Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

I am thankful for God's faithfulness throughout our faith journey in this life...

I know, you're thinking my statement is one of those, "I want world peace" statements, huh?  Hang in there.  Hopefully, you'll click the link to watch the video and read the story below. (Wish I could embed the video, but it's privacy protected.)

When this song was released, I listened to it again and again and again.  I cried the words out to God.  Even today, hearing it again for the first time in many years, it touches something deep within the core of my spirit.  Once again, the tears stream down my face and I willingly say, "I surrender all" to You.  Do you know what those words mean?  Do you know that if you say you're willing to do something, God may say yes?  ALL means everything, all there is, nothing is off limits.  I share this, because it's been our life.  We had a child walk away from our family to go her own way.  We've had a another child's life deeply effected by the choices of his wife.  We live with broken hearts.  We've seen dreams become dashed.  I've battled illness for as long as I can remember (even as a young child).  We've been judged, criticized, and misunderstood.  We are walking in forgiveness and trusting God to heal and restore what we humanly are unable to do ourselves.  It's been a long, difficult, amazing, crazy journey.  We've seen friends experience similar things in their lives.  Some even greater challenges than we have faced.  If we had known what would come our way, we would have told God it was too much to ask.  Too hard for us to bear.  He promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  And, today I hear this song again...

The words are so powerful!  They enable my spirit to soar to great heights. They make emotion rise to the surface.  They hit really close to home when I ponder their meaning.  And, if God asked me to surrender ALL, would I willingly do so and continue to praise His name?

I don't know the answer yet, but I pray if that day arrives that my response is, "Absolutely, because I love You and You have always been faithful."  

And this year, another phase of our journey has unfolded...  One we could never imagine.

This is the home we currently live in.  We've been here for 6 years, which is the longest we've ever lived in one house.  (Usually God moves us every 3 years.  He alone knows why it's different with this place.)   It looks like a typical home in our neighborhood.  We've slowly worked on it the entire time we've lived here.  Done alot of work inside (and much still to do) and alot of work in the backyard (building an urban farm).

This spring, we finally qualified to refinance our home.  During the process, an appraiser "tagged" a crack in the basement foundation wall (it's an old home, they are bound to have cracks in the walls) and our mortgage company required us to bring out a structural engineer.  We would be required to complete any work deemed necessary in the engineer's report to move forward with the refinancing process.

3 different structural engineers came out.  They all said, "Don't worry it's all fixable."  

It's just money.  Well, it turns out there is significant foundation damage to our home.  Approximately $32,000 worth - and that's just to put in foundation piers to "fix" the foundation.  In addition, because water and drainage is a MAJOR issue and a significant part of the problem ~ an extensive drainage system need to be put under the house, the north side of the garage foundation is failing and the sump pump in the house was not installed correctly and is adding to the problem.  The guesstimate was around $50,000 to fix everything.  For several weeks we processed the information, considered fixing it, prayed, and tried to come out of the shock we were experiencing.

With the realization that we were already $100,000 under in the value of the house (and our mortgage hasn't gone down much from when we bought it in the HIGH market) ~ considering another $50,000 was not realistic.  We made a decision we never thought we would make.  Let the house go.  Walk away from it.  Stop paying the mortgage.  This house is a bad financial investment and we need to stop pouring money into it.  WHAT?  HOW COULD YOU?  

This spring, we built a brand new chicken coop and had four locust trees removed from the hillside behind our home before we knew this life changing news.  We separated ourselves from worrying about what others thought about us, the money invested in this house/property and focused on who God is and what He is doing in and through our lives.  If we chose the house, we would shackle ourselves to it and greatly reduce options of what we could do in our lives.  *Through the process, we also learned more about our neighborhood too ~ like the fact that the neighborhood park was once a wetland and there is an underground stream that runs under our backyard (drainage stream) and comes out a block south of us.  Even though we are facing significant financial loss and an "imperfect" credit score, choosing to foreclose on our house is the best longterm investment for Blaine and I.

We will continue to live in our home until we're told to leave (or it falls apart around us), as we're not making any repairs to the house from now on.  We are focusing on paying off other debts and we know there is the possibility that we could be sued for our 2nd mortgage.  It's our life and in the midst of it we're pursuing my lifelong dream of farming.  

Walk by faith, not by sight.

And then today, I saw something I did not want to see...  This is so not happening.

Remember ~ "Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"

  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

    "Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Take a picture.  Text picture to Blaine.

Text Blaine a second picture and hope to get his attention.
When this doesn't work, I called him.  He hadn't looked at his phone.
...and then he did.

He came home from work early and we got to work investigating.
The paint layers peeled off quite easily where it was wet.

That didn't expose the problem, so Blaine began to cut and explore...

And cut some more.  We weren't surprised to find no insulation in the ceiling.
Well, there was one batt in the whole area we were cutting.  
Who puts an addition onto a house and not insulate it?!

And, he kept cutting until there was a dry perimeter all around

We located the leak area and the rusty nail from the outside roof fell through the hole it was sitting in.  Blaine sprayed a flex-all sealant over the area and we hoped this irritation was behind us.

We had 2 batts of cotton denim insulation left over from our basement remodel project a few years back.  We put them in the ceiling to, hopefully, help a little with keeping it warm in our room (because we're not going to replace the sheetrock - we're moving eventually and we want anyone coming behind us to know there are problems in this house! Serious problems!)

Blaine stapled up some plastic to cover the hole.  We have a room with a "new" view now.  We thanked God that the problem wasn't too difficult to fix and put our room back together.  

End of story.  Thank you, God.  

I decided that if the room was all pulled apart, I should do a good cleaning.  I dusted all the surfaces and realized a short time later that water was dripping inside the plastic. (It had begun raining again.)  UGH!  There must still be a hole somewhere.  Really?  Why?  Why does everything have to be complicated?  Why can't things be easier?

The rain has stopped.  We have a reprieve through tomorrow (dry weather forecasted), so we'll get to work again and try to discover where the water is leaking and make the repair again.

There are days and times we all want to just throw up our hands and say, "I quit."  I've done that plenty of times. And today, there were tears too.  We were reminded, again, to keep our focus not on things, but on Him, on the people He desires for us to share His love with and to lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).  And, whenever my focus is on God or a special project that involves Him, I am not surprised that these little irritations arise...  SO, instead of feeling sorry for myself/for us ~ I was reminded of His faithfulness and, for that, I am so thankful!

No.  Nothing is too hard for You.


  1. Oh Joanie, you are both so very brave! Things always work out in the end if you TRUST. Keeping you in my thoughts!

    1. Annette ~ Brave? That is very kind of you to say so. We don't feel brave. Most days we feel CRAZY and people often tell us we are and that we need to be realistic about what's happening in our lives and where we're trying to go in following our dreams, BUT we do know that all things will work out according to His plans and purposes for our lives. And, if our farm dream is a real place - we want it to be all about what God did and not about us. Thank you for thinking of us. We are TRUSTING, it's what we can do.

      We're developing our farm blog (needs alot of work still)

      Thanks for stopping by!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie