So, it appears that my family does lots of big things in April. Those things aren’t the point of this post, but this morning’s “big thing” kinda caught me by surprise. Seven years ago today, Jeff and I realized we had done absolutely all we could do to hold the ship together, and we had to sell our house.
To be honest, I can’t remember what state our marriage was in at the time. I don’t even know if we knew ourselves in the midsts of that storm. We were just hanging on for dear life. The housing downturn of 2008-2009 had finally bled us dry by the spring of 2010. We’d sold cars, got second jobs, lived off savings, retirement, credit cards, and pocket change for over 18 months. We had 2 small children. The only asset we had left was a significant amount of equity in our house. So, Jeff and I prayed, begged, and pleaded; and we decided our only option was to step out in faith and sell the house. Of course I knew it was a terrible time to try to sell a house- I did it for a living. But, we thought if maybe we priced it right, we could sell our own.
You see, my house was about the only since of pride I had left. We had placed a Bible in the foundation of this house, we had prayed over the house and the babies that didn’t even live here as we were building it. We did exactly what we promised God we would do and faithfully hosted Bible studies and church events in this house. We never lost sight of the fact that God’s blessings had provided this house. But, I had totally lost sight of the fact that it was His to take away if He so chose. In the economic downturn, we tried our best to manage it all ourselves. We had a plan, and we worked the plan. But, the plan started running dry. And, there was literally nothing else we could do ourselves. And, I was pissed! I was mad at God for not providing. I was mad at Jeff for not making a drastic change sooner. I had given up so many things I loved, and we truly only ate food I could get for nearly free by shopping sales and using coupons. Lord, please don’t take my house from me too.
But, on that night of April 13, 2010, we decided we had to give the last bit of whatever we had to God. And, we walked in faith that whatever God had planned would be even better than whatever we had planned in this house. And, you know what happened after we conceded and trusted God by putting our house on the market….. I sold over $1.25M in real estate in the next few weeks. Y’all I hadn’t sold that much real estate in the last 2 years. My listings had been on the market MONTHS. It wasn’t nearly comparable with God providing Abraham with an alternate sacrifice when Isaac was on the altar. But, for us, it was very similar in our faith journey. It was like God was saying, I don’t really want your house- I just want you to be willing to give it to me. We kept our house on the market for a few months after the provision that God provided. Because honestly, we kept asking ourselves, “Was the lesson really to just see if we would be willing to give it over to God?” In the time the house was listed, not many people even came into the house. Even after scheduling showings, for one reason or another, they just didn’t actually look at it. So, eventually, we took it off the market and moved on. Now, don’t hear me saying that God will never take things away; He just wants us to be willing to let them go. Because, one I don’t think that’s biblical. And, two I wouldn’t have the authority to say that. Sometimes God does take things away. But, sometimes, all He wants is for us to be willing to let it go.
Our financial struggles certainly didn’t end there. But, I’d say our worry did. We still had moments of frustration and I’m sure we fought about it a few more times. But, I’ve never once doubted that God wasn’t going to show up just in the nick of time and manage our every need. I wish I could say that I’ve never again put idols in my life that came between me and my Lord. But, if I’m really honest, I probably do that daily. I will say over the last 7 years I’ve matured a little and realized it’s a lot less painful to let go early instead of white knuckling it until my fingers are locked in place.
I guess in this Easter Season it’s appropriate for me to ask what do you need to lay down at the altar? Pride, Shame, Doubt, Money, Life Plans, Kids, Marriage? I don’t know and I am certainly not one to judge. I’ve got a trailer load of stuff within me that I could use to lay down. But, I know that same God that delivered us from a financial burden that we saw absolutely no way out of; is the same God that provided the ultimate sacrifice for us. No coincidence in my mind that I’m reminded of that sacrifice this Maundy Thursday. Yes, my Jesus hung humiliated on that Cross. He bled and died. He paid my debt in amounts I can never repay. But, my Jesus also walked out of that grave. My Risen Savior. My True Provider. And, whatever battle I face, I don’t face it alone.