In college I’m pretty sure we did a cheesy interpretive dance to a Wes King song called, “Home Inside of Me” – don’t judge! You know you wanted to be up there on stage too. 🙂 Pause. Okay, I’ve come out from under the bed due to embarrassment and wanted to admit that I kinda liked that song. It’s all about God choosing to make his home inside of our lives. My beautiful church would call that heaven down inside out living. The name Beth means, “House of God.” The road to living up to my name sometimes feels long and other times has felt like a crazy fun story. For a long time I have wanted God to feel as at home as possible in this sometimes too uncomfortable skin of mine. What is it about “home” that so many of us ache for? The world is not how it should be, so we long for Home….
For a number of years there has been an increased desire for a tangible home of my own, but honestly it just hasn’t been a possibility. I have shed tears over the longing for a home, all while God was continuing to invite me to a deeper understanding of what my name meant – House of God. As I discipled/mentored college student after college student and watched them graduate and buy a home, the comparison game became a thorn in my flesh. Having students and staff over to my house was okay, because I didn’t mind asking them to sit in a circle in my living room floor, but over time I began to want to offer them a seat. 🙂 Over the past year with comparison (still is) unfolding, HE began to loosen my firm grip on a dream I was holding onto a little too tightly. He’s pretty jealous for our hearts.
So here’s the story.
December 7th – student loan payments enter in to repayment and it is A LOT of money. Will take 7 years for me to get the debt down to a debt/income ratio where the bank will give me a home loan.
December 16th. My friend and our college pastor Jeff preached this particular Sunday. He shared story after story about the Church being Jesus to one another. The stories were powerful and I kept thinking about how I wanted to love my church and people the way that Jeff was talking about. He gets to the end of his sermon and he says he feels compelled for us as a church to pray for two things. The second thing had to do with finances. Specifically it had to do with, “Someone all of a sudden has come in to debt and feels held back from dreaming dreams with God about the future.” He wanted those of us struggling to stand up. I did not want to stand up. I was too embarrassed and ashamed. AND if I stood I wanted to tell everyone that it was student loans, I was responsible with money, and I had a really high credit score. ha! I wanted to control what people thought of me, but I couldn’t. I could only stand. My church prayed over me, shoved $20’s in my hand and I left feeling so exposed and vulnerable. I went home and put a pillow over my head for 2 hours and texted my cousin Ami telling her about it.
Fast-forward two weeks to December 31st. I was talking with two friends about my situation and how stuck I felt.
January 2nd – I get a call from some supporters of mine who do not go to my church. They were asking questions about my loans and had decided they wanted to pay them off. Did you read that? PAY THEM OFF. People. that was over $40,000 and it was not a tax benefit to them. Completely extravagant gift with nothing in it for them except that they loved me and wanted to see me free. Grace. Mercy.
Shall I look for a home now? I told numerous people that I felt like finding my home was going to be such an obvious God thing, almost like I would be driving down the street and someone would walk out and put a sign in the yard right in front of me.
March 5th – I paid off the 34 cents that was left on my loan balance.
March 6th – apply for a pre-mortgage qualification.
March 7th – send out a gut-level, vulnerable newsletter to my supporters asking them to pray about two things. The first thing was about my longing for a home. The second was about……………… if you want to join my support team you can and I’ll email you the newsletter. 🙂
March 9th – Go looking for houses. I pass this one house and they have just put the sign in the yard and I craned my neck and asked my realtor about it. She had sold it to the owners. We looked at a lot of houses, but none that I just felt right about.
March 10th – email realtor and ask if I can see the house on Monday.
March 11th – Walked into the home and immediately started crying. This was it. Everything I had prayed for and envisioned.
March 11th PM – Put in a reallllly low offer.
March 11th PM – start dealing with mortgage lenders and so much smoke was coming out of my ears, you would’ve thought I was elected Pope.
March 12th – found out that the owners were ministers in Hawaii. I stalked them on facebook and wrote to them. So not apropos.
They came back with just a little higher offer and BAM. I am on my way to being a homeowner on April 30th.
I know there will be bumps in the road along the way and I have had heart palpitations all day, but I am at peace. Over the years it has become much more comfortable for me to do hard. I can do hard, but this whole lavish season of answered prayer in areas that seemed hopeless….well, I have no words. Just tears of thanks to Him. I’m not a name it and claim it type person, but God is teaching me about having faith to believe for things that are on my heart. However the key point in all of this is the fact that He asked me to step out and be vulnerable with my need. Because he asked me to kick my pride to the curb and stand up that December Sunday, my whole church gets to experience the joy of being a part of praying and believing with me. Because He asked me to be real with my supporters, they too get to share in the joys of the Giver. Risking to share our dreams desires is so scary. I have walked around feeling more vulnerable and exposed than I have in my entire life and it feels like coming home.
When you come visit me in God’s home for me on this earth, I pray you will encounter His presence, healing and be refreshed. If you need a respite, come to this home. We will worship and pray and we will LAUGH. I can’t wait to sit on my little porch with you. Thank you for being a part.