I've had a post stirring about my feeling and attitudes towards our home here in Colorado for several months now and yesterday I finally sat down to try to put my thoughts down on (virtual) paper. As I was typing, I realized this is likely going to have to be a series of posts. So I want to start at the beginning. This is long, but I promise you that it's a GREAT story.
Sometime late in the summer of 2003, John and I knew we'd be moving to Colorado for him to co-pastor a church with a college/seminary friend. It was an exciting prospect on many fronts, and we both knew that God was leading us here.
We had looked at houses in Colorado on one of our visits out here and were reeling from sticker shock. Home prices were double, even triple+ what we paid for our very nice home in Arkansas. We knew we'd have to sell ours before we could even consider buying a home in Colorado.
The tricky part was that we couldn't put our home in Arkansas on the market until John announced his resignation from our church. And he wasn't ready to resign until about a month before our desired move day. All of that meant that the window of time we had to list/sell our home was very small. And not only did we have to sell our home in Arkansas, but we had to find one to buy in Colorado in that same time window. It's fair to say I did my share of freaking out!
In that wait period, we began to get our home ready to sell. I also began to pray that God would send buyers. My specific prayer was that someone would walk up off the street, love our home and buy it.
Fast forward to the Sunday that John shared with our church that our family was moving to Colorado. It was extremely emotional--the kind of day where you're just a big, blubbering, swollen mess. We loved that church and those people so much. We still do. It was a hard, hard day but it felt good to get our news out in the open and to know that we had the support of those who loved us. Whenever anyone asked me how they could pray, I asked them to pray God would sell our house quickly!
Monday was another emotional day for us. John took Tuesday off and while trying to process all of our emotions, we did rote things like clean the oven and the garage with the intent of putting a For Sale by Owner sign in our front yard on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday evening, John went outside to mow. He came back inside a few minutes later with a funny look on his face and said, "Mer, there are some people here who want to look at our house." Huh? What? I was in the middle of bathing three small children and hadn't cleaned up the dinner dishes and was not in a show-my-house state of mind. We asked the nice folks to give us 20 minutes and we did a whirlwind pick-up. The couple came inside, looked things over, and since it was getting dark outside they asked if they could come back the next morning.
It was hard to sleep that night. Up to that point, John and I had thrown around some numbers and settled on an asking price for our home. It was a high number because we wanted to leave room to negotiate.
Well, the sweet little couple came back the next morning to look at our house again. They were from New Mexico but their son and his family lived down the street from us. Their son had recently been diagnosed with MS and they wanted to move closer to his family to be a part of their support system. The town we lived in was a small one and news travels fast in small towns. They'd heard that John had resigned and although there wasn't a For Sale sign in our yard, they thought they'd walk up our sidewalk, ring the doorbell, and ask if our house was for sale.
Here's where the story gets really, really good. Miraculous even.
They loved our house and that very day they made us a cash offer. For our asking price. Later that afternoon we sat around our kitchen table and signed a contract with this sweet couple and because they were paying cash, we set a closing date for two weeks later. After the contract was signed, they asked if we could pray together around the table. Are you believing this?
They knew all about our move to Colorado, and they were so supportive and interested in our ministry here. They were also really taken with our kids. After we signed the contract and prayed, they told us that they knew how cold it got in the winter in Colorado, and right then and there they handed us a fat check and told us that they wanted to bless our kids with really nice winter coats.
Do you know anyone who has a better home-sale story than this??? It's not lost on me that God answered my VERY specific prayer. So if you ever doubt asking for specific things, let this encourage you to be bold!
We went to church later that night and a sweet little old lady named Martha Lou (who I loved very much and who resides in heaven now) came and sat next to me and said, "Meredith, are you sure that it's God's will for you and Brother John (that's what they called him) to move to Colorado?" I got the biggest grin on my face and said, "Well, Miss Martha Lou, God sold our house for us today." And she nodded and said, "Who can argue with that?"
These thoughts struck me in the moments that followed:
The miraculous selling of our home (three days after John resigned!) was so important on so many levels. It gave us the confidence to know that God was really in this. That it was His leading. That we were on the right track. It gave our church family in Arkansas the same assurance. Our own families were sad about us moving so far away from them, but the timing and circumstances of the selling of our home bolstered their faith and confidence too. And it did the same for the church family awaiting us in Colorado.
In the time that remained, we were able to find a home to buy in Colorado and our closing date was set for just days after our arrival date in Colorado (Part II). Stay tuned...