Learning from the "FOR SALE" Sign

Six years ago my husband and I moved to our current home.   Before we could do that, of course, we needed to sell our former house.  What a long, arduous process.  After 104 days on the market, our real estate agent left a message on our answering machine with bad news once again.  The prospective buyers who had visited our house three times -- that couple who was poised to make an offer, we had been told -- had put an offer in on another home.

We were back to square one.  And we were scheduled to move in less than three weeks.

That night I got into my car and drove without any destination in mind.  I imagined the worst possible outcomes: never selling our house, running out of savings as we paid two mortgages, losing the new home, needing to move back into the poorly-heated, poorly-ventilated, cramped, one-bedroom apartment where we first lived and not being able to carry Reese’s crib up its killer staircase.

I drove back roads where I rarely passed the oncoming headlights of another car.  I prayed aloud, voicing every concern on my heart, pinning down my rolling thoughts into words, and sensing that God was nodding along at all the right points, listening intently. 

Eventually I found myself on the opposite side of town.  I drove into a small neighborhood and stopped directly in front of the house that the potential buyers had chosen over ours.  Dimming my headlights, I conducted a blow-by-blow comparison of the features.  They had a shapely maple tree in their front yard, but so did we – and who bought a house for the tree in the yard?  They had a two car garage.  We had only one.  Without knocking on the door and asking for a tour, there wasn’t much else to evaluate.  

I still continued to stare.

As the light from their television flickered through their drawn blinds, I tried to think of something sensible to say if someone would question why I was sitting in a parked car outside of the house.  Nothing came to mind.

I scanned the yard until my eyes rested on the for sale sign.  Suddenly, I wanted to get out of the car and kick it down, to tear it from its measly posts and stomp it to bits.  These people, whoever they were, certainly didn’t need it anymore.  For all I knew, they were inside toasting their good fortune while I ogled the dark exterior of their house.

Even now, years later, I remember how depleted and hopeless I felt at that moment.  What's different is that I now know that the story wasn't finished that night.  Two weeks later we received an offer on our house, and all the loose threads were wound up.  Not as neatly or quickly as I would have liked, for certain, but wound up nonetheless.

Right now, I'm in a similar place.  I'm looking forward to when I can reflect back on the situation from a future perspective, assured that all the details have worked out.  But I'm not there yet.  In the meantime, I cling to what I know.

I know that God is faithful.

When I remember past difficulties -- those insurmountable hurdles, those unreachable deadlines, those hurts too deep to bear -- I see how He's carried me through every single one, time and time again.  When I look at my current situation from that perspective, I realize that this story isn't finished yet.

In fact, one day it's going to be added to the long litany of His faithfulness in my life.

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  1. *nods*  That has been the case for me more times than I like to admit, as I slowly learn to trust that it will all be as it should be.  The two things I remember most clearly at moments like that are, oddly, little graphics my now adult daughters have sent me.  They read "It will all be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end." and "I know when God closes a door He opens a window.  It's the dark hallways I have a problem with."  Somehow, they make me smile and help me hold on and trust a little longer.

  2. smoothstonesSeptember 30, 2012

    When faced with Goliath, David remembered: God had already delivered him from the lion and the bear. You've got a little David in you, sounds like; I'm proud to know you, and I'm sure that God will continue to prove Himself faithful to you. Sending up a prayer for you, tonight. (Please pray for us, too; sickness has descended, and we have a recently-vacated rental property that needs rented!)

  3. Isn't it neat that past victories build our faith to believe in future ones? We've been through so many ups and downs over the past few years I KNOW God will have the right solution when we need it next.  Hold on, it's gonna be exciting to see what God does to you!

  4. Thank you for reminding us that God is faithful! Even when we can't see the ultimate plan we can trust in Him!!

  5. Yes, this is so true, Bobbi!  Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. Brandee, then our prayers for each other are crossing over in the sky.  :) 

    Thanks so much for lifting me up.  I'm be praying that your family recovers, that you find renters, that your pregnancy finishes well, etc.  (Wow!  There's so much on your plate, isn't there?)  Keep going -- you're going to make it!

  7. Oooh, I love that one: "It will all be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end."  Thanks for sharing!

  8. smoothstonesOctober 01, 2012

    Your prayers for me are working; I'm soooo much better, today!!! Voice sounds a little funny, and my ribs are as sore as if I'd been kicked (mulitiple times), but I'm definitely on the mend! You hang in there, too!


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