That's a question I've been asking a lot. Not in the sense that I think there is no answer, but in the sense that I know there is and I've been dying to figure it out. Like I could figure out the mind of God... yeah, I know, funny. :)
So anyhow, the reason for this question is multifold, but all boils down to one big issue: THE HOUSE.
Now, mind you, I definitely keep this in perspective. I know there are many people out there dealing with BIG problems. In comparison, this is pretty small. But for me, in my life right this moment, it looms above everything else and therefore, it's a question that pops up a LOT in my prayers -- God, PLEASE, tell me what on earth You're doing here? Because I know there's a plan, and it's a good plan, but I'd really like to know what it is!!! And, by the way, would you PLEASE sell my house?? :)
The reason the house not selling is such a big deal is not financial, and I actually realize I'm very blessed as many people waiting for their house to sell are trying to deal with two mortgages, or are facing foreclosure and just hoping someone will come along and rescue them at the last moment with a buy, so that I don't HAVE to sell my house for any financial reasons is definitely a wonderful thing, and greatly reduces the stress that would likely be there otherwise.
But I do have two pretty important reasons to want this house to sell, and to be so tired of waiting: Little Girl and Baby Boy.
Now Little Girl -- she's not as big of a deal, because she just WANTS me. It's an issue, for sure. About six months ago, I was on the brink of a sale and so I went to look at a house I was thinking of buying if my sale went through. My sister wanted to see it too, and Little Girl came along, and the whole thing about how I might be buying that house was explained to her. Well, that sale didn't work out and I didn't buy the house, but Little Girl has acted differently ever since.
When she was a toddler, she used to just cry and cry when I would leave. It was heartbreaking, but she eventually outgrew it as she came to understand that it was just a part of life; I didn't live nearby, and that was all there was to it. So she hasn't done that in years. Until a few months ago. Now every time I go in, when it's time to leave again she clings and she cries and she begs me not to go. I guess it's because she knows I'm supposed to be moving nearby, and it's not happening. So I have to wrench myself away and drive hours home, asking God WHY He's keeping me so far away from her. It just seems so wrong.
But as I said, she's the minor issue... because she only WANTS me.
Baby Boy NEEDS me. As anyone who has read here for long has probably figured out just from the subtle things mentioned about him from time to time, he has a disability. It's neurological in nature, and prognosis isn't great... when caught in older children, that is. I am specially trained in this particular disability and have learned to identify it in its early stages, and have known for months that Baby Boy's delays are caused by this particular issue. How ironic that the disability I have the most expertise in ends up being what my own nephew has... (and no, it's not autism). The thing is, I have learned through treating many little ones that prognosis is actually quite good when it's caught this young, when given intensive treatment before the age of 3. (There's a lot of brain growth through age 3, then things slow down a bit till about 5, and then they slow down dramatically, so if you catch neurological things that early, you can actually make changes to how the brain works through proper treatment and FIX, to a large extent, the problems. Thus the reason for early intervention...)
But Baby Boy, he's several months past two now. And I can't give him intensive treatment when I live three hours away. His window of opportunity is rapidly closing, and he is the primary reason that I have been SO frustrated in recent months at the wait to sell my house. I can't afford to sit around here for months and let him miss out on the treatment he needs! He needs me, and I need to live near him so I can go over and work with him EVERY DAY. He does receive therapy and his parents do work with him all the time the best they can, but it's not enough. He's making progress but not as much as I know he could be if only I lived there!
So that is the reason for my constant questioning of God, in asking why I'm stuck out here hours away from Baby Boy who needs me. When Baby Boy's family was going to move to Florida earlier this year, and then when those plans were suddenly and miraculously altered by a job that just dropped out of nowhere into my brother's lap, I thought to myself, "Ahh, God is keeping him here, and pretty soon I'll be moving there too, and all is going to work out splendidly." And then month after month went by, and here I am, still stuck.
Now, I'd made some plans. I signed on with the realtor for six months. The six months ended in late October, and when nothing was happening, and the economy was failing, and the real estate market just kept sinking, I decided I was going to take the house off the market for the winter. Winter isn't a good time for me to move anyhow, due to all the things I'm going to have to do to transfer my job from here to there which is going to entail several months of weekly trips back and forth, which isn't going to be fun at any time of year, but especially not winter. Winter's a bad time for real estate anyway, and I could relist in the spring and it would look like a new listing instead of a house that has sat on the market for the year. These were my plans, and they seemed like good ones.
And then, two days before the listing was to expire, I got an interested buyer. They made an offer, way too low for me to accept. I countered. And we waited, and we waited. And they called and said they didn't have enough money for the downpayment if they go any higher, but they really want the house, so they're trying to get their parents to help them out, and they need a few days. Okay, but the listing was expiring and I'd already informed my realtor that I was pulling it off the market till spring.
