Tuesday, January 31, 2017

At Journey's End

It's been a long journey, but at last, we've reached the destination.  When the last home fell through shortly before Thanksgiving, our realtor actually quit.  We really struggled with what to do next.  After a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided together that if we couldn't find a home to purchase before the end of the year, we would try to find a place to rent.  Our family had been separated for too long.  Even finding a rental was not for the faint of heart!  With a 70 lb. dog, and four kids to think of housing, our prospects seemed thin.  Now, after a long, arduous search for a new home, we have finally found a place to call our own!

The fourth home that had fallen through (refer here for reference) actually came back on the market several weeks later. It was the house we had liked best out of all we had seen in this price range - really, we were amazed that a house this good was even within our reach!  We both received an email with the same house under a "new listing" for $5K more than what it had been listed at the first time.  When Nate noticed it back on the market, he called me from work that morning, and asked "should we try again and make another offer?"  I had still not seen the house in person, but I knew how much Nate loved it and he felt like it would be perfect for us.  We decided to go for it! 

Christmas Eve, after waiting nearly 24 hours to hear whether our offer had been accepted, we got a phone call that yes, the homeowners had accepted our offer to purchase!  Needless to say, we had a very happy Christmas present.  :)

We hesitated to make an announcement too early this time - after the many homes that had fallen through, but we remained cautiously optimistic.  At this point, I think it is safe to get excited.  :)  We are scheduled to close on this home, Lord willing, on February 3rd! 

While we have compassion for the previous buyer whose financing fell through, we are grateful that so many of the steps have already been completed for us.  The home inspection had showed an issue with one of the walls in the basement (although minor) and the sellers had already gone through the motions of having it completely repaired!  We elected to follow through with our own home inspection, and the inspector just kept walking through the house saying "this is such a nice house!  I'm really happy for you guys - this is so nice!". 

There are certainly many other things about this home that just thrill me to think about: it has a fenced in backyard, and the sellers decided to leave behind their wooden play set, which makes me so excited for my kids!  The kitchen is completely remodeled, and beautiful besides (for someone who loves to cook, I am eager to make it my own!).  The layout of the upstairs is absolutely ideal for a playroom/homeschool space, which will make this home practical for us for many years.  The house has much of the original woodwork and hardwood floors, stained glass as well as leaded glass windows, a built in buffet that is original to the home, and other little "touches" that add so much character and charm.  The largest surprise for me is the location of the home.  It is really smack in the middle of the city, which will be a huge adjustment for my suburb/country heart.  Even our home in Cedar Rapids, though located centrally in the city, had a very unique location just across the street from a creek, and close to 100 acres of wooded land.  We really were spoiled with the best of both worlds - deer in our yard (a blessing and a curse?) and the ability to walk with the kids with little traffic and quiet conditions, while still being 5-10 minutes from everything.

This weekend will be a big one for us - we plan to move our belongings from the storage unit into the house.  After so many months, I honestly can't remember half of what I packed where . . . so hopefully moving things into the house will go smoothly.  We have been so grateful for the kindness we have already been shown by our new community.  We have had offers of meals, and even help with moving!

While we are overjoyed to be together as a family again, we are also trying to be realistic about the fact that we have been separated for so long, that coming together again may be a hard transition.  We would ask you to come alongside us and pray for wisdom, grace, and patience as we bear with one another in love, and seek to glorify Christ in our marriage, and our role as parents.

Our children have been remarkably resilient throughout this journey - with the uncertainty of the future, having to say "goodbye" to Daddy every Sunday afternoon, and sometimes going two weeks before seeing him again, the long drives back and forth to Milwaukee, and navigating the tricky boundaries of living in their "sort-of" home.  Please pray with us that they will transition well into their new home and routine.

Certainly one of the largest concerns we had with moving to a new area is finding a new church home.  While we have a few in mind to visit, we would ask for you to pray with us for God's direction and wisdom in becoming part of the church body he has ordained for us.

While Nate has not been living locally, he is at least vaguely familiar with the area from working there the past 7 months.  We will still have a lot of "settling" in to do!  With our baby coming only about 6 weeks from now (give or take, ha!), there are lots of other considerations as we adjust to the area. Selecting new doctors, finding our way around a new hospital for the birth, locating grocery stores, etc.  The first few weeks will be challenging, but exciting! 

By default, my personality type does not handle chaos in my home well.  I thrive on routine and order, and struggle to choose joy and gratitude in the midst of a noisy mess.  Though my midsection continues to grow and swell with new life, my energy and physical abilities are starting to wane.  I want to make this next journey more about seeing and savoring Jesus in all circumstances, than about how quickly or efficiently I can organize my home.  There will be days when I get multiple boxes unpacked, and laundry put away, dinner made, and happy, contented children to tuck in to bed.  Then there will be the days when nothing gets done except the unseen, eternal work that God has called me to.  Those are the days when I want to remember that in both cases, it is His strength, and not my own ability that I need to rely on. 

We are so very thankful for the gift of this house - and we are looking forward to filling it with many happy memories.  We want it to be a place where the Gospel is proclaimed, and the love of Christ made evident to all who come through its doors.  We are filled with gratitude for the many who have prayed for us along this road, and encouraged us to trust in God's Sovereign goodness over our human sensibilities.  Nothing now remains, but to go on to the next chapter!

Grace and Peace,