TODAY’S FORECAST: SLEEPY
This is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passin’ through
This is just a stop, on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this is my temporary home
~Lyrics from “Temporary Home” — Carrie Underwood~
The first time I heard these lyrics they were so meaningful to me in so many ways and their timing was impeccable, as God’s timing always is. Given that we had just moved to our own “temporary home,” a small, two-bedroom condo that was supposed to tie us over a few months while we built our “real home,” the lyrics struck a chord with me in the heart of our latest storm.
In my 2nd blog post I shared the story of both my health decline and the loss of our builder. Bob and I had to make a new plan and that’s where today’s story picks back up. We were depleted physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and had some tough decisions to make. The first one was what to do about extending our lease agreement. We had signed a lease agreement for the condo for six months and time was already ticking away on that. Bob went and talked to the property manager and asked what our options were after the six months were up. After hearing our story, the property manager shook her head and said, “I wish I would have known you were building with them. Another lady who is renting here is in the exact same situation, I wish I could have warned you.” Luckily, she had all kinds of options for us to continue our contract. We could sign another short-term lease or even go month-to-month as needed if we found something more permanent and needed some time. We were at least thankful that no matter what happened, we weren’t going to be totally homeless. Not that our families would have EVER allowed that, but we were just glad to have something stable for the kids for a while. They had already been through enough change and turmoil as it was.
The second decision we had to make was what to do about more “permanent” living. We knew we couldn’t stay in that condo, forever. Jake and Meghan were sharing a room, a 4th grade girl and a 1st grade boy and we knew that was definitely not a long-term solution. We had belongings in the condo, belongings in a storage unit, belongings at both parents’ homes, so we were all over the place. Bob and I decided that no matter what we had to do, we were going to have a house somewhere locally.
We looked at houses for rent, we looked at houses for sale. There was nothing that fit our needs. If we found a ranch, it was old and needed a lot of work and because of my CF and our son’s allergies, we were continually worried about mold and pets. Nothing was a fit, not even close.
We didn’t want to make another bad financial decision, but we both felt strongly like God was telling us to build our home. The thought of looking at another builder, let alone trusting one to follow through without taking our money seemed unthinkable, but we put it in God’s hands. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but the gamble paid off.
We began talking to people and background checking several builders. We found three that were in good financial standing and seemed to have a plan to meet our needs. All three seemed like upstanding people who not only cared what had happened to us, but also apologized profusely on behalf of all builders for the nightmare we went through. We determined that we could pull enough money for the project from our retirement savings. Bob works in the retirement savings industry as had I many years ago and we both knew the ramifications of doing so. We were sick about having to do it, but both felt strongly we had to do this for our family’s future. Terrified, we began the process of withdrawing the money. We had the funds, now all we needed to do is choose a builder and Bob and I were not agreeing on who we should choose.
We eliminated one of the builders easily because we just weren’t getting as much for our money with them in the plans that they drew up. That left us with two. I took one, Bob took the other which had been recommended to him by a co-worker who “had a builder friend.” Both of us had our reasons and both us were not willing to give up without a fight. We had come to an impasse. One night I remember praying, “God, if I’m supposed to give him his way, let me know.” Such a compassionate heart I had! LOL But don’t you know it, the very next day my builder called and said, “Jen, I’ve been talking to my contractors, we’ve been trying to figure out how we can give you exactly what you want for the price you and Bob need, but I just can’t get it down. I honestly think you can do better than what I’m giving you, it’s just we’ve got folks that are not budging.” Not budging. Hmm… kinda like me. I hung up the phone thankful that we had met someone who was so honest and disappointed that I had to go tell Bob, “Okay, you win.”
Losing that battle was the best thing that ever happened to us. A month later, we had signed a new contract to build with a company called Old World Classics. Andrew Eggeman custom planned a beautiful three-bedroom ranch with a finished basement for us. It had everything we wanted, plus more. This was just not a basic house, it had extras throughout and we were ecstatic.
Unbeknownst to Bob and I, we found out that our first builder had never purchased the lot we had chosen to initially build on and had relinquished the title back to the bank. They were trying to get it off their books at year-end and Bob and I scooped it up for about a 1/3 of its value. Andrew and his team immediately went to work on our home and with the mildest winter Ohio has seen in years, our home was built in a record 4 months. Through it all, Andrew and his wife Davene were two of the most caring, compassionate and responsible people we’ve ever met. We not only had a home, we had new friends.
Every day we went to see the progress on the house and marveled at the changes. Days where I didn’t feel good, I’d wait for Bob to get home and we’d all trek over together, otherwise I’d drive over after dropping off the kids at school. If I did nothing else that day, it was so much fun to drive over and see our plan finally coming to fruition. So many times towards the end of the construction process, I’d walk in the house with my camera, snapping pictures with tears rolling down my face, overwhelmed by gratitude.
A couple of nights before our move-in date, I remember being over at the house with Bob and the kids, looking at all our new appliances and fixtures, feeling proud of what we had done. All of the sudden that same Carrie Underwood chorus whisked through my mind, “This is our temporary home, this is not where we belong…” and it actually made me sad for a moment. Immediately I went to panic mode and thought, “Are you trying to tell me something here God, because if you are going to tell me that you’re going to take this beautiful house away from us, then, I don’t want to hear it!” Oh my stubborn heart! Then another “chorus” entered my thoughts. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2.)
As much joy as I had that we were finally in our “permanent” home, I realized that it’s not really “permanent” either. God has a place for me that is permanent, a place where no storms endure, where clouds are only fluffy and perfect, where nothing, not even the 4 walls of our new home could begin to compare. I remember a conversation with Meghan recently when a friend was coming over to the new house for the first time. As most 5th graders and even most of us adults often do, she’s still concerned with appearances. She was worried about what this friend would think of her new house and that she would think it wasn’t as big as our old one. I smiled to myself, thinking, oh Meghan, don’t you know, this is our temporary home.
If you want to see pictures of the building of our new “temporary home,” you can view them here. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1907421140767.52687.1698986651&type=3&l=b0905f5f2a