Friday, September 2, 2016

New Beginnings!

The kids and I have been in Indiana for three weeks now so it is probably time to update everyone. The last three months have been an amazing whirlwind! I got the most important boxes unpacked and then I crashed! I am finally starting to feel like myself again as the fatigue is starting to lift. We also finally got internet after almost two weeks, I ordered schoolbooks for the kids and we plan to start homeschooling after Labor day.

Now to share about the process, amazing whirlwind and how we ended up in Indiana. When we tell people here in Indiana that we moved from Florida, their first response is, "Why?!" In all honesty, we loved Central Florida, our church community and all our close friendships we made there! What we didn't like was the commute and the job that Tom had. We were thankful that it payed the bills (he was getting paid over 100K a year) but it was sucking the life out of him! There were many days it would take him over 2 hours to get home in the evening and the kids would often be in bed by the time he got home. Once he did get home, he was usually frazzled from a stressful day at work and a stressful commute. It often grieved me to see him having to be at a job he hated and one that didn't really allow him to use his gifts and talents.  He was under the mindset however that he needed to stick it out in order to provide for his family. He felt the weight and burden on his shoulders to be the sole provider. This unnecessary burden and weight also left him feeling depressed and stuck. The desire of his heart was to have a job in ministry again but he also knew it probably would not pay nearly what he was getting paid as an insurance claims manager.

I on the other hand was starting to feel stuck in our house and in Florida. Even though I liked Florida, I never felt like it was supposed to be a permanent residence. I also liked our spacious house but for some reason, never felt like it was home. One day the Lord spoke through some bees on my neighbor's property. There was a huge congregation of bees in one of their trees. They called a beekeeper who told them to leave the bees alone for three days. If the bees didn't like their new home, they would move on and find a home elsewhere. The Lord has often used the analogy of bees and honey with me so what I heard the Holy Spirit saying to me was, "If bees don't like their home, they can't make honey!" That was my first clue that he would be moving us on.

Even though I felt like God was going to be moving us on, I still felt stuck because there was some quirks about our house and I thought we would never get out from under it. First of all, like many, we bought at the height of the market before the housing market crashed. Secondly, after six years of being in the house, we decided it was time to have our septic pumped out. We called a septic company to come out. When they got to the house and poked around the yard, they couldn't find our septic. We had to call a plumber who put a camera down the pipes and determined that our septic was under our pool deck, about 4 feet from the pool, without any access!

Despite the obstacles, Tom and I began to press in for God's will, knowing something needed to change! There were several ways we began to prepare and press in. Practically, over several years, we began paying off all our debt, except for our mortgage, knowing that a ministry job would probably pay significantly less. Spiritually we began making more of a concentrated effort to pray together and commit to daily prayer. As we did this, we began to see a change. Old mindsets and ways of thinking that didn't line up with the truth were being challenged and healed in us. 

One of the first strongholds or wrong mindsets the Lord dealt with was Tom's thinking that he was the one that needed to provide for us. God spoke the truth to him that he is not the one that has to provide and he even heard the Lord say, "Where has that gotten you?!". In all honesty, even though Tom was making good money, we were still always living paycheck to paycheck. Once God spoke this truth to Tom, a huge burden was released from his shoulders! He felt so much lighter and free!

Another way we began to prepare and step out was to apply for many different ministry jobs all over the country. There were several jobs that came up that were exciting and he even made it to through the interview process. Not only did he have one, long distance interview, but all expense paid, fly-up interviews. Needless to say it was very disappointing when those jobs didn't pan out and someone else was chosen. The Lord kept assuring me however that he had something that was the perfect fit for Tom. 

Finally after about five months of seriously looking, a position for a Director of Adult Faith Formation at a church in Carmel, Indiana came up. We both got excited but didn't want to get our hopes up. He had a Skype interview and then was asked to come up for an in person interview. I decided to fly up with him because learning from the mistakes of our past, we needed to make sure this was also a church community we would like to belong to and a place we would like to live. 

The weekend we went up for the interview happened to be very blessed! God's grace seemed to be in every little detail! Not only that but we loved the parish! We could tell they were orthodox and well balanced. There was a also a real sense and appreciation for the sacred! 

That next week, the waiting was hard as we waited to hear something. By the end of the week however, we received a call from the pastor offering the job to Tom! We were ecstatic! One major obstacle overcome!!! Now to think about the house!

