Sunday, December 11, 2011

One year ago today...

We officially moved into our house.  (warning:looooong post ahead)

One year ago our family underwent a monumental change.  We packed all eight of us (and all our junk belongings) and moved.  To a new house.  A new ward.  For some of the kids, a new school.  For all of us, a new life.
For the past several years our family has been on a pretty intense roller coaster ride.  To sum it up, because it's not really possible to write all of the gory details right now, DH left a fairly comfortable albeit dead-end job to go into business with a good friend.  We had prayed about the decision, but never got a "go ahead" answer.  In spite of that, and contrary to the advice of friends and family, we took the leap into this business venture.  We sunk invested ALL of our retirement, savings, etc. into this business in order to fund the projects and plans.
OK-here's the big summary part:
Turns out, our friend and partner was doing many illegal and immoral things.  He ended up in jail and we lost everything.  Our money, DH's confidence and self esteem, and ultimately our home.  What we didn't lose was our faith, each other, and the knowledge that our Heavenly Father was very aware of us and our situation.  During these years, we received countless acts of service--from the prayers or others to $500 coming to us anonymously through our mail slot.  (what came through our mail slot deserves it's own post sometime)  This kind of thing happened more than once, especially around Christmas, and always at crucial times.
In April of 2010, a good friend and neighbor gave DH a job.  Very low paying, but a job nonetheless.  This job not only provided money, but gave DH a huge boost and was a life-preserver to him when he felt he was drowning.  We will be forever grateful to our friend for this opportunity.  From here, DH was able to get his current job (last November).
There were many months throughout this time that we couldn't pay our mortgage, so even though we were working with our bank constantly and trying to modify our loan-or do whatever we could-we ended up losing our home.  This was not just another house to me.  My grandfather built it and I grew up in it.  This was a tough blow for us to deal with.  My mom was also living with us and I had break the news to her.  That was no small task.

Some of the hardest things to leave.  My board and batten wall!  And pretty light fixtures.  And granite counters. :)

Somehow, however, I maintained a feeling of peace through most of this time.  Don't get me wrong, there were those moments of panic and worry, but deep down I knew things would work out.  I couldn't see how, but tried to strengthen my faith.  At this point, we had to decide if we should just stay in the house without paying anything for as long as possible, or move on our own terms.  DH was very certain we should leave on our own terms.  The uncertainty of "is this the day we get kicked out?" was too much.  I was grateful for this decision, and looking back am even more grateful now than I was back then.
I began looking for rental homes.  I scoured Craigslist (we almost got totally scammed once, it was awesome!), worked with realtors, drove neighborhoods looking for rental signs, and spread the word that we were looking.
In conversation with a good friend one day, I brought up that we were looking for a place to rent.  She told me that her parents had just moved and were trying to rent out their house.
Another long story made short: it was the perfect price, perfect size, and great neighborhood.  And besides all of these positive factors, the moment both DH and I walked into the house we knew it was the right place for us.  This move was exactly what we needed to officially "start over".
Our biggest concern at this time was our two oldest daughters.  At almost 13 and 15, this was a hard age to uproot.  Fortunately, they were able to remain at the same school, so our biggest apprehension was the Young Women in our new ward.  Would they be accepting?  Stuck up and clique-ish?  Warm and inviting?  Who knew.

we were excited to have a basketball hoop
 and a tree house and high ceilings

Since we were moving on our own conditions, we began moving stuff over a little at a time over the period of a few weeks.  Beginning about a week or so before our bona fide move-in day, some of our new neighbors came by to get acquainted.  The Young Women leaders came by.  The Bishopric came by.  We had three families come caroling and bringing treats before we even moved in!  We just happened to be there when they came by.  This experience helped solidify in my mind that there is very little "coincidence" to life.  I felt the hand of the Lord very strongly in all these little things.
The Young Women turned out to be lovely.  They scooped up both our girls into their arms and carried them through that time.  They were wonderful!  There was really no pain involved with this whole move that wasn't completely overcome by they joy of our new situation.  We were so blessed!
Fast forward one year.
We have some of the best friends we've ever had in our lives.  Some of which are right next door!  We have just enough space.  (I'm not saying I don't want a bigger house at some point.  Maybe in a few years.)  All our kid have good friends in the ward.  Great new school for the younger kids.  We have an increased knowledge that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us.  I am a member of a choir that I ADORE.  This would have never happened if we hadn't come here.  I feel so peaceful about our life now, even though we are still in a fairly precarious financial state.  I guess it will take some time to totally remedy that.
5 years ago, I wondered if there would ever come a time that I could say, "I am grateful for this trial."  It has taken me this long, but now I can say with full sincerity, I am grateful for this trial.  We have learned SO MUCH.  Too bad it takes hard knocks to teach us sometimes.  (I don't much like hard knocks!!) :-)
Here's to at least another year in this house, hopefully more.  Thanks to a Father in Heaven that is watching over us, and for the comfort and peace this brings.  I love life!


Keeper of Banners said...

Too true. I agree with everything you said here.

Savannah Whetten said...

i think it was all for the better