We went to see the house and fell completely in love. It was everything we had wanted but had not been able to articulate. It was bigger than our current 1100 square foot house, but not excessively so. It was on two and a half acres, and we felt like we could breathe. There was a big barn (already partially built out) that would make an amazing recording studio/workshop for all of Chris' projects. It was way out in the country, but you could get back into town in 10 minutes flat. The school system was one of the best and most sought-after in the state.
And the sky. Oh, the sky! It was big and bold over our heads and at night it sparkled with a ga-jillion stars. I'd forgotten there were that many! There were horses on both sides of us and four bedrooms and a fireplace. There was even a fire pit out back for sing-a-longs and marshmallows.
There was room for a garden and chickens and goats.
There was room for my family to thrive.
It had only been on the market for two days, and we knew it wouldn't last long. Yet, we were still a bit hesitant because... well... this was the very first house we had even gone to look at! Shouldn't we, I don't know, look around a bit more before we dove right in??
Sometimes you just know about these things... sort of like how I just knew about a certain tall, lanky, bleached blond 18 year-old drummer named Christopher Clark back in high school. Sometimes, you just have to let your heart get a little reckless... break a rule or two.
Besides, I'd been looking around online for long enough to know that this was something special.
The next day, we took the $500 gift we'd received and we put an offer on that house. It was an offer that would work for us while leaving us some extra cash to put back into the house for some updates. We wanted to re-do some of the floors and update the bathrooms and put in a storm shelter. <---(PRIORITY ONE.) A few days later, the owners countered the offer we made, asking us to pay $4000 more than we'd initially offered.
Looking back now, it seems silly that those $4000 caused such tumult in our hearts, but we really didn't want to pay more than we felt we should. The decision now came down to buying the house, knowing that we couldn't fix up some of the things that we would want to right away, or walking away and praying that something else would sweep us off of our feet like this house had done.
We went back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for a couple of days. An extra $4000 out of our pockets would probably mean no storm shelter right away. If we did buy the house, we'd end up moving in right smack-dab in the middle of tornado season, and we'd lived in Oklahoma long enough to know that a storm shelter was not optional for our family. It was an absolute must.
We prayed that God would help us make a decision. We wanted the house so badly, but we wanted to be wise too.
It had been a week since we'd first seen the house, and our already frazzled wits were about to snap with the weight of this final decision. At this point, we had been seeking an answer from God about where to make our home for about eight months, and this felt like it could potentially be the final hurdle in the race. If we decided to accept the counter offer, we would be committing to staying here in Oklahoma. We would be making a huge choice for our family, our three growing boys. Should we do it? Should we not? Were we missing it? Or were we right where we were meant to be?
That morning, Chris had planned to go straight to work, but on his way there, Cameron called him. Cameron told Chris about an amazing thing that had happened to him the day before. God had basically told Cameron through a prophetic word that all of the stuff that had gotten stolen from him would be restored, even though it had been missing for two whole months. That very same day, he had every last bit of his gear returned to him by the local police, who had caught the guy who stole it all. As Cam was telling Chris this story, Chris happened to be driving right by our church. Chris was so excited about what God had done for Cameron, that he pulled off the road into the church parking lot so he could hoot & holler and finish the rest of the phone conversation.
After he got off the phone, he felt like God was asking him to go inside the church sanctuary and pray. He hopped out of his truck and went inside. As he was praying, he felt like God was telling him that he should not stress so much about the numbers. It was less about how much was needed here or there, and more about trusting that God would provide for us and wanted to bless us with this house. He was asking Chris to lift his eyes up.
As Chris was walking out of the sanctuary, he ran into his best buddy Joel. He wanted to fill Joel in on all that was happening, so they went to grab a bite to eat. Chris told Joel about the house and the $500 that had been given to us. He also started to tell Joel about the dreams that I had had- including the one about all of the college kids filling up our new house.
As Chris started telling Joel about my dream, Joel's eyes filled with tears. He said that for the last few weeks, he and the youth pastor, Andy, had been praying about and scheming up ways to try and get Chris to be the college worship pastor for the brand new college group that they were going to start up at Bridgeway in the Fall. They hadn't wanted to approach Chris with the idea yet, though, because they knew that he and I were considering leaving the state, and they hadn't wanted to put any kind of weird pressure on us if we felt God calling us elsewhere.
This was all just so... crazy. And really, a dream come true for my musically talented and pastorally-hearted husband. Chris was crying. Joel was crying. And then Joel asked Chris what the HECK he was waiting for on this house. haha.
Chris called me and filled me in quickly on everything that had happened that morning, and told me he was feeling like we should go for it on the house. I agreed. Then Chris texted the real estate agent and told her we wanted to accept the counter offer.
Joel and Chris were clinking glasses and celebrating just as my mom called me at the house. She said that she and my dad had been talking, and they had decided that they would like to give us $5000 toward the house, as a gift.
Literally SECONDS after we accepted the offer on the house, after feeling like God said we should move forward in faith and He would provide, we were being given more than enough to cover the difference we'd been wrestling with...more than enough to install the storm shelter that we needed.
Now I was the one who crying. I texted Chris the news.
Basically, to make a long story short, we were all just blubbering like little tiny babies everywhere. hahahaha. Chris told me later he wanted to stand up on the table in that restaurant and just shout to all the people sitting there that there truly is a God and He is is REAL!!! Our joy was overflowing! We had never felt God so near.
We were not completely in the clear yet, however. There were inspections to be done and financing to secure. I didn't realize it at the time, but one of the most challenging parts of this journey was still up ahead for me... but God had already been orchestrating a way to prove Himself faithful in that yet again.
He had already authored this entire story, in advance. He does not write our lives out in chapter installments, hoping it will all come together in the end. He IS the Beginning and the End! We are wrapped up in His story, and the ending is always good for those who trust Him.