When I feel an overwhelming sense of peace...

I am absolutely overwhelmed. I feel blessed beyond measure.

Last May we weren't sure how the next seven months were going to pan out. It was scary having no idea what our next steps were... yet we had to keep making the next right step.

We sold Josh's truck in June. It was a difficult decision. We were a few thousand dollars from payoff. When you pay over 20k in 3 years, it's hard to let it go and give up when you see the "payoff finish line". We only had 3 more months of payments. We also only had 3 more months of income. We knew it was the right decision and we temporarily became a one car jeep family.

We rented our home. It wasn't easy leaving, but we knew it was the right "next step". And we are beyond grateful that family welcomed us with open arms. It's a pretty amazing feeling to go home (the house I grew up in) when you feel you have no where else to go.

And all during this time we applied for jobs. Vigorously. Never letting up. There were days we didn't see an end in sight. We went weeks without a single phone call. But I can say this wholeheartedly... we never doubted the Lord's plan. We never wandered from what we believed. We knew each step was the next right one. And honestly? That was a great place to be. Only a handful of times did I ever freak out (what about the kid's health insurance? and will we find a job with enough income for me to continue staying home?).

After selling Josh's truck we had enough income to live for over a year- even without tenants in our home. Within 15 days of advertising our house, it was rented. And we felt an overwhelming sense that we had been taken care of... again.

We were sure that as soon as we had the guarantee of a job we would begin looking for somewhere to live, never thinking it would be another home. We visited apartment after apartment and settled on one- and we just waited until we had a job offer letter in hand. But it never felt right. I am literally moved to tears by how thankful I am to be able to raise my children in another house/town house. A safe neighborhood with more space than either of us thought we'd be able to afford. We stepped out on a limb when we applied for a loan. We trusted that if it wasn't what we were supposed to do that the Lord would slam that door shut. I also felt an incredible need to guard my heart. I didn't want to get too excited for fear that everything would come crashing down.

We actually went under contract with 2 houses. The first was in mid September. A day after we put an offer in on the first house we called the agent asking to withdraw our offer because we began to panic. We started questioning. Those first few days after deciding are incredibly overwhelming. Josh still had a test at the prison to pass and the government was beginning its shutdown.

We don't regret the decision to pursue that house. It obviously wasn't where we were supposed to be but it taught us alot- the biggest being patience. Their bank would set a deadline (like 4 hours from the time we were at) to have paperwork in and then we wouldn't hear anything for 2.5 weeks. It was incredibly frustrating; but we don't believe we would be where we are today if it wasn't for that house. We asked the Lord for a sign if this wasn't the direction we were to go, and He sent it. I mentioned before that the bank raised the price twice on us (going with market conditions). Our bank and real estate agent had never seen anything like that and we agreed that it was the Lord urging us to move on. As devastated as it felt walking away (we had put about 1k into the house with inspection, utilities, etc) we knew the steps were necessary . We saw what we wanted in another home and it got the loan process started. The second house (which is the town house we are in) was actually under contract the whole time we were under contract with the first house. The same week we felt everything unraveling with the first house, our town house was re-listed after the contract fell through with the previous buyers. With motivated sellers and us as motivated buyers we were the perfect match.

We snagged it literally the day it re-listed.

There's more to the story but one of the reasons the sellers accepted our offer over other offers is because we were already so established in the loan process. See how our ways aren't always His ways? We wouldn't have been established in the loan process if it weren't for the first house. We wanted to move in quickly so it was a win win. Between the time we walked through (1pm on a Wednesday) and we did a second walk through that night two other agents had shown the house. We knew we needed to work fast so we put in our offer. It was accepted the next day (well they counter offered and we accepted).

I still remember getting the phone call. Actually I missed the call and heard it in a voicemail. It was almost an out of body experience. I've had alot of those this year. From our offer/when we went under contract to closing was 22 days. That's almost unheard of.

I look back to all the pieces that had to come together to make this puzzle happen and I am blown away. We are in a 3 bedroom house that costs us less per month than renting a 2 bedroom apartment (and our payment includes some utilities, and HOA fees). We have almost 600 more square feet than we did in our other home with 2 extra rooms (a complete dining room and a basement room), not to mention and entire extra bathroom. We have a small yard. And a 2 car garage. And a fireplace.

Most importantly we are completely at peace with the decision we've made. And I am beyond thankful to the Lord for providing. You know when you get to that point where "thanks" just feels puny in comparison to how you feel? My heart feels like it's going to burst with absolute thanksgiving.

We were totally committed to continuing to live within our means. It was SO tempting to up the max price just $10,000 more dollars to find "bigger houses". But there was absolutely no peace. It was tempting to up our budget to what the bank said we could afford. But there was no peace there either. Our goal was to spend at or below what we would have for an apartment, so we stuck to it. I wish I could describe how I felt when I scrolled through the website (same as I'd done everyday for a week) and saw this house in our pricepoint. I literally started shaking hoping that it was still available. I just knew it would be perfect.

The home we bought is move in ready. It was built in 2007 but wasn't lived in until 2010 because of the economy. When I think of some of the homes we walked through in our price range and then think of what we bought I am just speechless. Most were foreclosures or short sales. Many didn't have plumbing fixtures because they had been ripped out. Windows were shattered. Stair railings broken in half. Holes in walls. One house didn't have a kitchen because the people ripped it out taking with them the appliances, countertops, and cabinets. It broke my heart to see little boy and little girl rooms where people were forced to leave. Airplane ceiling fans. Pink princess wall decals. To see fenced backyards that I knew people had worked hard to enjoy. And in those moments I just thanked the Lord that we had jobs the past 5 years to weather this economic storm. We had stability when many people didn't. And I'm still not sure what we did to deserve that. And I know we did nothing to deserve that. It was simply grace.

You can tell these walls were loved. It feels lived in, yet new. It smells new. Just another blessing to heap on the pile of blessings. We had the money up front for a down payment, to cover closing costs, and to hire movers. All because we diligently worked to almost pay off the truck (which opened the cash to be able to do all this). We had no idea back in June when we made that difficult choice that it would open up the opportunity for us to buy another house.

And with the absolute whirlwind of the last 6 months I want to keep my original perspective. A house is just a house. It's not the be all end all. And Lord help me never forget what He has brought us through, many times carrying our weary souls. In the 7 months since Emberly was born I can count on one hand the nights she has officially slept all night. Many decisions had to be made during periods of pure exhaustion. Another reason I believe we were completely taken care of.

I feel utterly thankful for everything. On top of all this I have been given to opportunity to work a little from home. It's a way to bring in a small amount of income doing something I absolutely love (writing). It's more than I could have asked for or imagined.

I can't wait for my children to grow up here. But I also want to savor these moments. I want to create memories here and not just live. I want this home to be the place we run to when we need to be together. A place where I will continue to cook. Scripture will coat these door frames. And I want it to be a place where I reflect and remember.

Reflect and remember what the Lord has brought us through. That rainy season that we thought would never end. The desert where we felt like we were wandering. A place where I sit completely grateful to be given the opportunity to call a new house home.

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