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Making our Move {Part 1}

The past several years have been quite the journey for us as a family. I've been wanting to take the time to share our story, and yet it all seemed so overwhelming to try and figure out how to piece everything together and not lose all of you in the process.

It's a story of God's faithfulness . . . even when my faith was hanging on by the tiniest of threads. The pages were not filled with the story line we originally thought He was scripting. It was a bit more chaotic, similar to flipping back and forth in the pages of a choose-your-own-adventure story. But, now as we look back over the entire journey, His handprint is all over it, and He wrote it well. Way better than we ever could have.

So, let's back up a few years to the fall of 2014. Actually, we should really back up even farther than that to when we first moved to Ohio. We were a young family moving into a community, where we knew no one. Our church family (where Mark was working as a youth pastor at the time) was our only "family" around here, and a couple from that church took us under their wing, and we affectionately referred to them as Uncle & Aunt. Their kids were all in High school, and they quickly became like grandparents to our kids. They babysat, watched Cole when we went to the hospital to have Ian, and loved on our kids in an incredible way. As an added bonus, they had an in-ground pool, so every summer found us frequenting that as often as we could.

Jump ahead again to 2014 . . . Laura shared with me that they were looking at selling their house out in the country, and that possibly one of their kids was going to buy it. I jokingly commented that we still wanted rights to the pool if possible :) Not too long after that, I was having lunch at school with one of my kids, and she (Laura works at the elementary as an aid) commented that their son didn't want to buy the property after all, and if we were at all interested, to let them know. She totally made the comment in passing, and I had never even considered that we would be interested, but I went home from there, and the wheels in my brain started turning. The house was not huge, but it sat on almost 2 acres of land . . . there was an in-ground pool, and a separate barn/shed that would actually work perfectly to convert into a photo studio. The more I thought about it, the more I became excited at the possibility. I talked to Mark about it, and then texted Laura to see if she knew what their asking price would be. It was affordable, and an option that just seemed to gain excitement in our hearts with each passing day.

At that point, we decided to take several weeks and just pray about it. The thought of trying to sell our house in Apple Creek seemed a bit overwhelming, but I totally knew that if it was God's idea, He would make it happen. After all, I loved our house, and was sure that someone else would love it just as much, and would want to make it their own. It was old, but had loads of character and charm all throughout it. Our main thing was running out of room outdoors for our boys to play. If they kicked a soccer ball, or threw a baseball, it always ended up in the neighbor's yard, and even though the space had fit us perfectly as a young family . . . we needed more room.

We had a total peace about moving forward with trying to buy their house, so in December, we put a For Sale sign out in our yard. We had numerous people come and look at our house, and show interest in it, but no offers came through. In January 2015, we contacted a realtor and let her take over the process of trying to sell it. It was huge load off of our shoulders, but it was still stressful trying to keep it clean and ready in case someone wanted to come look at it. By May, there had still only been 1 offer, and we had declined it because it was so low.

Stress level was high, and the boys just couldn't figure out why God was not answering our prayers. Every night at bedtime their request was the same . . . "help someone to come and look at our house, and help them want to buy it."

Finally in late May, we decided to take our house back off the market. It just seemed like the timing was not right, and God was shutting the doors that we thought had been wide open. Laura & her husband decided to just stay in their house for the time being, and we talked about trying again the next summer, and just taking a break for awhile. We had just taken the sign down, and within a day or two, our realtor had one more couple who wanted to come and do a walk-through. We decided to try one last time, and even though this couple came for 3 different showings (once by themselves, and once with each set of parents) . . . they walked away without making an offer. The door was officially closed.

My faith went through such a time of testing after this, as I had thought sure this was what we were supposed to do. Where was God, and why did He shut doors that seemed to have been wide open? How were we to answer the boys' questions, other than with the fact that we were not God, and He was. He knew what He was doing, and we needed to trust Him, even though we didn't see the big picture.

The biggest relief was being able to "live" in our house again . . . I didn't have to keep it clean, and we could kind of unwind again and relax. We had no idea what the next year would bring, but we just took a step back and decided to wait on God. After all, there wasn't much else we could do at this point.

Over that summer & fall, Mark built a big pergola in our backyard. The backyard became a favorite spot on our property, with twinkling lights on the pergola creating the perfect spot to entertain friends. We also had an electrician come in and update the knob/tube wiring that was still in our basement. We decided that while we were waiting, we could keep working on some projects around the house that needed attention.

