Hey! It’s me, I’m back and in a BIG way.
Yes, you read that right…the Hershberger’s are (first-time-in-our-lives) homeowners! As with many things throughout my life, this is exciting, scary, stressful, awesome, and stinkin awesome all rolled into one!
When we moved to the bigger city this past summer, we had a goal to eventually purchase a home. After all, we had rented throughout our entire marriage, and we wanted to put down some roots, decorate the interior (ok maybe just me), maintain the lawn, and truly invest in something that was ours! With the series of events that led to Chad’s job offer and our move, we were in no way financially prepared, or emotionally prepared to embark on the house buying process at that time. So, we rented an apartment. It felt like the right decision at the time, and there are serious ways we could see God’s hand throughout the process…like moving in across the way from old friends who I went to high school and college with! Or, finding a church within the first few weeks of moving. I could go on and on and on about the ways that God worked out the details about our move to the city, but the greatest story so far is the one about how we ended up in this house.
So, like I said, we had the goal of buying a house. So, we buckled down our finances and got serious about saving. Around January, we knew that we were well on our way, and with our apartment lease ending in June, we knew we had about a 6-month timeframe to work with. So, during the early part of the year we started casually looking at houses, just to see what was out there. Without a huge time crunch, we were able to be ultra picky. But, to be honest, nothing quite fit what we needed. Too much work, not enough work, wrong elementary school boundary, only two beds upstairs, etc… So, we continued this process into spring, when we began to really feel the crunch. Knowing that buying a house takes time, offers, counter-offers, contract, inspections, repairs, closing, etc… it’s not just an overnight process.
I will spare all the lame details, but after getting very discouraged, the discussion about staying in the apartment another year came up. Yes, on the outset, it sounded like a not-so-bad idea, but then you start thinking about it more…and the major flaws of living there another year seem to scream out. So, our patience was running thin. We kept praying, knowing that God’s timing was always better than what we could attempt to create ourselves.
On April 25th, over Chad’s lunch hour, we quick looked at a house that had only been on the market for a few days. From previous experience, we knew that we would have to act fast, as houses that we wanted were flying off the market. I had spent the morning with a friend, and on the way to the showing, K fell asleep in the backseat. Chad quick picked up some lunch, and we met our realtor at the house. We opened up the tailgate of Chad’s truck, and shoved our faces with food, while K took a nap in my car with the windows rolled down.
Chad encouraged me to take a quick look first, while he finished up lunch and hung outside with K. I walked in, checked out the kitchen and living room, counted the bedrooms upstairs, went downstairs, looked outside (spotted the shed), and felt good about what I saw. I came outside to trade spots with Chad. While I stood outside, I scoped out the neighbors, enjoyed the shade from the mature trees, pictured my family siting on the front deck, and before I knew it…Chad came out and said “I’m ready to put in an offer right now” I smiled and said, “Ok” knowing that I could definitely see ourselves in this place, the timing was right, and we didn’t want to lose out on a house that was in our price range, and so very well taken care of. Yes, it was on the older side, but it would allow us to make changes over time, and as money allowed. We stood in the driveway with our realtor and made a plan of action. He would head back to his office and write up the contract, bring it back to us and we would meet at Chad’s work to fill everything out. We had our offer in by 3pm that afternoon.
So, we waited. It happened to be Easter weekend, so we thought there might be a chance we wouldn’t hear for a while. We sent the link to the online profile of the house to our parents, explained all the features and got everyone excited about the possible future. We were hanging out at my parents, just coming in from playing outside, sitting around the kitchen table with my younger brother talking about the house, and how it could be next week before we hear, when Chad looked down at his phone and saw he had a missed call. Our realtor. Chad immediately called him back and we received some of the greatest news: they accepted our offer!! Not even 24 hours after our contract was submitted. And just like that, we were on our way.
With closing less than a month later, we got down to business. Securing financing, and all the other details. Our realtor had talked to the seller’s realtor and he mentioned that the husband of the couple had some failing health, and that was the reason for the push to sell. In my mind, I pictured the couple to be possibly in their 70s or older.
We set up the inspection for a few days following the contract finalization, we had the opportunity to be there with the inspector so that he could tell Chad all of the findings. When we showed up, the homeowners were there. We got to meet them, and immediately we knew we were dealing with some very special people. The wife, a spunky, loving lady, at only 58 cares diligently for her husband who has an illness that affects his frontal lobe. I believe the word degeneration was thrown around. In her words, “something far worse than dementia or Alzheimer’s”.
As they were leaving, so that the home inspector could do his thing, she mentioned that she would like to set up a time to get together and walk through a few things and tell us about the house. I looked at our realtor (as the rule follower that I am) and said “Is that ok?” and he said “Oh yeah, it’s great actually if somebody wants to be that transparent with you”.
The inspection turned out just fine (just an older roof that needed replacing – which God worked out the details again…upgraded shingles at no cost because the sellers knew somebody), and we scheduled a Saturday to get together not fully knowing what our meeting would look like. We showed up,she took us through the house and gave me little tidbits like wallpaper that she tried to remove, when she put up certain wallpaper, and gave us small details like that in each room. She then took us out to the backyard porch, with a stack of manuals, warranties, receipts, (all very well-organized) and checklist of all the things she wanted to tell us. Step by step she walked us through each thing. All the while, including small family stories about their time in this house. Not only was this lady “simple amazing”, her attitude about life is remarkable. She has a joy that can only come from the Lord. She has been given some of life’s toughest circumstances. Her husband, her companion, the father of her children, has to be cared for 24/7. She has maintained the home, watching countless youtube videos just so she knew how to install a new thermostat among many other things. Throughout the morning we heard phrases like “God is amazing!” “We were given 35 wonderful years” “God is awesome!”
Beyond that, she sat there and told us how excited she was for us. So excited to meet us. How she was so happy to cover a portion of closing costs because somebody did that for them. How she had prayed for us. How she wanted to keep in touch and see things we did to the house. I sat there in tears, all of the other circumstances led us to this point. Sitting on the back porch of our soon to be home with the seller telling us that she had been praying for the future owners (US!).
So, this morning, we met back at the house for the final walk thru. Of course, everything was in remarkable shape, she had cleaned every inch, and set it up perfectly for us to dive right in and start to do a few renovations (mostly paint).
And then, after closing, I went back over with K to check it out again, put the key through the door to our NEW house, and let him run around in the fenced in backyard. I opened up the screen door and there was a sticky note with a scripture. I looked in the living room, and just above the thermostat was another sticky note, with more scripture. In each, and every room…a sticky note with scripture. She had walked through the house, praying over each room, and placed God’s word there for us to see.
SERIOUSLY!?! Seriously?? If you EVER doubt that God’s timing is always best, do I have a testimony for you. Well, I actually have a lot of circumstances in my life like that, but this is a BIG one. Is God worthy of our trust? Well, yeah, he most certainly is. Is there any doubt that we are right where we are supposed to be? Um, yeah, this is definitely NOT where I pictured our family when Chad and I got married 4 short years ago, but WOW, God has given us way more than we could have asked or imagined. And he promises to take care of us, if we put our trust and faith in Him.
So, here it is…by God’s grace, our new home.