A Miracle, A Gift, A Haven: Take a Tour of Our First Home Purchase!
"For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." Hebrews 3:4
Owning a house is so often a symbol of success, approval, affluence and the American way. We had accepted that this would never be our reality.
Buz and I chose to be a one parent working family and so I homeschooled our boys for many years. Finances were slim on one ministry salary, but our needs were always met and our hearts were incredibly full. Everybody shared a room and we were always right on top of each other in every small house we've ever rented. It was always enough. We positioned our hearts year after year to remain content.
When I arrived in California seven years ago, I made a long and detailed prayer list. There were 21 razor sharp, specific things. With each passing year, each item was answered.. impossible things like a best friend's later-in-life marriage, another friends' miraculous, long-awaited baby boy. Each prayer was dramatically answered, but number one sat untouched. The little drawing at the top of the list of a house with a tree in the front yard was never answered. We held onto hope, but wondered how God would come through.
We wondered if we would always be renters or if the Lord would ever make a way for us to provide a permanent home for our boys. In the Bay Area of California, that would require at least 1.3 million SPARE dollars, the going rate for any small 1,300 square foot home. But we serve a big God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills so we clung to His hand in hope that He would provide whatever was in His heart to give us. If that was a tiny patch of rented land forever, then we would choose happiness. If it was somehow more, then we would step back and watch Him do the miraculous. We had no idea what He had in store.
We realized that for some prayers to be answered, you must completely reposition yourself. We realized that some answers come with great sacrifice.
We suddenly knew the next right door was to move to Wyoming so Buz could be the lead pastor at Element Church in Cheyenne. We didn't realize that the Lord was also setting us up to buy our first home. We would be leaving the crippling California housing market. Homes in Cheyenne were shockingly affordable. The avenues of possibility suddenly stretched wide and beautiful before us. We began to dream about houses for the first time in our married life. Apps like Zillow and Redfin made their debut appearance on our phones and we considered things like ranch style, craftsmen, custom build or renovations.
After Buz was hired, we began to dream about what life in Wyoming might be like. Every night from my California mattress on the floor, I would search the digital maps of Cheyenne, wondering where our family would land.
Were there good parts of the city? Was one school district better than another? Should we try to buy 3-5 acres or live closer to town? Later, I would set my phone on the floor because our room wasn't wide enough for two nightstands and begin to dream about the possibilities.
Because Cheyenne has been experiencing exponential growth in the last few years, I began to realize there were not endless options-- the houses were in high demand and we would need to move quickly or risk losing out. But as I searched and searched, I could never find a home that ticked all the boxes... one that accommodated our big family of six, had a decent yard and a separate living space for my mom who planned to move later, as well. My heart felt restless and discouraged. And then I saw it.
It was a beacon of hope, a gorgeous three story home with warm, sparkling lights, a wide porch and a gurgling fountain in front. The street name was my favorite flower.
I heard the Lord whisper, "There will be roses in Wyoming, too... unexpected places of beauty that will comfort you and cheer your heart."
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established. He fills the rooms with rare and beautiful treasures." But did I dare to even dream it? This home was impossible. It was so lovely, so expansive, a place to host and celebrate and include. A place to stretch out and study and grow. A place my boys could always come home to. There was a library for our enormous book collection, a dining room to light candles and have Thanksgiving feasts in, a cozy living room with a fireplace, a nook for the piano and a huge window for our Christmas tree to peak out from.
We did not feel worthy. We tried not to get our hopes up. What were the odds that we would actually get the house of our dreams?
So after a long and disappointing week of house-hunting with my mom in tow, I finally asked our realtor if we could take a look at this long-shot of a house that I had found on Zillow months before.
(The Library, one of Roman's fave rooms!) (Upstairs guest bedroom Bison Art: Jared Bayless)
Already this gorgous space has sheltered us through countless bouts of autumn wind and winter snow. I almost delight in hearing the weather bluster and howl knowing my family is so safe and cozy inside. This home is a haven and a gift. I hope I never cease to marvel at it. The Lord's lavish provision and generous love is made evident every time I open my garage. I've never owned a garage before-- and certainly not one you could fit two whole cars and a lifetime of stuff inside!
