I have had a dozen people call, text, email or message me asking about the house, but there is so much to share I just thought I’d go ahead and make this post public.
Our journey of uncertainty began on March 27, 2014, and a I write these words, while there is still not complete closure, there is peace.
We moved in to the camper on December 13, 2014. The past five and a half months have been good, bad, ugly, and oh so ugly. I wish I had penned the simple treasures that have taken place here, as many of them have already fallen to the wayside of an old, stressed memory, but there are ones that still I cling to, such as a deeper level of forgiveness taking place in an old bitter woman’s heart towards her husband, special moments of two children whom seem to fight constantly but learned to compromise over nightlights and music playing at bed-time, and then there are those breath taking sunsets God gave us while we have been out here, oh and the children seeing lightning bugs for the first time in their lives . . . the walks with our Valentine and seeing her love grow more and more for a boy who used to want nothing to do with her . . . . God did a good work during our time in camper, for that I am thankful. (I’m also thankful that I’m not being graded on that paragraph as that is one. long. sentence! lol!)
BUT . . . . I’m also thankful it appears that time is coming to an end soon!
We finished our application for USDA housing and our search to find a place we would call home began shortly after the completion of all the paper work (oh my goodness, the mounds of paper work). Between myself, my mother, and my sister, we drove thousands of miles between Milton, Pace, Cantonment, and Molino checking out areas in order to make sure not to waste the time of a realtor if it was an obvious ‘no’ due to neighbors or obvious exterior problems with the house, you know, just in case the pictures posted online were not accurate or were deceiving (hmmmmm, surely no one would ever do such a thing!?!) I became so discouraged at one point because of the deceit that I was ready to call it quits. I told my husband, “Let’s just find a bigger camper and stay her forever. I can’t keep doing this.”
But that was just stinkin’ thinkin’ cause five minutes later when we were all four trying to actually move from one end of the camper to the other, this momma lost it. Two hundred and twenty square feet is just a tad-bit too small for extended living for a family of four, with a dog, three cats, and a partridge in a pear tree . . . . so I couldn’t give up.
The last offer we put in on a house was in Molino. It was on .97 of an acre, was three bedrooms with two baths, that appeared to be completely renovated. While the house style was not my style, it appeared to be in good condition, and what sold us (me) was the lot. It was huge. We could have chickens, ducks, and even goats that my husband has been wanting for years.
We put in an offer, and I immediately began praying that God would give us a continued peace. Close to that same time, I put out a plea for friends to pray for us to have discernment, so I continued to pray for peace and discernment.
Well, let me just say, when one prays, one should expect answers because holy macaroni did God move and He moved quickly!
The SAME night that we had put in an offer on the house in Molino, a friend called me. I can hear her voice with clarity as she told me about her son putting his house up for sale. She (we will call her KC and her son RB because they probably don’t want to be mentioned) said, “I don’t know if you have found a house or not, but my son mentioned last year he thought he would put his house up for sale, and Stacey, he gave his tenants notice to be out by the end of May. I think you should drive by and just look at it.”
We did just that, and while we still weren’t sure, guilt and confusion began flooding my every being. “God, did we make a mistake? Was I took quick to make a decision? Am I so worried about time frame that I am willing to settle? Do you want more for us Lord?”
My next step was to pray more. I began praying specifically that IF this was not the house God wanted us to have (the one in Molino), that He would give us a way out. We also believed in order to rule out RB’s house, and to have peace about the Molino house, that we needed to walk through his house.
Now, the timing of the next events is impeccable.
On a Thursday, we scheduled a viewing for the following Sunday. to walk through RB’s house. He really didn’t want to show the house with the tenants in it, but we are on a time schedule with USDA and I did not want to keep wasting our realtor’s time if God had indeed brought this to us for His purpose, so he showed us the house anyway, plus, I REALLY needed the peace for the house in Molino! I wanted that acre of land! I was willing to settle on less to have what I wanted, not what God wanted.
Remember the praying for discernment?
Remember the praying for a way out?
Remember the praying for peace?
Well, God moved.
Friday morning I woke up with specific questions and concerns on my mind that I would have never been able to come up with on my own.
We had been asking for the disclosure statement for the house in Molino. Never got it. We were told there wasn’t one. Finally a few days later we get it, dated the same day we asked (disclosure statements are supposed to be turned in when the house is put on the market, not after). The house was built in 1976 and based on the disclosure there was not and never had been anything wrong with it. Nothing was ever replaced and was in great condition. That was my second red flag. The date signed was my first. In the disclosure she wrote, “no known problems since vacant ” that was my third red flag. What could go wrong with a vacant house and who would be there to report it??? THEN, I noticed the house was rated as poor structure quality on several online resources, soooooo . . . . . I called the assessors office to inquire as to what would cause something to be rated so poorly when it appeared to be in great shape. The man I spoke with said we must be talking about a different address. We double checked but it was indeed the same address. He suggested I send an email requesting the information available for that house (that included pictures) and suggested I contact permits/code enforcement to see if permits and inspections were done. He said based on the pictures he was looking at they would have had to pull permits for roof, construction, as well as electrical. He said he was afraid we were about to purchase “a pig wearing lipstick,” I contacted permits before receiving any pictures or information, asking for those permits specifically. Not one permit was ever pulled and there were no inspections. Next came the pictures. I could not believe it was the same house. It had been destroyed during hurricane Ivan. Non-livable. Not only did they falsify the disclosure statement but they also completely repaired a destroyed home with no permits or inspections. We cancelled our offer immediately.
Not only did God take away the peace (obviously), not only did God give discernment (obviously), He also gave us a way out (thankfully!).
The scriptures say that what is hidden will be brought to light. God protected us.
Sunday afternoon, all four of us walked through RB’s house. Even though it was a little dirty, and even though the yard was unkempt, we all four immediately fell in love with the house. The open foyer, the tile flooring with carpet, the gray walls with white trim, the brick fireplace, maple kitchen cabinets, double car garage, two bathrooms, plenty of closet space, a beautiful back yard with a pecan tree, a large sturdy shed and did I mention a fireplace? Plus it has a new roof, hurricane windows, hurricane garage door, new hot water heater, and they were willing to leave the appliances for us! We were excited. We spent the next several days praying that we would be able to agree on a price. I prayed that God would put the exact price on RB’s heart that He knew we needed.
God exceeded it.
When I spoke with RB four days later, (one week after scheduling the house viewing) he gave us the price, then he said, “and we are also going to pay the closing cost. If you guys want to be in that house, then we want to help you. It’s the right thing to do.”
I’ve known KC for fifteen years. We worked together. She was in my wedding. We’ve laughed and cried together. I knew her standards and expectations that she raised her son with. There are simply no words to describe the gratitude and “aweness” I have in my heart for this family.
I will be scheduling inspections for this week. We have a tentative closing date for June 26th.
Please pray for RB’s family. Would you join me in praying that God would open the floodgates of provisions for his family, that they would never go without and that they would always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s continued promptings.
As of today, we are ready and planning on moving in to our new home. God has not shut that door to date, and neither RB nor our family have any flags. Please continue praying God’s will be done in placing our family in a house to make a home.