18 May 2015

The Story of How We Just Bought Our First House After 15 Years of Marriage, 3 Kids and 9 Rentals

On Friday last week Peter and I signed our names approximately 5 million times and became first time home owners.

We’re both 40.

We have three kids and have lived in 9 rental homes in 3 different countries. And two years ago I’d officially given up the dream of ever owning our own house.

Until last week Friday.

I cried when we got into the car after this photo at the realtor’s office was taken.

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When we first moved to Virginia our small, rental house was just a short term plan. But every summer when it came time to move we couldn’t yet. And we’d promise ourselves just one more year of saving and paying down debt and then next June would be our June to move.

I would cry.

I would get really angry at my husband.

And eventually I would accept the unacceptable and try to figure out new ways to arrange the couches in a living room that didn’t lend itself to easy configuration. Or room for more than five people at a time.

Five years.

Five years of waiting.

I wrote a lot about that house. I believe there are lessons I learned there still cemented between the bricks of that home. Even the faux ones that were constantly falling off the kitchen walls. Curiously I mostly wrote about it as a series of guest posts for other blogger friends. I think this had something to do with the shame factor. How sharing about that house embarrassed me to put on my own blog.

I’ve heard from a lot of you that feel the same about your rentals. Thank you for that. It helped me feel less alone.

Confessions of a Reluctant Renter

Your House is Only as Big as Your Hospitality

How the Size of Your House Has Nothing to Do with the Size of Your Life

How to Feel at Home in Your House and Your Skin

The thing is, I moved into that house feeling entitled to something better.

And I moved out of it five years later in a hot June feeling like everything was a gift.

We’ve spent the past two years in yet another rental. I wrote about that move over here.

It’s one with more space and a sun room that pours light into our lives and is where we gather with friends and over breakfast and when we’re doing sticky art projects or trying to work our way through an advent reading with minimal tantrums.

I’ve photographed it in every season. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice it’s my most photographed space in the house. (Side note: that table and chairs were one of our first purchases as newly weds).

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That room feels like grace to me.

The free gift from a God who is never tired of us, never over us, and never in a rush to give us what we want.

But determined to lovingly give us what we need.

This house is where I surrendered the dream of owning our own home.

Entitlement is such a dangerous thing isn’t it?

Especially as women there’s this deep-rooted sense of being entitled to a home that is our own.

But that is the exact opposite of what Jesus has promised us: 

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Instead, He has promised us Himself. He has invited us to make our home in Him.

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

John 15: 4-8. 

He offers us welcome and profound acceptance way beyond the state of our four walls or our carpets. And He promises to abide with us. If we can only take our eyes off ourselves for a moment to catch a glimpse of the glorious invitation to make our home in Him.

I’m not gonna pretend this is easy. It took me seven years to begin to really get this truth. For real. Seven years.

And it’s not like I’ve arrived – I’ve just started letting go of the things I’ve felt entitled to and it is such a relief friends. Such a relief.

For the first time in 7 years I finally felt at peace in my skin and my home.

So that brings us to last October.

We were at a church service a while back when our Pastor asked us to be intentional and write down what he called, “Sun Stand Still” prayers to present to the Lord much like Joshua did in the old Testament.

Peter wrote down 5 and two of them were, “that God would bring us into a new season and that the new season will bring us to a house with more room” and “that our family would catch a vision to be more generous and hospitable.”

I’ve had that notecard on our fridge for two years.

Last October Peter told me he thought it was time to explore buying a house.

At first I barely heard him.

But he was sure. And I held onto his own sense of sureness because I had grown roots where we were. I have dear friends who are close neighbors and our kids are active in club sports and at the public school down the road and moving wasn’t on my agenda any more.

But Peter was hearing something from God and I caught echoes of it in his quiet, sure steps forward along the process of exploring home ownership. So I followed in his footsteps.

We met with a mortgage lender. A dear friend connected us with a realtor. And we slowly, cautiously explored what Peter was hearing to test if it really was an invitation from the Lord to purchase a home of our own.

We qualified for a loan.

Let’s just say this was a big deal for us because we arrived here seven years ago with debt in the six-figure range. Every spare cent the past nearly decade has gone into a black hole of paying off debt and bad financial decisions.

It’s been a long journey.

Painful. And also deeply redemptive.

And then the bank gave us the green light and a pre-approval letter and Peter spent months combing through all the listings. Houses would come and go in a period of days and it was dizzying trying to keep up with it.

But where we live in Northern Virginia is overcrowded, and very expensive and Peter had caught a vision for moving us to Maryland, to a quiet corner of the country with less noise, less traffic, less stress for him on a commute into DC on a fast train instead of the throttled highways.

A move that would also offer more space, more house, and more quiet for our money.

We must have looked at over 100 houses online. And then nearly 15 in person.