So we renewed the listing for a 30 day period so that this sale could hopefully go through. And after we did that, they got back with us and said they couldn't get the money and therefore weren't going to be able to continue negotiations.
"Okay, God... why did you have me renew this thing for nothing??? Now I'm stuck with another month of people trekking through, and getting kicked out of my house, and having to keep the place looking like nobody lives in it day in and day out in case someone wants to see it, for another month." I'm quite tired of living like that.
The month passed and nothing happened. Then a couple days before it was due to expire again, my realtor called. It seems a local company had just contacted her because they were bringing in 80 people from another city, and those 80 people are required to live within ten minutes of this company, so they could be there quickly for emergencies that could arise while they're on call. My house is within the range.
So we talked, and we debated, and I came to the discouraging conclusion (because I was really looking forward to having the winter off from showing the house, despite my desire to move, plus as I said, winter is NOT a good time for me to move anyway) that I should leave the house on the market. After all, 80 folks coming through wanting a house... mine's already on the market BEFORE the spring people all list theirs, and there aren't even 80 houses within ten minutes of that company for sale anyway, so I'm almost SURE to sell it now. So THAT'S what God was doing with that deal... keeping me on the market long enough to find out this information. Right?
So we relist for six months. And the weeks begin to pass, and my realtor then informs me that those people are coming in, but they can't do anything yet. Why? Because they have to sell their houses before they can buy here. And not only were 80 of them sent here, but hundreds of employees from their city were moved to various locations around the country. That means there are hundreds of houses suddenly on the market in that city. Think they're going to sell anytime soon?
So again. "God, WHAT are You doing? WHY did You make me relist this thing for NOTHING??? WHAT is going on here? I know something's up, I know You have a reason for this, but WHAT? And will you PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE sell my house?" (I've said that line a LOT in the past few months, feeling like a little kid begging for a candy bar or something.)
The other day I got a letter in the mail from a lady at church, a lady I barely know, I met her once at a party and that's about the extent of it. She knows virtually nothing about me.
She writes, "I don't know what I'm supposed to write here, but I know I've felt a desire to reach out to you this Christmas. God placed you on my heart, or in my inward vision? Whatever your desire from Him, I pray you'll sense He is completely aware of your heart's cry."
"Okay," I think. "Thanks, God... thanks for letting me know You're listening. I knew You were, but confirmation is nice. I know You know what's best and have a plan and I need to just be patient and let You work that plan out, but thanks for reminding me that yeah, You're listening."
Ten minutes later my realtor was at my door with an offer.
I'm not kidding.
It was a wretched offer. Insulting really. Much much much below anything I could ever consider taking. It was discouraging.
"He is completely aware of your heart's cry."
I countered. He came back again. I countered again. He came back again with a message that he was getting agitated because he had come WAY up and I had barely come down at all, and I'd best be more cooperative or he was going to walk.
Uh, well maybe if you'd started at a reasonable price to begin with, you wouldn't have that problem... I've gotten a lot of REALLY low offers, it seems that people think everybody is on the brink of foreclosure and they can take advantage of that and dash in and "steal" their house for WAY under the market value as a result. Well that wasn't my problem and I wasn't interested in GIVING away my house.
I countered again with a response that I was pretty much at rock bottom and he was going to have to come up significantly if he wanted the house.
He countered again. Do you know how exhausting this process was? And it dragged on for several days too. I reread that letter a time or twelve, I tell you. "He is completely aware of your heart's cry." Anyhow, I countered once more and he AGREED. (Actually he wanted to counter AGAIN but his realtor told him to stop playing games and take it before he loses this house. Thank you, Realtor.)
The house is SOLD. Well, under contract anyway, but he's approved for the amount so all should be fine from here on out.
So, I see He did have a plan after all. (Duh.) But all the "HUH? WHY did You do that?" questions fall into place now. Why the offer two days before the listing expired that then didn't go through? To keep it listed. Why the announcement about the company, only to then learn all those people had to sell first so it could be months before they were ready to buy anyway? To keep it listed. Why to keep it listed? Because if I'd done things my way, the house would have been off the market two months ago and this buyer never would have seen it.
And I'd be stuck here all winter, and who knows how many more months might have gone by before I finally found a buyer who was actually qualified to buy?
Now I can go. And Baby Boy's window is still pretty open. We have nine months to get him on track. I think we can do it. Pack all those treatment sessions with prayer, and I know we can. :)
There has been a lot of rejoicing in this house over the last couple days, let me tell you. A LOT.
Now to just figure out where I'm going to live... ;)