Tuesday, September 20, 2011
God is Great
We began the challenge of selling our home in a tough market about 40 days ago. When my husband first mentioned that he felt we should look into building 45 days ago, I strongly protested. Our son had just started Kindergarten and our daughter just began preschool around the corner. Everything was functioning perfectly and I didn't see a need to throw a stick in the wheel. Not to mention that we had tried selling a couple of years ago and after 6 months on the market it didn't sell. I didn't want to go through that again. Each time my husband would bring it up, I would tune him out and refuse to talk about it. So he quietly went about looking into some options anyway.
One day he came home and said he made an appointment to meet with a builder. He invited me to come with and of course I said he'd have to go alone. I then went to the store to pick up some things I needed. While there I happened to walk past a really cute hand painted shelf. As I looked at this shelf the strangest thing happened. I felt something come over me and almost like a heavy blanket (of doubt) was lifted off of me, my mind and body became light. I felt that we were supposed to build - it was right. I smiled.
When I got home, I told my husband that I would go with him to the appointment. He couldn't believe it. He ended up making a second appointment with another builder. When we drove out to the first appointment - as soon as we pulled into the neighborhood I felt really good about it. Last time when we went through this process, none of the homes we looked at felt right and we never sold our house. This time we fell in love with the first model home we saw. I felt that this was the floor plan we were supposed to have and this was the neighborhood we were supposed to live in. My husband felt the same. In fact we didn't think we should meet with the second builder which is not like us. We did anyways and it felt very wrong.
We both agreed we felt good about the first builder, so we would fast and pray about it. Since we felt so good, we prayed that if it was not the Lord's will for us to build, we would get a bad feeling about it. The next day was fast Sunday and we fasted. The next day we both felt very good about it still. So, we went back to the first builder that day and signed the paper work to build. I went from not wanting to sell at all, to the following Monday signing on a home to build. Strange? Now came the faith part. We had to sell our home. The contract was contingent upon us selling our home, so we were safe, however I did not want to go though all the hassle and pains of trying to sell and build for nothing. It needed to work this time. It felt to right.
We had always said that if we ever built or moved the house would need to face west this time. My husband and I wanted to have a shady backyard. There were a lot of lots available however only one lot was left in this subdivision that faced west - I knew that we were being directed to the exact spot where we were supposed to be.
I picked up the phone, to call our the Realtor we had used last time. Something told me that he was going to tell me that he does not work in realty anymore - but I felt I should call him anyways. We promised him that we would use him again if we ever were to sell. So, I called him and of course he told me that he doesn't work in realty anymore but he did keep his license. He referred me to an agent that he helps out now and then. He then told me that a family I absolutely adore who used to live on my street had built a home where we were building. When I mentioned their names to the builder's agent she smiled and showed me where they were building. Just a couple streets away. We would now have a friend to welcome us to the neighborhood! The next day we had the sign in our lawn. The Realtor said it was average for a home to sit 45 days on the market before an offer and at least 10 showings. I hoped he was right.
The first week came and we had a few showings. Things were looking good - but no offers. Then three weeks went by without any showings. I was getting worried. I kept telling myself that if this was meant to be it would happen. It felt right - I just needed to exercise faith in God. When the timing was right the home would sell. Over the next couple of weeks we lowered the price a little bit to generate more showings. It seemed to work - but no offers. The feedback was always great about our home. The only concern was that our backyard faced west - something we couldn't change.
One day while wondering when our home would sell, our builder called and said that they wouldn't dig the hole for our house until we sold our house or lowered it to $189,000. We had initially listed it at $199,900. We did not want to lower it that much, especially in the first 30 days. As I began to notice all the other homes like ours (that weren't short sales) not having any progress either I just kept telling myself that it would happen. I needed to have faith.
It was a sunny afternoon when inspiration came. I was writing a chapter in a book I'm working on when I happened to come across a talk from Elder Bednar titled Ask in Faith I was reminded in his talk about the importance of being specific when praying and then exercising faith. All this time I had been praying that our house would sell if it was the Lord's will but that was it. After reading this talk I knew what I needed to do. I took Elder Ballard's council to heart and that night I prayed for at least 2 showings to come through that weekend and for one of the showings to make an offer. This was specific.