And I still couldn’t imagine any of them would make moving worthwhile.

And then in March, Peter came into the room late one night to show me our house.

We both knew it was ours the moment we saw it.

Down a quiet country lane on an acre of land it had a vegetable garden, a playground, a koi pond and a beautiful, open-plan living area that felt like home the moment we laid eyes on it.

Built by the hands of the couple who owned it, it was part of what had been a large farm now divided into plots for the family and it had 28 birdhouses dotted along the property line.

We went to see it in the dead of winter and even blanketed in snow we knew it was home.

We made an offer. And we prayed and we hoped and it was terrifying to hope.

Because hoping is trusting God with the desires of your heart and what happens if He doesn’t grant them?

And then there was a miscommunication about the septic system and a misunderstanding that resulted in a delay and finally a revised offer.

And the day we submitted our revised offer was the same day another offer came in. Much higher than ours.

And while we’d written a letter sharing about our family and all our hopes and dreams for this home as a place to grow roots and raise our children and plant deep into the community the answer came back, “No.”

They went with the other offer.

I was sitting in a room full of my best friends at one of our Tuesday night meet ups when Peter texted, “We didn’t get it.”

I was stunned. I was so stunned. And more than that, I deeply needed to believe that this answer was from God and not from the whims of the universe. I needed to believe that when we pray and we trust God with our hopes and we ask Him to protect us from the decisions we don’t know enough to avoid, that He answers us.

Because He is a good God. And I believe this. And I needed to believe the No was a loving act from Him and not just a matter of, “Well, that’s life.”

Because what is all this faith we talk about worth if in the moments of our greatest hurts or hopes it doesn’t count?

So we prayed more and talked to friends and family who love us and we held on with admittedly very sad hands to the promise that He does, in fact, work all things together for good. For HIS good, which Peter and I believe is then also our good.

And then our entire family got sicker than we’ve ever been.

I mean, it was ridiculous.

It was a 72-hour marathon of toilets and buckets and bowls, and the laundry running round the clock on repeat. One by one I watched each kid succumb until it was finally my turn. Pete was the last man standing, until he wasn’t.

It was brutal.

We were shaken, and when my boys could finally straggle their way back to school, they looked relieved to be leaving behind the scene of the crime.

Peter had been emailing links to alternate house options until I finally told him to stop. I sent him an email titled, “I hate all other houses,” and I meant it.

I couldn’t imagine a home that would meet Micah’s passionate farmer’s heart and his need for digging and planting and taking care of the land and Jackson’s heart for wide open spaces to play soccer and nerf gun wars and Zoe’s delight in the purple bedroom that should have been her’s. A house like that that would still be in our price range.

I just couldn’t see a future beyond that house.

And I couldn’t understand why God would bring us so close to it and then let it slip through our fingers through a series of seemingly ridiculous misunderstandings and delays.

I prayed with other parents before me for God to help my un-belief.

The first day after we were recovered enough from the great stomach flu apocalypse of 2015, Zoe and I were headed out to tentatively pick up some food when I got this text from our realtor:

“Check your email! The other couple pulled out of the property! The agent is wondering if you guys want to resubmit your offer.”

And then I pulled over in a Chipotle parking lot with shaking hands to text her back, “Oh my word yes yes yes! 100% yes. How do we do it?”

It was stunningly unreal.

Peter was still sick from the night before and lifting his head to read and process the messages and sign the contract was dizzying. But really, the whole process felt like that.

And when we got final confirmation that the house we had so hoped and prayed for was actually going to be ours I was downstairs in the laundry room with Peter and I cried so hard I scared our kids when we told them the good news.

I don’t claim to know how God works. 

His mind is vast as the universe He dreamed up and as deep as to oceans He poured out.

But I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt now that God gave us this house.

He made that abundantly clear. Everything begins and ends in His hands – His good hands that can be trusted to hold us as we mourn as well as when we rejoice.

So on Friday last week I stepped through the front door of the first house I have ever owned.

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And you guys – it was just as amazing as I ever could have imagined. 

We move in officially toward the end of June. There’s lots of packing and planning to do between now and then. And I can’t wait to share updates as we get settled into this new rhythm.

For now I’m just so profoundly grateful for the most unexpected story. And I promise that wherever you are in yours, God has not forgotten you or abandoned you. He has you in the palm of His generous hands.

And now, if only there was a way to have you all over for tea some day…….

 

 

Comments

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  1. 1

    Welcome to Maryland! We live an hour from the city, so I know what you mean about that CRAZY D.C. real estate. Nuts. I loved your testimony, especially right here: “Because He is a good God. And I believe this. And I needed to believe the No was a loving act from Him and not just a matter of, “Well, that’s life. ” His ‘no’s are a loving act. I need to tape this to my every wall. Thank you for sharing!

