If you’ve been following along recently, you know that we have been in the market for a new home and recently went under contract, with a scheduled settlement date of May 8th, 2017. That’s today! Over the course of the last 10 years, we have had some pretty significant life changes every year. Some were by choice, some were thrust upon us and some, unfortunately, were because of my own failings as a person.
In this episode, I reflect on the last decade of my journey and share some sad details of my life that many people don’t know.
00:00-04:00 Receiving terrible news about our real estate transaction and wanting to throw in the towel
04:01-07:45 God answers angry prayers, too.
07:46-13:05 Reflecting on the last 10 years of mistakes & God’s grace | First Home | The “Albatross” Condo | Ministry | Addiction | Pornography | Lost Jobs | Saved Marriages | Repentance | New Jobs | Life Changes | Children | Career Changes | Depression | Church Splits | Growth
13:06-15:17 The importance of learning valuable lessons from your mistakes
15:18-16:14 Housekeeping and Outro
God answers prayers. How do I know that? Because He did for me and my family.
As you may know, our history with real estate has not been a very good one. All you have to do is listen to episodes 4, 51, and 55 of the podcast to find out why. If you’ve been following along recently, you know that we have been in the market for a new home and recently went under contract, with a scheduled settlement date of May 8th, 2017. That’s today.
But just 12 days ago, while I was preparing dinner for my family, I received the news that our mortgage application had hit an unforeseen roadblock and was going to be declined on a technicality. Now it had nothing to do with our credit or our ability to afford the loan. It was strictly based on the total number of rooms in the condo that we’ve owned since 2006. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? We were 12 days away from settlement and we had already paid out over $2500 of our own money on inspections and deposits to get this house and now, after this condo has been the albatross around our necks for over 10 years, it was once again going to destroy our dream of finding our long-term home.
At first, I was too filled with disbelief to really have an emotional reaction. You see, I had tread so carefully and kept my emotions in check throughout most of this process, not wanting to get too excited in the event that something went wrong. We had already had to walk away from one house, and had been outbid on THREE others, so I was sure to not let myself get carried away this time around. But as we got closer and closer to settlement, it just seemed like everything was clicking into place. And I couldn’t help but get excited. That was until that one phone call changed everything.
While working through the information, I ended up not even eating dinner. Plus I had to run out with no answers because I had a call back for a professional theater company. Somehow I had to pull myself together and play make believe while all of this was swirling in my head.
The question I asked so many times that night was “why would God allow us to get this far to have everything fall apart?” Our desire to move is not a selfish, materialistic pursuit. We are buying a very modest home for our family. So modest in fact that the home inspector thought we were buying it as an investment property. I guess he couldn’t imagine a real estate agent wanting to buy it as a primary dwelling. In addition, we are in the process of applying to house an exchange student who will be attending the school operated by my home church. These seem to be somewhat noble reasons but I was left to wonder, “why are hitting this roadblock now, after all this time and effort?”
And I think the response I am in the process of receiving is, “How bad do you want it? Are you willing to fight for it?”
There are going to be moments in life that you just want to throw in the towel like I do right now, but you never know, you may just have one hay-maker left. And as I said to my wife when we first received the devastating news, if I have to go down, I’m going to go down fighting.
We immediately went in to scramble mode, wondering if there was any way that we could still make the deal happen. Maybe we change the type of mortgage financing we are getting, or maybe a different mortgage company, maybe we could rob a bank? Just kidding.
It seemed that all was lost. So we started to pray HARD! When I say “hard,” I mean “angrily.” Well, for me at least. I was angry and, to be honest, I pleaded with God for answers. I begged Him to show me what I was supposed to learn through this process, regardless of whether or not we ended up getting the house. I couldn’t tell you what I prayed exactly but I’m sure it wasn’t too pleasant. Maybe God was really only listening to my wife and her desperate prayers. But I’m pretty sure that God is able to bear the brunt of my inward temper tantrums and private rebellions and come out unscathed. It’s kind of like a little kid trying to fight a big strong guy and he just has to put his hand on the kid’s forehead to keep him at arm’s length while the angry child just flails and swings violently at the air.
