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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When everything around you is falling, and all else fails, eat chips and salsa

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Today I made a mini-escape from hurts this week and I drove to Harrisonville, Missouri, which is a bigger city north of my tiny, rural town (meaning out in the sticks!) of Butler, and ate Mexican. 

I posted the pic on Instagram and Twitter with the title, “When everything is falling apart around you, and all else fails, eat chips and salsa. I could eat it every single day!” I love them so much, and my husband Ray jokes that when the Mexican waiters see me coming, they hide the salsa because I always ask for two bottles. I add salt to the salsa, because I seem to crave the salt.  Today’s seemed especially satisfying.

Afterward, I went to the Harrisonville Lake and park, where I often took our children when I homeschooled them to play, for picnics, and to walk the nature trail. Today was a beautiful, sunny, spring day. It was peaceful and relaxing.

Harrisonville Lake
Harrisonville Lake

A man was fishing at the lake, and it reminded me of my hard-working husband Ray, who loves to fish and who desperately needs to fish sometimes.

“And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19, AKJV)

Two geese were near the fisherman and I saw numerous geese at the park.

Fisherman and geese
Fisherman and geese

Going to the lake and walking the nature trail was a much needed, healing balm to my soul. God spoke to my heart in many ways while I was there. Some of this I will share about here,  and some I will continue to reflect on and ponder.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the park were the beautiful flowers. Our beautiful daughters Heather and Leah especially love fresh flowers, and I thought of them.

beautiful flowers
beautiful flowers at park entrance
daisies
daisies
fuschia colored flowers
fuschia colored flowers
flower garden
flower garden

As I got out of my car to admire the lake, I noticed an older woman sitting at a bench with a dog on a leash. I wondered about her, and thought I could write about her in a future fiction book. For writers, anything is fodder. My family knows by now that anything they say or do may wind up as content for one of my speaking presentations, books, or blog posts!

woman with dog at park
woman with dog at park

Who was she? Why was she alone at the lake, except with her dog? Had her husband of many years died and she was a lonely widow? Had her children forgotten her or no longer wanted her involved much in her lives any more?

Was she a bitter, sad, depressed person, or was she simply happy and content being alone, being with her dog who was her best friend? (Maybe she was glad her husband was dead as they had a terrible marriage, and that her kids were all grown; it was time for a new chapter and do other things now!)

I watched as a grandpa who was wearing  a jacket with a veterans logo showed his granddaughter the lake and pointed to the geese, and her daddy skipped stones across the lake with her. What a precious memory. After awhile, they started to go to their car and asked the little girl, “Are you ready to go and eat now? Want a hot dog?”

The hot dog remark reminded me of my mother’s eyes lighting up when she saw me and asking me that same question many years ago, when I visited her in my college years. My mom and I weren’t close, so this is a happy memory for me. I don’t eat them much now, but kids love ’em.

The veteran grandpa reminded me of my husband Ray, who is “Papa” to our four precious grandchildren, with one on the way.  I prayed that Ray would be able to do things like this for many years with our grandchildren.

Our kids and grandkids
Our precious 3 daughters and 4 grandkids

Next, I drove over to where the nature trail was. Perfect day for a walk. I noticed the staff had put up something new on the Natural Trail sign: “Watch out for snakes.” That was almost enough to make me turn around, but I put my brave on.  If I hadn’t gone on the trail, I would have missed God’s blessings–the beauty and how He spoke to me personally.

sign about snakes
sign about snakes

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I watched carefully for snakes, because I am terrified of them. However, I did think seeing one (from a very safe distance) might make a good picture for my blog. That didn’t happen, although I did see what I thought might be a “snake track” (a big S on the dirt trail) a couple of times.

I did notice right away in the lake what seemed to be a family of turtles sunbathing on a log.  One was swimming in the water nearby. Two bigger ones were on one side of the log, and seven others were on the other. It reminded me of our family, who has this exact number of people right now–with one grandbaby on the way in November.

turtles
turtles

The nature trail is so beautiful. I felt refreshed, while at the same time my heart was still hurting about some things that happened this week. I know healing is a process and takes time. The good news is that we are all walking on this journey of life, and God will never leave us or forsake us.  He is our healer, including our family’s. 

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

nature trail

I soon came to a fork in the road on the trail. We all have a choice as to how we will live our lives–to follow Jesus and God’s loving, good ways, or not. Which path will you choose today?

The fork spoke loudly to me about how I needed to change some things in my life and choose a different path…as well as others I love. 

fork in the trail
fork in the trail

I felt myself relax as I walked the trail. I intentionally breathed in the fresh air, tried to fully use my senses, and paid attention  all around me to the beauty of God’s creation.

I stopped when I saw two bees drinking nectar from a white flower bush. I wish I knew the name of the flowers; they resembled azaleas in south Georgia, where I grew up.

“One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees…”–Leo Tolstoy

I tried to capture a picture of them, but they were flying too fast. Probably a good thing that I went on, as I”m highly allergic to bees! As a child, I was stung by one on the bare foot, and my foot swelled up twice its size! However, I think bees are cute (when they aren’t stinging!)

bees
bees

This fork on the trail led to a bridge over the lake into a more remote part of the woods. A mom and her daughter were having a picnic in the middle of the bridge! It was so cute.  Another sweet memory. I remembered picnics Ray and I had with each other and our kids.

