Living a life for Christ may not always seem easy and to the rest of the world, we look different. There are many who don’t understand why we do the things we do. But living a life for Christ brings so many blessings – not just eternal blessings. (Which are certainly enough!) It brings blessings here on this earth as well. Here is a story about such a blessing we experienced.
Years ago we were convicted in our hearts about living without debt. Since then we have purposed to live debt-free. The Lord delivered us from debt and through that, moved us to Missouri, to a place we had never even visited! It was put on our hearts that we would like to have a small farm and land where the kids could both play and do purposeful work. A place where we could build a "family economy."
We rented a house in St Louis, and began saving. We did so for several years in hopes of purchasing a house and some farm land. Once we had close to enough, we began our search. We searched for months and months, learning the various areas, looking at houses, learning about the land.
Each weekend, we’d drive out an hour or more looking at various homes. We prepared offers for several homes, each time finding the deal would not work out. We were definitely weary from the search at times. It was a lot of driving and usually we could only see one, or possibly two, homes per weekend due to the distance.
During this time of searching, I (Sheri) really came to love the area of Farmington, the rolling hills and the beautiful farm homes along the roads. Those areas seemed well out of our price range at the time. But we were still saving each month and still searching in Farmington as well as other areas.
Summer was drawing to a close, and we knew many houses would be sold or taken off the market for the winter months. It was easy to be discouraged as we had hoped to buy something before winter set in.
It so happened that I had sent our realtor some questions about a house I saw online. She was searching for the answers when she stumbled across a different house that had just been listed. It wasn’t showing up on any of the realtor sites we would have access to – such as realtor.com or Zillow. It was though it had been hidden from all others. She sent it to us and we marveled at how beautiful it was and how much open pasture there was. Most of the homes we looked at had only a few acres that were open and would allow us to have cattle. But this house had 18 acres all open with tall grass growing. The area was beautiful as well, 30 acres of open land next to us with a river running through it and a nice 50 acres on the other side of us which is a family who boards horses.
But this house was out of our price range. We were prompted to go ahead and visit anyway.
We soon learned that this house was not only out of our price range, it also had some restrictions put on the land when it was sold to the current owner. Restrictions that would limit us from doing the farm-things we wanted to do! Such as have pigs or goats on the land.
In spite of all this, we made an offer. First, we wrote a letter to the owner about our situation and about having the restrictions altered for us, told her about our family, explained what we wanted to do with the land, and even included a picture for her to share with the person who set the restrictions. She readily agreed that the restrictions could be lifted for us!
The first hurdle was jumped.
Then we made a written offer and the seller made a counter-offer. She made a point of saying that this was the best she could do; she would be holding firm at this price. She had come down quite a lot and it was a fair offer. But, her offer and the amount we could pay was still separated by $9,000.
We felt this house was just not to be ours because we simply couldn’t come close enough in price for the seller. At this time, both my parents and Keith’s parents offered to give us the additional $9,000 to purchase the house. They are so generous and wanted the best for us. But Keith wisely stated that if God wanted us to have this house, then He would make it happen with the money He has allowed us to have.
So we went ahead and made our counter-offer and we explained in a separate letter that we are Christians and we purpose to live without debt. We simply cannot borrow money and the amount we have is all we have. We made our final offer - $9,000 less than she said she must have.
The Test of Faith
I sat on pins and needles waiting to see what the Lord would do. Either it would be a “yes” or a “no” and I was anxious to have the answer put behind me! I prayed God would make it clear to us if this was to be our home or not.
But then something happened I didn’t expect. The seller came back to us and said she’d lower the price even more, but she just couldn’t get all the way down to what we had to offer. So now we stood with only $3,000 between our two offers. I was amazed!
But unfortunately, we didn’t have an additional $3,000. We had offered her all we had, leaving a little for closing costs. I didn't know what to do since God didn't make it as clear as I thought He would. We read scripture and prayed much of the day about this!
Now I must admit my faith waivered a little – I had the thought that since my parents had offered so much to us, that perhaps just accepting the $3,000 would be a good idea. I rationalized that perhaps God was providing that extra money through our parents. After all, God doesn't just drop a bag of money on our lap - He instead works through others, right?
Fortunately, my wise husband never left the straight path. He said we must not take money from our parents for this. This is a want and not a need. God will provide a house for us! Even my son was stronger than I – he said he was searching the scriptures for direction and he read again about God providing the coin in the mouth of the fish. From this he said he thought that we should just let God provide for us. “Yes, you are right.” is all I said at the time. (Sometimes our children are much wiser than us!)
I got on the phone with our realtor and explained (a bit sadly) that we know we are so close in price and I’m sure this is disappointing for everyone. But we simply cannot pay any more than our last offer for the house. We simply cannot borrow money. (I felt certain the house could easily be sold to someone else for much more than our offer – it was clearly worth more! Our relator had the same thoughts.)
I hung up the phone and I admit to feeling pretty sad inside. It was back to the drawing board… back to the home search. This wasn’t the one for us…. again. And to add to the pressure, our rental agreement was about to end and we would have to make decisions about where to live since the home we were in was to be sold after we moved out. Pressure!
I went on about my homeschooling day and near the end of the day I got a text from our realtor. It said simply… “You own a new house.” I couldn’t believe it! How could this be?
We don’t know for certain what sort of deal the realtors worked out or how this was done logistically, but we know for certain that God was in it. My husband stood firm on his convictions and following the Lord’s ways, and now we have a house that is more than we dreamed we’d ever have. And land that is better than we ever dreamed we’d have. And all the restrictions we had asked for were to be lifted. And even the deep freezer and other small things we had asked for in our original offer were to be ours! And we did not have to take a penny from our parents to do it.
Praise God for His loving kindness. He really is concerned about the little (and big) things in our lives. And He LOVES to do the "impossible" and show himself strong on our behalf!
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." -2 Chronicles 16:9
Because my husband was so wise as to follow the Lord’s ways, and not the world’s ways (borrowing money), we now have more than just a house, we have a testimony!
We are humbled by this experience. We are far from perfect, we've made many mistakes in life. But God has been faithful. He promises that if we just won't jump ahead of him and borrow money, He will take care of us. And He WANTS to, so that all glory can go to HIM when something like this happens. If we had taken the money or borrowed the money, God wouldn't have gotten the glory. Even if we weren't able to get the farm and house, we could be at peace knowing that were not living outside of God's will. Being in God's will is the safest place to be... and the place we would always choose if we had all the facts.
The first thing we did after the house purchase was final was stand in this empty house (which needed a lot of work before moving in!) and dedicate it to God. For He owns all things, but only allows us to care for them for a while. We knew that anything that would go wrong (as things always do with homes and with farms), we would be grateful in any situation, because we were brought to this place and given care of it.
Next time you feel weary while waiting on the Lord for a need or a want to be met, we hope this story encourages you to stand firm on your convictions and to not "faint or grow weary" in doing what God has called you to do. When we borrow money, or take on-going government aid, we miss out on the amazing opportunity to see God's provision in our lives. Instead of running to the bank, just run to God!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.