice. Then it laughs out loud as the tears stain my face with the feedback after a showing.

And it's only been 24 days.  

Before you think this is a depressing post, let me say that this story will have a happy ending.  But you need to understand our dark night before you can see our glorious sunrise.

We purchased our home in 2007 and put no money down.  It was just before the market crashed and our excellent credit got us a loan that took nothing from our pockets.  Monthly payments were manageable on our small insanely tiny income but we thought owning a home was the best investment of our money.  We hadn't been in the house for more than a week when we realized our neighbor's outdoor dogs - a pit bull and German Shepherd - barked.  All the time.  At everything and especially at us and our kids.  We asked them to remedy the situation and their response was less than satisfactory.  

The neighborhood began declining as foreclosure hit homeowners and more renters moved into the duplexes.  Grass yards grew high, dogs ran loose, and code compliance set up shop on our street.  (Ask me sometime about the pit bull and terrier I loaded into my van with two kids and drove to animal control.  Geez.)

In 2009, we listed our home FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and had one showing in six months.  It was frustrating but a reasonably low-cost experience.  Fast forward to putting our house on the market in February of 2012.

The first realtor suggests listing the house for what we owe on the house.  Holy crap!  Between realtor's fees and assuming there would be repairs and paying for their closing costs, we'll go $10k into debt.  Good thing we didn't like the realtor (not because of his price suggestion) and go with someone we really like and who thinks we can list it for more.  House is on the MLS February 18th.  

Week 1: no showings.  Eager to keep the house clean.  Wiping counters every night and completing loads of laundry like it's going out of style.

Week 2: no showings.  Less excited about keeping my house tidy so dishes pile in the sink and finger prints stay on the front glass door.  Oh well.

Week 3: Zoe runs into the house screaming about something in the backyard.  I follow her out to find a pit bull's head through my fence and ferociously growling/barking/snapping at one of our tortoises.  I yell for it to get back and the owner finally comes out and proceeds to start cussing at my husband and they have a yelling match over the fence.  Mind you, this is the first time (since July of 2007) that we've ever talked to the dude.  I'll let you imagine the names I was calling him in my head.  My husband handled the whole thing perfectly and I was a beaming wife while giving the loser neighbor an imaginary finger.

Isn't this awful?  Aren't you completely discouraged and depressed?  We were.  I mean, sitting in tears and just baffled by our life and wondering why we don't just walk away and risk all the implications of a foreclosure.  Seriously.  Our night is blacker than black.  Oh, just you wait for this!

Praying in bed two nights later, I expressed to God how much resistance I felt...not so much by our circumstances but more just by praying and feeling this huge wall.  Were we missing God?  Was our timing wrong?  Why didn't we feel a sense of God's presence in all this?  Just as I poured this out to the Lord, I had this incredible vision.  (Side note: I love hearing the Lord and believe He speaks in a variety of ways but this ranks as one of the most clear ways I've seen God and heard Him speak.)

I saw God sitting in front of me, in a casual way but behind an open curtain.  His demeanor relaxed, He started beaming and rumbling with this deep, Daddy-laughter, and he looked right at me and said: 
"It would be my JOY to sell your house."  
Even now this brings me to tears.  
My heart leapt and everything in my world aligned.  
Then I heard the numbers 11 and 7.

Brad left for work the next morning before I had a chance to tell him about all this.  At 9:34am, my phone rings and it's the showing service calling FOR THE FIRST TIME to schedule an appointment for noon.  That day.  March 7.  Oh my GOD, He is good!  Do you know we've had four showings since that morning?!  Do you know that the road work that has ravaged our street since January finished this week and left us with the most beautiful asphalt?!  He is making a way where there IS NO WAY our house will sell without putting us into serious debt.  

For those who have had a sign in their yard for weeks and months and maybe even a year: TAKE HEART!  Ask God what He will do for you and live by FAITH and not by sight or circumstance!