    • 2
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Thanks Megan! We’re so amazed and humbled and overjoyed by what He has done. And we can’t wait to make MD home :)

  2. 3

    Big fat happy tears here!

  3. 5

    What an awesome testimony! So fun to read. If you need any art for that new home of yours, just give me a holler! Many blessings in your new home & I know you will use it for His glory. Dreams come true! – Julie

  4. 7
    Kelly Evans says:

    YAY!!!! SO happy for you, Lisa-Jo! Welcome to the ups and down of home ownership!! HOORAY!!

  5. 8

    Aww man, I needed to hear this today Lisa-Jo. I always love what you write, but this is what we are right in the middle of now. Thank you for the reminder.
    <3 Catie

    • 9
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Hey there Catie – that’s a hard spot and yet….what’s amazing to me to think is that our God who is outside of time saw both my despair at our tiny, hopeless rental seven years ago as well as my joy today at our new house. He saw it all and held it all and what a gift to be able to trust our futures to such a good and far-sighted God.

  6. 10

    Okay, I already commented on FB, but now I’ve read the whole thing…totally crying for you. Such a fantastic story of the kindness of God. Congratulations!

  7. 11
    Sarah K says:

    Huge lump in my throat and tears welling. I so long for this. We are in a rental, away from all friends and family, 2 kids in and I’ll be (at least) 40 before we get out of this. I have big dreams and desires for our family and sometimes feel guilty for the longing to have some acreage and a home I love (because the cost of living here is quite high) It is such a hard place to be. But I truly am ecstatic for you! What a wonderful blessing!! Well deserved. Thank you for always being real and pouring out your heart!

  8. 12

    Oh my lands! We are moving in the middle of June to our “new” house and our story is much like yours. We felt at home when we first walked through the door, but it’s been a roller coaster ride getting to this point. I haven’t felt brave enough to write it all out just yet because I’m having trouble believing it’s true until we sign the papers and have the keys in our hands. But ditto on believing that God wants our good and yet struggling to accept it sometimes. Congratulations!

    • 13
      Lisa-Jo says:

      I know EXACTLY how you feel – it’s why I waited till we had signed ALL contracts and held the keys in our eager little hands before sharing here :)

  9. 14

    I am so very, deeply happy for you!

  10. 15
    Lorraine says:

    Amen! Thank you for sharing and encouraging hope. So happy for you and your family. Blessings to your new season!

    Hugs ~ Lorraine

  11. 16

    I’m so Happy for you! Yay, God!!! He is so faithful!!!

  12. 17

    I’m so so happy for you!!! We are waiting (3 years now) for baby #2 and I so needed your message today! Prayers for you and your family as you pack and prepare for the move!! I know how exciting (and sometimes stressful) moving can be! Congratulations!!

  13. 18

    I don’t normally post comments on anyone’s blog but I just have to say thank you for writing this!! I have really been struggling with waiting on Gods timing for our next house and I have had a particularly bad day with being very sick of renting when a friend shared your story on Facebook! I cried as I read it! What a blessing and encouragement at just the moment I needed it!! Thank you so much!!

    • 19
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Hey there Dala – I SO get how you feel. I’ve cried countless times over the last nearly decade about our housing situation. It’s SO hard and lonely. I so get that. Especially as women who love to nest and make a place for friends to gather. If you haven’t, I’d love if you read my other posts on our rentals – because it’s been a journey for me and every step of the way God hasn’t wasted a minute of it, I promise. Much love, Lisa-Jo

  14. 20

    So happy for you!!

  15. 21
    Michele T says:

    I’ve lived in Maryland for 20 years now. I love that you can get to the city if you want the hustle and bustle but the drive home can be like going through the country. Welcome! And congratulations!

  16. 22

    Oh LisaJo I am so excited and happy for you guys, for how God has worked this all to bless you so incredibly!!!

  17. 23

    Congratulations! It looks lovely. I hope moving goes smoothly for you!

  18. 24

    Really and truly so very happy for you, Lisa-Jo. This sounds like a perfect spot to finish raising your kiddos. What an amazing blessing from the hand of God. May you be so very happy there!

  19. 25

    Wow! What a wonderful story you can repeat to your children over and over again! Congratulations and many blessings as you begin this new chapter of your lives!

  20. 26
    Nichole says:

    Isn’t that the way He so often works? At 33, I was FINALLY, really, deep-down content with never marrying. In fact, I’d carved out such a great life for myself that I didn’t want anything to change it. Just over a year later, I was married and moving cross country. Seven years later, we own a home (with a white picket fence!) and have a beautiful 3-y.o. son. G-d waits for us to submit to His plan, His timing, and fully trust Him.

  21. 27

    We are waiting to hear today about our house offer. They are probably deciding now. And what you said about hoping. . .

    What a moving piece. I am thrilled for you guys.
    Thanks for your perspective.