We could see ourselves living and hosting and thriving there. There was a lush yard with tall developed pine trees and a bunny scampering by. A second fountain peacefully gurgled in the backyard, as well! The home was a quick walk away from two sprawling parks.
Inside the front door is an office with a desk and built-in shelving. Beside that is a spacious living room, a dining room with track lighting and wainscoting, and then a bright open kitchen with adjoining breakfast room.
This leads out to a raised deck overlooking the garden. The pantry next to the kitchen desk might be our favorite room-- it's so large that we tease Roman about it being his future bedroom.
Upstairs we have the master suite with a walk-in closet that allows Buz and I BOTH to store our clothing and treasures. It's the first time in our marriage that he hasn't had to go into a hallway or other bedroom to find his clothes. We finally fit! There are two children's rooms, a bathroom, guest bedroom, laundry room and playroom upstairs, as well. It is both cozy and roomy with a lovely hallway bannister to hold twinkling lights and Christmas garlands. It's the kind of home that you delight yourself to visit, but never imagine could be yours. We feel spoiled every single morning and each night as we whisper our thanks over and over and over.
There was even a beautiful 2-bedroom unit for my mom, complete with a gorgeous granite kitchen. She immediately said "This is it. This is the only one." We put in an offer and they accepted all our terms with zero hesitation. They hadn't had a single offer. It was like the Lord was preserving it just for us.
(The gorgeous downstairs kitchen that suits my mom just perfectly)
Six months later, we've put a few dents in the walls and a scuff or two on the floors, but that just makes it all the more our own. We're saturating these walls with memories, our laughter echoing through spacious hallways, our worship soaking into soft carpets.
Already this gorgeous space has sheltered us through countless bouts of autumn wind and winter snow. I almost delight in hearing the weather bluster and howl knowing my family is so safe and cozy inside. This home is a haven and a gift. I hope I never cease to marvel at it. The Lord's lavish provision and generous love is made evident every time I open my garage. I've never owned a garage before-- and certainly not one you could fit two whole cars and a lifetime of stuff inside!
We hunker down as a family for devotions and boardgames, fireside reading, epic Nerf battles, Lego competitions and late night movies. Already we've had the honor of hosting 3 birthday parties, multiple staff celebrations, several holiday dinners, our first Wyoming Thanksgiving, a Christmas Favorite Things party, a handful of game days and countless visits from out of town guests.
Our home was an extravagant gift and we know that it is meant to be shared. Hospitality will always be its heartbeat.
So thank you for your prayers, your belief in our ministry, your hope in our future. Even on the bleakest of days, we knew the Lord was orchestrating something beautiful. We ruminated on Psalm 37 and knew those promises would one day come to fruition, but we never conceived of this extravagance. How small our vision was! How simple our dreams! Surrendering the plan to Christ was infinitely better. His generosity is dazzling, His kindness overwhelming.
(The little boys' chose a dinosaur theme. Of course they did.)
3Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. 11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity...
18The blameless spend their days under theLord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty... 22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. 23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. 27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. 28 For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones
(I even found two secret rosebushes hidden in the yard after we bought the property)
If you're looking for an affordable community with an outstanding local church, might I recommend moving to Cheyenne and attending Element Church! I've heard the pastor is amazing and the houses are half off!
PRAYER POINTS FOR OUR WYOMING LIFE
Wisdom to serve this new culture well
Deep, spiritually supportive friendships for our boys
Discernment as we implement new church programming
Focus for my time to serve my husband, kids and the women of this region in a healthy balance
Growth for our local ministry as well as our digital impact
Direction as we invest more into foreign missions
Finding peers and rich community at a pastoral level
Practical help for maintaining our home since we are total novices at home repairs! haha!!
Love you all!
Hugs and Besos,
Home tour VIDEO coming soon! Watch this New Year's message from the Book of Ruth-- Redeeming the Time! The Lord wants to restore all your wounds, regrets and broken dreams!