If I’m being honest, I’ve had a hard time writing this post. Not because it’s difficult news to share - it’s really exciting news! But I think there’s been a combination of moving-brain (which I totally forgot, is a super real thing) and still processing that…
WE HAVE OUR OWN HOUSE!!!
You see, when we moved to Atlanta nearly 2 years ago (!!!), we were naive in thinking that all the pieces would come together easily and we’d have a home in lickity-split.
Well, lickity-split turned into a nearly 18 month search of a home.
Searching, and praying, and wondering, and hoping, and heartache, and frustration, and questioning, then more praying.
There were a lot of moments on my knees, in full surrender.
But can I tell you something? Even though these last 18 months have been some of the most challenge months I’ve experience in my adult life, they have also been some of the most beautiful.
There’s something about being in a place where all you can do, all the options you have, is to trust God. When you’re in this stance of full surrender, arms wide open, trusting that God will come through… that’s when the magic happens.
So I’m excited to share our story with you, today, of how God worked in our lives and showed up in a really big way!
Well, as you might know (or have since figured out), my husband and I have recently purchased our very first home! We’ve been married for six years, so this was a really exciting “first” for us.
Our home shopping journey really began in January of 2017.
But before we go there, let’s get a little backstory:
- August 2016: My husband and I move in with my parents, who were gracious to offer us a room in their new home while Daniel found a job and we figured out where we were going to need to live for work.
- November 2016: After 3 months of praying and searching, Daniel finds an incredible contract position with Chick-fil-A Corporate! Which has been a bigger blessings than we could have ever imagined #powerofprayer #storyforanothertime
- December 2016: As a product based-business, this is my BUSIEST time of the year, so we decided (and my parents agreed) that we could start house shopping after the holiday season finished.
Okay, so here comes January 2017: Daniel and I are bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Our hearts are invested (naive first time home owner shopping mistake). We’re full of all these magical stories of how people looked at 1-3 homes, put the offer in the first one, got accepted, and that’s what dreams are made of.
We heard a few stories here and there of people putting in lots of offers, and never getting chosen. Or shopping for two years until finding the right home.
But that wasn't going to be us. Or so I thought.
Well, as you might gather, that wasn’t how our dream played out.
God had different plans.
I’ll save you the nitty-gritty details, but Daniel and I were pretty much all over the place when it came to house shopping. I mean, we didn’t know what to look for!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many conversations we had that sounded something like, “Why didn’t they teach us this in college?” We have these fancy degrees and are experts in our field, but really didn't know the first thing about how to buy a house.
But once again, God was getting ready to show us His expertise, as he was setting us up for something better than we could ever imagine.
If I'm being honest, these last 18 months of house shopping really challenged my faith.
I’ve believed in God my whole life, but I was finding that I was really challenged to not have doubt. I KNEW in my gut, and the very depths of my soul, that God was going to show up and find us a house. I just knew it.
But as we’d look at one house that would look promising, but the pictures were better than reality, or we would wrestle with putting in an offer, only to decide at the last minute that it was the house we wanted, but not what God wanted… Or being told we couldn’t put in an offer, because 15 had already been put in (on the first day) and the sellers were no longer taking offers... Whatever the case, it was kind of draining on our spirits.
We felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and often… unsure.
But even in my moments of wavering faith, my moments of doubt, we did one thing right… We kept praying and looking up towards the heavens.
I have to say, during these 18 months, y’all, Daniel and I grew so much in our faith and prayer life. Both as individuals and as a couple. And I noticed, even though the times were still hard, when we started doing this actively, we started talking about it differently. Our perspectives shifted. When we started getting really active in praising God even as we hit the one year mark, and as we were encroaching on the 1.5 year mark of looking for a home… We kept praising Jesus for all that He was doing in our lives.
It’s still hard to figure out how to accurately describe the feeling: but there’s a difference when you praise God continually (Psalm 34), and pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Again, it was still just as difficult, and there would be fleeting thoughts of questioning from time to time… But I was able to recognize those thoughts more easily, and then reject them because I knew they were not from my Father. I was able to carry my head a little stronger and confidently stand firm and say, “I know God’s going to come through.”