  22. 28

    I am so stinkin happy for you and your family!

  23. 29

    Oh my how I needed to hear this Lisa-Jo. Thank you
    I am so very happy for you
    I’ll be over for tea any time

  24. 30
    Tina Kachmar says:

    OMG!! I’m over here sobbing with joy for your family!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a beautiful story about our loving God. So exciting!

  25. 31

    this is just sooooooo awesome!!!!
    So happy for u!! A BIG CYBER HUG from Missouri

  26. 32

    A tearful, smiling congratulations!

    I am so happy for you, your family and grateful that you keep sharing your story. Though I am on the opposite coast in Seattle, my heart has taken such comfort reading over the past several years!

  27. 33

    Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing! We too are in the midst of “paying off debt and bad financial decisions” and declaring bankruptcy soon so we can reorganize and get ourselves on a right course. We will be renters for a while, but your story gives me hope and reminds me that I’m not alone. Your words encourage me to keep surrendering and trusting.

  28. 34

    Oh my. The tears are a flowin’ here in this house I call home. I’m so very happy for you and your family. So very happy God gave you this house. So very happy He waited until just the right time in just the right way. So very happy you can encourage all of us through this beautiful story of grace. He’s just so good, isn’t He? And I’d really love to come and take your family photos on that great big front porch. Maybe I need to take a road trip…;) Love you and again…SO VERY HAPPY! <3 <3 <3

  29. 35

    Welcome to MD! We live in western MD and would not ever move…..unless someone handed up a beach front property somewhere a little warmer. ;)

  30. 36

    I’m not a crier. And I’m sitting here bawling. Because I needed this SO MUCH today. I have had such a constant feeling of change, of a stirring, and God is SO silent and I don’t know when we’re supposed to be doing. And I’ve felt like he’s not hearing me, or just a resounding “wait” that I almost can’t bear to hear anymore. And to be reminded that He works all things together for our good to His glory. I needed to hear that again. Thank you sharing – this is a major faith booster for me today. Strength to continue to hold out hope and have faith in a God that is bigger than my dreams and hopes. Faith that He is so good and will continue to take care of us. Blessings to you and congratulations!!!

  31. 37
    Paige E says:

    OMGOSH!!!! That’s the best story! I’m so excited for ya’ll! What a cutie house too. Wide open spaces, Lisa-Jo! I just know God demands we give up before He swoops in for nothing but net. Its exactly what you say. When I was trying to have kids, I felt entitled to be a mom. After 2 miscarriages, and I finally had my two boys, they absolutely became gifts instead. I have recently given up on some dreams. And it has been freeing. I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do. Celebrating with ya today!

  32. 38

    Chills, smiles, tears…seriously, the whole nine yards over here. So, so happy for you all.

  33. 39

    Lisa-Jo!! Big time “Whoopee!” from me to you :) So happy for you!

    We just recently signed our own 50 million papers, here, in crazy-nobody-should-EVER-buy-a-house-here northern Virginia! We started in January…one rejected contract, second contract accepted and then, NO!, the next morning it wasn’t ours, and then,, the very next day…

    I just HAPPENED to drive by a house that had a sign in the yard but was not listed yet…big wink here…just HAPPENED :) That house went under contract with our names on it , THE NEXT DAY! God’s timing is unreal…impeccable…only understood by HIM…and it cracks me up :)

    Congratulations, girl! May God bless the socks off of that part of Maryland through YOU and your family!

    • 40
      Lisa-Jo says:

      WOW, WOW, WoW!! What a phenomenal story!! LOVE hearing that!! HUGE congrats to you guys!!

  34. 41

    What a gorgeous experience! I’m happy for you. May your new home be everything you hope for – and more!

  35. 42
    Sorina K says:

    Oh Lisa-Jo! I’m sitting here in tears after reading your story of God’s faithfulness – in ALL things! Sooo happy for you! Thank you for sharing your joy and your struggle in remembering to trust God when it all doesn’t seem to make sense. I’m in a season of the latter right now…a good reminder to trust and believe even when it’s all pear shaped.
    x

  36. 43

    I am SO thrilled, SO happy for you and for your family! This is so beautiful . . .your house is so beautiful . . . oh, your smile in the photos! Rejoicing with you, dear Lisa-Jo!

