In March of 2020 (a couple months ago) the world was hit with a global pandemic. Only weeks before I managed to abruptly and gracelessly leave the social media scene in obedience to a calling I felt God place on my heart. Since then I have questioned this choice, been tempted to return, only to decide the answer for my heart’s longing for connection within a quarantined world has to be found in other virtual platforms, like this one. I realize blogging is an extremely one-sided avenue for conversation and relationships, but I always talk too much and listen too little, so truthfully, it fits. Within this sphere, I have to be intentional about reaching out and it’s honestly good for me to need to be intentional. However, sending 15 texts to let everyone know about big life changes and updates is challenging (especially when I am uncertain about who is even interested in hearing them), so this platform once again seems to be perfect. You can expect my next several posts to surround the following momentous change we’ve faced in the last three months: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. Finally, we are making payments each month for our own outrageous debt balance as opposed to someone else’s, and it feels great. We have become turncloaks, WTF, and are officially Fruitese (ridiculously geographically localized humor). Naturally, the house-shopping during a coronavirus stay-at-home-order, renovating while facilitating remote learning for my oldest, and all the while searching for toilet paper and beans has been challenging. However, it’s been exciting and I am deeply aware of how lucky we considering majority of the world is struggling in health and economic uncertainty.
On a side note: I really don’t intend to minimize the global turmoil we are in right now by neglecting to talk about it. The truth is I have little encouragement or wisdom to share and therefore feel inept to share at all. All I know is God is still sovereign, He is still good, and I have absolutely no control over 99% of the issues we are all being faced with. So I’m left with choosing to focus on tackling the unique challenges and changes my family is facing and making our experience as joy-filled and normal as possible rather than spending my time discussing and proselytizing what to do about the pandemic and economic depression. I don’t mean this to be offensive for those who are wanting to debate or share their opinions and take on such a huge historic event; I think it’s awesome if you want to do that. Instead, I hope you can forgive me for deciding to set up a giant stack of hay in the corner of the room and letting the elephant stay there.
So back to the moving situation… For those of you who are thinking “but wait, Sarah, didn’t you just move in to and fix up a trailer house around the corner from you parent’s house?” Why yes, yes we did. To condense an otherwise long, drawn out story which could have been it’s own post (or three):
The location of the trailer house was exceptionally perfect, our initial assessment of the condition of the trailer and property seemed promising, and the possibilities appeared to be wonderful. In an ideal world, the whole situation would have been supremely wonderful. So being the idealist I am, with zeal and naive hope we spent weeks and several hundreds of dollars fixing up a trailer house we were renting with option to buy. Our landlord, the trustee of the estate for her late step-father (the property we were cleaning up), let us know from the beginning her intent wasn’t to make a huge profit off of the home. However, after living at the property for several months, the proverbial cat staggered out of the proverbial bag. We learned our landlord would be firm at her $190,000 asking price and that she would need to close the estate (implying she would need to sell it either to us or someone else) by July of 2020. We also learned trailer is “pre-hud,” meaning little other than no lender wanted to touch it with a 10 foot pole other than ONE guy who could only run us through a loan program requiring a full 20% down and a stomach-wrenching 6.5% interest rate. Yikes, right? To solidify our desire to scrap our efforts to make the property our own, we learned the extent of the property’s disintegration from water damage, septic issues, pest infestations, enormous diseased trees, and a deteriorating irrigation and sprinkler system. Needless to say, the property began to appear… well… less than ideal, despite it’s matchless location. However, still clinging to a thread of our battered hope, in the middle of February, we asked our landlord to renew our lease so we could figure out how to find a way to make the property work. Our landlord declined and wished to go month-to-month. Channeling my inner husband and choosing the pessimistic (I’m sorry… “realistic”) view of the world, I presumed her reasons were ominous, and we chose to get pre-approved and start searching for a different home. Enter… COVID19…
The next month was a whirlwind. We asked a family member to represent us as a realtor, learned of the stay-at-home order, saw our now home pop up onto a real estate page, and asked to go see it. We were able to do a walk through just before more of the covid19 restrictions hit. We learned the seller was looking for a cash offer, but we put in an offer anyway, the seller accepted. We were under contract (woo hoo!). A couple days later we had the inspection and appraisal on the same day, but the appraisal came back with conditions and construction needed to be done in order for the loan to go through. We knew the seller wanted to sell “as is,” so we thought the deal was over… but the seller agreed to do all the required repairs over the weekend. We came to the house Friday: no work was done, Saturday: no work was done, Sunday: no work, finally Monday people were working on the house to be appraised the next day. We went Monday night and found some of the things weren’t actually finished, we thought the deal was over…but the seller insisted they would get it done by the following afternoon. The appraiser agreed to come after the work was done. We got the approval from the appraiser. We got the approval from our lender. We closed on the house! In less than 30 days we went from seeing a listing for our house to having the keys in our hands. After a roller coaster f emotion, we finally purchased probably the only house within 75 miles that fit in our price range, which required “an insane amount of work” as quoted by an investor, in the middle of a viral pandemic…. making us completely nuts.
I can say my faith and trust in God was tested during that month. I remember crying to Drew after hearing the appraisal and before the seller decided to make the repairs on the home and telling him I was so frustrated because I didn’t understand and couldn’t see what God was doing. It only took a few days of hindsight before that moment seemed so silly. But that’s the thing about God’s sovereign plan, it really doesn’t make sense sometimes. Sometimes it seems so painful, so unfair, so… well wrong, but it is always the right one. There are times when the magic of His plan makes sense after a few days, but I know there are times His plan won’t make sense until we are standing before Him. There’s where the faith part has to come in. Trusting God “should” be so easy because He proves Himself time and time again, but it’s hard because we are so extremely human. The way He moved to help us get this house was nothing short of amazing. The way He has worked to bring us support and help during this first month of renovation is nothing short of humbling. Rest assured, you will be hearing more about this renovation process, seeing before-and-after photos, and staying up to date with the progress we are making. For now, though, just know it has been a blessing… and a headache… and exciting to be nuts living in our little Fruity house.