A White Picket Fence

I grew up in a middle class hard working family. I was taught strong values of work ethic and lessons on success. I remember the day when I opened my first bank account with my name on it. I was in the 5th grade. From that point I began earning money. For every straight “A” report card I earned a $20 bill (and a dinner party trip to the local Sizzler! Yum!). So, with that said, I had an ideal of what adulthood should look like. I would go to college, get a great job, get married, and one day own a house.

Well… when Mark and I decided to get married straight out of high school at the ripe age of 19, some of these plans were slightly changed. I started college, got married to Mark a year later, and we lived off of mediocre jobs, which consequently created slim savings. In 2007, I graduated college, and a year later finally started my teaching career while Mark began to seriously pursue college for himself. At the time, California was experiencing a rise in the housing market, and my older sister and her husband were in the process of looking for their first home. Me, like all good sisters, started to compare my life to my dear sister’s (whom I absolutely love and adore by the way) and cried to Mark about how “we will never be able to afford to buy a house!” After many tears and a patient husband who listened to me wail, Mark reminded me that not everyone owns a home; we were hard working people, and that if a home was in the cards for us, then it would happen…one day.

 

Blog-House 1

 

Fast forward to Dec 2009, with some government graces and incentives, an ideal buyers market, and some family funds, we were able to miraculously buy our first home! And, to top it off, our mortgage for this 3 bedroom, 1 bath home was $60 cheaper than our rent for our 1 bedroom apartment! Our house, something that I had come to peace with possibly never owning, has been such a blessing to our small little family. In 2010, we brought home our baby girl to this house, and, in 2012, our baby boy. We’ve had many prayer meetings in our house (packing over 20 people in the small living room!), which birthed the ministry of Anchor (see pic below), and shared many cups of coffee with those we love.

 

Blog-Prayer in House

 

Here is a little fun fact about Mark and I. Since we’ve known each other, there has never been a time when one of us was not enrolled in school; we met in high school, I started college, I graduated from CSUB, Mark started BC and I started my master’s program, I graduated with my masters, Mark started CSUB, and now, as Mark started to approach his graduation from Fuller Seminary in August this last year (in 2014, after 10 years of marriage and hours of homework), our conversation about the next step began to start. Mark, who barely graduated high school, was entertaining the idea of pursuing a PhD! So, after hours of filling out applications, writing and researching for a dissertation proposal, and completing a personal statement, we got the news that Mark received a place at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland!

 

But what about the house?

 

After doing MUCH research, reading a bunch of blogs, trying to familiarize ourselves with UK economics, and conversations with financial aid, we decided it would be the best choice financially to sell our house. As we were having our last big yard sale and moving our big items and keepsakes into storage, I was left standing in my empty living room talking to some dear friends. I was telling them the story of our house and how I thought we’d never own one, which led me to reflect on how grateful and thankful I was—and still am for this house, and God’s timing and plan for this journey.

 

Here is the reality of our situation…

 

There is absolutely no way we could be moving for our family to pursue this next step without our house. Because of the diminishing market value when we bought our home, and because of the recently surprising spike in Bakersfield’s home values (we sold in April, which was the best seller’s market since the housing market crash!), we were able to sell our house at a price that will help sustain our cost of living for the next 3 years. Simply looking at the numbers, this is a miracle. When I think about what a conversation would look like between my current self and my 2007 self, I am overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God and his timing and its alignment with the calling that he has had and still has on our family’s life.

Cheers to 2600 Corto Street! You will be missed.

Blog-House 2

Hindsight truly is 20/20! What situations in your life have panned out in a way you didn’t expect? Please share your encouraging story below.

 Grace and peace,

Leah