I didn’t want to interrupt their fun, or make them have to move by crossing the bridge, so I turned around and walked on the other path. When I saw the bridge, I thought again of the fork on the trail and the choices we have in life, and took my pic by it as  a good reminder…also of the eventual, eternal bridge we’ll have to cross one day when we die.

bridge
bridge

Later I saw the mom and the little girl, and chatted a minute with them.

She apologized for being on the bridge having the picnic, blocking my access to it, but I said, “Oh no, you were fine! That looked really fun. They grow up fast,” I said to her, and we looked at her child together, smiling.

The mom said, “Oh, I know! I have a teen now!” she said that her little girl had been a “surprise baby,” and was now 5 years old.  I said I hoped they enjoyed their picnic and to have fun. To my amusement, as I walked off, the little girl said, “I want to go with her!” and started following me. Her mom called her back to look at the turtles again.

This spoke to me about how we are to follow Jesus, and make disciples. 

As I continued on the trail, I looked up hearing birds singing, and the sunlight shone through the tall trees. The canopy of trees, their emerald green leaves dipped in sunlight, made beautiful pictures.

sun through the trees
sun through the trees

 

canopy
canopy

I was disappointed to not see a deer, rabbit, fox or other wildlife, but Harrisonville isn’t a rural town, so the animals are either not there or they hide well. I did see a couple and their child with a dog on the trail, who they said was a service dog in training for the man’s dad who was in the Army and now has PTSD. I stopped a minute to pet the dog, smile at the little girl, and tell them that service dogs are a good thing and I hope he helps his dad.

When I came to the end of the trail, I thought, “At the end of the trail. Now what?” I felt it applied to my current situation, kind of at a loss as to what to do or say.  I would have to turn back around. I also feel it applies to the end of our journey here on earth.

end of trail
end of trail

I looked around and saw a set of steps on a hill. I’d never seen them before.  Curious, I went up the stairs to see what was up there. It was a different lake, or perhaps the same lake, divided by the road. But you couldn’t see it until you went up the stairs. This reminded me of heaven.

The lake where the stairs were
The lake where the stairs were

When I turned around and walked back, this is when I saw the mom and her daughter, who had the picnic on the bridge. A few minutes later, as I went to my car, I saw them crossing the road, hand in hand. The little girl was carrying a walking stick in the other hand. I looked at them, thinking again how quickly time flies and that my children are now grown. 

The mom and the daughter went to the park area, where the little girl got on the slides, and her mom sat on a bench watching her. 

mom & child
mom & child

As I drove home, I noticed a truck in front of me with this sign: “You’re needed.” That was a great note to go home on.

You're needed
You’re needed
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Only God can fix the wreckage of our lives

wreckage
wreckage

I saw this picture on Pinterest today, saved it, and posted it on Facebook saying, “Then I must have fodder for lots of stories!”

Wreckage. The word sounds dangerously close to “carnage.” Let’s look at the definition of both.

wrecked car
wrecked car

Wreckage:

The remains of something that has been badly damaged or destroyed.

Carnage:

The killing of a large number of people (slaughter, massacre, butchery, bloodbath).

Both mean ruination, obliteration, annihilation.

heart of ice Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/
heart of ice
Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/

Recently someone I love very much deeply hurt me and I felt very rejected in the situation. My heart felt broken into a million pieces. Shattered. I’ve cried each night going to sleep, and then often awake in the middle of the night with insomnia.

In looking at the situation, I’ve realized my life is in wreckage. And that I have often caused the lives of those I love to be wrecked.

And that the only One who can fix me is God.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:3)

Debbie McDaniel writes in her article, Finding Beauty in Brokenness: Christ Came to Heal and Redeem:

“We have a Healer. One who repairs. Who can fit the broken pieces that no longer seem to fit right into a perfect design. He works, often behind the scenes, mending, fitting together, creating a better work of art, more than we ever dreamed possible. He makes all things beautiful. Especially in the broken. All from His grace. It is real life. Jagged edges and all. They have such meaning.”

hurting woman

God can take the brokenness of our lives and turn it into something beautiful. We’re all broken.

Image source: http://www.brewingcoffeewithcathy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/broken-coffee-mug-FINAL.jpg

Broken hearts. Broken lives. Broken marriages. Broken children. Broken families. Broken churches. We all desperately need Jesus.

Hurting people hurt others. We have to come to the foot of the Cross with our hurts and give them to Him.

Only God can heal us and make us whole. Only God can fix the wreckage of our lives. 

He is Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals. 

“Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”’ (Exodus 15:22-26, NIV)

*******

The Power of Names Copyright 2017
The Power of Names
Copyright 2017

I’m writing a new book now , which is the third and final book in The Cinderella Story series, called The Power of Names. It’s about the importance of your name and the many different names of God in the Bible, including Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

You can find my other books at my Amazon Author Page by clicking here.

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