The first miracle we saw happen had to do with the floor. When we bought the house, 8 years ago, it had wood looking vinyl planks in most of the house. There was a spot about 6 inches in diameter, in the living room, under the computer chair that had been worn down to the threads! I called around to several places to see if just that area could be fixed and replaced. They all told me the same thing. The vinyl planks were older and no longer made like that so unless we had some spare planks, it couldn't be fixed. I knew we didn't have any spare planks because there had been two but I let my kids act out a Passion play with them during Holy week two years in a row. They finally broke and I threw them away. At first Tom and I were pretty discouraged because we didn't want to have to replace the flooring in most of the house. I decided to take it to prayer. I prayed specifically for 3 planks as I knew that was what we needed to fix the floor. I then went looking in the pantry and amazingly I found exactly 3 planks right away! They were not there before!!!

Soon after that, we met with a realtor. She suggested we do some renovations. She said if we did, we would sell it faster and we could ask about 15K more. Selling it faster is what got our attention! We immediately started the renovations to our kitchen, family room and both bathrooms. We had a new granite counter top and a new back splash installed in the kitchen and both bathrooms and we put down tile in our huge family room. It did make a world of difference and looked so much better! The question arose in our hearts however, "Why didn't we do this sooner?!" I knew we were right to be responsible and pay off debt instead of remodeling in the past but it was still hard to know someone else would be able to enjoy all the updates in the home. Instead of becoming resentful however, I began blessing the would be owners of our home. I began thanking the Lord that he was preparing our house for someone even though I knew we might not find something as nice since our new price range was going to be about 100K less than what we were asking for our house.

After just a week, we received an offer. It was a  full price offer just asking for help with closing costs! We accepted and held our breath as they would also be seeing the home disclosure for the first time that said the septic was next to the pool! They signed the disclosure and didn't retract their offer! We still weren't sure if they knew fully what that meant. When we found out the loan they had would probably require a septic inspection, we went ahead and hired someone to create an access to the septic and inspect it. It was a little nerve wracking to see them cutting a 16 x 16 square in the concrete pool deck! Miraculously, however they happened to cut the access exactly where there was already a hole in the septic lid! Granted, it wasn't good that there was a hole in the 4 foot lid because it made it unstable but it was good that they didn't have to cut out a 4 foot section in order to pump it.

To make a long story short, they pumped the septic and everything looked good and functioned properly. My heart sank however as the inspector told me he could not sign off on the inspection unless the buyers were okay with the septic being only 4 feet from the pool and having an unstable lid (replacing the lid would require a bigger section being cut out of the patio and since it was older, a new lid would need to be custom made). Well, we were upfront with the buyers, even sent them pictures of the hole and everything! This was not something that was disclosed to us when we bought the house but we felt it was important to do the right thing and be upfront with them, knowing if it was God's will for us to move, it would still happen! Amazingly, the buyers were okay with everything! They were just in love with the house and nothing else seemed to matter! God definitely picked the right buyers for our house! Another thing we did was buy a gas fire pit to cover up the hole in the concrete. Turns out the buyers really wanted a fire pit and even spoke to each other about having a fire pit at the next house they would have!

Once we had a solid offer on our house we flew up to Indiana, July 4th weekend to look at houses! Talk about an emotional roller-coaster! We had a really hard time finding something in our price range that was anywhere near the church! Finally on the second day of looking, and last possible house, we felt like we found something that would work for our family. We made an offer and found out it was a foreclosure. Still we felt confident this was the one! After going back to Florida and being on pins and needles all week, we finally found out there were multiple offers on it! We were told we could up our offer. We had no idea what the other offers were so we wanted to take it to prayer and see what the Lord would have us offer. We used the Psalms to do this. We read Psalms that would coincide with a reasonable price to offer on the house. Psalm 142 is what stood out to both Tom and I, particularly verse 5 for Tom and verses 6 and 7 for me which talks about being in a battle but being rescued and let out of prison by the Lord. We decided to offer $142,500 for the house and then we waited! A whole week to be exact, which was torturous! Then after a week, we found out the bank picked another offer. We were disappointed since there were no back ups. We also knew we would have to wait till Tom went up the middle of July and he would have to find a house on his own. 

That day came and as he was driving up, I was bombarding him with houses. He arrived on Saturday and on Sunday I had him going to several open houses. Finally, the next to last house was the one! It was far better and bigger than any of the others we had seen! Tom made an offer and then went to worship with friends we had made in Indiana. Finally he heard from our realtor that they accepted our offer! The cool thing is, which we didn't realize till we moved here, the address is 14267!!!

So, now I am sitting in my new house in Indiana. I really like it!  There wasn't anything the house needed! As we were preparing our house for someone, the Lord was preparing a house for us! I have the windows open because there is a nice breeze. I grew up in the mid-west so it is feeling like home. I look forward to the seasons! At times it seemed like this day would never get here but the Lord is faithful and I look forward to seeing how He is going to use us here!

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