I haven't been to the gym in like, a decade. After running the Mini Marathon I decided that I needed a break. Sooooo, except for the few occasional outdoor runs I've done, I've pretty much done absolutely nothing workout wise. When my friend Liz invited me to go this morning, I said yes. Mainly because I missed her and we desperately needed to catch up, and also because it was a perfect chance to get my daughter out of the house to play with some friends her age [my son was spending the morning with a cousin.] As we 'briskly walked,' as we like to call it, I confided in Liz my frustrations spiritually in this season.
"It's not that I'm suddenly denouncing God or walking away from my faith," I said. "I am just in a season of struggling to find hope." We went on to talk and I told her that I just didn't get why MANY things were happening. Like my oldest brother who has severe special needs for instance. He suffers, SO MUCH. He has colitis and osteoporosis and a motility disorder, and really, the list could go on. But why? For what? It's so hard sometimes to believe the good in a Heavenly Father when you witness the most innocent man on the planet suffering; it just is. And then the five acre horse farm that we put on offer on, that we didn't get. That night I sat in our backyard, told my husband I needed to be alone, told my mother I couldn't talk on the phone because I wanted to be alone, and I just sobbed to God. When I can't talk to those two people, you know I'm not in a good place.
"It sounds like you're living the Judy Blume book, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret," Liz said. I laughed and said, "OH my word, you nailed it!!"
Tuesday of this week a photographer came and took pictures of our house for the future sale listing. Wednesday late afternoon, the listing went live and within a few minutes, our first showing was scheduled. Wednesday MORNING, as tears fell down my cheeks the second my feet touched the ground, I prayed this:
"God, I'm not really happy with you right now. I don't believe that you care where we end up. I don't have a lot of trust in you. I don't have much hope. But if you could make something cool happen today? That would be great."
Here's how it looks getting ready to show our house:
-Quickly bake chocolate chip cookies
-Set out the printed letter(s) to prospective buyers, as well as the renovation sheet
-Sprint to make sure all the rooms are in excellent order and trashes are taken out
-Put a bowl of water outside, push the black cat Sammy outdoors
-Put the orange cat, Alfie, in cat carrier to take with us
-Load the dogs in the car and drop off in one of the siblings' fenced backyards
-Load the kids and Alfie in the car, and be gone for however long
I took an Instagram story video yesterday of the litter box on my lap, Alfie sandwiched between the kids, and the dogs panting, Humphrey barking in the trunk. "I hope our house sells quickly," I said.
We returned home, saw that most of the cookies had been eaten, and there was a note that said, "Thank you so much, your house is BEAUTIFUL." No sooner did our shoes come off was our realtor calling my husband. We both thought that for sure if it was an offer, it would be below our asking price of $175. I heard Asa laugh and say, "Wow, before I just tell you yes, I know that I still need to talk this over with Ashley." Um, what? Duh you have to talk to me!
We had just been given an over our asking price offer. They were approved for a conventional loan, said that they loved the house exactly as it is, and were flexible (July 31st) with a close date. They wanted an answer by 10pm last night. If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you've already seen what we decided: a big giant YES!
No more house showings? No more stress or trying to keep the house in perfect show ready condition? No more animals being shuttled, no more drop of the hat living? YES! I knew that I needed to thank God, because very clearly, this was a God given offer. I believe that He was so generous that when I had asked him that morning to 'do something cool,' He responded with, "Okay, Daughter. Here." I mean, who sells their house after ONE showing, to the first family who walks in the door?? US, that's who!
I am grateful, and I believe that was a God ordained gift. Except I can't lie to you. I am still having a hard time trusting the next steps. Does He CARE where we end up? Does it matter to HIM which house we end up in? What part of town? Does He care that I want a horse; that my heart LONGS for a horse? Wasn't it Him who created me with my desires, with these dreams? I have to believe yes. Even though it's hard.
My sweet sister-in-law Ali in Rhode Island texted me yesterday and I have to share her words when I explained to her my loss of hope:
"There is Biblical evidence that God can and DOES order the most specific, tiny details of our lives. Not to mention the flowers dressed beautifully or the sparrows that He knows. He is looking out for you guys. Even when, especially when, it hurts."
Guys, I am SO super thankful to Jesus for selling our home within HOURS of it being on the market. I think that is a miracle that HE performed, that HE orchestrated. But I hope you can still understand that there's a big giant part of me over here, curled up in this home of mine with my arms stretched high and I'm asking,
"Are You There, God? It's ME, Ashley."
Where will we go? We aren't sure just yet. I guess you'll have to stay tuned ;)