Okay, I've dreaded this blog post but want to be honest and maybe help someone. This time three years ago, Ron & I were getting ready to move from our first house into a bigger, better house in a great area, a place we wanted to stay for a long, long time. Did I have reservations about a much bigger house payment? Yes. Did I talk myself into thinking that everything would work out fine? Yes. Did we use our home for good? Yes. Did we live happily ever after there? No.
So here's the story: About 10 months before we bought the new house, Ron landed a great job that meant we could afford a new house. Then 2 months after we moved in, he lost the job. Talk about a scary time. We managed to hang on to the house and stay afloat for a while, but that meant letting go of other things. Before long we were in a financial mess. The thing is, we never thought that would happen to us.
I look back (as I know Ron does) and think about pivotal decisions that I personally made that could have prevented the heartbreak we've experienced in the last few years, especially last 6 months. I will share my fault in this because I hope that someone benefit from my transparency. When I was expecting Ava, I resigned from my teaching job, meaning that I finished the school year and didn't renew my contract for the following term. Well, I allowed 'self' to try to fix things, and during the middle of June, I called my former principal and asked for my position back which he gladly accepted. Ava was born in July, and I returned to work in mid-October. Since then it's like I've been in the deep end of a swimming pool trying to keep my head above water. I feel pulled in every direction-- the roles of wife, mom, and teacher are demanding to say the least. I believe if I would have waited on the Lord's direction longer, I would have not returned to work that fall, and we wouldn't have bought a more expensive house. Hindsight is 20/20. Through studying the Word and personal experience, I feel that He wants moms home as much as possible. And as I stated, Ron has his own regrets.
In July 2010, Ron and I had the conversation that we'd both been avoiding-- What are we going to do? After prayer, wise counsel, and good 'ol black and white facts on paper, we realized that we had to sell the house (or worse) and start over, so to speak. My parents and sister/brother-in-law were really supportive of our decision. A week or so after our decision, my parents came over and offered for us to live with them while we work on restructuring our finances. We had planned on renting an apartment, but after praying about their offer, we agreed that it would be the fastest way to 'get it together.' It sounds silly, but I cried for two days about leaving our house. We had picked out everything inside and out: we loved the weeping mortar, the color of the brick, the distressed shutters, the large wood door, the covered patio, the dark-stained/scored concrete floors, the upgraded oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs/lighting/plumbing fixtures, custom paint colors throughout.... I had poured so much time and energy into decorating every nook and cranny of the house. I felt like I was in mourning. Of course, I reminded myself over and over that it's only a house and how blessed I am to have my husband and daughter and health. I guess it was just something I had to go through. God allowed my friend Niki to be there for me in such a special way too.
Now as I spill my guts to you about mistakes and regrets, I'm reminded that so many wonderful things have happened to me in spite of my imperfection. When I chose to go back to work, I got to be 'next door' to one of the new hires: Shannon, who is one of my very best friends in the world now; had I not gone back, I probably would have never met her. I have been able to teach around 400 more students and hopefully, touch their lives as teachers can. We were able to host a small group for our church since we had a spacious enough house for the group. I learned how to be thrifty (you have to be when you need to fill up a larger space on a tiny budget! ;) That's when I fell in LOVE with yard sale shopping, Craig's List, and Goodwill! Our home was a central point for my parents and sister/b-i-l to meet up for dinners and things. We have fabulous memories of Ava's birthday parties and lots of grilling out and family movie nights.
We moved out over my Christmas break from work. It is still for sale. If it doesn't sell soon, we'll lose it. That's a hard pill to swallow, but God is good. I know we'll walk through this season and come out stronger and better because of it.