Today is a pretty big day for the Stillman family.
I’ve been pretty vague about some stuff we’ve been dealing with for the last few months (okay, more like six+ months)… and while I won’t share all of the details, I can share some.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we moved back in April. We bought a house and put our first house on the market. The whole process for buying this house was SO fast. We’d been looking around online for MONTHS and driving around neighborhoods, but we hadn’t actually gone and looked inside any. Our realtor is a good friend of ours from church (she was in our small group), and we had found a couple houses online that we liked and we wanted to go look at them one Sunday after church. At the last minute, John’s mom had found another house online that she thought we’d like, so we added that to the list and we were gonna spend a nice morning looking at houses.
Well, the last minute house was the one we went to look at first. The minute we walked in the door, we fell in love. We loved the hardwood floors, we loved the open feel, we loved the lot, we loved the backyard, we loved it all. We hadn’t even been upstairs yet and I think John and I both knew that we were going to make an offer on that house. The more we walked through it, the more we loved it.
We left that house not even really excited about going to look at the other two, but we headed that way anyway. As we looked at the other two, we kept comparing them to the first one. We just knew the first house was supposed to be ours.
Fast-forward to later that day, we decided to go back to the first house and look at it with a more critical eye. We stood upstairs in the hallway and we prayed, out loud, that God would help point us in the direction we were supposed to go. If this was supposed to be our house, then let it be. But if not, then shut that door… literally.
We knew we were taking a leap of faith. Our current home wasn’t even on the market yet… but we were going to put an offer in on a house. We knew that a lot of people were looking at it and we didn’t want to lose it. So after some number crunching, lots and lots of prayer, we knew we could do it and we submitted the offer and it was accepted. We were buying a new house and moving to Durham!
The whole house buying process on our end was just so easy. We had enough money saved up and we moved things around to be able to make the downpayment… even without selling our current house, and everything just kept falling into place. It was all so easy. We knew God has His hand in the process.
About two weeks after we put the offer in and it was accepted, we put our house on the market. The market in Hillsborough (especially for houses of our size) was so good. There wasn’t much inventory, we were priced right, the house looked great, etc. etc. etc. We were so confident that we’d sell fast.
We had a pretty good amount of showings the first week or so.
And then we sat.
We moved mid-April to our new house and our old house sat. Vacant. No one wanting to look at it. We didn’t have a showing for over a month.
Then stuff just started happening and we were getting hit left and right with stuff that we never expected. Stuff we just couldn’t have planned for.
Meanwhile, we have two mortgages. And we had to keep the utilities on at the old house, too. So, two mortgages. Two houses with utilities. It was becoming really stressful. It was weighing heavily on us. Why didn’t anyone want our house? The feedback on showings was always great.
We dropped the price three times.
Some other stuff happened with the house (that for privacy’s sake I won’t state here (if you really want to know you can email me :)… haha!) but I’ll just say it was a royal pain in the butt to deal with), and then we got multiple offers! They all came in at one time and WOOHOO! We were selling a house and we got an offer that was HIGHER than the asking price. Things were looking up!
Then, not seven days after we accepted the highest offer, the buyer backed out.
The other people who were interested? They’d found other houses.
Back to square one.
Then, finally, two months later, after being on the market for five months, we got an offer. We weren’t dancing and jumping up for joy yet because we’d already done that once before… but it was a good offer, it would work, and we could sell the house.
That was two months ago. Today, we are closing on the house. No more two mortgages (yay!!). No more mowing two lawns (yay!!). No more stress and weight of waiting.
We truly, truly never thought this day would come.
For months we prayed and asked God why? What was our lesson here? If we weren’t supposed to move, then why did you make the buying process so easy for us? Why wasn’t our house selling if it was what You wanted for us to begin with?
So many questions. We were throwing proverbial temper tantrums as things just kept getting more difficult.
But, right before we got the final offer, John and I had a talk about things and we realized, that even though this whole process had been so stressful, and so crazy, and so tiring… and even though we felt like there were times when God just wasn’t there and wasn’t hearing us… that that wasn’t the case at all.
We broke down the last five months and realized… God had actually been there the entire time. Right when we put our house on the market and bought the new house, John’s side business had started to take off and grow. And he was bringing home an income from it. In fact, when we crunched the numbers, we realized that right at the time we started making payments on two houses, that was the time that John started bringing home the extra income… just enough to cover the expenses of the old house.
We never had to tap into savings. We didn’t go over on our monthly budget. We crunched and cut things everywhere we could, and we stayed faithful in tithing and giving and… God provided. Big time. When expenses would come up, the money would be there… almost to the penny.
We realized that this whole process was just a test of our faith in God’s provision. We had to make decisions completely on faith alone and trust in God alone because there were times when we did NOT know if we were going to be able to make it happen. John is a planner. I’m a planner, to an extent. But together, we had to really stretch our faith and stretch our trust in the Lord and KNOW that He was going to take care of us.
And He did. Every step of the way.
Now, I want to say that I know that there are people who have been through similar situations for much longer than six months… and I am not trying to say we were handed the worst deck of cards ever… because I KNOW we weren’t. But I will just say, that all of this, including some other things here and there, compiled together… it really took a toll on us.
It just is the confirmation that I needed to know that everything truly, honestly, and really happens for a reason. God works for the good of those who LOVE HIM and I know that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. We will always be taken care of. Provided for… as long as we trust and cling to Him in our times of need.
While our first house will always have a special place in our hearts… I have to say that we are pretty dang excited to be done with it. Haha!
All of this to say… God is never late. He’s never early. He’s always on time. And His timing is always perfect.