  37. 44
    Suzanne says:

    LisaJo,
    Thank you so much for this post. My heart needed it.
    We are closing on the sale of our current home soon and moving into an apartment. We had an offer accepted on another home, but too many things going on with it to commit to it. Our prayer all along was for The Lord to close the door on this new house if it wasn’t for us. He did that and we are at complete peace with that.
    Now though, we are packing up the only home we’ve ever owned. The home I brought my three babies to when they were born. My husband and I bought this home together a year after we married. Our little bungalow is wonderful. If I could I would pick it up and move it to another spot. (We are moving because the neighborhood is heading no where good pretty quickly.) Now our family of five is heading to a two bedroom 900 square foot apartment. It’s out in the country and that’s exactly where we want to be…we love it out there…but I’m the most sentimental person one would meet. I’m excited for the new adventure, but struggling with leaving our home. We can make a home anywhere though, right!? :)

  38. 45

    Oh how my heart needed these words of encouragement today! We walked a similar journey but I keep forgetting that this messy, chaotic, almost too small, falling apart house we now live in is a precious gift & answer to much prayer! At the just the right time God answers in just the right way and you’ve reminded me to be grateful again. Thank you.

  39. 46

    yay Lisa_Jo! I am so happy for you and I too know that grace-filled feeling of wonder! We’ve been in our new home for 8 months now we still walk around asking if it is really ours! So blessed. Enjoy this transition time. It will be crazy but delicious!

  40. 47

    Congratulations Lisa Jo!!!! It looks and sounds like a beautiful home! And can I just say thank you for being open about paying down debt? It’s such a reality for most Americans, but we don’t like to talk about it and we certainly don’t like having to make sacrifices to honor those debtors. Your example is wonderful. Thank you! Can’t wait to hear more about that vegetable garden! We rent and have moved with the military every single July for the past 3 years & this July will be no different. It really makes growing a garden difficult! Someday.

  41. 48

    My word. I am sitting over hear in tears. I am so happy for you, but that’s not why I am crying. I am crying because you have strengthened my faith. Truly. Even if you didn’t end up getting this house this story would have strengthened my faith. I have been trying to convince myself that God has a plan for my family, but I know it now. Thank you for writing this post, it was everything I needed to hear today.

  42. 49

    Loved and cried through your good grace story Lisa Jo.
    There is something about our homes that really wrestles with our heart, so it should be no surprise that God uses our homes to hone our hearts. We have been 14 years in what was supposed to be our little starter house, in a city we never really wanted to settle in. I’ve lost count how many times we have put it on the market, and yet we have never had an offer on it, not one. I love my house, other people rave about my house, but no one seems to want it. I had a serious one year plan, and some major life changes happening right now and then out of now where I feel Him telling us to move this summer not next. I don’t want to, because it will not be convenient, but most of all because I don’t want to hope again and be disappointed. Your post has given me fresh spirit-filled clarity of what kind of God we serve, regardless of our house and zip code.
    Cheers,
    Leah

  43. 50

    Oh!!! I read this entire post while jumping up and down! …and that is ridiculously hard to do on a phone so I read most sentences TWICE. I am so SO over the moon for you both. Yay!!

    • 51
      Lisa-Jo says:

      You’ve got me GRINNING big over here! Thank you so much for sharing our delight!!

  44. 52

    Praise the Lord! I’m thrilled for you. When we were selling our small starter home this winter and found another we loved, we had similar stresses… a completing offer.. an appraisal and offer that didn’t line up… and just a lot of stress this pregnant momma could barely handle. For two weeks we thought we’d lost the house, but it all shook out. So excited for you!!

  45. 53

    Congratulations! I felt every dip and swerve and jostle of the roller coaster you’re riding. God is so good! So very, very good!

    And we’ll soon be in the same state. I’m moving from Houston to Hyattsville in a few days. Perhaps you’ll have many of us visiting for tea.

  46. 54

    Lisa Jo,

    A huge congratulations to you and your family. I recently moved out of the DC area, so I know how hard / confusing / EXPENSIVE the District’s real estate market is. I’m so, so very happy for you. Congratulations.

  47. 55

    Wow, Lisa-Jo. This is absolutely phenomenal – for two reasons. One, this:

    And more than that, I deeply needed to believe that this answer was from God and not from the whims of the universe. I needed to believe that when we pray and we trust God with our hopes and we ask Him to protect us from the decisions we don’t know enough to avoid, that He answers us.
    Because He is a good God. And I believe this. And I needed to believe the No was a loving act from Him and not just a matter of, “Well, that’s life.”
    Because what is all this faith we talk about worth if in the moments of our greatest hurts or hopes it doesn’t count?

    I have been laboring in my heart – processing, praying, and discussing this. What happens when you pray and hope and it seems that hope fails? Whether it’s to buy a home for the first time, have your child survive a deadly condition, or freedom from a bondage or addiction. What happens when prayer seems simply a task because God will do what He wants, rendering our prayers useless? I continue to see God reveal answers I wasn’t sure I’d get.

    Also, my mother had this EXACT same thing happen just a few months ago – she fell in love with a house in Florida, put an offer in at a RIDICULOUSLY good(meaning low) price, and the seller danced too much and she moved on. She settled for other homes and put in offers, but she didn’t love them like she did this one. Weeks later, they came back around and accepted her offer on the first house! It was so exciting! What joy – especially when it’s your FIRST owned home! Thank you for sharing this!

