An Unexpected End to a Rough Journey

I’ve tried to figure out how to write this post. I actually have about a dozen drafts. I guess this one finally made it. If you’ve read this website for long, you need an update.

God’s grace at work in our lives is an amazing thing. It never ceases to amaze me.

God's grace at work in our lives is an amazing thing. It never ceases to amaze me. Click To Tweet

The Journey Begins

Four years ago now, we started on a horrible journey that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. We entered foreclosure.

This affected me in ways that I didn’t like. ;). I had always been full of faith as far as God providing for us, even through the pay-cuts and lay offs and bounced paychecks. There was a line that was not to be crossed, though. Housing. I like having a secure place to live.

I think part of it came from a family member who got after us for having five closely spaced children and for me choosing to stay home with the kids after they were born. She was not only hot about that topic, but she happened to see our tax stuff laying out and spied our giving statements. We’re generous as God provides — it’s His money anyway.

She said, “One day,  you’re going to lose your house, and I’m going to say I told you so!”

I replied that God wouldn’t let that happen. I meant it.

I could hear nothing but that conversation as we finally succumbed to losing our house after yet another pay cut and yet more rising expenses.

Rip Off the Band-aid Fast

I don’t like lingering situations. I rip the Bandage off fast. I want it over and done with. Though we had no where to go, I half wanted us to be tossed out within a few months. Get it over with. Instead, we were in foreclosure limbo for four years.

We were in #foreclosure limbo for four years. The waiting was torture Click To Tweet

We were advised, for legal reasons, we should stay in the house until thrown out both for financial reasons and because we are legally responsible for the house until they take possession of it. This left me living in constant dread of The Door Knock. I had a friend who (illegally) was given 36 hours notice. I knew another who had a week to find a place and move. I worried myself sick with the possibilities.

Waiting was just horrible.

There were no homes in safe areas that fit our budget to rent. There were few in unsafe areas we could afford. We had a low mortgage. Most of the rents we were seeing were twice as much as our mortgage that we couldn’t afford. The best course of action seemed to be to try to save up to buy one of the super cheap foreclosures in our area, several of which sold for under $20,000.

We had nearly saved up enough to buy a house and then were hit with a huge unexpected bill. Gone..all of that money…in a flicker.

I would love to tell you that I handled that well, but I didn’t.

I was so angry at God, because if He was real, and if He was in control, He clearly hated me….or so it seemed. Given how the story ends (I’m getting there), I am ashamed at my lack of faith in that moment. I was so frustrated. Two and a half years of saving and working hard and fire sales….gone.

Do I Trust Him?

What it boiled down to over the course of all of this waiting and worry and anger was one question: Do I trust God?

Through the #foreclosure, it all boiled down to, Do I trust God? Click To Tweet

Around this time, I reconnected with an old friend who said, “You’ve gotten too domesticated. The Kim I remember even slept in train stations at one point and loved every minute of it.”

It’s true. I slept at Suedbahnhof in Vienna. I liked it, too.

I couldn’t get out of my head my younger, wandering years and time spent backpacking all over Europe with no permanent home and no cares. Of course, that was before responsibilities and kids and all of that.

I was driving down the road to grocery shop and I finally said,

“Okay, God, nothing I’m doing of my own power is working. I mean, I saved up more than I thought possible only to have it vanish in a poof…I don’t know what to do. Yes, I’ve been homeless before, and I am willing to do that again, but just not with my kids. But, if that’s what you want for us, guide and direct…”

Peace…for the first time in a while.

That was probably a good thing, because the next day, nearly a year ago, I was given our six month notice regarding the foreclosure. We had to be out around May 1st.

Those six months became a blur of packing, trying to find a place, and wrestling with the many decisions we had to make.

The Gift

As spring came around, we were waiting more specific instructions, and so it was no surprising that we got a certified letter one Saturday afternoon in February.

I opened it with a feeling of dread and immediately dropped to my knees and let out a scream.

I normally have the gift of the gab so it’s very unusual for me to be speechless, but I was speechless.

My brain wasn’t fully processing what I read. I read it again because it couldn’t be right. But it still said the same thing.

Hubby grabbed it out of my hand and read it and said, “No, this can’t be…can it?”

I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t move. My legs were jelly.

He handed it to one of our teens. She read it. They passed it around. Lots of screams and giggles.

“Um, did that letter really say the bank decided to forgive our mortgage and give us our house?”

“Yep,” said one of the kids, “And it said to be sure to pay the property taxes at the end of the month.”

Yes it really said that. “Dear Valued Customer, we’ve decided to stop foreclosure on your house and are notifiying you that we’re giving you possession of your home. A release of lien has been filed at your county. Please note that this action means you are responsible for your property taxes, which are due in a few weeks. Have a nice day and let us know if we can be of further service.”

It was hard to comprehend that the same bank that refused to work with us after a job loss was now giving us our house and writing chirpy letters. Then again, God spoke through the mouth of a donkey, so who’s to say He can’t speak through bankers too?

By Monday, my husband called up the mortgage company. The people we talked to were baffled. They said our account showed “Paid in full”, but admitted that this was not their normal practice and they had no idea how it happened.

Within a few months, we had the official paperwork, showing us as owning the house debt free, and we had caught our property taxes up and paid the insurance and worked on some extreme repairs that our house was in dire need of.

I still have a hard time believing that even as I type it.

It’s falling apart from age and our inability financially to do repairs over the last decade or so, but it’s ours. 🙂

Sola Deo Gloria

When we went up to the county building to get a copy of the paperwork, they told us we didn’t have to get copies. Um, no, I need a copy. I need to have it in my hands. When we told the clerk the story she stood there amazed and even cried a little. She agreed that she’d want a copy too. She glorified God with us, while acknowledging she doesn’t normally believe in miracles or God.

There was a bunch of that going around.

Everyone who heard what happened had nearly the same response,

  • “WOW that was a miracle!”
  • “That was God!”
  • “Wow, you must have a direct line to God or something!”

I’ve had more opportunities to tell people about the God I serve through that than I thought possible.

A neighbor who had been praying for us said it best.

“The best part of all is that you can’t take credit. You can’t say that you saved up and were so good and bought a house. You can’t say that these are the three steps you too to fixing this situation. You can say that this is how you got out of debt by your own doing. All you can say is, ‘it was the grace of God'”

And it was….by grace, through faith….lest any one should boast… (Eph. 2:8-9).

After all of those years of praying to get out of debt, and praying for a way to keep the house, and praying to get a raise after all of those pay cuts, God answered the prayer by first giving us the house debt free and then, most recently, finally giving us that raise we’ve waited more than a decade for.

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