Three and a half years ago we packed up our house in Fort Worth, TX and moved to Midwest City, OK. After 14 years in youth ministry, I had accepted a call to be the pastor at Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene. Ironically, I would be returning to the church where my ministry journey started and the church my wife attended as a child. I won’t go into all the details, but God had given me assurance that making this move was the right thing. All we needed was for our house to sell in Fort Worth and we would be good.
Only our house didn’t sell…
My brother and sister-in-law had graciously allowed us to stay with them, but the months were dragging on and the house still didn’t sell. We did everything we knew to do. We repainted the house. We put in new carpets, but the market was horrendous. There were several foreclosures in our area that were driving the selling price way down. In short, we would have lost thousands of dollars if we would have unloaded the house at that point.
That’s when the questions started to set in… God, I thought if you called us here you would work out the details? Did we mis-hear you God? (Honestly, it wouldn’t have been the first time) Why isn’t this thing working out?
I preached a funeral in June of 2010 for a sweet saint of our church. Through the hospital visitation I was doing I got to know her three sons. After the funeral, I was standing around talking like we pastors do and one of the sons approached me.
He said, “My brothers and I were talking, and we figured that we have our mom’s house and you don’t have a house. We weren’t wanting to sell it right away anyway, so why don’t you just live there until your house sells, rent free!” (He wouldn’t even let me pay the utilities) This was a major answer to prayer because we were still paying a mortgage.
We lived there for three months and began to realize that our house WASN’T going to sell. The market was terrible. That’s when our realtor told us that the renting market was good because it was getting harder to qualify for home loans.
We ended up leasing our house for 3 years. I hadn’t ever even HEARD of a three year lease. We spoke to the brothers here in Oklahoma about renting the house we had been staying in while we leased our house in Texas. They agreed. Our rent included utilities and it was really cheap. Meanwhile, our renters in Fort Worth were ideal. They never missed a payment or were late.
When we were informed that our tenants were breaking the lease a few months early, I was a bit panicked at first. It meant we would be picking up a mortgage again. But then I began to hear rumblings that the market in Ft. Worth had taken off. Also, if our tenants would have finished out the lease, we would have been trying to sell the house in October instead of in the summer. Summer is prime time for real estate.
Yesterday, we signed closing documents on the house. After three and a half years, the house is sold! If we would have sold the house originally, we would have lost thousands of dollars. Today I will have one of the larger deposits my bank account has ever seen.
As I have thought about this whole process, I have realized that God was working out the details when we moved. God WAS still looking out for us. He used the kindness of family who let us move in with them, the kindness of three brothers who gave us a house to live in, the wisdom of a realtor, and even the influx of jobs into a bad housing market. He was just doing it in HIS time.
Some people think that God is up there like a puppet master moving people and things around to do His bidding.
I like to think of God as a jazz musician improvising with what humanity is doing. A great jazz improvisationalist can even make a child’s rendition of chopsticks sound good.
Here are a couple pics from yesterday. The first is one is me signing the closing papers.
The second pic is the celebration dinner we had last night at one of our favorite restaurants, Joe’s Crab Shack! That is something else I learned from this three and a half year ordeal. When we have to wait for something, the celebration at the end is so much sweeter!
We used to sing a song when I was a kid that went something like this:
In His time, In His time, He makes all things beautiful in his time…
My family and I are attesting to that fact today!
Just a thought,