Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what i'm afraid to tell you


As I sit down to write this post, I think of how many times I have come back from a blog break feeling awkward about the amount of time that has passed. This time is really not much different. Except that perhaps the break was a bit different.
I love this blog, I love documenting things in my life and I like being a part of a community that encourages one another and learns from one another. At the same time, I can be overwhelmed at all that is out there. So many great blogs and bloggers. So much great inspiration and encouragement to be found. However, with all of that inspiration and encouragement, also comes feelings of discontentment and inadequacy. I find that at times it is easier for me to unplug in order to focus on the joys in my life.
I have found that even when I am unplugging and not engaging on the blog, I am still “writing” posts in my head. And over the last few months I have really started to figure out what my desire is for this blog. I knew that I didn’t want to give it up all together, but I also knew that I wanted it to be different.
Then came this post by Hannah (part of a collective of bloggers talking about “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”). I have read Hannah’s blog for a while and always find it encouraging and I love our interactions on Instagram (as a side note...while I may have been absent here, I am quite active on Instagram...it seems it is a great way to blog without actually blogging). I was struggling with a post I wanted to write, but was unsure if I really wanted to share it. Hannah’s post provided just the push I needed (even if it took me more than a month to sit down and write this.)
So, what am I afraid to tell you? About two and a half years ago, after much prayer, Michael and I moved to Hickory, NC for a position that was available to him at a church there. The economy was already in crisis mode, so rather than try and sell our house, we decided to rent it. God blessed us with great renters who actually moved in the same day that we moved out. A year later they bought their own home and we went a few months without renters. During that time we had two break-ins at the house, one of which involved the burglar breaking the chandelier in the dining room with his head and bleeding all over the place. It was a stressful time of just wondering when the next crisis would occur with no one occupying the house. Again, miraculously, God brought renters. However they were unable to pay us an amount even close to the mortgage. At that point, it was so much of a relief just to have someone in the house and at least part of the mortgage being covered, rather than none. However, after just a couple of months, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to sustain paying rent in Hickory and the mortgage payment on the house in Atlanta.
So, we did what the mortgage companies tell you to do, and we tried to modify the loan, but they declined our requests after reappraising our house at a sickening low price. Our house was in a transitional area fraught with crime and mortgage fraud. We were then made aware of the option of a short sale and we were excited when we found an acquaintance who wanted to buy our house. So, last November we started the short sale process.
Here is where I will make the story short. We went through five months of paperwork, faxing, paperwork, banks being sold (unfortunately a home equity line was involved), more paperwork, faxing, a move back to Georgia (but not to the same area, so not back to the house), more paperwork and even more paperwork. You wouldn’t believe the amount of paperwork. Toward the end of the process, it felt like we were faxing the same documents every couple of days. The whole process was exhausting. I am not a very patient person and the waiting was like torture. But, I had such hope in it all working out in the end, that I just dealt with the frustrations.
At the end of April, with deadlines looming, I still felt confident it was all going to work out. The amount of the offer was fair for both the mortgage company and the home equity line bank. In April, we got a letter stating that the house would go to foreclosure on May 1. A week prior to that, we found out that all the items we had faxed to the home equity line bank had not even been assigned to a negotiator and that it was unlikely that it would get assigned and reviewed prior to the foreclosure date. We were shocked, we had been led to believe that someone was reviewing it.
I would love to say that at this point a miracle occurred and everything fell into place just in time. But, I can’t. The truth is our house was foreclosed on May 1.  And that is what I was afraid to tell you. The word foreclosure has such stigmas associated with it. I was afraid I would be pegged as one of those “irresponsible” ones. I do realize that foreclosures are much more common these days, but it still stings and it is still embarrassing. Did we buy a house that we couldn’t afford? No. Were we careless with our money? No. We've just found ourselves in a place with many other people like us, feeling the all too common effect of a troubled economy.
So where are we financially? Not the greatest place. A foreclosure isn’t exactly a blue ribbon on your credit report. I really had my hopes set on a short sale that would look a bit better on our credit report and settle our home equity line debt.  Also, even though this post isn’t about this, our income is at an all time low. But I realize that God's plan is much bigger than the one I had dreamed up. I have no idea what His plan is, but I do know that it is for my best. I know that great things will come out of our situation. Our lives are pretty amazing. Our marriage is strong and our kids are happy. I feel closer to my Savior than I ever have before. I have grown in many ways in the last six months. I have always been one to worry about money and I can honestly say that I am completely resting in Him. Don't get me wrong, I have moments of worry and sadness (read crying). I think that is natural. But, what is important is that I don’t dwell there. I have chosen to dwell in joy. Not just happiness that can ebb and flow, but in true joy that can only come from God. Ya’ll, He is SO good!

Last week our pastor posed the question (in my words but really close to his), "If God doesn't give you what you desperately want and what you think you need, is HE enough? If He isn't, then when that thing does come, it won't be enough."  That truth blew me away. Earlier that same day, Michael had said that one of the most important lessons in our situation is that we have to believe that GOD is enough, no matter what else we have (or don't have). We have to live a life in which God is enough. And we strive to live that truth.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that I knew that I wanted something different to come out of this blog. I want to be real. And this is about as real as it gets. I want this to be a place to find inspiration, yes, but also for it to be a place to find encouragement and truth even in the messes. I hope that wherever you may be right now that you can find the hope and peace that only God can provide.

I am not saying this because I am in need,for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4: 11-12

21 comments:

LeeAnn said...

Your words a such an encouragement resounding in Truth! Sharing your story is sharing Christ. :)

melissa said...

