Thursday, April 13, 2017

the dream.

"When you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways...that you could call it a tradegy but you choose to call it an EPIC...that's when you learn what celebration is".

~Shauna Niequist       


Over the last almost fifteen years I have carried a dream in my heart. The dream has changed and evolved over the years but it was always there... sometimes in the background and other times in the forefront of my heart almost like an ache. 

When we were first married we were in full-time ministry and didn't think we would ever settle down or have a place to call home. We spent the first several years of our marriage moving, having babies, creating business and ministries and communities. In the first 10 years alone we had 8 different houses. Through the years of transition, the idea of a homestead was birthed in our hearts. It was a dream of a house in the country to call home.. a place of rest where we could raise our family. A property with a barn and a few acres where we could have a garden, a tree house, campfires and dinner parties. We also had a vision for some kind of guest home. From the beginning of our marriage, we have had people over for dinner several nights a week. It is not uncommon for Mark to bring someone home for dinner or invite someone last minute. We want our home to be an open place for hospitality and community. The vision of a guest house seemed like a natural extension of our hearts to offer rest and refreshment.

Home and the idea of creating home has always been there. Even as a young girl I rearranged the furniture in my room for fun and was always trying to create atmosphere and coziness. Over the years I have been giving ample opportunities to create home. It is something I truly love to do!   I have made houses into homes wherever we have lived and each house has taught me something different. I have learned a lot about myself and what works for our family along the way. Our journey has lead us to live in four different farmhouses which also helped to shape the dream inside of our hearts. 

Last summer the ache in my heart for home seemed especially great. It was July and we had just gotten back from vacation and I was feeling restless. The kids had soccer camp that week so I was spending my mornings driving them to and from camp. As we drove I passed this cute little cottage that I always thought had potential and thought to myself"I wonder if that house will ever come up for sale". The next day on the way to soccer camp there was a "for sale" sign in front of the cottage. I couldn't believe my eyes. Was this a sign from the Lord? I immediately called Mark and we set up a showing. The cute little cottage came with six acres, a barn and a second house all in our price range. Could this be our dream? We had vision to live in the one house and make the other one a guest home of some sort. The cottage/farmhouse was cute and had so much potential (the key word being potential) but needed so much work. Our real estate agent, Mark and I all came away feeling overwhelmed so we decided to not pursue it any further despite the crazy way it all came about. Shortly after it went off the market.

In December Mark began thinking about the cottage again and wondered about it because the for sale sign still sat in the yard six months later. "Did we miss something there?", he wondered.  That same day a friend of his mentioned that the house came back on the market. We decided to pursue it again which lead to six week journey of us trying to figure out a way to buy and renovate the property. There was so much potential but neither house was livable which meant they both needed a lot of investment. We looked into a variety of options and spent a lot of time dreaming, working through what we really wanted in a home, and applying for different financing options. As 2017 rolled around the house dream was on the forefront of my mind. At the top of my list of goals for the new year I wrote: "Buy a house".  It felt like a distant dream but I wrote it down anyways. Miracles can happen, right?

The process of the cottage was hard but good. In the end, we decided to walk away. We had fallen in love with the property but the amount of work it needed to make it work was beyond what we could afford. The process had really made us look at what core things we wanted in a property and also what we were willing to compromise on. It has also lead us to Millersville. One day on our many drives to look at this house we passed some other little farmettes with barns and I pointed out two that I thought could also make great properties. We decided though we were just going to let things rest for a while.

A week later I was not doing a great job of letting things rest. The ache in my heart for a home was so strong. I was feeling heavy and having trouble trusting the Lord and His plans for our life. That day I spent some time just driving around the country listening to the radio. As I drove I was reminded of a word someone gave me two years ago. He said that I carried home in my heart and that the Lord had put that dream inside of me and wanted to give me the desires of my heart in terms of a house. He also shared that a new part of my heart would come to life in the process. I cried as I remembered this. The song on the radio sang "Hold on for one more day" and I decided I needed to let go and trust the Lord. I was reminded that we have never found a house through my own searching anyways. All my browsing Trulia and house sites never amounted to anything. The houses we have lived in for the most part have come through connections. I decided right then and there I would let it rest.

A half hour later Mark called. Did I remember that little farmette with the red barn that I pointed out on that drive a few weeks back? Yes, yes I did....Well, it was for sale! It wasn't yet on the market but a friend of ours had heard about it and the owner was opened to showings before it went on the market. Would i like to go see it? 

I, of course, said yes. A few days later we walked through it and a day later made an offer! It was less than a mile down the road from the other cottage we had looked at. It had less acreage but here's the crazy part...two houses! It was almost the exact same price as the other property but only really needed some cosmetic work. It hit so many things that we had on our list. And the process of the other house meant we had already gotten financing and worked through a ton of things which enabled us to quickly pull the trigger.

Tomorrow we settle on the house! We are only four months into 2017 and I can cross my top goal off the list. It has been a process of letting it hit my heart that this is really happening!! The journey to get us to this day as had so many ups and downs and twists and turns.The common theme of the last couple weeks has been for me to trust the process and trust that God has good things for us.  I know in my head that He does but because in life things haven't always turned out like I thought I start to doubt. Along the way God seems to be wanting to keep reminding me that He cares about my heart and its desires and even that He has put them there. That day we drove through the country and I pointed out two properties I liked, well they both ended up being for sale and our close friends are buying the other property! Crazy right? I joke that if you want a house just have me point it out and it will probably go up for sale. But really I think it is picture of God's heart for his children. It is easy when you walk through hard things like miscarriages, job losses and house changes to start to gear up your heart for disappointment. It is a posture shift to let go of past disappointments and receive what the Father has for us. Today I am letting it hit my heart. He is a Father who gives good gifts and miracles do happen!!!


Nina Newswanger said...


AmyK said...

I really enjoyed reading this! We went through a journey to buy the house we have now, and I love hearing stories of God's provision when it comes to homes.