Again, not every day was like that. I still had difficult days and I am so thankful for the friends who lent a shoulder for me to feel defeated on, but encouraged me to keep on, keepin’ on and trusting in God.
Anyway, I feel like I’m digressing… You get that it was a journey and a beautiful time of growing us in our faith.
So let’s get to the good stuff: The day we found a house!
One Wednesday in April, a home popped up. This happened all the time (homes were always coming up for sale, and just as quickly, go under contract).
But on this particular day, it was different.
I happened to be checking my email, and I saw this cute little home with a front door, and was like, "Ohhh, this looks like a nice home that fits a lot of things on our list… And maybe a few bonus items! We need to check it out."
Not a minute later, my phone buzzed and our realtor texted us about the home. I told her I wanted to come look at it, even though Daniel and I were at work, because I felt like it was too good of a home to pass up.
We went back and forth for 5 minutes via text, and I was simultaneously texting Daniel like crazy to see if he could get off work, too, to go look at the house.
He wasn't responding - and that's because he was on the phone with Chick-fil-A HR department... They were offering him a chance to interview for a staff role (super big deal and answer to prayers).
Long story short: Daniel and I were both able to get off work on short notice. This was the first God moment.
Now at this point, Daniel and I had looked at SO. MANY. HOMES. where we got our hopes us, felt really good and like we found "the one," only to feel disappointment and heartache when it didn't work out.
This house, it was the first time that we both went in and didn't bring our emotions with us. We even prayed that God would help us stay objective.
However, we got to the house, and I literally remember walking into the living room and within 2 minutes, Daniel and I gave each other "that look" and I said to our realtor, "Okay, so what does it look like to put an offer in?"
Her response? "Well, do you want to look through the rest of the house first?"
Sheepishly, I said: "Oh yeah, maybe we should do that."
I got my gut feeling that I prayed for. Daniel and I agreed on the house in the same moment, like I prayed for. I knew that this was the house, just like I asked God to reveal to me.
I had prayed that Daniel and I would both feel peace when it was the right house, and not spend all day building out a pro and con list.
Well we both knew this one felt right. Instantly!
There was no wrestling this feeling. There was no hesitancy. There was just a feeling that this house was meant to be our home.
So we literally spent a total of maybe 15 minutes in the house, then we had to come back to the office for work. We quickly put in an offer, and with our offer, I wanted to add a letter.
I know if I was selling my home, I'd want to know who was buying it. So I literally spent 5 minutes typing up a quick bio of who Daniel and I were, a little about our story, and why we were excited to put an offer on this home.
We were feeling so good! Homes usually sold within hours, so we felt confident that because we moved so quickly, we would get the home.
But even with our good feelings, we still didn't get our hopes us. Again, if I'm being honest, I was pretty skeptical because so many other homes had passed before us.
Then two other offers came in. I started to get nervous.
Again, my wavering faith I kept repeating to Daniel, "Don't get your hopes up. If this isn't the house, then it won't work out. But if God wants us to have this house, he'll let us be chosen."
I said those words, but I honestly didn't think we had it. It just seemed too good to be true, getting a home that fit just about EVERYTHING on our list, AND the bonus items!
But here I was, putting God in a box, and thinking He was only capable of what made sense in my head.
Originally, we we were supposed to hear an acceptance/rejection that evening. Well the sellers son went into the hospital (he's okay, btw), so they weren't able to look through offers that evening - we had to wait until the next day.
Well the next day came, and Daniel and I were little balls of anxiety and excitement. We had told the people in our lives that we put in an offer on a house we felt really good about, and they kept asking if we had heard back.
Not yet, not yet, not yet.
We were a little frustrated because we realized that the home was still open, people were still looking through it, and more offers were coming in!
Again, I was really doubting that we could get the house.
You see, as the first offer, and due to our financial situation, we only offered the asking price, because it was already at the top of our new price range. We were concerned because many homes sold "above + beyond" asking, and we knew that we couldn't go above our original offer.
Our relator even texted us asking if we wanted to "sweeten" the offer, and we said we really couldn't. All we changed was that originally we asked the sellers to put $1,500 towards closing, and we took that off (but fun God moment and side note: God was able to give us that money back).
