We bought a house! Praise the Lord!

Our new home!
Our new home!

About nine years ago, we moved to the tiny, rural town of Butler, Missouri (which means it’s out in the sticks!); I always say not willingly, but ONLY because my husband Ray got a great job there as a paramedic at Bates County Memorial Hospital. We wanted a house located close to Ray’s work, so we wouldn’t have to fight Missouri’s winter snow and ice driving him to work (we have one car and I usually take him to work).

Initially we lived in a small, brick rental home, and then moved to a larger house in Butler, that was built in 1960 and the landlord who bought it inexpensively remodeled it beautifully. As soon as I saw the ad in the paper to rent the house, something in my spirit leaped.

Couple leaping
Couple leaping

When I met the landlord to go look at the house, and she told me that she flips houses for a living, as soon as my feet stepped inside the back door, I sensed that God wanted to bless Ray and me with this home to buy it, for us to improve it a little, and then us flip it, too, for a profit after several years.  I just felt that the house was mine.

Ray and I knew from the start of signing the year-long lease that our landlord intended to sell the house at some point. She had worked hard on remodeling it and she preferred to sell it to us, because she knew we loved the house, especially me, and that we’d take care of it.

The house is my personal taste and style, with the original wood floors stripped and polished, arched Spanish-style doorways, a sunroom like many homes in Florida have, and many other nice features. 

Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/
Image resource: https://katjacoby.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/this-week-is-national-pay-your-bills-week/

Ray and I have had a LOT of financial struggles during the 25 years of our marriage, including a home foreclosure, filing bankruptcy, and bills going into collection agencies (such as Ray’s medical bills), because we were living hand to mouth, just trying to survive and pay the basics each week.  Because of all this, Ray’s credit score wasn’t high, which is usually necessary to buy a home. 

Marines in war
Marines in war

When our landlord decided to sell the house after we’d lived there the first year, she offered it to us first since she knew I really liked the house. Ray served over 14 years in the Marines military, and wanted a VA (Veterans Administration) loan, because they don’t require any down payment.  He applied several places, but was turned down due to his credit score.  The VA usually requires a minimum credit score of  620.

Ray immediately began working to improve his credit score. We prayed and asked our family and our friends to pray for God’s favor and a miracle to buy this house.  

Our landlord generously allowed us to sign another year’s lease as Ray rebuilt his credit.  It took longer than expected, and then she allowed us to sign another year’s lease while God worked behind the scenes on our behalf! This is God’s FAVOR!

“”For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.”–Proverbs 8:35

The landlord also added a rail to the steps outside the house, which the VA required, and made repairs (paying for them  herself), including a new roof, hiring plumbers to fix a major plumbing issue, repainting,  and other expensive improvements to the home.

When God speaks, it shall be

Two of my friends gave me prophecies that we were going to buy the house, as well as people I didn’t even know—prophetic vessels of God’s on Periscope. When God speaks, it shall be. 

“So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” –Isaiah 55:11, AKJV

Ray applied for a VA loan and his application was again turned down. He said it looked like we’d have to move, which we both dreaded as we have moved a lot in our marriage and own a lot of stuff! I began searching the papers for a new rental house, but wondered about the prophecies. Like Mary the mother of Jesus, I pondered these things in my heart. (Luke 2:19) Had all those people simply missed it and given a false prophecy?

Then one morning in town, I met a woman at the post office as we waited in line, and admired her beautiful silver bracelet. She said her daughter bought it for her from Tiffany & Co. It turned out that she was a realtor, who knew a lender. This turned out to be a Divine appointment and the lender had a VA lender contact, who made it possible for us to buy this house! Look at God go!

Our house: God did it!
Our house; God did it!
Back door & sunroom
Back door & sunroom
Detached garage
Detached garage
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard
Pink azaleas blooming in our yard

You can see pics of the INSIDE of the house by clicking here. I have made some changes to the decor and furniture since I wrote that blog post. 

I’d told Ray that a VA loan would involve a lot of red tape, and I was right. He was about to pull out his hair from all the paper work he had to keep filling out and the information he had to get in order to process the loan. At times it still seemed “iffy,” but I continued to stand on God’s word. While I struggle with faith in the area of our children and grandchildren, I did have FAITH that we were going to buy this house, and at times I had to encourage Ray to BELIEVE and TRUST GOD!

