Something Far Better

About two months ago, I wrote a post sharing our plan for the next year as we prepare to buy our first home. It was a good plan. We were excited and felt confident about our decision to live with Danny's parents for a few months. Shortly after posting that plan, I had a conversation with a dear friend and sister. It threw our plan into a screeching halt and made us wonder if it was wise to go forth. Within our family, there were concerns brought to our attention. We felt quite a bit of tension amongst these people. The last thing we wanted to do was cause any kind of division in our family. So the day after that conversation, I sat down with Danny to tell him how I had come up with an idea on what it would like to stay in our apartment for a longer period of time while we saved. It could work but it would be a while before we could purchase a home. As I started to share he said, "Wait. I have something I need to talk to you about first." Danny went on to tell me how our friend, David, had called him during his lunch break to tell Danny how they (David and his wife, Lindsey) wanted to have dinner and talk over the possibility of us living with them. They knew very little about our situation, only that we had planned to live with Danny's parents, that it was up in the air now, and that we were praying about other options. They recently bought a home and did lots of beautiful work to it. It is much larger than what they need in this stage of their life and they wanted to share the space with someone from church. Danny told David, "You have no idea the timing of this phone call." This was not even twenty-four hours after the conversation with my sister-in-law. It was very evident to us that we had a lot of praying to do. Not to mention some relationships to mend, conversations to have, and wise counsel to seek.

For a solid two weeks, we prayed about the following living situations:
1. Living with Mom and Dad.
2. Living in our apartment.
3. Living with David and Lindsey.

Through many conversations and even more prayer, conflict was resolved and concerns were addressed within our family. In sharing with close friends and family, we received positive feedback about living with David and Lindsey. We were realizing quick that all of our options were good ones. They all lead to us buying a home. Some required more faith in the area of finances. Others required more faith in the area of relationships and family. One of our dearest friends and our community group leader, Jay, said a prayer one night that rocked my thinking about all of this. He said, "Lord, if You don't care which plan they choose since You have provided all three of these options, help Danny and Shelia to choose the best one for them." It was no longer, "Which plan is right or wrong?" It was simply, "What's best for us?" We had our mind made up pretty quickly after that. But we still needed to talk details with David and Lindsey.

So we did just that! WOW! The conversation was relatively short but so affirming. It was undeniably obvious that God had already begun weaving this situation together. Many of the concerns they brought up were ones that Danny and I had already talked about amongst ourselves. And our conclusions were the same. The most amazing part was that the amount they asked us to pay for rent/utilities was exactly what we figured we could afford while still being able to meet our savings goals. At the end of our conversation, it was agreed that our family living with them would work out and that it would be hard but totally worth it. :)

As I've thought about all of this, the following verse came to mind:

"We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
   but God's purpose prevails." Proverbs 19:21, The Message

Over and over again in our life, we have made plans. They have been good plans, even God honoring. We have prayed about them and felt confident that we were in His will. Then at the eleventh hour, our perfect Provider comes in and says, "MY Child, I have something far better. Trust Me." I just love that! We went from this idea of living with the parents, renting 2 bedrooms, and sharing all rest of the house (i.e. hardly any personal space). Along with that, we would have had to pay at least $100/month for a storage unit. At David and Lindsey's, we will have a basement space larger than our current apartment! It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, the shared laundry room, and a super wide open living area with a little bar area off of it (which we're going to use as a "kitchenette"). We have a sliding glass door to a cute backyard (kiddie pool anyone?). We have a fireplace mantle to decorate (yes... I'm more excited about the mantle than the actual fireplace). Along with the laundry room of course, the only "shared space" will be the upstairs kitchen. OH! And we can store stuff in their attic! Another blessing is that David and Lindsey are flexible with how long we stay. So there's no pressure to move out by a certain date. Of course, we have goals of when we want to move out by. We don't want to be squatters! ;)

So now, we think the plan is this:

June - Deposit $100 into our matched savings account through Portland Housing Center (get matched $300). We have already deposited $200 into our IDA account. Begin sorting and packing this place. I'm so not excited to pack!

July - Deposit $100 (get matched $300). Continue sorting and packing. Celebrate my 24th birthday! ;)

August - Deposit $100 (get matched $300). Begin putting things into our attic storage. Begin preparations for a moving sale in our apartment. Move all of our needed belongings into our basement home. Have an awesome sale. Clean the apartment. And the first BEST part of it all... tell these guys at this not awesome apartment complex, "See ya, suckers!" BOOM! the second BEST part is beginning the "trying to conceive" conversation. Oh yes. ;)

September through May 2013 - Deposit $167 monthly (get matched $501-ish monthly). Save at least $400/month into our own personal savings. Continue paying down my student loan. We want to pay it off so badly but we feel like a larger amount into our savings will be wiser as we move into our own home. Celebrate Danny's 27th birthday and Amelia's 2nd birthday! Depending on our tax return for next spring, we might throw a large amount of that towards my loan. Begin searching for a home to buy. Maybe get pregnant?!?!

May-June 2013 - Continue searching for a home to buy. Buy a HOUSE!! A house. Our first home. OURS. Not an apartment. Our very own love nest. Of course, this is subject to be later in the summer as we can't predict the housing market. Nor can we say that we will find OUR house right away. This is why a flexible move-out date was such a huge blessing.

Danny and I have thanked God over and over again for the generosity of David and Lindsey. It will be a challenge no doubt living with another family. But we all feel so confident that God is weaving this together. We are really excited to see how our friendship with David and Lindsey develops as we embark on this journey.

And if you feel so led, pray with us in the coming year. Pray that we remain focused on our savings goals, that we may keep open lines of communication with our housemates and each other, that any conflict would be resolved immediately, that the Lord would bless David and Lindsey for their generosity, that we would continue to be open to the Lord's plan and re-direction (if necessary), that we would find a lovely home, and that this future home of ours would be a place of refreshment for all who enter from day one!

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