I've been married to John, the butcher, for 25 years. We have 8 children together ranging in ages from 24 to 6 and he has two daughters from before he met me so we have what you might consider a large family.
When we first got married we lived in his super cheap one bedroom bachelor pad in Salem, Oregon until he became a meat manager and then we moved to Eugene,Oregon. As soon as possible we bought an inexpensive starter home on a quarter acre lot, the ugliest and smallest on our little dead end street. We were outside the city limits in Santa Clara with a filbert orchard at the end of the road and a horse pasture right over the back fence. I remember standing in that backyard making a 5 year and a 10 year plan.
At the end of our 5 year plan we moved back to Salem. John was no longer a manager and we wanted to be closer to his daughters. We had three little ones and I was pretty pregnant when we finally settled on a 3 acre parcel with a small mobile home- 960 square feet actually downsizing from the 1040 square feet in our first home.
This was adequate but I was kind of depressed. When we'd been out looking at houses, even mobile homes, I'd walked through a beautiful mobile. It had light green carpet- I hate green carpet but this was like "spring". Oregon can be so dark and grey from all the rain but this just felt like such an emotional pick me up. It was 1860 square feet and so roomy! I loved the floor plan vaulted ceilings, and it was perfect except the outside looked like the typical mobile home. While driving home talking to John pondering about things like the beautiful mobile, God spoke to me. Not out loud but with that still small voice and He said " I have something better for you". The way I looked at it the mobile we ended up with was not better and I couldn't understand what He had meant.
Seven years later I sat down with my family and presented them with a simple one quart mason jar. I made a label that said Faith Without Works is dead. To make a long story short, within a month we had $20,000 in that jar and we began to build a house just across the driveway from the mobile. It was a spacious, bright 3,000 square foot country colonial and we all adored it.
Some folks thought we were crazy but when our ten year plan was up we put our beautiful home on the market and sold. We loaded up our 7 kids and moved to a small town in Idaho. We moved into a vacant family owned farm house two miles out of town and we've been here ever since. Our plan was to find land, build and sell houses until we could once again get our dream home and hopefully have it paid for.
Eight years later we're still living in the same old farm house. We've tried many times to buy land and every time things totally fall apart. We bought and sold several rentals but just never anything for ourselves. Our faith jar has been sitting and gathering dust and minimal coinage for those last almost 8 years.
This summer when my oldest daughter came home to visit, she mentioned seeing a house for sale in town. We decided to take a peek. It was big, beautiful and expensive. We talked about it and started to get excited. This was the first home we had seen that might actually work for our family. The price was high but we decided to commit to buying a house. Maybe this one or maybe something else.
I randomly selected Christmas as our deadline. Thanksgiving weekend is our yearly anniversary for moving in here and I just thought for this Christmas I couldn't come up with a better gift for my family than a house. I'm asking God to help out as it's way beyond me to make this happen. All the pieces seem to be falling into place except the date....
One cool thing is that our Faith jar received a major boost after making this decision. Almost overnight it grew $6,000. Pretty impressive! I think we're on the right track.