My husband and I tend to talk over big decisions for a long time without any set plans or deadlines, defining gradually what we are looking for but making no effort to actually find it. Then, suddenly, it's time: we move forward immediately without delay.
We went about buying our second house in the same way: the process maybe began when we married and bought our first house, planning on it being a starter home we would live in for a couple kids, learning how to be home owners before eventually buying a larger house more suited to our long-term needs. Over the past 9 years we've had conversations here and there about the size, location, amenities, and so forth but never with definite plans to make it happen and never making any effort to look at actual houses. Over time we formed a list: A particular neighborhood near ~20 friends and close enough to siblings (who don't drive) that they could walk/bike to our house. 4-5 bedrooms for ourselves, our children, guests. 2 or more bathrooms (2.5 would suit us nicely). A spot for an edible garden. Room in driveway to hang a basketball hoop. 2 car garage. A kitchen double the size of our current apartment-size area. A home big enough to host 2-3 other families at a time for a meal. A back yard suitable for children to play in. With our list in mind, we did....nothing. The housing market dropped out while we still owed practically all of our mortgage. Our little starter home was now worth about half of what we had purchased it for and would certainly sit on the market for months or years without selling. But with our fourth child born this spring, we had to increase our home space. The space was really designed for 2 people and we were now 6. I was getting desperate so we began saving and decided to start actually looking next year.
About a week after we made the decision to start looking the following year, we were out on a date without any real plans. My husband drove us over to the neighborhood we wanted to move into and we leisurely drove around to see which homes were currently on the market. Almost at the end of the neighborhood we spied an empty house not on the market. Would we have even noticed it if it were not next door to another home obviously for sale? We drove around a second time, actually marking down the addresses with signs in front which we could look into more online later (neither of us owned a smart phone). Stopping at the empty house we jumped out to verify that it was a foreclosure...then walked around into the back yard. I got a funny feeling as we opened the gate. Everything on our list was in this house and so much more. We had asked for 4 bedrooms: this one had 4 with potential for a 5th in the basement. 2.5 baths...this had 3.5. The kitchen was as large as my current living room. The basketball hoop my husband wanted? This house had a full court in the backyard, with three hoops. The garden I had wanted was clearly planned for, even fenced off from the play area of the fenced in backyard. We had wanted enough room to host get-togethers: with a kitchen eating area, a dining room, and 2 living rooms on the main floor, and a finished basement, we would most definitely be able to host all the people we had hoped for and more. All our little hopes were present also: dishwasher, smallish front yard (less grass to mow), driveway for a third vehicle, easy access to a park, great size deck. Our daughters had their own list of a tree in the backyard, 3 season room, purple bedroom with southern facing window, bedroom closet just like Grandpa and Grandma's, kitchen peninsula. All were present in this house. I no longer wanted to look at other homes. I felt that this house was the right one for us.
But it wasn't for sale. When it went on the market it would surely sell for more than we could afford. And it was a fixer-upper. We are not fixer-upper people.
The house did go on the market a few days later, we arranged to walk though with our realtor, and we prayed. If God wanted us to buy this house, He would have to work a miracle as large as that of Joshua defeating Jericho. Our realtor estimated it would sell for 40k more than we wanted to spend on it, considering the condition it was in, and being a foreclosure he didn't expect the seller to consider counter-offering. But since we know the God who brought down the walls of Jericho for Joshua, we continued praying, we arranged for a mortgage pre-approval, and I began packing our stuff. We knew it was impossible for us to own this home, but we acted as if it would be ours within a couple months.
Thankful Thursday: This isn't my blog
Happy Heritage: Prayer of Faith
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 1
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 2
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 3
The Lord will do amazing things
Linked with Modest Monday, Works for Me Wednesday, Fellowship Friday