The tough thing about the home decor industry is looking at gorgeous homes all day, every day, and wondering when my dream home is going to come along. I talked about it in a recent post. I have learned to love my rental home. But we have been in the in-between for so long. Today I’m sharing our whole (not-so-pretty) process of hopping from home to home, our home buying process, and our battle with contentment through it all.
Ryan owned a townhome when we got married, so we spent our first few years of married life in that little home that we loved. But in 2008, Ryan lost his job. Our only daughter (at the time) was four months old, I was a stay-at-home mom, and we were stuck. Then, to make matters worse, the economy tanked. We drained all our savings to try and save our house, with no luck.
So we decided to short sell. We were instructed to stop paying our mortgage, but we didn’t know that the foreclosure process started the minute we stopped paying.
So it was a race to the finish. Would our short sell buyer come through or would the house get foreclosed? It was all a guessing game. We started getting all this mail about our foreclosure dates, notices of auctions, and letters instructing us to vacate NOW. So we would snap pictures and text them to our realtor. “Are these real?” “Nope, you’re good, everything’s fine.”
Everything wasn’t fine. One day I walked up to my front door with a toddler in my arms and another baby on the way, and there was a pink slip on our door. With an auction date on it. Somehow the agent was distracted and wasn’t receiving the notices. “I dropped the ball, sorry.”
It was November, we had no money, no house, and we were about to be a family of four. I can’t even count the amount of hours I spent sobbing: a panicky, pregnant mess. We looked high and low for rental opportunities, but no one would even look our way with our destroyed credit and ridiculously low income statements. Thankfully, this amazing older couple was willing to let us rent their house. They hardly knew us. Their generosity still blows me away whenever I think about it. There was no promise that it would work out well for them. We just needed help.
So we stayed there a few years. Our “get out of debt” house. This is where I learned the value of a dollar. There was no extra. I crafted my home decor, I started my Etsy shop, I worked HARD with two little kids. I was literally sewing all the time! The business was working, people were loving the pillows, and things started to even out a little bit. Ryan got a great job opportunity, that eventually transformed into a partnership. His dream job.
Eventually we grew out of that house, moved into our current rental, and whipped out baby number three. We have amazing landlords and it’s been so perfect for us. But we still want a home that’s ours. Ryan has had a stable job for about six years now, and I work too, but trying to convince a bank to give you a home loan when the F word is on your record? Impossible. It takes at least seven years for them to even look your way. But a friend of ours recommended this small credit union to us, we sat down with them and showed them all of our statements and income reports, and miraculously, we got approved!!! We can finally, for the first time in over six years, think about owning a home again. We got the news when we were on vacation. We celebrated BIG TIME.
We thought the hardest part of the process was over. We were so, so wrong! We’ve been talking about buying a home for over two years. And that whole time, we have never been on the same page. Ryan wants a sunny destination, I want to be wherever my friends are. Sometimes we want to move an hour away, sometimes we can’t imagine moving away from our community right here. Sometimes we want to take off to a beach. We’ve been all over the map.
Recently, it seemed like the stars were aligning for us. We found this development down the street from one of my best friends. It was in our budget, the home was completely customizable, and in the perfect location. So we came in with a full-price offer. Ryan and I were on the same page, we found the house we want, we could afford it, and then silence. The price changed, the terms changed, and now we’re back in limbo. Right now the doors are closed for us. We’re not picking up and moving anytime soon, it seems. But we’ve found a place of contentment that we haven’t had before.
We’ve been going through a series on pain in church for the past few weeks. I’ve heard story after story about lost babies and broken families and horrible tragedies, and each one of them talked about the impossible goodness of God that they saw through it all. And it put some things in perspective for me. I don’t have my dream home yet. But I have my husband and my three babies and a life that is absolutely incredible. And I’m so, so thankful.
The answer right now is “I don’t know”. I don’t know where we’ll live. I don’t know when we’ll move. I don’t know where my kids will go to school. I don’t know how close my friends will be.
But I’m seeing the goodness of God in the process, and that is enough for me.