Wow Amy.thanks for your honesty. Very encouraging. Looking forward to chatting more in the coming weeks.

kristi said...

You did it. I knew you could. I love you so much.

Nikole said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful honesty. Things have been incredibly challenging for us financially since my husband was laid off, and I find such comfort in you sharing your truth. I hope things continue to fall into place for your family. Thank you, friend. xo

Elizabeth said...

I was wondering where you had gone off too!

Don't feel badly about the house, just move forward with your lovely family. It doesn't matter in this day and age if you own or rent. The country is in such a mess with the whole housing crisis.
We have NEVER owned a home. We have been married for 29 years, and have never owned a home. We have gotten to live in some pretty amazing places because we don't own our home. We never have to worry about fixing things etc. Because we didn't own a home, my husband's job was able to easily relocate us to Paris for two years back in 2002. When coming back to the Bay Area, we could put our daughter into a great high school because all we had to do was look or a rental in the right district. Something others aren't able to do, because they did buy the house they could afford, and it wasn't in a great neighborhood. So, there are many pluses to renting. Tax wise no, but it all balances out in the end.
I know it is the American dream to own a home, but it should be the American dream to just have a happy home and raise happy kids. I think we did that, and God has blessed us in so many ways. Your lives will go on, and I know things look dim for now, but there is always something around the corner that will come along, and you will know that the path was what needed to happen.
My husband was laid off last year, and it took a whole year to find another one. The anxiety and tears were there for sure, but we never had to worry about losing a house!

Hang in there Amy, and hope to see you here in blog land more :)

Eren said...

Nothing but love and light to you friend...and if it makes you feel any better our house in Wisconsin is scheduled for foreclosure on July 31. We are military and had orders to move and we still couldn't get out of the mortgage. Hang in there...HE is enough. And so are you dear, dear lady.

xxooxxoo

Eren said...

Nothing but love and light to you friend...and if it makes you feel any better our house in Wisconsin is scheduled for foreclosure on July 31. We are military and had orders to move and we still couldn't get out of the mortgage. Hang in there...HE is enough. And so are you dear, dear lady.

xxooxxoo

beki said...

Big hugs to you, Amy! Thanks for sharing. We all have our burdens and things that we are afraid to share. I know it took a lot of courage to admit what you did. But honestly, it's just a house, just a mortgage. You and your family are so much more than that!! You'll get through this :)

maehanna said...

I am so proud of you and the exceptional young woman my daughter has become! I know how difficult this was for you but you did an amazing thing by sharing. I love you and Michael so much! Your obedience to God is so encouraging to me and to others!

Farmgirl Paints said...

oh girl i hear ya on ALL of it. the struggles with blogging...the love of instagram...the financial headache of having two mortgages. when we relocated to VA from MN we knew it would be with a ding to our credit. there was no getting around it. we were completely upside down. finally the other house sold and we got rid of it, but i know so well that stress and all the paper work. and it is humbling and feels embarassing. it's just life and sometimes those hiccups happen. you just move on.

Alicia said...

oh girl, i'm sure this was hard to post. i'm sorry. not an easy time, i'm sure...but if i can say anything about the blog world, despite it's sometimes ugly parts, it's always been a great form of therapy for me. keep blogging! things will work out.

and you're in hickory?! i'm in asheville! i just drove through hickory yesterday :)

Heather @ we.are.the.holdens said...

Oh I love you and this post. I do get this and know the ups and downs that come with blogging/instagramming. When it comes around again go back to this place and remember why you do it. What your ultimate goal is.That has always helped me. We've had things too that have occurred bc of life and things that were not all in our control. All you can do is keep pressing on and moving forward. ;)

aPearantly sew said...

Oh Amy, I love you so much.

Lindsay - Pen & Paint said...

He is enough. We all have our own "foreclosures". Every day I am realizing we all are so fragile and in need of grace and mercy. Sweet friend you are loved. He give good gifts and He will continue to provide in ways beyond your wildest dreams.

Jennifer Farris said...

Amy, you will make it through! You have a hope that is an anchor for your soul, firm and secure, as Hebrews says (somewhere!) And I understand exactly what you mean about blogging, I feel like I have fallen off the wagon myself. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

hannah singer said...

sweet amy!
since reading this yesterday, i've been praying for you. that the lord would continue to use this to strengthen you! because it seems that he's used it already. certainly to encourage others. me:)
thanks for sharing, darling friend! press on!
and love that scripture at the end. that is exactly it.

love you!! xo

Elise said...

I hear ya, sister! We are in the same boat{nest???}, and we sent in documents, made phone calls, etc, and in the end we lost our home. Not fun, but God provided the home we rent at just the right time and a ridiculously low rent. We're also in a great school district, which is great, because I don't think my nerves would let me homeschool again. ;)
Thanks for sharing your story!!
Elise

Stephanie said...

Amy, I love your heart of obedience to share this. I wish I had read this an hour ago.. I would've hugged your neck even tighter! To God be the glory!

Christa said...

I just wish I could give you a hug! I love this. Love your honesty and all the that Lord is doing for you guys. It's amazing how the Lord meets us in such different ways than we expect in our times of need. I'll get to hug you for real so soon!!

Mary said...

I feel like I wrote this post. Nearly.every.word!
I have the EXACT same feeling about blogging and we even have forclosure(and bankruptcy) under our belts, but God is faithful! He used that time to draw us into closer dependence on Him and to teach me what truly matters in this life.
Im blessed by this today...so glad to feel a connection with people even though we've never met.
Thanks for being BRAVE. ;)
xoxo

Susan Perry said...

I love your family and I love who you are.

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