I skipped a week from posting an update, in part because we were so insanely busy and also because we were in a state of limbo with nothing much to report. One of the main reasons why things were so busy was that I was preparing for my first ever opportunity to be the featured speaker & facilitator at a weekend women's retreat. It was a big sacrifice of time for Frank not just to have the kids on his own while I was away for the weekend, but to keep the kids busy or even away from the house to give me time for the hours and hours of preparation for the weekend. All went well as I powered through my last week of writing & practicing my presentations, even so much as to give us the chance to have a lunch date last Thursday. We thought it might help to try to take my mind off of the butterflies in my stomach as I thought about the weekend ahead and for us to spend some time together before Frank had his single-dad weekend. Our realtor called just as our food was brought to our table, so we enjoyed our meal before calling her back.
Technically all of last week and even up until midnight on Monday we were still bound by contract as the backup buyer on the house that we had put an offer in on back at the beginning of the month. I guess I had posted the update on Facebook that our first offer and even our counter-offer had not been accepted, and the seller had instead accepted a full-price offer. Within an hour of finding out, we were already kicking ourselves. "Why didn't we just put in a full offer?!" In truth, Frank has been busy working all day and our offer went in through a series of short phone conversations, text messages and DocuSigns in what felt like a mighty uncertain whirlwind. We didn't at any point get to really sit, dig in, think hard, pray or any of the other things that such a big decision warranted. Honestly, I felt like we blew it.
We brushed ourselves off, knew that we at least had learned a lot through the process, and that we could still put in a backup offer in the case that the original offer fell through. At the same time, we were holding on to the sage words that we have heard numerous realtors and experienced home buyers tell us -- "There is always another house." I picked apart the house in my mind, figuring out ways to try to tell myself that I didn't really want that house anyway. But in truth, the location near the park, the vacant lot backed up to it, the awesome State Trooper next door neighbor and the fact that it fell into our "sweet spot" price range seemed hard to top.
That house was one of many that we have watched go under contract within the first week of being on the market. Houses are moving FAST in West Philly. Other people like us are watching, waiting, ready to pounce. And nearly all of those other people have something that we don't have and can't currently get -- a mortgage pre-qualification letter.
With that in mind, we made the decision to take the risk of moving forward with our uber-interested buyer even though it would put us on a 3-6 month time line for needing to move into a new home. We could stay our house for 3 free months after closing and pay for an additional 3 months, giving us until the end of October to be in a new house. BUT - we would have the advantage of cash-in-hand to purchase with. It could mean compromising on what we really thought we needed. But the offer from this buyer was far more than the other offer we had received, and seemed too good to pass up.
Then came that lunchtime phone call from our realtor. She had been brokering the deal between us and the developer who wanted to buy our properties. Since initially agreeing to that "too good to pass up" price, he had reassessed, recalculated and determined that his best profit margin would come from knocking our house to the ground and building new construction on both properties. Beside the sick feeling that gives me to imagine, the real blow was the price difference that he had determined would make it work his time & effort. It was 2/3 the amount that he had originally been willing to give us. He hesitated to even put a number forward, knowing that it would seem like an insult. Maybe not an insult. But it totally felt like and injury, a gut-punch that at once deflated the hopes & plans we had been entertaining.
So - the facts at hand are this. We are back to the drawing board. The offer we made on that house is dead in the water. The buyer who was prepared to make that home purchase a reality for us has changed his tune, so that deal is also dead in the water. Dead in the water.
Good thing we serve a God who makes dead things come back alive, and who walks on water, calms raging waters and in fact CREATED water. This past weekend when I shared with the women at the retreat, we talked about being "Anchored in God's Love," so there was an awful lot of talk about all things nautical. As we talked about the fuel that powers God's love, I compared it to the power of water.
In a time that I was recently feeling overwhelmed by all that is wrong, broken and evil in the world, I was comforted simply by the thought of the power of water. The idea crossed my mind that as powerful as people are, we can neither contain the volume or the power of the water on this earth.
It fills 2/3 of the earth’s surface. We are made of it and need it to survive. It might seem weak as it slips through our fingers, but it can also slip in to the tiniest cracks, freeze, and break apart a mighty block of concrete. The presence of too much water in a flood or the absence of water in a drought can make or break the well-being of great portions of the earth’s population. Water is pretty powerful!
As mighty as water is, it is simply the creation of God. Imagine HIS power as it’s creator! It’s nearly impossible to wrap your mind around. The power of the God who loves us is beyond the strength of anything we can comprehend!
These are the facts. We aren't buying that house and it looks like it will be much later rather than sooner that we will be buying any house. We thought that we might be on track for this move to be a similar pace to our meeting & marrying which took place in pretty record time as far as relationships go. We have seen God work that way, and are entirely comfortable with it. But instead, it is looking like the patience-producing pace is what God has in store.
And our feelings? Well, I'd like to say that I'm just so full of faith and expectant for things to work out. After all, look at all that God has done for us already! And yet, I struggle. I'm cynical and doubtful. My default feelings run more along the line of self-centeredness and self-pity. Frank gets total credit for being the faith-filled one during this season. And for moments I am there too, and I think I will get there eventually. But as for now, it's all on God to give me even a mustard seed of faith.
Oddly enough, a sweet, silly song is giving me some of those moments of breakthrough faith. To get through his solo-parenting weekend Frank spent some time at his sister's house on Saturday, and she introduced him and our kids to OK Go, a band with catchy songs and jaw-dropping music videos. One of those songs, "I Won't Let You Down" is now on my running playlist. And even thought it a guy singing to a girl, the reality is that the chorus boasts something that no human can ever truthfully say to another human. "I won't let you down. My love won't let you down." So I'm banking on that. That the ONLY one who can truthfully say that, God himself, is not planning to let me down. Enjoy the video posted below. (It is amazing! A single continuous shot, filmed by a drone camera!) If some humans minds can create an execute something like this, certainly God has something good in store for our little family who is depending on Him and his goodness for our move to West Philly and our new home.