It had been four long years since we moved to Bixby, Oklahoma. Don't get me wrong - we love Bixby. It's just that when we moved out of our house in east Tulsa and into an apartment in Bixby, we expected to live there for four months while we sold our old house and built the new one we would live in. But then our house in East Tulsa didn't sell, and to support that mortgage while it was on the market we wound up retracting our deposit on the new house build, and then we wound up having to turn our old house into a rental property. So we were stuck in an apartment which was very nice, but also very cramped for our family of four. With no money left to build our new house.
For four years.
Our lease was coming up for renewal, and we really felt like it might be time to make a move. It was either get out of the apartment, sign another year lease, or pay a huge premium to go month to month. One day my wife and I had dropped our little girl off at a friend's house for a birthday party, and with nothing else to do for an hour or so until picking her back up, my wife said "Drive down there." Apparently she had seen a sign for a little neighborhood that was going up... so we drove down to take a look.
There were only a handful of houses there, but right near the front of the new neighborhood there were three model houses available to look at. We peeked into each one in turn, and had a bit of a Three Bears experience... the first one wasn't quite what we wanted, and neither was the second one, but the third one was Just Right. The realtor told us that since it was close to the end of the month, it might be to our advantage to wait to shop for financing until after the first of the next month, so we told her we would get back with her then.
But we couldn't get away from being interested in that house! After the first of the month we went back over, and talked to the realtor - who was actually a different woman this time. She told us that the house was still available, but there was another potential interested party - if we had our minds made up, it would be to our advantage to put down our earnest money and lock it down for ourselves. We needed to run back to our apartment to get the checkbook, but she said she would be there when we got back.
Now, it so happens that that day was my wife's birthday, and to celebrate we had bought tickets to hear Jonny Lang play in concert that evening. Jonny is an amazingly talented blues guitarist who is also a man of faith, and his faith in God sometimes turns up in his music. To get pumped for the concert that evening, we had been listening to his Live at the Ryman album all morning - it was playing on the way back to our apartment.
When we got to the parking lot at the complex, something occurred to me. "We haven't actually prayed about this yet," I said to my wife. "Would you like to pray?" She said yes, and right there in the car she began to pray for guidance and wisdom.
I was listening and agreeing with her in prayer, but as it turned out I didn't hear much of what she said... because the Holy Spirit was speaking to me right through my stereo speakers! Right when my wife started praying, Jonny Lang got to a part of his song "Red Light" where he was half-speaking, half-singing to his audience about trusting God. "It's gonna be all right," he sang. "It's gonna be all right. Everything's gonna be all right."
Over and over Jonny sang "Everything's gonna be all right," and my heart said to me that it wasn't an accident that that part of the song happened to play right when we were seeking God's wisdom on this decision. I'm not someone who sees "sign from God" in every coincidence, but I'm also not too dense to recognize the Holy Spirit using something to encourage me.
There were a lot of things that day that came together for us. We happened to have enough spare money available to us right then to put down the earnest money - an unusual situation for us. We got there that day before this hypothetical other buyer - I realize that he may or may not have truly existed (I know how high-pressure sales work), but a man did turn up as we were working on the paperwork and he did want to look at houses. The perfect house for our family was already built and waiting for us just when we needed to move out of the apartment; no waiting for a 4-month build.
And my wife got the most lavish birthday present of her life so far: a new house!
We've never regretted what happened then. Today is the one year anniversary of the day we moved in, and we couldn't be happier! (Even our dog is more relaxed than he was in the apartment!) The neighborhood is nestled between some areas of farmland - the photo at the top of this blog post is a snapshot I took one morning within walking distance from where we live.
Sometimes God's blessings take a bit of time to arrive (review this if you need additional information). But when they do arrive, they are amazing!