Husbands and wives need to be on the same page, right?
Soon after our son’s April wedding, Steve and I finally agreed to move forward with downsizing. If you read last week’s What Happened in April, you may have followed the link to a July 2021 post about the magnet on my refrigerator that says, “We plan… God laughs!”
By July 2022, I no longer saw the humor in that magnet and it no longer hung on my fridge.
We’d accepted an offer from the couple we’d reconnected with in April. The close of escrow was contingent on the sale of their house, but their real estate agent felt confident they’d receive several offers within a week or two. You may recall that houses sold rapidly in the spring of 2022, often for more than the asking price.
Unsure where to settle, Steve and I signed a 12-month lease for a house a few minutes away, and began the process of moving long before our escrow’s closing date.
June and July were a blur of activity with me focused on emptying the house we’d lived in for nearly 19 years and Steve busy relocating his business from a 2,100-square-foot building to a bedroom in the house we were renting. I would pack a few boxes, take them over to the rental and put away the items before heading back to our old home with the same boxes to start the process all over again. Everything that remained in our old home would be sold in an estate sale. On several occasions, I re-boxed items I couldn’t find a place for and returned them to be included in the estate sale.
We celebrated our son’s 25thbirthday with a dinner party in our beloved home on June 19.
The movers showed up the next day.
Scott’s wedding began our process of selling and his birthday was our last night there.
One evening while hanging out with his friends, Scott had taken a picture of the sun setting beyond our pond. Oh, how I would miss this view from our side yard.
Was God laughing now?
I couldn’t hear His laughter the day the movers came.
All the magnets on my refrigerator came down before the moving company relocated it. With the fridge squeezed between the pantry and some cupboards at our rented home, most of the magnets would have to go. Aware of the significance of the magnet mentioned previously, I took it with me.
Meanwhile our buyers’ house languished on the market. We delayed escrow, then delayed a second time. My husband and I felt the pinch of having our business temporarily shut down during our move while paying for two houses.
I buried the magnet in a drawer.
Was God laughing now?
Wasn’t He the one who instigated the sale of our home in the first place?
Wasn’t He the one who kept the ball in play for more than ten months?
Wasn’t this difficult move entirely God’s plan—a plan I’d struggled to accept?
I wasn’t laughing.
I reached out to the darling young woman who had fallen in love with my house, and asked if she wanted to go on a prayer walk with me. I suggested we walk around the block where her lovely home waited for a buyer, and then walk the loop around my property. She agreed.
A few days later, I drove to her neighborhood and met her on the sidewalk.
“Do you still want our house?”
She said yes and we began asking God (again) to make it happen.
We prayed. We worshiped. We shared our hearts with each other and with God. We declared God’s promises from Scripture and prayed some more. But their house didn’t sell and we cancelled escrow August 8.
God said no to the transaction that began with a bike rider more than a year earlier.
The day after we canceled escrow, the pastor and his wife received and accepted an offer on their home. A newer house in our neighborhood had just been listed for sale. The pastor made a low offer and was shocked when it was accepted. Real estate values had tanked over the summer, and the plunging housing market sank the possibility of Steve and I finding another buyer at a comparable price.
Who’s laughing now?
Sensitive to our painful dilemma (not to mention outright confusion with the results of our obedience to God), a couple in our small group invited us to dinner. Ted and Andi are among our closest friends. Andi called me before Steve and I arrived to say that while she was barbequing and praying for us, a word dropped into her spirit.
“Reversal,” she said. “That’s what I heard when I was praying for you. Reversal.”
On our drive to dinner, Steve and I discussed the pros and cons of moving back into our home. We gathered around the table with Ted and Andi, and continued the conversation.
Ted prayed, asking the Lord to speak to us and guide us. “I keep hearing ‘moving forward’ and I’m sensing that’s what God is saying to you guys.”
“Moving forward?” I looked at Andi. If God speaks through a husband and wife, shouldn’t they be on the same page? I looked back at Ted. “Andi said ‘reversal’ and you’re saying ‘moving forward’. Do you see why we have no idea what to do next?”
One thing was as clear as the crystal sea flowing from God’s throne. We needed to stop paying for two houses immediately and we were unwilling to slash the price of our treasured home.
When the landlords agreed to allow our daughter’s family to take over our lease, I could see God’s hand in providing exactly what they needed.
I could also see God’s hand in providing a sweet deal of a house to the pastor’s family.
But I could not see God’s hand in my own situation.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Sitting at dinner with Ted and Andi that night, Steve and I embraced God’s plan. We needed a reversal in order to keep moving forward. And at last, we were on the same page.
For we live by faith, not by sight. — 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
The magnet is back on my fridge. It holds a colorful picture my oldest granddaughter drew for me of Papa and Nawna’s house, the magical place where she loves to play.
Are you struggling to know God’s plan for your life? Just keep walking by faith, my friend. Your wild ride of obedience to God may cause bumps and bruises, but He will see to it that you have everything you need to keep moving forward.