Oh how arrogant we as humans are. We make plans, claiming them to be what God would want from us, and then stand in wonderment when God takes those plans and shakes them up like snow globes.
I want to make a moment to say that this blog has changed a lot over the last 4 years, and I have changed a lot with it. The woman who wrote my early blog posts is not the same woman who writes today, and that is only by God's grace. Many times I write about things on this blog as a way of thinking over a topic myself and coming to a consensus about something. And sometimes those consensus' change.
That is what has happened with me and my husband recently. And honestly, it is a little bit of a difficult thing to write about. Because explaining how something you passionate about suddenly changed in a crazy supernatural turn of events really becomes impossible to explain to anybody, much less on a blog to people I have never met!
My husband and I made a commitment a few years ago to live debt-free. And we have stuck to that commitment. We worked extremely hard to get out of debt. We paid off our last bit of debt in October 2014 and were so happy and FREE! It became so exciting to think about the future and decide what we were going to do.
We currently live in a 2 bedroom apartment in an expensive suburban town. We have very limited locations we can live due to the remote location of my husband's job, but we knew that we needed to start looking into new living situations. Our apartment has zero storage and we have trimmed down our possessions to the bare minimum. This has become more and more difficult as we pack away baby clothes and items for future babies because there is nowhere for them to go! We also had some issues with Victoria waking up from noise from our apartment and the neighbors, which led us to switch our bedroom with hers (our bedroom was further to the back of the apartment and away from most of the noise). While it hasn't been too much of an inconvenience, she now has a completely unused master bathroom off of her bedroom. These are just a few of the issues we've been dealing with where we live.
So we began looking for new rental options. And the news wasn't good. Everything was incredibly expensive and we began to realize our apartment was the cheapest option around by far.
I mentioned the situation to my mom and she came back to me with my stepdad a few weeks later. They said that they decided it would be a good investment for them to purchase a house where we live (in a different state from them) that we could rent from them for a few years while we saved. We would then rent it out for them, as rentals are in such short supply here. We were so excited to see a mutually beneficial solution come together
that would allow us to continue living our debt-free lifestyle and allow my parents a good investment opportunity.
We began looking for a house with them and praying about the situation.
Then two things happened:
1.) Literally ALL of the houses went off the market in the price range we were looking at. Our realtor claimed it was the weirdest thing she had ever seen. It was the first sign to me that this wasn't the right situation for us
2.) Laws changed January 1st that tied my parents hands a bit and made it almost impossible to follow through with the plan financially.
We all agreed that these signs were too strong to ignore, and we abandoned the plan. We had been praying for clear signs, and we were getting them.
So we were back to plan A, which was to look for another rental. We began searching and then two more things happened:
1.) Our lease ended and our rent was raised dramatically, making staying in our current apartment almost impossible and definitely not friendly to our savings account.
2.) Rentals in the area went up in price even more (if you are unaware of this, rentals have been increasing in price over the course of the last year all around the US, making it very difficult for many young families).
We didn't know what to do. We couldn't afford to stay where we were anymore and we couldn't afford anything else.
So we prayed. And prayed. And Prayed. And hoped God would bring about a situation that would work for us.
And he did, but it was so far outside what we thought it would be that it was a bit difficult to grasp. We began tentatively looking at real estate in the area to see what options were out there. The real estate market is crazy in the area where we live right now, with houses going on the market at 8am and in contract by noon with 10+ offers on them (almost all above asking price). We decided that despite our unease with any type of debt, we would feel around that option to see how the Lord would lead us, as it seemed like the only option we could afford.
Then there it was.
This house came on the market and despite every other house we saw flying off the market the day-of, this house was barely showing. We immediately began to wonder what was wrong with it (besides the shutters that need some new paint). We went and saw it and it was perfect for us in pretty much every way. We believe that the real estate agent who was selling it didn't enter it into the MLS correctly because it was almost completely off the radar and wasn't showing up on any of our real estate feeds.
So long story made slightly shorter, we are in contract to buy a house. We prayed that God would get us out of this if it wasn't His will for us, and that he would bless us with the provision for it if he allowed us to get it. And so far everything is going very smoothly.
So even though we are going back into debt, we are doing so with a few concessions:
1) We insisted on a traditional mortgage with 20% down. That way we have some stake in the place and we lose as little as we can to interest. This also prevents the private mortgage insurance that comes with non-traditional mortgages.
2) We picked a house that is easily affordable for us and will allow us to pay down our mortgage quickly. Our mortgage is, in fact, less than we pay in rent right now. We will also be able to continue saving to live debt-free in other areas of our life.
3) We picked a house in a location that is growing immensely and will, God willing, retain value easily. In fact, two houses on the same street just sold for a lot more money on the day-of, strengthening my view that something went wrong technically that allowed this home to fly off the radar.
4) We are open to a change in plans. If we see any red flags like we saw with any of the other paths we pursued, we will retreat. But so far this is the only open path we have seen, and since pursuing this house, our rent has been raised AGAIN (twice in 3 months)!
Would you all do me a favor and pray for me and my husband? We know that getting a house and a mortgage isn't the worst thing in the world, but it isn't the direction we saw ourselves going. We have decided that our dream of a debt-free house will have to be a journey and not necessarily something we achieve from the get-go. We would greatly appreciate prayers for discernment for our future.
In the meantime, if things continue going as they are, we should be looking to move into our new home at the end of June. And I am SO excited about that possibility