Month: September 2009
A few more details before the house hunting story…
Before telling Josh that we were moving, I knew I needed to arm myself with information on the colleges there. I jumped on the computer and looked up Huntsville colleges. I found one (UAH) that offers a graduate program in Josh’s favorite field of study: Bio-genetics. It looks like a very good program. Also just recently a large Biotechnology Institute called Hudson Alpha moved to Huntsville (a possible place of future employment). They are currently working on a swine flu vaccine among other things.
Josh responded to the news with just one sentence “When are ya’ll leaving?” First I swelled with pride at my Texan offspring using the word “ya’ll” so aptly. Then I was quickly over taken with fear that Josh wouldn’t make this one last (I hope) move with us. I asked him to at least prayerfully think about moving with us and to look over the information I found.
I forgot to mention in my first moving post that a few days after Mike was offered the job in Huntsville everything fell apart at his job in Montgomery. Some higher ups decided that his office was redundant and to cut all the leadership positions (including Mike’s and his two bosses). Only a few people there were going to actually be able to relocate to another office in Montgomery.. everyone else was going to have to find a new job, house, life… We were so relieved to have the Huntsville offer and praying all the more that the job would workout.
The move began feeling more like God was yanking us out of the pit.. and thrusting us into “Rocket City” than normal gentle leading. The office in Huntsville was anxious to have Mike start and got the initial paper work done at lightening speed. We had three buyers in just one week. Josh was granted favor and was able to transfer to UAH even though he was one credit short. Mike just happened to have scheduled months before a 2 week class in Huntsville. He was able to get some preliminary house hunting done in the evenings after class and keep me up dated via the internet on our choices.
It takes a while to get acclimated to a new city and find out where what is, how long it takes to get from here to there, and where a good area to live is. Mike worked really hard to study the situation and to try to decide what was most important to us in finding a house. Location is always key. This time we needed to not only to be a reasonable commute from work but also from Josh’s college. Together we cut his list down from 60 to 10 houses for me to chose from.
I drove up for the weekend in between week one and two of his class. We went to see Mike’s top 10 or so houses and in the end didn’t have peace about any of the houses. They were either too run down, not in a good location or too expensive. We were very discouraged and very apprehensive about making a bid on a house that would eat up most of Mike’s new raise.
Sunday was our last chance.. Mike had to start back to class on Monday and I needed to get home and get ready for the movers. We decided to check into building as a last resort. We had seen a new home on the opposite side of town from where we wanted to live that we liked and decided to try searching on line for other neighborhoods by that builder. We found a neighborhood that was about a mile West of where Mike had decided was as far as he wanted to commute. We drove to the model home after lunch, but they weren’t scheduled to open for another hour. So we drove by our top three houses one last time; one that was too expensive, one in a bad location and one that was a steal but that would need more repairs and upgrades than we could afford (the master bedroom had a mauve bath tub, tile, countertops etc… and the kid’s bathroom hunter green).
We’ve never built before and it was a scary thought. We knew nothing about building a house. We were afraid that the price would start out looking good but then rise over our heads in hidden cost. We sat down in a model home with the builder’s representative and asked all kinds of questions. Cheryl was very kind, patient, and helpful with all our questions. She had been working with the builder for many years and had a house in the neighborhood herself. So much info to cover in so little time. We left with our heads swimming to go look at the lot we thought we might like by the “lake”.
Mike at peace on our land.
As we stood on the lot I felt peace and joy over take me. All of Mike’s concerns about the commute, money, temporary housing and storage disappeared. He was like a whole new person. I wasn’t sure what to think about the sudden change .. but we had finally found the peace we were looking for. We fell in love with a piece of land. We called Cheryl and asked her to hold the lot for us and made an appointment for the next day for me to work out the details.
That afternoon Mike and I took the mini sketch of the house and all our notes back to the hotel and studied all our options and prices and made an incredible number of decisions from where and how big we wanted the master shower to be located to how to work out parking for a family of six.
Mike had to go to class the next day and I had to go with our realtor, my notes and our price limit in mind to communicate and get in writing everything we wanted in the house and to iron out all the details. I was so nervous. I prayed for God’s favor and a confirmation. First thing out of Cheryl’s mouth was that she had talked to the builder and that they were going to wave the $6000 lake lot premium because it was too small for the promised side entry garage and they would need to put in a front entry garage instead. God is so good!
