Friday, August 30, 2013

Reflections on the "end of a season"...

What our home looked like in 2006 when we purchased it.

At 10:00 am PST today, our house was auctioned off in downtown Seattle.  The likelihood that an investor purchased our foreclosed home is very high.  

  • Yes, we made the decision to allow our home to return to the bank.
  • Yes, we knew what the outcome of our decision would be:  foreclosure.
  • Yes, we felt that we didn't have a choice in the matter when faced with a financially devastating discovery in 2012; our foundation was undermined by underground water.  

When we purchased this home in 2006, we could not have imagined the 7 year journey ahead of us...  Had we known, we would have said, "Thanks, but no thanks."  And, in reflecting about the purchase of this home ~ had we listened to God and been obedient, we never would have purchased this home.  WHAT?

It's true.  Throughout the years, God has told us to "Get out of debt!"  It's a simple and specific statement.  It's not difficult to understand what is being said to us, but, for some reason, it's nearly impossible for us to make this a reality in our lives.  When we sold our home in Marysville we could have paid off all our debt (from the profit of that sale), and if we had, we would be debt-free today.  But, we listened to the voices of the world around us.  "Re-invest your money, protect the profit made from Capital Gains Tax, you will be better off owning your own home."  And so, we did as the world encouraged us to do and purchased a home outside of our desired neighborhood, at the time ~ and now, we've lost all of our financial investment and still have outstanding debt.  Looking back, we discovered that we learned numerous lessons equal to (or more than) the cost of putting Blaine and I through college (without having an official degree awarded to us).  

This illustration does pretty much sum it up though...  sigh.

Place Your Life Before God

Romans 12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

It is so easy to get caught up in the world's way of thinking.  Even as a believer in Christ, who is in God's Word and praying, we can get caught up when we don't take every thought captive and we forget to look at our "road map" (the Bible), especially when human emotion is in the mix.  And, God always gives us a choice.  We had one:  get out of debt or choose to buy a new house.  He does not force us to take the road of His choosing and He will bless us when we choose our own path to follow (though the level of blessing will not be what would have been in choosing obedience to Him).  He is a gracious, merciful and loving God.  He truly is.  And, He chose to teach us and help us to grow in His Truth.  Discipline is not easy to live with, but it does make us better people in the end.  For that, I am so thankful!  God has taught us much in our time here:

  • Learning not to "judge" people who live different lives than we do or believe differently than we do.  Everyone has a story and God is at work in each person's life.  As a believer, I am to love other people, as God has loved me.
  • Learning that other believers will treat us badly and inflict wounds; sometimes deep wounds.  Revelation:  we are all human and prone to make mistakes and can cause hurt whether intentional or unintentional.
  • Learning that when things happen in people's lives there is often more to the story than just what is known by others or told to others.
  • Friendship is a precious gift.  Sometimes we don't understand the value of the gift until that person is gone.
  • Blessed to be a blessing to others ~ allowing God's blessings to flow through our lives to others.
  • The greatest difficulties can bring about the greatest freedom and healing in our lives.
  • Learning that no matter how far we may get off the path, God provides a way to get back on the path to Him.
  • The importance of obedience.  

I still have so much to learn, but these past 7 years have been an amazing time of learning and growth in our lives.

Hebrews 12:11

The Message (MSG)
4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,

    but don’t be crushed by it either.

It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;

    the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

For 6 years we lived in our home, developed the garden, got to know the neighbors and remodeled our home.  We also had many heartaches that occurred during this time too, as never before in our family.  And then, in 2012, we were told by a structural engineer that "the foundation of our house is broken and sinking..."  Believe me, the spiritual significance was not lost on me.  While we were overwhelmed by the great financial loss that was before us, the realization that there was a much deeper and serious spiritual issue at hand was devastating!

We've gone from Bounty...

To Bare!

The countless hours (years) of work, the financial investment, the fruits and veggies and chickens and fertile soil, the wheelbarrow loads of soil and compost, and the harvests...all gone in just a few weeks time.

And, the people ~ one cannot even begin to find words to share about being part of a neighborhood; a community ~ for the first time in our lives.

We have also been in anguish regarding the scale of damage to this house and that someone else will buy it (not knowing) and then possibly cover it up and pass it along to another...devastating their lives financially.  It has been an terrible burden to bear in not being able to warn another of the path that lies ahead of them.  How often I must remind myself that this is God's story, not mine.  

And, once we move next week, it will be as if we had never been here...except for the footprints we have left on people's lives (and they on ours) and our tangled heartstrings.

And yet...  In the midst of great sorrow, beauty remains.  Hope is all around us. I am overwhelmed by His grace in God saying, "Enough and it is finished" with this house.  It's time to rebuild our foundation strong and reinforced in Him.  

Today, this is the beauty I saw in the garden; reminding me of my amazing Creator ~ 

A sunflower planted by the chickens blooms today...

A strong storm passed through the area yesterday afternoon, but the sunflowers continue blooming despite the power of that storm...

A reminder to stop and see the beauty in reflections...

Calendula blooms late in the season despite the maple tree suffering in this hot, dry summer...

My precious maple tree greatly suffering in the heat, but I know that a season of rest through the winter will bring new life in the spring.

Despite being pounded in the storm, the amaranth is still gorgeous!

Revelation 21:5

The Message (MSG)
3-5 I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

And now, the time has arrived for Blaine and I to move on; to move forward into a new season with God.  We cannot look back, but we must keep our eyes focused on Him.  He is writing an amazing and beautiful story in our lives for His purposes and to share His love with others.  He brings healing and hope.  We lift our eyes toward heaven and say, "Here we are, Lord, use us; send us"  For this, we do give thanks.

And, we rejoice, once more, in knowing that God makes all things new.
He has a plan for our lives.

For 2013:  Hope, Health and a to possibilities!  Jeremiah 29:11

***Update:  The house did not sell at auction (where the starting bid was $210,000 - which was the appraised amount a year ago, but it was noted in the appraiser's report that the value may not reflect the actual value depending on the basement foundation issue.  Sad to see bank greed, but thankful the house did not sell at auction.  The bank must now take possession of the property.

***Update #2:  The bank did take possession and flipped it as expected.  The work crew even told a neighbor what a bad, bad house this is (condition).  They need work and money, so they did the work they were told to do.  It's now back on the market:  $224,000.


  1. The cycle of financial mismanagement, greed, etc. continues. Not sure our nation is going to be able to dig out of it. The blame is piling up -- BIG time, from the bottom up.

    Sounds like you've reflected on the past and have learned much the hard way.

  2. Yes, Rebecca, we have. That said, there is no guarantee we won't make mistakes in the future. No one is immune. It is a challenging journey for us all. However ~ in this case, we have indeed learned a very big lesson and did learn it the hard way. So thankful for God's amazing grace.

  3. Love your positive attitude! Can't wait to read about your new neighbourhood and see your new garden!

    1. Sharon ~ thanks for the encouragement. Taking much longer to settle in than we thought and my garden will not be what it was. Believe we were sent here to "restore" the house/property for our landlords. Already having a really difficult time not having my veggie/fruit garden and chickens... Trusting God to provide ALL THINGS!

    2. Came back to this entry today and re-reading comments… So much has changed so quickly. No garden here. No plans to help restore the landscaping for the landlord. Learning much though. Still trusting God's provision in ALL THINGS!

  4. Thinking of you, Joanie. Came back to check.

    1. I popped by your place the other day, Rebecca… Thank you for checking in and encouraging me to start sharing once again.


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