My friend Stephanie Carter, one of the women who prophesied we’d buy the house, encouraged me to do something as an act of faith that the house was our own, so I planted wildflower seeds outside with Ray as we waited to hear for the response about the loan.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” –Hebrews 11:6, NASB

Stephanie urged me and Ray to ONLY speak words of faith over this house and the loan, and go to the four corners of the land, praying silently over it as the people of Israel did at Jericho before the final victory. (Joshua 6) She said tell everyone I knew that this house was ours, even strangers, lol. I did all this, and I dropped the communion elements of bread and wine at each of the four corners. (Matthew 26:17-30)

I also buried a mustard seed which was inside a heart charm for a necklace of mine, at my friend Shelley Valasek’s encouragement, right beside the wildflowers. (Matthew 17:20)

Here’s a picture of me planting the seeds, and Ray and I holding a green stone that says “Faith” on it that I found at the Dollar General store. 

me planting wildflower seeds
me planting wildflower seeds
Ray & me Holding our "faith" stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we're buying this year
Ray & me holding our “faith” stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we’re buying this year

Here is Ray in the picture below, signing the papers with the attorney and our landlord at the attorney’s office. 

God gave us favor to not need a down payment, AND our landlord even paid all the closing costs! Praise JESUS!

Ray signing papers at the house closing
Ray signing papers at the house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing
Landlord signing papers at house closing

After the papers were signed, Ray and I went out to lunch to celebrate at Olive Garden! All the glory and praise goes to Jesus Christ! This is a miracle, with our financial problems in the past and Ray’s previous credit score. God did it, halleluah!

Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray & me toasting at OG
Ray's green apple Sangria
Ray’s green apple Sangria
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
Me with Italian Moscato red wine
OG bread sticks and salad
OG bread sticks and salad

I’m so happy to tell you that we are now proud home-owners! Ray and I prayed over the house, the land, our marriage, our children, our grandchildren when we bought this house, breaking any curses over it and asking God to bless us and our home.

Me & Ray at 25th "silver" wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray at 25th “silver” wedding anniversary & home purchase party

We had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and home purchase party on Mother’s Day 2017, which I’ll share about in another blog post. Thank you to all who prayed for us to buy this house; it wouldn’t have happened without YOUR prayers!

GOD DID IT! PRAISE THE LORD!

What are you believing God for in your life? What miracle do you need? Leave your comments below.

Are you needing more faith? Read my book on praying in faith at Amazon by clicking here. 

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Our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary

The sterling silver cross necklace gift Ray gave me for our 25th "silver" wedding anniversary
The sterling silver cross necklace gift Ray gave me for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary

This week, April 11, 2017, Ray and I had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary. It seems like just two years, and then it also seems like it’s been forever. It has sure been HELL.

But as I pointed out in my Facebook comment, never a dull moment!

Despite our LOUD, INTENSE arguments for 25 years (yes, the WHOLE marriage; we had one tonight!), we’ve been married longer than many of our family members and friends, watching in grief as they divorced…while we have determined to fulfill our covenant with God and each other. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve had to look to the Cross for help.

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

We’ve survived unfaithfulness to each other (both of us), bankruptcy, foreclosure of our home, stepfamily conflicts, financial crisis after crisis, multiple moves to new homes/cities, health issues, ministry failures, and much more. 

What is our greatest strength, though? We’ve never quit. Like runners in a sprint or a marathon, you keep moving forward, no matter how tired you are.

sprinters

We’ve never thrown in the towel, although we have both wanted to  many times through the years.

Ray has actually been to divorce attorneys three times because he was so fed up with our marriage! (And I’ve thought about going to one many times!)

Ray & me Holding our "faith" stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we're buying this year
Ray & me
Holding our “faith” stone, as we wait for final approval of the VA loan for the home we’re buying this year

By God’s grace, we’re still together, hopefully until death do us part.

  • Ray can still make me laugh more than anyone else;
  • Every time he prays over me and holds my hand, saying, “It’s going to be okay,” I know it is going to be;
  • He still turns me on;
  • He still cooks the best Cajun grilled chicken I’ve ever tasted;
  • He still loves me–which is quite a feat, considering how I am!

25 years and still going…please pray for us. 

Here’s what we did for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary. It was a fun date!

Ray bought me a very funny card. It features a married male and female dog couple and says “It’s our anniversary.” The card seemed hand-picked by God, and made me laugh because it was so much like us.

anniversary card
anniversary card

For example, it showed the couple wanting to watch a movie together. The husband dog asked, “How about science fiction?” and the wife dog asked, “How about a love story?” Ray is a sci-fi fan, and of course I love chick flicks! 

Another hilarious thing about the card was that it read, “We still like to write each other little notes…although the subject matter isn’t always love.” It showed a cartoon of the wife posting sticky notes to her husband on a cork board with notes like, “Call the dentist,” “Grocery List,” and “Toilet keeps running.” The husband dog has stooped shoulders, and is looking at the sticky notes with an exasperated , tired expression. (Ray feels this way about my sticky notes!)

Ray said the card “nailed the notes.” (I’m addicted to sticky notes and often leave Ray little notes around the house for his “honey-do’s.”)

sticky note
sticky note

On the card, they were at a drive-through restaurant, with the husband getting the wife some food. He is asking her, “No fries, honey?” and she is saying, “No, just a cheeseburger.” Ironically, a couple of nights before Ray gave me the card, I’d asked him to go get me a Sonic cheeseburger. The card amused us both. 