  48. 56
    Alicia P says:

    Oh! i love this! i have a sweet (salty:), slow tear making it’s way down my face. I LOVE your reminder at god’s BIGness, creating the oceans & holding it ALL in his hands. Sometimes the mundane slips in & I forget the BIG BEAUTY of it ALL. Thank you for sharing! Always pouring out HOPE (to this tired mama of 2, still renting & i have a boy much like yours… needing to dig & run & be FREE!!!) ps: LOVE that you sent him an email!!!!! hahaha!!!

  49. 57
    Laura Wilkerson says:

    Thank you Lisa-Jo! I’m amazed at how God uses all sorts of people (even emails in my inbox!) to speak to heart and meet me right where I am. Thank you for your honest and vulnerability! Thank you for the reminder that God is bigger than the box I put Him in and has a better plan than my own. Thank you for allowing God to use your story to encourage others!

  50. 58

    Woo Hoo!!! So thrilled for you. This made me tear up. I know that feeling of entitlement so well, and I’ve never received any of the gifts I so longed for until I was able to release them and lay them down.

  51. 59

    Congrats Lisa-Jo!
    I think you’re just amazing!

  52. 60
    crystal says:

    I’ve wanted to own a home for years. We have lived everywhere in Houston until one day God told my husband that we needed to downsize and we could own. I am not saying it was easy to watch my stuff go, but when we were looking we both found the exact same listing at the same time and when we went to look at it walked out knowing that wasn’t the one. Then the agent heard my must have list and showed us the perfect house. We actually couldn’t afford it, but I said let’s jump both feet in and just try. Our dear friends and family helped us out financially for a few months so we didn’t have to get a loan. We now own the home outright and it’s amazing. I was able to pay my friends and family back and actually at the exact moment they were in desperate need of money too. Thanks for sharing your story, I shared mine because it sounded similar

  53. 61
    Kierstin says:

    First off here is a HUGE hug and CONGRATULATIONS from the top of my lungs to you on your first home purchase. :) That is SO SO SO exciting!!! Secondly, thank you for sharing this with me. I have read all of your guest posts and always held on to the fact that I wasn’t alone in my desire to own a home and inability to have one. So thank you for sharing the painful and wonderful details. It’s like God knew I needed to hear this part of your story in this season in my life. Congratulations again. Thank you again. And just let me know when that tea/coffee date is and I will be there. <3

  54. 62

    Congrats Lisa Jo, I love how you tied the story to trusting God and believing his promises. We are an AF family and owned our first two homes, but when we were assigned to LA we knew owning a home wouldn’t be an option for similar reasons you mentioned about the climate of Virginia. So we moved from Ohio to the big city of LA with no real plan just trusting in God. Each house we questioned our realtor about was gone before we could look at it until there was one. I checked it out and pulling into the driveway I knew it was where we were going to be for the next four years. Many other offers came in, but for some reason they picked us. It is a lot smaller and has a few more in convinces than our house in Ohio did, but it is our home. And God gave it to us. Thanks for bringing back those memories of trusting in God and seeing his faithfulness.

  55. 63

    Congratulations!! I’m a very sporadic visitor here, but I had to comment on this lovely post. Way to wait for God’s blessing, and what a cute looking house! I’ll have to check in more to see more pics of it. :)

  56. 64

    Oh, I’m so very, very happy for you! God’s timing is always so perfect. I was just telling my kiddos this morning how much it’s His plan not ours…my kids are adopted from China, and if I had gotten pregnant all those years I longed for a baby, I would have never had them.

    Not equating a house with a baby…but somedays….

    Anyway, so happy!! Can’t wait to see what’s next.
    Christy

  57. 65

    My stars, how I love hearing this story in its entirety all over again. I’m beyond thrilled for the Baker 5!!

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to help you move, Lisa-Jo. For real. xoxo

    • 66
      Lisa-Jo says:

      ….I shall have you over for tea as soon as we are in the same state. Oh yes, I shall!!!

  58. 67
    Jacinda says:

    Congratulations!! I have a similar story about the home I now own. It was an experience of how God orchestrates, how He gives us the desires of our hearts and then some. I will be in my home four years in August and even now, when I walk down the stairs in the morning to make my cup of coffee, the walls themselves will speak of His love and faithfulness. I’m grateful for this physical gift that I don’t need, but which He saw fit to gift me with. However, it is a townhouse and there are still times I feared it wasn’t enough to host everyone. Your posts blessed me and reminded me that God would not give me a home in which my hospitality should be limited. I invited every single person I wanted to my Christmas party this year. It was a FULL house, of people, of love, of joy. You have ministered to so many with your open heart, may you continue to do so and may this house bless you and your family!!