I prayed each night throughout the week for this very thing. Thursday my agent called and said that morning two calls came through at the exact same time. The first call scheduled for a showing Thursday night and the other for Friday morning. I was very happy. Right after the second showing ended on Friday morning my agent called and said that the Thursday night showing had put in an offer. After 35 days and about 10 showings it happened. I was so happy and humbled. God had answered my specific prayer. That Saturday they accepted our counter offer and that night my husband and I were scheduled to go to the temple. I was so happy to thank the Lord by serving Him. As we dropped our kids off at Parent Date Night at my daughter's preschool, there had been a mix up. They did not have our kids on the list and there was not an infant teacher there to watch our baby. They offered to watch the older two but not the baby. My heart sank. Then I remembered how I had watched a friend's kids earlier that day. Maybe she would be willing to return the favor at the last minute on a Friday night. I called and she was happy to help. Again, I felt the Lord's love.
After the weekend ended and our celebrations died down, we quickly realized we would need to find a place to rent very soon. I thought this would be pretty easy. We would be excellent renters with good references. Who could say no to that? How wrong was I? The first available 15 homes I called on (in the vicinity of where I live) told me that they only do year leases - no exceptions. I needed a 4-5 month. I called on apartments, condos you name it. No one was willing to work with me. I had wanted to stay in my neighborhood so that my son could keep going to his school and I could continue to serve in my Primary calling in our ward. I wanted things to remain familiar for the kids. It would be hard to move twice with unfamiliar surroundings. I prayed to the Lord that He could help.
That day a friend in the ward told me that her backyard neighbor (who lived a couple homes north west of me) had moved out and might be renting. She gave me this lady's cell phone number. This would be perfect. We could move right across the street. We wouldn't even need a moving truck! A house was most ideal so that we wouldn't need to continue renting a storage unit. I said a prayer in my heart and then called. The lady listened to my request and my assurance that we would be her best renters ever. She was very kind and laughed at my silly yet desperate ways of convincing her to rent to us. She said she'd talk to her husband about it and call back later that night.
Later that night we were outside playing with the kids in the front yard. I saw the lady and her husband at the house moving things out. Should I go talk to them? No...she promised to call back, I would just wait. About 9:30 pm I wondered if she had decided not rent to us and didn't know how to tell me. Then something assured me that she was busy with moving and cleaning and realized it may be too late to call me. I prayed again that night.
The next morning about 9:30 am I decided to call her again. I needed to secure something soon to avoid getting an ulcer from all the stress of not knowing. Another woman had called and offered to work with us. Her home was very tiny (built in 1944) and no garage. The neighborhood looked very iffy and I wouldn't feel safe living there. It didn't feel right. I prayed that God would answer my prayer with my neighbor. Ater a couple of rings she answered. "I was just going to call you." she happily said. "I talked with my husband and he'd be happy to rent to you on a month to month basis." The hairs on my arm stood up. I had never asked or even suggested a month to month and here she was willing to offer it to us. Rather than us as renters trying to accommodate her, she was going to accommodate us. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy I almost cried.
I can't help but tell the world how great God is. He is there to work out all the kinks in the intricate design of our wonderful lives. He wants to bless us with what we desire all we have to do is ask. We also need to recognize His will. If you pray about it and you feel good, then you need to have faith that your prayers will be answered. It wasn't His will for us to move two years ago. We were looking down in Herriman last time to be closer to Manuel's job and my family. We never did get that assurance that we were looking in the right place and our house never sold. This summer Manuel got a job in Ogden - we can now see why our house never sold. He would be commuting again. Now he gets to work in under 20 minutes. We were supposed to stay up here. Manuel needed to get a job up here so that we would be led to where we were supposed to live. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
In addition to asking the Lord for blessings and answers we have to be specific with what we ask for. I believe it's because He wants us to clearly recognize His hand in our blessings - not to confuse them as a coincidence or "good luck". He then requires that we exercise our best faith in Him. This is the best part but not always easy. When you try it however, it's the best most euphoric and humbling feeling! Nothing compares to receiving a blessing or answer to a prayer that you know came from the Lord. It feels absolutely amazing to know that He hears your prayers and He speaks back. It feels absolutely amazing to see faith in action and to witness miracles. What a testimony builder!
Lastly, I have been making an effort to thank God by telling Him what I can do for Him rather than always asking what He can do for me. I ask Him to place service opportunities before me and for opportunities to share the gospel and my testimony. Let me just tell you - God always takes you up on your offers. I am grateful for the opportunities he has placed in my path because it confirms that He loves me, He hears me and He is communicating with me. Also, it feels great to serve the Lord!
I challenge you to look for ways to exercise your faith and to improve your prayers with God. I know if you do, He will show you His love, mercy and grace. You will be blessed. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ - amen.