Other vacation posts:
On our way out, we stopped for a night and then short morning in Pensacola.
Remember me saying these things?
These were the faith statements that Michelle and I had hinged our housing situation on a few weeks ago. You can read all about it in our previous blog post, but to summarize we had moved out of the apartment we had lived in for the past two years and had no place to live in when we returned from a trip to Canada.
(the trip to Canada was great! Thanks for asking!)
I ended that story with the commitment to telling the 2nd part of the story, when it happened.
So here’s the story. I had returned to Houston to finish packing up the apartment last weekend. I worked pretty hard for Friday night, all day Saturday and most of Sunday as well. And by Sunday evening the apartment was empty except for a few totes that I planned to keep in one of the vehicles. Just random stuff that we may need while being “homeless”. The storage unit was full and I was getting ready to head up to sleep at the intern staff apartments. But first I wanted a shower.
And in the shower, I broke. This feeling of sadness came over me and I found myself bawling before God begging Him to end this. It was actually pretty reminiscent of the way Michelle and I cried the night we “gave up” waiting for Katria. If you have never read that story, you can read it here.
And in a funny way, it also reminded me of this video clip. My apologies to those who are easily disturbed.
So I finished up the cry-fest and headed out. The plan was to come back to the apartment the next morning to take the last things out and hand in the keys. So I did that. It was smooth, easy and completely strange in the way that I felt no attachment to that apartment. It wasn’t home any longer.
After leaving the apartment complex, I decided to go stop by the Jared and Katria’s school to ask them a question. I wanted to see what the policy was in regards to them already being registered, but us possibly not living in the district when school started. I didn’t know how long it would be until we had a place, and frankly I was starting to wonder if perhaps we heard God wrong. Maybe I wasn’t hearing God’s voice?
When I got to the school I discovered it was closed. Darn. Guess it’s time to head back up to the complex where our teams are working. But first, I had the thought, I should go drive through the neighbourhood where we were looking for a house. Just to pray and possibly mourn a little.
So I did. And the drive was a little tough. I turned down the main street of the area and just started praying. “God, are we really going to live here? Did I get it all wrong?”
I drove past one of the houses we bid on, one we REALLY liked. For a moment I was upset, but the feeling passed. Then I came up to an intersection and the words hit me very clearly,
Huh? Ok. So I looked left, and it was just a small cul-de-sac.
“There’s nothing down there, it’s a dead end” I remember thinking. So I kept driving straight.
“YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO TURN LEFT.” The words hit me again. Also, I’m pretty sure God used the word “DUMMY”. And deservedly so!
“But there was nothing down there, just a house for rent……”
Oh, maybe there was something. I fought it for a few seconds more and then turned around. God was being pretty insistent on this. After pulling up in front of the house, I called the number on the plain sign. It wasn’t from a Realtor or anything fancy. I don’t think this place was actually being advertised.
I spoke with the lady on the other end and asked how much the rent was. Because, perhaps God was just going to provide a rental property in the right neighbourhood? But the price was too much. It had the correct number of bedrooms though. It was also available right away. So I asked if I could come and see it.
“Sure” the lady said, “how about tomorrow evening?”
“Sounds good,” I replied, wondering what was going on.
I talked to Michelle later about it and told her I don’t know why I called, but it seemed like God was directing me. I wasn’t 100% confident, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was different.
So I went the next evening to look at the place. It was nothing spectacular. Basic, older, but overall it was clean. None of the major upgrades that many of the other houses have had, but I could see that it was solid and mostly maintained. It actually reminded me somewhat of the one house we had bid on that we loved but didn’t get.
“How much did you want in rent again,” I asked, knowing the answer. As she told me, I decided to do the big “ask”. You see, I was getting more confident that God had directed me here for some reason and it was time to find out.
“You wouldn’t be willing to accept “this” amount?” I asked, stating the price that our budget could handle.
“Oh no,” she replied, “houses in this area go for much more than I am charging.”
“That’s too bad,” I said. Then I decided to ask another question. One that I had decided to ask on a whim, but didn’t expect a good answer.
“Would you be willing to sell the house?”
The lady looked at me kind of strangely, then answered, “actually, I had been contemplating selling it this time but had decided against listing it. How much could you offer?”
My heart started to race. Was this really happening? We began to discuss prices in the area and what I could afford and she finally said,
“Yes, I think we can do this.”
So we walked away that night with a verbal deal! God had just provided my family a house! Michelle and I happily announced to everyone that the ordeal appeared to be over!
But it wasn’t. The next day, the lady calls me and tells me that “I’ve decided not to sell after all. Are you still interested in renting it?” I told her I couldn’t if she couldn’t accept less in rent. Since she couldn’t, she apologized and hung up. My heart was destroyed. And then I had to call Michelle. I couldn’t see her face, but I imagine it was much like mine. The look of a person who has given up. I had. The mission was done, I was ready to walk away and go get an apartment in our old complex.
I didn’t do anything that night besides feel sorry for myself. The next day I was trying to get some work done, and not accomplishing much. There was too much pain to be able to focus. Later in the morning I was chatting with one of the interns and he asked the question, “so what are you going to do now” in regards to my housing.
“Well,” I started to answer and talk about going back to the apartments and the giving up it symbolized…
And my phone rings. I look down at the caller ID and it is the lady who was selling/not selling the house. “OK”, I thought and mentioned to my friend who it was. (This friend was actually in the room with me when she had called to take the house “off” the market.)
“Are you still interested in buying the house?”
“Yes” (Note, the excitement in the answer was 1/1000th the actual feeling inside me)
“Ok, I’ve decided to sell again but for a higher price. ”
“What price?” I asked. It was definitely higher than what we had agreed previously, but still something to talk about. So I agreed to talk with her agent (to save her money on the sale) and negotiate details.
And this is where I will cut out a bunch of unneeded information. This story is getting awfully long! Essentially, I met with the agent, we talked about potential prices and agreed that what the seller wanted was a little too high. So I proposed a price in the middle of what we had originally agreed to and what she had changed to. The agent went off to present the offer with a promise that if the seller agreed to the price that I would get a text. And about 45 minutes later:
“…You just bought a house…”
And there you have it. In one of the craziest markets in the Houston/Sugar Land area where every house gets multiple offers and goes WAY above list price, my God led us to a house that no one was offering on (because no one knew it was for sale) and it fit the price we could afford, the location we wanted and the bedroom count we had hoped for.
Pretty cool, huh? Now, does anyone want to help us move in a couple of weeks? And paint? 🙂