    • 68
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Tears in my eyes Jacinda imaging that blessed townhouse full to the brim and overflowing with hospitality!! What a gift you are to your people!!

  59. 69

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this whole story. You won’t believe how it helped me in the midst of my cancer treatment. I quoted you and added your link to my blog http://www.iBlooming.blogspot.com Such a beautiful and encouraging account of your journey.
    May you have many healthy, happy years in your new home!
    Blessings, Sarah

  60. 70

    Lisa-Jo, reading this was part agony and part pure joy. I agonized with you over the roller coaster of hoping and having hopes dashed and hoping again; I surged with joy at the outcome. I thank you for writing it all out so thoughtfully. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed home ownership–with all its ups and downs–for so long that I’ve become almost blasé about it. I shudder to think that I’ve come to feel entitled to the blessings I’m currently enjoying, heedless of God’s goodness in providing them. Thank you so much for sharing the spectrum of your feelings, for not holding back at either end or in the middle. Bless you. Bless you!

  61. 71
    Megan Barber says:

    So my house is finally quiet and I am getting to read this just now. Been thinking about it all day, dying to hear your story, just needing a quiet moment. Rejoicing so much with you. God is so good. Some times on this side of heaven we just don’t get to understand things and we just don’t know the answers to why. But there are times when God lets us see all the pieces come together and it can be overwhelming to be so loved. So so happy for you and your family. So blessed by your words and your family and your honesty. It has been oxygen to me at times with these two littles. Praying for you and thrilled to read all about your adventures!

  62. 72

    Wooooohooooo! Congratulations, Lisa Jo and family! Thanks for sharing this story and your heart through it. I grew up a builder’s kid and moved dozens of times. Reading your journey of faith and trust and God’s leading and intimate provision for you guys in this new home reminded me of my parent’s journey of building and selling homes and trusting God for the next place to root down. It also brought joy to my heart knowing how they built the house and how much love and joy it is already bringing you guys! God’s blessings on you and yours as you sip lots of tea and soak in the sunshine of your new home! Woooohoooooo!!! xoxox

  63. 73

    Congratulations on your new house! What fun, for you and the kids, to have a real home that they can sink their roots into!!!!
    I might live in Australia, but I have been to MD (back in 2003) and it was a beautiful place, so I can easily imagine that you will love it! Enjoy!!!!!

  64. 74

    Seven years of waiting…oh my heart, that is a LONG time. Holy though. Seven. God brought you to each space and place as He does for each of us. May He continue
    To keep our hearts humble as we rejoice in our blessings!

  65. 75
    Dominique says:

    That made me cry. We had similar that we fell in love with a house that then went under offer with someone else for a few months but that fell through and we have been here for 7 years now. I still cannot believe this is our home and know that the only reason we are here is because it is a blessing from God. We needed to move so that we could have a downstairs toilet as I have a long term illness. Why God blessed us with our home and has not answered our prayers for healing yet I do not know but I do know that He loves to give us good gifts and works for good in all situations.
    May you be blessed and be a blessing within your new home and the new life that it will give you.
    Thank you for sharing this with us – what an amazing encouragement!

  66. 76

    Oh, how I love these stories of God’s intervention and direction in our lives, especially when He works miracles and gives us the desires of our hearts. Congratulations on the beautiful home and the beautiful story!

  67. 77

    Congratulations! What a beautiful story. May your new home be filled with love and laughter.

  68. 78

    So happy for you guys.

  69. 79

    I’m so happy for you! CONGRATS! My husband and I were married close to 30 years before we bought a home. We had raised and home schooled 4 children and it seems every spare dollar was spent on them. It was cheaper to rent. And when we added up how much would be going to insurance and interest it was about the same as rent – so we rented a house that was way too small for 10 years and saved and saved and saved until we could buy the house we are now living in. And now we have twice the space and only one kid living at home. Everyone else is married and gone – but they visit frequently and we have room. :-)

  70. 80

    Lisa-Jo,

    I just sent you an email and then I read this, and I cried. Because, God is amazing. He loves us so much. So, so, so much. We can’t even begin to understand. For seven years I ached, too. For two years I lived a surrendered life, like you. And then, out of the seemingly clear blue sky when I didn’t think I wanted or needed anymore, along came the dream, like you.

    In the struggling years I couldn’t believe God wasn’t cruel. I didn’t think He is, but . . . the questions! I was mad, took, at my husband and at God and I wasn’t sure if it was because I wasn’t good enough or what. But eventually I realized that I didn’t need the dream to come true in order to believe He is real and that He loves me and that I am enough.

    Receive this, sister. This is your worship, to receive it . . . as you are. As happy as you are now, you may go through a period of grieving for the life you had. Allow that. Give yourself permission to grieve the journey. You’re going to learn how to live without the ache anymore and He will lead you.

