Or... the story of our crazy move that only God could orchestrate. *S* Don't you love alternate titles?
I'm writing this post in stages - Sorry it is long - but it is for me, to capture what is going on at the time so I will remember and so I am appropriately thankful for all God is doing, has done and will do.
Background: For years and years we have loved driving out through the Monadnock region of NH. Small towns, country roads with 'character' - stone walls, big ol trees, farm houses, etc. We have loved it and longed to live out 'in the country'. For years we have ridden summer afternoons on the motorcycle or other days in the car/truck with the kids in the backseat... always soaking up what we felt was our hearts desire but knowing it wasn't time for a myriad of reasons.
Too hard to move, too expensive, too far for Steve to commute to work, how could we ever sell our house, where would we find what we want in a new home, what about church/friends/family, etc. Questions swirling madly and doubts... oh so many doubts and what-ifs and 'we can't do this' thoughts.
God knows the desires of our hearts... and sometimes... just sometimes... He makes a way in the most amazing way.
We had been praying over the summer last year about maybe moving... it began to feel like it was time. We have been in Merrimack for 16+ years. It was never our dream home, but we made it work for our family and bit by bit over the years we've changed the whole house. From the roof to the basement and the whole yard. Transformation is pretty amazing when you look back over more than a decade and a half of life lived. For a home and a family.
All through the fall we prayed and scoured real estate listings and drove all around southern NH. We made lists of what we wanted in a new home, considered old, new and in between homes, far away and close by. All the while praying God would show us what we were supposed to do and where He wanted us to be.
During this time we were also struggling with the possibility of changing churches if/when we moved. We were uncertain, conflicted and struggling. We felt we were fighting with that transition that sometimes happens when you really start to get to know people and start seeing the human-ness that exists within the body of Christ and struggling with what we felt God was teaching us and calling us to do/be. It's not comfortable to be stretched and changed/challenged sometimes. So this whole process had been on-going for MONTHS when we finally arrive at Christmas. We all took about 2 weeks off of 'real life' to enjoy the holiday, spend time together and of course... drive around looking at houses. During this period, we had several deep family discussions and came to realize that we were NOT going to change churches. God has called us to Riverside, we've got roots here, relationships here and as of the beginning of 2013, are really seeing some pretty amazing things happening in a short period of time. We made a commitment to God, as a family, that we are staying put with our church until He gives us clear direction otherwise.
After we made that decision, we started to see things happen FAST. A house came on the market in our favorite town and we reluctantly went to see it... all of us thinking we wouldn't like it... none of us was really impressed with the photos online and we figured it was just another one to cross off our list... WRONG. We all felt a sense of 'home' in this house. How can that be? And comparing the house to our wish list we discovered it had virtually everything we'd wanted and even several 'extra' things that were on our 'would be really nice to have but not essential' list. No way!
So then came the mad scramble to get our house ready to list for sale. In an absolutely insane week of work we cleaned, purged, packed/stored, painted and cleaned more. Our house was ready and on the market available to the world on Jan. 15th.
That same morning the calls started for showing appointments. I was shocked! So fast? Seriously? We had showings booked every day from the first day into the following week and even multiple showings on a few days. I was stunned and overwhelmed. On Friday (yes, just 3 days after listing) - our realtor called us to tell us we had an offer! So exciting! She emailed it to us and we were discussing it over the phone with her when she interrupted our discussion to say we had just had a second offer come in! NO WAY! A multiple offer situation in a down market just 3 days listed? God was really knocking our socks off with His amazing provision for us.
On Saturday we had 2 more showings and that afternoon we met with the realtor to discuss the two offers and were also mildly surprised that all calls for further showing appointments had stopped. One of the offers was from a young couple with a brand new baby boy and they had included a lovely letter telling us how much they loved the house and wanted to begin their new family life here. I was so touched.
SOLD! We accepted their offer and promptly finalized an offer on the house we'd found and liked. After just a bit of negotiating, we had a contract on that house as well. Only God could have done all this in just a matter of a few weeks time... it's crazy!
Next up... Inspections & more...