Have you ever prayed one of those prayers you wish you hadn't? Well, I did last March. My pastor challenged me to ask God for something big. So I asked God to sell our home in Pennsylvania in such a way that it would be so clear that He had done it. In my mind, that meant a super quick sale at above asking price! Wouldn't that be a great miracle?
Instead, the house sat for eight months before we received our first and only offer. The price was lowered, lowered again, raised and lowered again. The roof didn't meet mortgage standards so had to be replaced (from slate to composite). Then all roofers were booked up due to a long winter and hail storms. And when a roofer was finally scheduled, rain was forecasted. On top of this, the market in which we were trying to purchase in Texas looked bleak. Houses were selling at above asking price in multiple bidding situations within hours of being listed. This seemingly impossible scenario meant prayer, more prayer, and still more prayer.
As always happens, there were many lessons learned from the long wait: getting my heart really ready to release the old home, letting us concentrate fully on our new ministry and getting to know our new location, time to live with my dad to reestablish our relationship, allowing my husband to come to grips with purchasing in Texas, understanding anew what missionaries experience when they travel so much, come on home leave and live as guests in a host country. As the process unfolded and dependence and trust increased, I asked God that we have only enough return on the sale to get the home of his choice here in Texas. Don't get me wrong, there were hard days! Days I curled up and cried my eyes out, days I let myself acknowledge that this was hard. I tried to be real about it, while not losing hope.
Then after six months of "homelessness", it all came together in one week - the week of my husband's birthday, our RENEW retreat for missionaries on home leave and our Pennsylvania settlement. We were two weeks into an intense search for a new home. We had still not found a house we were willing to buy so we looked at a total fixer upper. That night, I couldn't sleep, partly because I started feeling nauseous with stomach flu, but also because my head was filled with potential plans for how to make the total dump we had seen that day into a lovely home. I decided we needed to see the house again. I contacted our realtor and arranged an afternoon showing, hoping I would feel up to it by then. No new listings were showing up on my email list.
An hour before our scheduled showing, our realtor texted to tell us to meet her at a new address, one not listed. Upon inquiry, we discovered that she had been on the phone earlier that day negotiating another deal. She asked him if he had any homes he was getting ready to list. That led to our showing on Yvonne Place in Richardson. My husband knew immediately upon entering the house that it was the one. I was less certain. I had seen several that I could have lived in and so this one wasn't all that different. The difference was that Mark liked it and was willing to commit. And he promised me an updated kitchen! That was enough for me. We gave an offer that afternoon which was accepted by midnight that evening.
I didn't jump up and down and immediately announce it on facebook. I felt like a woman newly pregnant who doesn't want to share the news until she is past certain stages of development. We knew that this house needed foundation repair and so waited for a quote and to see if the seller would pay.
At the end of the week, the seller agreed to pay for the foundation repair, so we proceeded with the purchase. That day was capped off with news that the settlement on our house in Pennsylvania was completed! What an answer to many prayers worldwide! Prayers for every step of the process, every negotiation, the roof replacement, the weather. The news was carried far and wide so more prayed and more got to participate in the miraculous answer to prayer.
God certainly answered all our prayers (and the prayers of people worldwide). We got a house before it was even listed on MLS. The seller paid for foundation repairs at a cost that was equivalent to what we paid for our roof replacement. We were able to make an offer before anyone else even knew the house was on the market and so there was no bidding war. We settled in three weeks and had enough from our sale to pay closing costs and put twenty percent down. Our new home is in an excellent location - a quiet cul de sac only 1.5 miles from the Christar office. And God provided the contract before our trip to Pennsylvania with settlement in time for us to move out of my dad's so my brother and his wife can move in (they are on home leave from South Africa)!
God answered my big prayer! I don't believe God's answering was dependent on my prayers, meaning, I don't think I am that powerful to determine God's actions. Rather, that our continued praying produced dependence and a reminder of where all things come from and who is really in charge. He will do the same for you! It probably won't be in the way you imagine and it may mean lots of waiting and inconvenience. But he does hear our prayers and I believe He loves to get the attention and the glory!
Psalm 21:1a, 4, 5 In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry. May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.