We went one thousand dollars over our budget and it won’t be ready until Thanksgiving, but it won’t need a bunch of repairs and will be 30 or so thousand cheeper than everything else we were looking at and it will be on the piece of land where we found peace. Mike said that God has so orchestrated this move that He even picked out the exact piece of land He wants us on. 😀
Neighborhood Gazebo.. one lot over from ours.
It may be hard to believe but there is more to the story. 🙂 And you wonder why I don’t blog more..
We put our house on the market just in time for the July 4 holiday weekend thinking that we wouldn’t have offers for weeks and not actually having moving orders wouldn’t be a problem. Getting an offer the first day on the market made us anxious that we might loose our buyers to another house before we got the paper work and made us wonder if or not we should just sell it and forget about the home-sell buy-out program Mike had fought for and won. I know… there we go again not trusting God.
We were expecting our papers on Friday and had told the buyers so on Wednesday. Then after many phone calls, we discovered that it would be weeks after we got the orders before we could sell the house with the buy-out program. Uhrugg!
After much deliberation, we decided to trust God with the buyers and not give up our buy-out program. It would have cost us thousands of dollars more to sell the house with out it. The buyers would have to decide if or not our house was worth waiting for and we would have to trust God to bring us another buyer if they walked. We basically had to put them off indefinitely… they might very well not be able to move in until after school started. That was hard..
To add to our fears, on Friday, our air conditioner stopped working. We tried a couple of things to fix it and hoped it would work better the next day after a nights rest. It didn’t and we suffered through Saturday unwilling to call out a repair man on holiday pay. Finally, on Sunday it still was not working and we had to call someone. Thankfully we had had them come out before the summer season for a check up (sound judgment and wisdom) and got a reasonable price on the repair. Funny how we spent that weekend hoping no one would come see the house while the air wasn’t working after working so hard to get it on the market in time for that weekend.
Friday, Monday and Tuesday dragged on endlessly and there were still no orders in sight. It turned out that the lady that was in charge of putting our orders together was on vacation (how dare she take a summer vacation) and her replacement was not returning our calls and e-mails.
On Tuesday, I watched an episode where Joseph Prince was teaching on the story of Ruth. It was really good. Do you remember how Ruth’s closer relative chose not to redeem her because it would ruin his inheritance? Ruth was a Mobite and by law couldn’t receive an inheritance from God (Israel) so their children would not have received an inheritance.
Boaz was the son of Rahab the harlot from Jericho so he had already experienced God’s grace and favor and become very rich. He experienced what the law could not and through grace and God’s favor Boaz redeemed Ruth.
The part of the story really spoke to me was where the closer relative had to give his shoe to Boaz. It’s a picture of him giving up his rights to take possession. Everywhere our foot steps we are to take possession of the land. The closer relative was a picture of the law. He couldn’t bend to redeem her and still be the law. Jesus redeemed us just like Boaz redeemed Ruth and now the law has no rights over us.
Joseph Prince talked through the Bible about shoes and feet to confirm the idea. Moses is also a picture of the law. The first thing God spoke to him was to take off his shoes…
One of the shoe examples was in the story of the prodigal son. He was given shoes to possess the land when he returned to his father. The shoe thread through the Bible was very beautiful.
God told me to put on my shoes and take possession of the land He was giving me. So, I put on my shoes and took possession of the paper work. We’d already had over a weeks delay and were being promised even a longer delay.
The next morning, the orders came through and after Mike made one phone call letting the person in charge of the buy-out program know that we had a buyer the papers were all expedited and completed in one day instead of the promised weeks. God is so good!
The delay in paper work only worked for our good in that it gave the opportunity for two more people to make bids on the house!
God worked everything to our good! He made it so that the first bank appraiser couldn’t come but so that the second appraiser came right before I started taking apart my house to pack it and helped our realtor help him by finding good comps so that it would actually appraise for the great offer we received instead of the Zillow appraisal price.
Next I’ll tell you about buying a house..
Early in January of this year, I heard the Lord say to me something like, “You are going to move. I am telling you now so you won’t be surprised when it happens.” I wasn’t sure what to think. Was it my mind playing tricks on me?
Then one of our pastors said that God was going bless His people with good sound judgement. Mike caught it in his Spirit and held on to it. Soon after, he felt an urgency to start looking for jobs. I think at one point there were 9 different jobs that he had applied for that he could hear back from at any moment.