Daniel and I prayed so fiercely during those 36-48 hours. We kept praying - I prayed that if this was the home for us, somehow we would be chosen, even though there were other offers on the table. Probably stronger offers that offered above asking price. But I knew in my gut that if this was supposed to be our home, it would be.
I remember going on our evening walk (we try to do 2 miles every day) I told Daniel that we didn't get it. I was like, "there is no way! There's no 5-6 offers after ours." My faith wavered. But Daniel was calm and confident, and just encouraged me to have patience to see what happened.
Well a little after 9 pm on Thursday evening, our realtor texted us.
We were chosen. Out of all the offers... they chose us.
God answered our prayers. He heard our request.
WE GOT THE HOUSE!
Come to find out - it was our letter that made our offer chosen over the others! Along with our financial standing... which that's a God story in itself!
So little side note (while we’re briefly on the subject):
When we started house shopping, we really didn't have any money to our name (at least, not enough to justify purchasing a house). But another way that God just went above and beyond…. after 18 months of living with my parents rent free, saving just about every penny we possibly could, and holding three jobs between the two of us, we were able to build up a much bigger number!
Through God's blessing we were able to pretty closely follow the Dave Ramsey protocol for home buying: 10% down, no more than 25% of your household income (on the mortgage) and a 15 year loan (well, we did 20, just to have a little cushion). Again, 100% credit of this goes to God, cause even God revealing to us to do Dave Ramsey/Financial Peace University, and have a strategy to saving, budgeting and paying off debt, was such a gift.
God is just so good, y’all. When you let Him: He has no problem going above and beyond!
Anyways - so we got the house!!! The below photos are right after we decided to put the offer on the house.
We set the closing date to May 10th.
On May 10th, I remember working a half day, and excitedly jumping all around the office - telling everyone we knew at the office that we were closing on a house today!
We left around 1 and headed to the house to do a final inspection. We beat our realtor to the house, and I was able to convince Daniel to do a little VLOG with me to help capture this moment!!! I need to edit that video - but it's coming soon.
We did the final inspection (the house was super clean and in great shape) and headed over to the law firm to sign all the papers and close on the house!!!
One thing I forgot to mention: our realtor is amazing!!! She was on top of everything throughout the entire process, and helped answer our (many) questions. She connected us with an incredible lendor, who also made this process really seamless!
I was always told that buying a house is "so overwhelming" and while yes, it's a lot of information and a lot of official documents, these two ladies (and their teams) made this process pretty easy for us. We were confident in what were were signing, they were transparent with the terms and the numbers, and I literally remember walking through the whole process thinking, "Okay, this isn't near as bad as I thought it would be."
So when you have the right people helping to walk and guide you through, again it's not necessarily easier, but you can feel confident in the process. Another way God showed up and went above and beyond for us.
When we got to the law firm, we found another blessings in our lawyer. Honestly, I was dreading the signing, because so many people described it as such a boring, long and drawn-out-signing-filled process.
Well, our lawyer's name was Petunia, and y'all, she was a HOOT!! She made us giggle throughout the entire process of signing your name 09234832 times! In fact, there were several times she would share a funny quip and I wanted stop signing so I could listen and share something quippy back. It wasn't disruptive - but really just helped lighten the mood and make this process fun!
I mean, sitting in a lawyers office for an hour, signing 100 legal documents is not exactly my definition of fun... But when you have your realtor taking video (for the vlog), the lendor joking about how Daniel accidentally texted her a backyard remodel, and the lawyer sharing funny jokes, it was honestly a really good time!
Plus, we got to the meet the sellers: y'all, they are THE sweetest couple! We could tell when we walked through the home that this house was really taken care of. Nothing was done quickly or "cheapy cheap" (like a lot of homes we looked at) and there was a lot of love and care that went into this home. We were purchasing another family's investment, and it felt good (and not overwhelming) to take on a beautiful home that we'll get to make our own.
Like getting to live on the legacy they created, and continue it onwards.
Anyways, the whole process still feels like a dream. There were so many steps, so many pieces, that just had God's hand written all over everything.
