Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Story of Faith and Patience...of God's Purpose in Trials

I've been meaning to write about this journey, but have been a bit wrapped up in life and all that's going on right now. My fear is that I may have already forgotten some of the things I wanted to here's my attempt to tell you what happened during our 92 day closing period.

It's been a while since I've been on a roller coaster...and after this, I don't need to ride one for a long time. There was a couple week period where it was literally "yes" one day, "no" the next...or even both in the same day. It seemed for every "yes" we got from Fannie Mae or Spirit Bank, a "no" immediately followed.

The loan we initially tried to do required that a date error on Len's credit be fixed. We asked Fannie Mae for an extension and they said no. We asked over a month later as we neared our closing date, and they said yes, granting us another month. We tried for something like 35 days to get the error corrected, going through every possible way. Len and our Spirit Bank rep were calling Sun Trust Mortgage (who reported the data wrong) every day trying to get it corrected. We just needed a piece of paper stating the exact date Len sold his investment property back to the bank and for whatever reason they could not get that for us. Len found the date on a land record through the county but the credit people wouldn't accept it! We tried for over a month and finally got someone to help us at SunTrust and they sent us the document we needed and when we received it, we were crushed to see it was the document that Len had already found and the credit people would not approve. Apparently the paper we need did not exist...and we couldn't get out loan without that non-existent paper!

All the while we are praying for direction and patience. After we put in an offer on the house I struggled with what God was telling me to do...I was on my knees crying, just overwhelmed at the possibility of getting a house like this one...wasn't something I could even fathom...and God was asking me to ask Him for it! I couldn't justify in my mind asking God to grant me something as earthly and temporary as a house. Doesn't God care more about other things?? Well I would later learn that God wanted to teach me something...

That night I was reading my bible and 2 verses came alive to me and I KNEW God was telling me that these were my verses-my verses to pray and claim over this house! I felt God right beside me, saying "this is the promise for you"..."ask me and I will give it to you...". I was so excited after that point that every night I couldn't wait to read my bible! Every couple of days I would find more verses that directed and encouraged me. I took some friends and family to the house and we walked around the property and prayed over it multiple times. Len also met with some of his family and prayed over the situation. Len felt that it was a spiritual battle going on. Which is interesting because that was a topic that came up a lot in our studies during community group. Point of fact: we live in a spiritual world. We fight not against flesh and blood, but against spirits and powers of darkness...

So we took the battle to where it was!

God showed me how to pray and claim his Word. I've never used His Word like that before. Sure, I've had times where I read the bible and prayed constantly because I had something huge going on that I knew I needed to trust God for. But this was different and it felt so weird...I practiced every day praying with only verses- sending His Word out to complete His will. The Word does not return void! If you really believe that, how can you NOT expect His Word to make things happen?! Well God gave me such deep peace and sense of fellowship with Him that I could listen to people say "There are other houses out there." and "You need to find a different house." and just smile and know in my heart that God gave me His Word to STAND on...not hide behind, and not use for my own temporary purpose, but to stand on--to base all decisions off of. (Side note I want to touch on at the end...)

The chains were loosed...and then they were broken off completely! We were amazed when we were allowed to get the loan without the credit date being fixed!! The week of closing when the loan finally got to underwriting, they discovered it wasn't going to work due to new federal restrictions! And the doors slammed shut! Talk about a potentially maddening, frustrating, confusing, and hopeless situation. But not for us. :) We took the position of {this is God's situation to make work; we can't make it happen, so let's pray, believe, and watch what he does}. Spirit Bank scrambled to try two other loans, both failed and then sent up red flags to the government and we had to pause while they were looked into for 'lender fraud' due to all the loans they were trying to put us in.

Next thing we know, we are trying to get a loan that we weren't supposed to be able to get because the house had to be 'move-in ready' or free of repairs in order to qualify. Remember, this is a foreclosure that needs years of work to make it perfect. Back when we had the appraisal, the appraiser for Fannie Mae wrote that it met their standards and no repairs were required. We were now on our second extension and had to ask for two more in order to close, but it did close with that loan! 4 approved extensions is a miracle in and of itself! What's so cool is that we were initially trying to get a "fixer-upper" loan that would let us do repairs, through their contractor, and just add them into the mortgage. Well with the loan we ended up getting, we got down payment assistance which paid $4500 and the seller paid $3500 (which is unheard of on a foreclosure)...and we don't have to pay their contractor to do the work before we move in--we can do it ourselves at our pace.

I know I'm forgetting things, but that's the gist of it...God is good and His way may be confusing, but if you have a word from him, stand on it and don't be moved! Len and I learned so much about persevering and faith during this 92 day ordeal...and I'm so thankful for it!

So here is my side note:
I was amazed at the amount of Christians who did not stand with us. (Ok, I was also amazed at the ones who did--who had faith that dwarfed mine and pulled me to my feet!) But on the rare occasion I mentioned one of the "no"s we received, I would get a response like, "there's a reason for everything" or "God has something better for you". Maybe it's just because they didn't know what God had put in my heart, but I was freakin tired of all the excuses--the lack of faith. You can't go through life and say whatever happens was God's will or if something doesn't go through that "it must not have been God's will"! Since when does God just drop whatever you want in your lap?? Even the things that He promises don't just come have to follow suit, put on the armor, and go where He tells you to and get it! I've also learned that we are to bring God glory in all things, even when there are hiccups in the plan He's leading us on. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." How many times do we sadden him by not believing Him and telling ourselves that there must be something else out there for me. I can picture him saying "No, child...! Please, draw near to me...I want to teach you something...I have great things in store for you...but only if you will do what is necessary to get them...I love you and want to strengthen you." Let's stand with one another in faith and perseverance, not throw around religious cliches.

Thank you to everyone who prayed with and for us, to everyone who helped us move and are helping us with repairs! Thanks for going on this journey with us!