It’s kinda fun to dream about where you might get to live next.. but at the same time it’s hard to live the life you have at that moment. Should you spend money on this or save it for the move? Should you plan a vacation when you might be moving that same week? Should you invest in a new friendship when you might have to move just as you’re getting to know that person?
We’ve lived many months.. years in reality.. with things on hold because we might move. I didn’t want to live that way this time. I asked Mike, “Are you sure you really want to do this: you have a nice job, you get to come home for lunch everyday, and I like our life here???” I know. I know. That’s the devil’s line. “Did God really say..?” He kept applying while I worked really hard to ignore the possibility of moving so that I could enjoy where I was.
Mike normally only looks for Air Force jobs because he’s been with them for a long time and it makes the transition easier. One day, he heard God say to look in Huntsville for a job. When he looked, he found a job that he was really interested in and applied. If he had waited one day before obeying God, he would have missed his chance because it was the last day that they were taking applications. He interviewed for the job before our TX trip. We didn’t hear anything for a long time.
I started the summer looking forward to a relaxing time of catching up on school work, painting a couple of rooms in our house, and spending a lot of time in the pool. My plan was to ignore the whole moving thing and enjoy my summer. Mike gave up the Huntsville job and started bugging me with the idea that a job in D.C. was more likely to work out and was I OK with moving to DC?
Do you know what it feels like to have so many things on your heart that if you prayed for them all that you would explode? I was trying to ignore my heart and the possibility of moving, when God opened a little window into my soul and showed me that I really wanted to move to Huntsville and I was not OK with moving to D.C. any longer.
I said, “OK, God.. I wanted to be OK with moving to DC, I was OK at one point, but I am not any more. You made me want to move to Huntsville. Now I want to move to Huntsville. Give me the desire of my heart and quit playing around with me. Are we moving or not? Did you say we were going to move or was that my mind playing tricks on me? I am tired of playing around. You need to show me one way or the other!”
That day Mike was offered the job in Huntsville and all my plans for a nice relaxing summer slipped away. I was shocked. I jumped up and down for joy. I think we both walked around in disbelief for a couple of days. Mike was offered the highest dollar amount that they were legally able to offer him in the promotion, then when he asked they also enrolled him in the home-sale buy-out program which was not originally part of the deal. God is so good!
We gave ourselves 2 weeks to get the house ready to sell. We didn’t want to wait and miss the people who wanted to move in before school started in early August. Our last house took months to sell because we weren’t able to put it on the market until October. The difficulty of having to live in two separate states for three months the last move was still fresh on our mind as it was only a year and a half later.
I wasn’t sure if or not we could actually get the house ready in two weeks. I rented and filled a 10 x 10 storage room with all our books and extra furniture, Mike replaced two sinks and refinished our bath tub, we paid someone to power wash all our moldy concrete, and I painted inside and out: our kitchen cabinets needed a new coat of paint, the sun room was pretty bad, some touching up here and there, and the outside trim was long over due. I am sure I forgetting things. Oh, yeah.. I had to repair the kitchen ceiling. Funny what you discover is unacceptable about your house when you start thinking about selling.
Getting everything done was a stressful but I kept meditating on the verse in Psalm 127 that says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” and kept praying that God would do the work through me and give me peace. I’ve failed at enough things on my own to know to ask for help and rely on God’s strength.
After Mike refinished the tub, I took on the job of caulking it. I hate caulking.. it always takes me forever and turns out so messy, but less messy than when Mike does it. The Lord reminded me of the story of the people he chose to build the temple and how he gave them the wisdom and ability to do all kinds of creative, crafty things. I thought, “Yeah, God, that’s a good story.” Then I prayed, “HELP ME like that.” And you know what? He did! I caulked the whole tub area in about 15 minutes and it looked great. No huge mess. Praise God!!!
All through this time Mike was watching our house value plummet on Zillow.com. I was feeling a little frustrated with him as he became more and more worried about being able to buy a new house after selling our house for almost nothing. I really felt bad for him. I am usually the one that worries.. even though we both believe it’s a sin. Trust God! Don’t be afraid! Don’t look at the world’s report. Listen to God’s!