Fast forward a few months to April of 2016. We were still just waiting on God, with no wish to rush into anything. Until He led, we were not going to try and knock down any doors in front of us. One evening, I received a Facebook message from a girl I had gone to school with in Iowa. Her & her husband (he was from the Holmes Co. area) were moving back to Ohio, and she was just curious if our house ever sold, or if it was still for sale. “Hi Megan, I know this is random...but I seem to recall hearing/seeing you post about wanting to sell your house? (If this is all lies just laugh and delete this message.) We are looking to rent/buy a house in the Apple Creek area.” I replied that while it wasn’t on the market any more, we might still be interested in selling, and they were welcome to come and look at it when they moved up here to Ohio.

Several weeks later, I ran into Laura at school, and found out that she was going through some major life changes/difficulties. Her husband had left her and she had no idea what the next few months held. I told her about the possibility of someone being interested in our house, and at that point, she wasn't sure what the next few months would hold, and if their house would be for sale again or not. Everything was up in the air at this point, but we just didn't stress about it, and figured that God would work out the plans He had for us. We didn't even mention anything to the boys yet at this point, as we didn't want them to be disappointed again.

At the beginning of June, AJ & Jewel came and looked at our house, and we left it as a definite possibility, but we also weren't going to sell our house unless something opened up for us to move to. They took about 6 weeks to pray about it and look at other houses, and then came back to us with an offer. In the meantime, I had talked to Laura numerous times when we would go up and swim at her pool, and in those conversations, it didn't sound very hopeful for her to sell the house at all. I began to think that maybe there was another property that God had for us, even though there were hardly any houses for sale in our school district. If something did go on the market, it sold almost immediately.

Mid-July, I decided to text Laura and keep her posted on our house selling . . . “We just heard back from the couple who looked at our house in early June, and they are interested in buying our house. However, before I get back with them, I just wanted to check in with you. I know (& totally understand) that you are really hoping to stay there, and if so, I will just tell them that unless something else opens up, our house is not available right now after all. You can get back to me in a couple of days if needed, but I just wanted to check in and see what your thoughts were. Hope your week is going good." She responded that even though she still felt like God wanted us to have this place (she had had a dream about there being a photo studio in their house), she just wasn't sure how things would work out, and let me know that she would be in touch the next week. That was on a Friday, and that evening, Mark took the boys up to Wooster to go fishing.

On a whim, I decided to go for a drive, and see if there were any homes for sale by owner that we just weren't seeing online in the listings. I headed out on 250 past our high school, and then turned left onto Kansas Rd. It's a small back road, and as I was driving, I was praying that God would just show us what we were supposed to do. Now that we had a buyer for our house, it seemed that we had nowhere to go. Kansas Rd. had several big curves, and as I came around a bend, there on the road in front of me, someone had spray painted some letters on the road. Why, I have no idea! But right in front of me, was the word LAURA written on the road very clearly. It was like God was saying, "I've got this . . . take this as confirmation that her house is going to be yours." I headed back home, with this little nugget tucked into my heart. I had no idea what was going to come of it, but I couldn't deny the fact that her name had just been written on the road in front of me. God was up to something.

(Here's a post I saw on my Instagram feed . . . dare we dream again?!)

On Monday, I got a text from Laura that was totally the opposite from what I was expecting. Up until this point, it was not looking very promising at all that she would sell. However, after praying throughout the weekend, and talking with some of the team of people who were helping her walk through this process, she just really felt like she was supposed to sell the house. She had such a peace about the decision and even though it was not what she had originally wanted to do, she knew that God was telling her to sell.

I can't even explain the excitement that we felt, knowing that God was moving mountains right in front of us. At this point, there were still a lot of unknowns, and we knew that the process most likely would not be finalized for several months, but the possibility of it finally happening was so exciting! We still did not tell the boys, because we wanted to be sure that things would fall into place. Over the next several weeks, we started working on the paperwork process, securing documents and making sure financing was in place.

By mid-August, we met with a title attorney and had paperwork in place to sell our house, with a closing date of Sep. 30th. On Aug. 23rd, Laura invited us up for a swim, and while we were at her house, we all filled the boys in on what was happening . . . their reactions were priceless!

On August 25th, we signed the purchase agreement for Laura's house . . . the process was officially moving forward and we were so excited!

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