Saturday, July 13, 2013

Learning to Trust God

Here we go.  Off on our adventure.  We sold our house a week ago!  A day filled with joy and relief to have this obstacle to our future plans overcome but sadness as we love our home and neighbors and wish we could stay. 
Here it is with the fresh paint job.

 "Where are you going?", we are asked practically every day.  "We are going to be homeless", I reply.  Actually we won't be living under a bridge, my parents are taking us in, but if we haven't found a new home by the end of August we might have to live under a bridge to maintain our relationship with them!  Moving back home when you have been independent for 23 years and your parents have been empty nesters for nearly 15 is a risky venture.  We are all having a good attitude about it and I am confident we will have fun for a month but at the end of the day we all like our independence so the sooner we are able to answer the question, "where are you going?", the better.

This is a summer in which I am very busy working for nothing.  Starting Real Estate is a lot of doing stuff while making no money.  So I am spending my days either mailing notes or visiting properties or learning more about the real estate process.  Making contacts and hoping eventually one of them turns into a paycheck to justify my existence and cover my expenses.  I have a couple exciting leads and will hopefully have a check soon.  In the mean time I did sell my own house!

John is starting to get busy this summer but after 2 years of not pursuing his business the referrals and work just weren't waiting for him the moment he finished classes in May like we had hoped.  He got off to a slow start this summer and we are catching up as fast as we can.

Honestly, if I was looking at us from the outside knowing how we are struggling financially, I would see 2 people who are being lazy and in denial of the fact that they just need to go get jobs!  I am making no money and John made basically nothing for nearly 3 months this spring.  In less than 2 months John goes back to school and construction dries up.  What on earth are we doing?!  We just sold our house and are moving in with my parents just so we can continue to not get jobs.

While I know that isn't what we are doing sometimes in the middle of the mess I can loose sight of the plan and start to worry that really is what we are doing and we are just in denial.

The long view.  Isn't that what I keep telling you we are having for this education? "Most people over estimate what they can do in a year and under estimate what they can do in 10 years."  We are on the 10 year plan not the 1 year plan.

Remember the movie, "Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith?  It was about a man who was offered an opportunity to train for a great job that had the potential to make him big money but it was an unpaid internship working many hours and he had a son to take care of.  Anyone looking at his situation would have said he was crazy to pursue that opportunity.  He needed to get himself a job, make money and get a place to live.  Instead he lived in a homeless shelter and made major sacrifices to his comfort during that time.  As a result he was able to get that training and become a wealthy man.  He had a vision for more.

That is us, we have a bigger vision for our future.  We are going to be homeless while we pursue our success.  People do what we are doing all the time, they are just usually 19 and single, not in their 40's with 2 kids and a big mortgage.  

The secret to staying focused as we walk this path has been what we are focused on.

When I was in labor with Jake I remember the importance of focus.  When a contraction came and I started thinking about how much it hurt and how uncomfortable I was that contraction just got worse and worse and I got lost in the pain and felt total panic.  When I relaxed and focused on breathing and the spot on the wall my body was able to more naturally go through the contraction and, while it was still painful, I was more relaxed and peaceful.

Our journey through John's education is sort of like labor.  When we focus on what we don't have, what we need, what we have given up, how big John's future student loans are likely to be and all the ways our life is not exactly how we imagined it would be at this age, we panic.  It is painful, we question what we are doing and are full of fear.  But when we focus on the Lord and trust Him, his guidance and provision, when we watch (my word of the year) and see what He is doing each day in our lives, the process goes more smoothly and we are more relaxed and at peace.

A friend of mine recently wrote this post about learning patience which she calls the "P" word.  We have all had someone shush us to not ask God for Patience because he might actually test us with something to teach it to us.  While "trust" doesn't instill quite the same fear as the word "patience" in many ways they are related.  Because when you are trusting God, you have to be patient.  God rarely works on our time schedules or carries out our agendas.  He works on his own time and follows his own plans.

As we pack up our house, put it all in a storage container and prepare for homelessness there have definitely been days when I have panicked.  WHAT are we doing?  But slowly, as I watch God working, as I let go and trust Him, follow Him down this path we are walking, I am seeing hope.  I am relaxing and leaning into His promises, His plans and care for us.

There have been many little things but here are a couple things I have watched God do this summer:

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling low thinking I needed to get a job and asked God to just give me a little piece of encouragement to keep me moving forward with real estate.  The same day I got a floor call (where someone randomly calls the office) for an opportunity to list an $800,000 house.  HUGE.  I decided because of my lack of experience to ask one of the most successful agents in my office to help me and have learned a ton working with him.  We haven't heard yet but I am hopeful.  Whether it comes together or not it was exactly what I needed.  There have been several other much smaller but also exciting possibilities since then and so I just keep working and trusting that God will provide through this job.

An agent I am working with mentioned a house he was aware of that had been empty for several years.  The owner (who did not live there) died a year ago shortly after this agent met with him about selling the house.  He knew it hadn't been listed since his death and mentioned it as a possible listing I could pursue.  But the moment I saw it I knew it would be our future house.  It is 3 blocks from our church and cute as can be.  But a year after the owner died it is still in his name and going through probate. Figuring out who the heir is and where they are at in the process has turned out to be something of a challenge.  Yet, every time I come across a road block I find a new path to pursue.  Over the past few weeks I just kept making calls and asking questions.  This week I found out they are one document away from finishing probate and putting this house on the market! Yesterday I was able to leave a slightly too eager message with the realtor who will be listing it.  After leaving the message I just prayed and told God that while I realize there is no promise that we will get the house, I can't believe he hasn't opened this path up for some reason.  There is still a lot I don't know about this house, like exactly how much work it will need after sitting empty for over 5 years, but, I am excited about the possibility.  For now we are patiently trusting God as he works out the details.

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