A funny image indeed.
I woke up the next morning not wanting to face what seemed to be insurmountable odds. It’s moments like this that test your fortitude as a person, and in the past these very moments have sent me into a downward spiral of depression.
However my wife was reading her Bible that morning and in her daily reading she happened to be in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11 and read this passage:
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
As I laid in bed she shared this with me, and it helped me to lift up my head, albeit slowly, and start the day. Somewhere along the way I allowed someone to convince me that ultimately what is meant to be will happen easily, and if you encounter something with obstacles or difficulties, then it must not be meant to be.
But this isn’t how life works. Things that are worth it are not handed to you, no one owes you anything. In fact, the things you want the most, usually beats you to your knees several times throughout the process. But through persistence you can overcome.
Miraculously, the following day I heard from the loan processor that they were able to resubmit the loan with additional clarifications, which led to the mortgage being approved after all.
A few days later we got our official “clear to close” from the mortgage company. Four months ago we received the first glimmer of hope that we could possibly buy a home, even without being able to sell our condo. This news seemed too good to be true after having been renting our primary residence for the last 5 years, while trying to sell our condo for over 6 years.
Over the course of the last 10 years, we have had some pretty significant life changes almost every year. Some were by choice, some were thrust upon us and some, unfortunately, were because of my own failings as a person. In 2006, my wife and I bought the aforementioned condo, or “The Albatross” as I have lovingly chosen to refer to it. In 2007, my secret addiction to pornography was first brought into the light and as a result I lost my job in ministry that I’d had for 2 years. But God was gracious, he had provided a wife that I adore and who loved me enough to not give up on me, and who was committed to keeping our marriage intact. Sadly, this was not the last time my addiction would almost ruin my life. In 2008, we were blessed with our firstborn son, Jesse. But later that year my addiction reared its ugly head since I had been negligent in getting the serious help I needed. I was let go from another job for violating the Internet Usage Policy. This was completely devastating to me. Here I was, a husband and now a father and I had a serious addiction problem. Since then, God has brought about healing and the right people to walk with me on the long road to recovery. But back to the story, again, by God’s grace, I was able to find a job quickly. I had developed a lot of great relationships and even had former supervisors and co-workers bending over backwards trying to help me find a new job. I knew I had to be upfront with any new company who would be considering me so I began what would become a pattern of blatant honesty. I told every HR person I interviewed with from that point on about why I was fired. And thankfully, they found my candor so refreshing that they decided to hire me.
Thus began a 3 year career at Univest Bank. I will always be grateful to the folks over at Univest for taking a shot with me. In 2009, we decided to switch to a church that was closer to home. For those of you who are not church-going folk, this may seem like not that big a deal but it was very difficult leaving the church I’d grown up in, worked for for 4 years and had been a part of for over 20. I also got promoted at the bank and transferred to a different branch. In 2010, we had our second son, Leland. In 2011, we tried for the first time to sell our condo. Later that year, I left the banking industry for a better opportunity at a pharmaceutical company. In 2012, we began renting a farmhouse while also becoming landlords for the very first time. At the end of 2013, we made the decision to leave our church and help with a church plant in our hometown. In 2015, we were essentially displaced from the rented farmhouse that we loved so much and had to find what we hoped to be our final stop before finding a permanent home. In 2016, in light of some serious concerns we had to make the difficult decision to move on from the church plant to which we gave two years of our lives. Needless to say, we have felt rather transient. And to come this close to finally having some sense of stability seems like fools’ gold. I also understand that it is just a house, and it cannot provide ultimate peace and security.
Now this episode was recorded the Friday before settlement to be released on the day of settlement. That just so happens to be my podcast schedule. And barring an(other) act of God, we are probably at the settlement table right now signing the papers as you listen to this episode.
As for whether or not, we were actually able to get the keys and officially move-in, you’ll just need to follow me on social media to see if everything worked out.
With that being said, we are looking at May 20th as our moving date. If you are interested in helping us with the move, get in touch with me.