I mean, even down to our moving day: we moved on a Saturday two weeks after closing, and y'all I could cry over how many people have offered to help us move! We've just had so many people in our lives offer to help us move, cook, give us furniture we need, etc.
A photo of the majority of people that helped us on that day. We actually had even more people offer to help, but we finished around 12:30 (legit in half the time we expected) and said we were done! But of course, anyone was welcome to come.
Just blown away by how God has gone ABOVE + BEYOND in this process!
The waiting period was hard - I'm not gonna lie. Even as I write these words, I realize I don't properly capture how difficult the last 18 months were, and how much it challenged my faith.
Living with family that I love has been such a gift, a time I treasured as we built memories together. But that being said, it's never easy living in someone else's home. It's their home, their rules, their stuff. Again, so thankful for the time, but it didn't come without challenges.
Plus for us: shopping for a home was really hard, especially in the beginning, when we got really emotionally invested and our hearts felt like they were being thrown all over the place.
Plus the hardest thing to admit? There were definitely times my faith waived. I knew in my gut that God would be faithful and bring us a home that would be everything we needed to continue in our ministry time on this earth, but there were so many moments where it felt like nothing was going to happen. So that was a hard place to be - to feel challenge in my faith and doubt the Sovereignty of God, even though my gut was telling me otherwise. Even though I know that God is capable of so much beyond my own understanding.
But I'm so thankful for those hard moments, because they really just caused me to dig deeper into scripture. To dig deeper into my prayer life. To dig deeper into my brain capacity and views on God. To realize that he is capable of so much more.
Through this process, I reinstated my quiet time (and did it regularly). I started waking up an hour early (most) every morning to do my quiet time. I started getting into scripture every single day, praying every single day, and journaling so that my emotions and thoughts weren't bottled up inside.
Like I mentioned before, Daniel and I started praying together more than ever before! Now we pray together every night, at least once if not twice before bed. We pray frequently together throughout the day, again, now on a daily basis.
Plus, as a wife, it's been fun to see Daniel's faith grow. I think one of the treasures of marriage is seeing how God grows you through your spouse, and watching your spouse also grow through you.
We grew as individuals, and we grew together in faith as a couple. We learned how to better communicate with one another, and learned how to work better together as a husband and wife.
I'm excited we have our first home together. We are really looking forward to becoming mini-farmers (as we both are looking forward to landscaping, becoming gardeners, and having a mini-farm of chickens, goats, bees and dogs). We're excited to have people in our home for dinners, visits, bible studies, and just good conversation. We miss hosting, and are really looking forward to having people in our home again!
Most importantly, we know this is only the beginning of this God story.
We know that finding this house was a huge answer to prayers, but that this is truly just the start. I'm excited to start and raise a family in this home, to see what joys and difficulties happen in this home, and to go through life together and with those around us in this home.
Stay tuned for updates and home tours! We're blessed in that the home is pretty much move-in ready, but we're excited to make little tweaks and make it our own (like my black living room wall).
Again, all praise, honor and glory goes to God for making this all happen! We truly couldn't have done it without him. And I’m so thankful for all the wonderful, difficult, and beautiful lessons we learned along the way in this journey.
Here’s the next chapter of home ownership, and all that God has planned for us in this new season.
Until next time!
Daniel and Rosalynne
P.S. In case you’re the kind of person that is wondering about the detail of Daniel’s new position at Chick-fil-A… He got the job :) Daniel is officially a staff member at Chick-fil-A, which is such a blessing for us in this new chapter. He literally just started Monday (yesterday), and we’re still processing and in awe of how, once again, God continues to go above and beyond.
So we’re praising him in this celebratory season… and we’re going to continue celebrating and praising him when things go wrong (like our water heater exploding and flooding our garage on our first night in the house… NBD. Legit had “I will praise you in this storm” on repeat in my head as we re-moved all the boxes inside and swept out our water-filled garage).
All I can say is... life’s an adventure, so you just need to go with the flow ;) Okay, maybe it’s still too early for water jokes. xo
P.S. Here's a little video of our walk through + officially buying our house!