The week before Mike got the job I was watching Joseph Prince (my new favorite TV preacher) and he was talking about using anointing oil for more than anointing people for ministry. He had spent some time with a church in Asia that anoints everything from their cars to their businesses with oil, asking and claiming God’s blessing, favor and protection over them, and then receives what they ask for… sometimes in miraculous ways.
Joseph said that he was praying about the teaching and decided to try it out by anointing his house to sell and it sold for top dollar in just three days. I thought.. “If we ever move again (ha ha), I am going to try that.” It was one of those God thoughts.
So we prayed and anointed our house with oil and in the midst of the biggest housing crisis ever we received three bids on our house the first week we had it up for sale. The first bid came on the first day it was for sale. We were unable to accept it because we were waiting on government paper work. While we were anxiously waiting, the competition got stiffer and we ended up with a thousand dollars above our asking price. Our realtor said that there was something about our house that the buyers couldn’t resist. We knew it was the anointing of God.
To be continued….
When we first moved to AL, we started a new tradition of having a short Bible reading and prayer time before Mike left for work. The hardest part of moving from our house to this apartment was saying goodbye to our “Music Room” where we practiced these family devotions each morning.
We had tried family devotions several times before, but his was the first time we were able to stick with it. I am praying that with God’s help we’ll be able to keep it up even in the face of Mike’s new, more stressful job. So, far, so good.
I think the thing that makes it doable is that we keep it REALLY short and sweet. I have a selection of verses prepared for the week or month and we read just a few verses each morning, then we each take a turn praying a short prayer. Sometimes, when we have a little time left, it turns in to a family discussion or planing meeting.
I wish I could tell you that we read the whole Bible through each year, or that when we prayed fire came down from heaven.. but we don’t and it hasn’t.. yet, but I think we have grown closer together and have been blessed and encouraged and even matured from our time together. Thank You, Jesus.
This morning after Mike went to work, I had a mini sermon prepared for the kids. These occur from time to time as an occasion calls for it. I only have a few messages in my heart. This is a big one for me.
I started – When you first meet a person or sit and listen to a pastor or someone being interviewed on TV such as a scientist or politician, what is the first thing you notice?
Josh replied – their manner or attitude. (That was a really good answer.)
My answer – What is coming out of their mouths? Wisdom or Foolishness?
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
My next question – Where does wisdom come from?
Judi answered – Jesus/God. (Yes!)
My answer – So what they say reveals if or not they treasure God; if they seek after Him or spend time with Him.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
God is the greatest treasure that exists. Knowing and acting on that is wisdom.
You know a person by their _________?
James answered – fruit
My answer – Exactly – good or bad. Good fruit: wisdom – nourishes – leads to life – you feel a “yes” in your Spirit
Bad fruit: rotten – weeds – poison – leads to death – you feel a check in your Spirit.
Now you wouldn’t expect to turn on Sean Hannity one day (Josh and Joel turn him on every day) and hear him say
how wonderful the new health care plan is. – You’d think he was brain washed or something.
A tree can only produce one kind of fruit – good or bad
So either they are seeking God as their most valued treasure or they are not – can’t serve two masters.
Next question – Where does fruit get its start?
Judi answered – From a seed.
me – Yes, and a seed is a thought.
We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our
actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and
we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we
reap our destiny. Desiderius Gerhard Erasmus
… life or death – good tree or bad tree
So if you have a bad thought what should you do with it?
a) meditate on it?
b) throw it out?
c) replace it with a God truth?
If you choose to meditate on it, it will eventually come out of your mouth as a seed/thought planted in someone else.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
We are always either planting a tree of life/nourishment or death/poison when we speak.
Next question – If you turned on Sean Hannity one day and he was cussing and airing pornography clips, what would you do? What was a source of life has now become a source of death. I’d be angry/offended.
When people come to your well – your facebook or myspace page – do they find a source of life?
If you make a mistake and let a bad thought take root and grow and hurt someone else, what should you do?
What would you think of Sean Hannity if he made jokes, excuses or blamed someone else for his actions?
What would a mature person do?
Josh answered – delete it, apologize
My answer – Yes, they should take responsibility, apologize, repent, run to God, who is quick to forgive, ask for His help to reject bad seeds and to seek Him with all their hearts as their greatest treasure.
I love you. God loves you. Love each other the way He loves you.
Hope you enjoyed my sermon and are able to learn from our life lessons.