When we first listed our house for sale, someone told me that she would pray for the right buyer at the right time, and for everything to work out so that afterward, we could say, “Wow, that was totally God at work.”
Well, that did happen, and so I must share with you what I learned from the whole experience because I believe that without God, it wouldn’t have happened this way.
We basically listed our house to downsize to something a little less expensive and a little more affordable so that I could continue working part-time for the next few years when our kids are small. Our house was on the market for almost 3 months.
When we started looking for houses, we went through one house in particular that we both really liked. We had a really good feeling about the house, and I genuinely believed that it was “our house.” It wasn’t perfect; it needed lots of work, yet I still found myself really liking it. I figured that since I really liked something that I wouldn’t expect myself to like, it must be God giving me peace that it was the right house, if that makes any sense.
We put two offers in on that house, and both were rejected because we had a house to sell. We figured that if it was meant to be, our house would sell and that house would remain on the market for us to buy eventually.
That didn’t happen. I was kind of crushed, and I wondered why that house had seemed so perfect. We began using that house as a benchmark, and honestly thought that there wouldn’t be any other house like it out there in our price range. The thought that something better was still out there didn’t seem possible, so I denied that thought permanent residence in my mind.
As for selling our house—if you’ve ever had a house on the market, you know how frustrating it is. We developed a “code” for preparing for a showing, and we kept to the code, even when we didn’t want to. As my pregnant belly continued to grow, washing the floors continued to get more difficult. We kept on with it, though. I remember the sound of the vacuum cleaner turning on eventually made me cringe with distaste because we had cleaned our house so many times without selling it that I hated the sound.
There were several potential buyers whom we thought would end up being “the one.” We even had a person who had previously lived in our house for 20 years come through! If anyone was going to be the right buyer, I’d put my money on that person! However, we saw no offers.
Then one day this month, we got an offer. We accepted. We hadn’t found a house yet, so we had to act fast.
Somehow, our discussions with our agent turned to a particular house that we had seen on the market but originally weren’t interested in. After a series of events, we ended up very quickly buying that house. A further few events led us to make a decision and take a risk in order to keep the house, and I know we ended up making the right decision.
There are two thoughts that have resonated in my mind these past few weeks:
First, if events hadn’t transpired exactly as they had, we never would have ended up with the house we bought, which is a really good and perfect house. Now that I’m on the other side of this experience, I can see and understand how God has masterfully choreographed a series of events to take place to bring us to where we ended up. Even the disappointment we experienced in losing out on the first house we loved was necessary to bring us to our new house. Moreover, He choreographed events and decisions that would grow us spiritually and teach us some really valuable lessons.
Second, during this whole process, we vocalized countless times that we would have to end up making a sacrifice somewhere. We assumed that buying a house in a lower price range required a sacrifice—whether it be size, quality of construction, location, number of renovations/repairs needed, number of features, etc. Here’s the big “however”: Somehow, we ended up “downsizing” to a house that requires no sacrifices whatsoever. In other words, we’re “downsizing,” but we aren’t.
I grew spiritually through this experience because I learned first-hand the generous, giving nature of God. He gives us gifts “just because.” He gives us gifts with no strings attached.
What was the most amazing gift you ever received for Christmas or for your birthday or just because? In my opinion, the greatest gifts are not the ones you ask for and thus expect, but the ones you never imagined you’d ever receive because they were too perfect to imagine—the ones you never expected because they were too good to expect. The greatest gift is the one that you can marvel over for days, weeks and months after receiving it—in awe that someone put so much thought about you into it and really did find the perfect gift just for you.
My house-selling, house-buying experience is just one little example of how God loves to bestow gifts on His children. I can’t comprehend this situation in any other way than being a gift. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t deserve it. We didn’t know it existed or was possible. We even grumbled and complained and were frustrated so many times, like immature children who want to make sure they get something good for Christmas and get upset when they find out they aren’t going to get what they thought they wanted. Thankfully, our childish complaints and tears of frustration didn’t deter God from handing us such a wonderful gift.
Sometimes receiving a perfect, amazing, valuable, special gift can be really difficult. I think many people would prefer to ask for something and know what’s coming. I think many people would prefer to get what they think they deserve—no more and no less. I think many people, including myself, think they know what they want or need and stubbornly tend to reject any other ideas before they’ve even seen or heard them. Maybe it’s human nature.
Through this series of events, we had to decide to take a risk and accept the gift God was laying out on the table for us, even though we didn’t feel we deserved it.
God has an abundance of specially-selected, better-than-expected gifts for all of us because He loves us completely and unconditionally, but it may take some time and experience to grow accustomed to receiving them. Why not start today and open yourself up to receiving and accepting gifts from God—especially the gifts you may not feel you deserve?
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.