My life stories won’t necessarily be in chronological order. I may go back and forth as the inspiration strikes me, but I’ll try not to be confusing! For today, I’ll pick up where I left off at getting my job at Liberty University.
Commuting two hours each way to Lynchburg got old right quick like. I did it every day for months, sometimes staying with fellow accountant and new friend Nora a few nights a week. Eventually, I started to think it would be best to get a house in Lynchburg for the girls to live with me if they wanted, and I could go home to Greensboro on weekends until my son graduated. I truly struggled with finding the balance of where I was supposed to be when, and how to do what was best for all of them. It was simply impossible to be two places at one time.
One of my coworkers recommended a good real estate agent named Karl, and I arranged to go with him to look at some cute little houses I found on the internet. I could buy a house for a cheaper payment than I could rent one, so off to look at properties we went.
As soon as the first house came into view, it was glaringly apparent the pictures they had posted were taken a while ago — a LONG while ago. Evidently Fred Sanford lived there now! It looked like a salvage yard, and since I smelled the refrigerator before I walked in the kitchen, ain’t no way this clean freak was living there. NEXT!!
Standing outside this colossally disappointing landfill, Karl said there had been a property just posted that day. It might be another waste of time, but the pictures showed a clean, well maintained house. It was a ways out of town, but that was fine by this country girl. City living makes me nervous. And actually a bit nauseous.
When I pulled into the gravel driveway of that little farmhouse in Gladys, VA, I melted. I loved it before I walked inside. The yard. The trees. It was built in 1910 and had 9 1/2 ft ceilings, original heart pine floors and three porches. I wanted this house. Shoot fire, y’all, I COVETED this house.
As we sat down on the couch to discuss the offer, it seemed like the appropriate time for me to explain that I had no money. I mean none. Nada. Zilch. I said, “Do you think we can ask her to pay all of the closing costs, and actually give me some money back to move with if I offer her more than she’s asking? Assuming it would appraise for enough?” He stared at me, just blinking his eyes. I could almost hear his thoughts, Fannnnntastic. I’ve showed this lady two houses only to find out she’s nuts?
“You want me to ask her to give YOU money back?”
“Yes, you see, because I don’t have any.” Didn’t I already say I didn’t have any!?
I waited while he let that sink in a bit. Finally he said, “Well alrighty then! You have not because you ask not! We really can’t make an offer exactly like that, but maybe she will be willing to do something for you as a side agreement between the two of you. (In other words, I don’t want to know about it!) Let’s make an offer on the house, and I’ll ask her agent to get her to talk to you about any other arrangements.” Bless poor Karl’s heart. I could tell he’d never met someone like me.
Before the night was out, the owner of my dream house accepted my real estate offer, and she wanted to meet me to discuss the personal side of my request. Maybe she just wanted to meet anyone bold enough to ask for money to move with! Why not, I thought? I had nothing to lose. If the answer was no, nothing lost. I’d come up with it somehow.
Meeting Lib was like meeting an old friend. The house had been in her family since it was built. She said God told her immediately to accept my offer and that she was to help me move. I wasn’t sure I heard her right, so I asked her to repeat what she’d said. God had told her to accept my offer, and that she was to help me? Help me? Oh yes, I needed help.
I’ll never forget her words, standing under the 200 year old oak tree that day:
“This house was my place of healing. I’ve met and married the love of my life. Now it is to be your place of healing as well. Your incubator. God will do for you what He did for me. And when you find your healing, use it to help another woman who needs it, too.”
I gave her my word I would. And I kept it, as you’ll find out in my next post.
Lib not only let me buy her beautiful home, her healing place, her incubator, but she gave me both a riding mower and push mower, and every other tool I’d need to keep up two acres of land. She gave me furniture for the screened in porch, and extra furniture for the house. She showed me how to fill up the outside Taylor water stove with wood that would heat the house when winter came.
But most of all she showed me that God still loved me, that He hadn’t forgotten me, that He hadn’t moved to Kansas and left no forwarding address, that He was continuing to answer that prayer I had prayed every day for so long, asking Him to take care of me and my children . . .
Although there were many, many, dark days, even dark years, my healing was happening. It was real, unfolding before my eyes. It wasn’t instantaneous like some people’s seemed to be. Slow and still painful at times, but it was happening.
I don’t know what your healing place looks like, but you have one. There is a place where God wants to take you. I can’t promise He will bring you physical healing to your body (although I believe He can), but I can assure you that He wants to heal your heart, to soothe your soul, to restore the joy of your salvation. Like my healing, yours may be slow and painful, and it may not be a literal house, but your place is there, somewhere. Ask Him for it. Remember that James 4:2 says,
” . . . You do not have because you do not ask God.”
This was my healing place, my incubator. My little Gladys farmhouse. The house that brought me some of the best memories of my life, as well as my children.
Lord, I’m crying now, as the memories of my sweet little Gladys house fill my mind. Thank You for taking care of me and my kids through Lib. Bless her for blessing us. And I ask that You that You do the same for every broken soul reading this blog. Bring them healing for their broken hearts and lives, and give them joy unspeakable. Give them a Healing Place, Lord. Most of all, I thank You that there is enough room on Your lap for all of us.