Ray also gave me a beautiful, sterling silver cross necklace as my gift. Silver for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary, and a cross as he said it is the foundation of our marriage. Amen! Ray did so good on my card and gift!

necklace
sterling silver cross necklace gift

For part of his present, I bought Ray a straight razor soap cup, that he had been requesting to go with his straight razor I’d bought him.  You put soap in the cup, and whip it to make a  good lather, then apply the soap to the face before shaving. When Ray was a little boy, he used to watch his granddaddy Hutchins shave at the bathroom mirror with a straight razor.

Recently Ray said he wanted a straight razor, from the good memories of his granddad, plus straight razors are supposed to give men a better shave. I didn’t really “get” it, but it’s a guy thing, so I bought him the straight razor, the black strop to sharpen the razor, and the soap cup.

I also have something special to give him for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary party, which I will blog about soon!

straight razor and brush
straight razor and brush
soap cup
soap cup

For our “silver” wedding anniversary, I bought pretty silver heels for our anniversary date. Love them!

my silver shoes
my silver shoes

Ray wore a silver shirt with a silver pattern tie, black slacks, and his cowboy boots for our anniversary date. Looking good!

Ray in his silver shirt & tie for our "silver" wedding anniversary
Ray in his silver shirt & tie for our “silver” wedding anniversary

Here I am in my black dress, black wrap, the silver shoes, and wearing the sterling silver cross necklace Ray gave me.

me in black dress, black wrap, silver shoes & silver cross necklace for our "silver" anniversary
me in black dress, black wrap, silver shoes & silver cross necklace for our “silver” anniversary

For our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary date, we ate lamb gyro sandwiches with tzatziki sauce (made with cucumber), pita bread with hummus, and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves with rice and beef). Ray also had a Greek salad. It was DELICIOUS!

lamb gyros
lamb gyros
pita bread & hummus
pita bread & hummus
dolmades
dolmades

After our date, we came home and prayed together for our marriage, our children, and our grandchildren, asking God to bless us and our family and for us to walk in obedience to Jesus, and that the latter days would be greater than the former. (Haggai 2:9) It was a great 25th wedding anniversary!

*******

This book In PRINT at: https://www.createspace.com/6099550
This book In PRINT at: https://www.createspace.com/6099550

If  you are hurting in your marriage and you’d like to read about the 25 difficult years of Ray’s and my marriage, but how with God nothing is impossible,click here.

 

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Fearless: Be Set Free From Fear telecall

fear is a prison

Do you struggle with fear, anxiety, worry, and/or stress? You are not alone. I’ve battled fear and its tentacles my entire life, and many other people do, too.

The world is a scary, dangerous , and unpredictable place today. Fear of not having enough money for the future, fear of terrorism, fear of people you love dying or becoming seriously ill, and fear of corruption of government officials are the top fears for Americans, according to the Chapman University Survey of American Fears.  

Other fears people commonly share are:

  • fear of public speaking;
  • fear of the dark;
  • fear of snakes;
  • fear of spiders;
  • fear of closed in spaces;
  • fear of heights;
  • fear of flying;
  • fear of death;
  •  and even fear of clowns! Whatever your fear is, it can be paralyzing.

Fear can bind and stop you from achieving God’s purpose in your life. Fear is a prison.

God doesn’t want you afraid, but to trust Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus often rebuked His disciples for being afraid and not having faith. I don’t want Jesus rebuking me, but to commend me for my great faith. What about you?

The way we conquer fear is by renewing our minds through God’s eternal word, prayer, worship, and involvement in a community of believers to help our faith grow.

Need to be encouraged and strengthened through hope and faith in God’s word?

I want to invite you to join me on my free telecall on Saturday, January 28 at 10 a.m. Central Time.

Fearless telecall
Fearless telecall

Fearless: Be Set Free From Fear

Here’s the details:
  • Call into my Free Conference Call line at  Free Conference Call
     Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4800
     Participant Access Code: 401886#
  • The call will be approximately 30 minutes long from 10 AM Central Time (11 AM Eastern Time, and 8 AM Pacific Time).
  • I will conclude the call with praying for attendees, for God to replace your fear with faith in Jesus Christ. Together we can defeat the enemy of fear so that we can walk confidently and victoriously in our God-designed purpose and calling.
  • Toward the end of this telecall, I’ll share an opportunity for you to buy my newest book, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Fear to Faith, available as an eBook for Kindle at Amazon. You’re under no obligation to buy the book, but it may greatly encourage you or someone you love or know.
  • Join other women of God for a time of empowerment. I saw this picture below on Pinterest today, and I felt it was a timely word with the launch of my new eBook on Amazon. “With brave wings she flies.” Ready to fly, beautiful butterfly?

with brave wings she flies

 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”–Romans 12:2, NASB
I can’t wait to see you there! Please like and share on your fave social media sites with your family, friends, and peers!

 

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