When I envisioned my dream house, I never expected it to be a 30-year-old doublewide trailer with sagging floors, matted shag carpet and fake wood paneling throughout. God certainly has a sense of humor.
As a young married couple, Michael and I bought a delightful little 1940’s-era rock bungalow. Although we both made reasonably good salaries, we decided to purchase a home that we could easily afford on Michael’s wages so I could stay at home when we had children. Besides, this house had the most wonderful doubled-archway covered front porch, complete with the perfect swing.
It was ideal...until we moved in.
The first week in our new house, Michael discovered a massive hole in one of the pipes underneath the house that the inspector apparently overlooked. Michael’s first memory of “home” was crawling under the house every night in the summer heat to replace our pipes.
Next, we discovered why the previous homeowners had sealed off the attic access during their recent “remodel.” Not only was the exposed archaic wiring a fire waiting to happen, the neighborhood rats had made our home their gathering place. Our second memory was removing over 30 lawn bags filled with rats’ nests from our attic. Then we took on the daunting task of redoing the wiring ourselves.
Oh, did I mention the darling front porch? To my horror, the neighborhood roaches apparently found it as charming as I did. Each night our front porch and yard literally came alive with thousands of roaches. It looked like a bad “B” horror movie and I was in the starring role!
Yet each of these problems was still fixable. What we could not repair was the rental property next door. During the two years we lived on Sycamore Street, the residence next door housed over a dozen different sets of renters. At least half were on drugs, and at least two were dealing. The better neighbors only abused or neglected their pets. The worst abused and neglected their children. The better kept us awake with their heart-thumping music; the worst woke us up with their drunken brawls. Although we tried to reach out to some of these neighbors, we also regularly called the local Humane Society, the child abuse hotline, and the local police.
In the meantime, I left my job to work freelance from home, making a fraction of my former income. As I watched both the neighborhood and our bank account rapidly declining, my spirits started sinking as well. I mistakenly equated our house with the security I felt I needed to start a family, and I didn’t want to raise children on Sycamore Street.
I was desperate and I was angry – especially at God.
Grasping for solutions, I frantically tried to find a new full-time job, but every door shut. I then began looking for houses in other communities, but the only ones we could afford remarkably resembled where we already lived.
Then one day, I stumbled across Proverbs 2:1-6. Specifically, verses 5-6 hit me square in the head: “if you look for it (wisdom) as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
In that moment, I realized I had been desperately searching for my own solution, “as if for hidden treasure,” but what God wanted was for me to desperately search for Him instead.
Defeated, I turned to God, white flag waving in surrender. “You win.”
That was what God wanted from me all along.
Within a week, we learned that the owner of one of the mobile homes on the military base where Michael worked was planning to move. Only a handful of families live on Camp Robinson, and it’s very rare that a spot comes open. When one does, it gets snatched up quickly.
We contacted the homeowner, visited the trailer, and made an offer that day. We bought the house for less than most people pay for their cars, and we paid it off in four years!
We now are raising two beautiful young children in the most awe-inspiring house I’ve ever imagined – matted carpet and all.
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