    {hugs} and rich blessings,
    a

  71. 81

    This made me cry, it was so beautiful, and I know Exactly how it feels! After being married for nearly six years, living in 7 different rental homes, the thought of owning our own home someday feels so far off. I sometimes struggle so much to really love the home I’m in, and to trust God through it all. Your words were exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you so much for being so open and honest, it feels so good to know that I’m not the only one!!

  72. 82

    I found your blog this evening after reading your book in two days in between school runs, baby feeding, child training, coursework, dinner making, and last minute phone call from the estate agent who wanted to show people around the rental we live in which is up for sale. Where we’ve lived for two years and it was such a blessing, and I love everything about it. And we can’t afford to buy it because we’re still paying off debt. And we’ve been turned down on two other rentals we’ve applied for because the market for them has gone crazy and a couple with a poor credit history, three young children and a foster baby don’t look good on paper to any wise landlord. Your timely words tonight have been God reminding me yet again that His plan is bigger and my story hasn’t finished yet. Thank you from a little rainy green country called Wales X

  73. 83

    So much congratulations friend. Your home and this post and you are beautiful. <3 Love you

  74. 84

    We own a home in Connecticut. A home I love. And I want you to know that your home is the most beautiful home I’ve ever seen. I’m beyond incredibly happy over the moon in joy for you!!!! Just immeasurable blessings to you as you continue to build your life there. And may the doors fling open to all the gifts God brings through them.

  75. 85
    Kim Taylor says:

    I am soo happy for you! I am glad that you tell your story! Because it gives hope to so many people, to know that when we trust God, our dreams do come true! I really enjoy your blog!

  76. 86

    I love that God is in the details of our lives. Now you go and enjoy your room-for-soccer-playing, fields-for-dirt-diggin, purple-rooms-for-little-girls-to-dream-and-grow house.

  77. 87

    Thank you so much for this post. It has helped strengthen my faith in a difficult season when I’m wondering if God will ever answer my prayers. You have reminded me with this story that God provides in His time and in His way. Wishing you many happy years in your beautiful new home!

  78. 88

    Such good news :) Thank you for sharing!

  79. 89

    Wow!!! God is so Good!! A friend shared this on FB and it brought tears to my eyes!! Our lives sound so similar…I’m sure we would be great friends!! We just finished paying off over six figures of debt after working at it for 10.5 years. We have six kids are are so tired of renting!!! We recently found a home we LOVE, and just made an offer, but it sounds like two might have come in at the same time…and I doubt ours will be the higher offer! We know that if it is His will we will live there! I have taken comfort in Acts 17 and how it says that He has planned where we will live!! Sometimes it has been easy to forget that He has Good planned and how deep His Love is for us!! Pray for us! Praising Him alongside of you at all He is doing!!! For His Glory!!

  80. 90
    Jennifer R. says:

    This post speaks to my heart! My husband and I are just starting the process of digging ourselves out of a 6 figure debt hole, mostly student loans, using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It’s going to be a long process, approximately 5-7 years of chipping away. We can’t and won’t even think about buying a house until we are completely out of debt, which feels like an eternity. I’m 32 and the idea that we might not own our first home until I’m almost 40 makes me want to burst into tears, especially when all our friends are buying houses. We’re still living in the same apartment we moved into right after we got married 4 years ago, and like you, each year when we renew our lease, we tell ourselves we won’t be here again next year. And then we find ourselves renewing and renewing, and each time a piece of me dies inside and I feel like we’re never going to leave this, not so cute (anymore), apartment. Your post gives me such hope and change of perspective! I know we’ll get there eventually and we’re being smart. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not alone! <3

  81. 91
    Melissa says:

    I love this. So excited for you! Thank you for sharing your story and even the part about not wanting to write about your home, etc. by the way, I can’t wait for you to write another book. I so much loved your first one!

  82. 92

    Beautiful house!

    ….Incredibly beautiful story!

  83. 93

    First, I just want to say that I revel in every one of your posts, your writing talent is a tremendous gift.
    Now about the house – Just beautiful, and congratulations!
    My husband and I (and our two kiddos) bought a foreclosure home four years ago, and it’s been our labor of love ever since. So much blood, sweat and tears… and as we were sitting in our backyard last night, looking around at the fruits (and vegetation) of my husband’s extremely hard work out there over these past years, I said “This is our dream.” Although we know that our ultimate connection is with God and Heaven and all the wonders that are not of this earth, it is possible – through our good and gracious God – to feel a deep and grateful connection to the home we build with our families. And I look forward to hearing more and more about yours. Awesome!

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  2. […] deadlines and this floor I have to sweep at least twice a day it seems. What with the Cheerios and giving notice on our lease and the people all coming through at all hours to see this place we call home I’m more than a […]

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