It’s been exactly two years since we purchased our 1980’s fixer upper. I seriously can’t believe it’s already been two years, but somehow it has. So much has happened in that short amount of time–major house renovations, huge life changes, and a sweet new baby girl. Gosh, we’ve been through a lot and I can’t let this anniversary pass without taking a minute to reflect on how we got here in the first place. It didn’t happen the way I planned, but it’s definitely one of the most profound God moments of my life. I feel like some of you may need to hear this story and the lessons I learned in our experience, so that’s what I’m going to share today. Grab your coffee and get comfy, it’s story time!
It was the Spring of 2015 when our journey to this little fixer upper really began. We decided to sell our suburban, cookie-cutter home with the hopes of moving outside of town. We wanted more room for our kids to play, more space, and lots of character. The market in Colorado was red hot, so we decided to go for it. But oh boy, we had no idea what craziness was ahead of us.
It didn’t take long to sell our house. We got an offer within just a few weeks, which was actually slow compared to most homes on the market at the time. Meanwhile we were busy little bees searching for our new home. But it wasn’t going well. We must have looked at 40 to 50 homes with no luck. Seriously, it was bad. I think we drove our poor realtor absolutely crazy. Nothing seemed to be the right fit for our family and as the weeks passed with no prospects in sight, we began to feel desperate. We only had a few weeks left before we had to be moved out of our house and our only backup option was to live in an apartment–definitely our worst case scenario. Given our urgency, we slowly started to expand our search to include homes that didn’t really match up to what we truly wanted. But we were desperate…
We came across one house in particular that almost wrecked our whole plan. It was gorgeous and definitely the best looking home we had seen at that point. The layout was great and the finishes were top of the line. BUT it was another cookie-cutter home squeezed in a tight little neighbordhood with zero backyard. I mean, ZERO backyard. NO grass whatsoever, no place for the kids to play. Plus there were a few other red flags we overlooked. But we convinced ourselves that maybe it could work. Maybe this was good enough. It’s funny (I mean scary) how your brain works when you are tired, worn out, and desperate. And not waiting on God’s timing. Like crazy people, we decided to put in a full price offer. No contingencies. No strings attached. It was a rock solid offer. And if things went smoothly, we could close just in time to avoid moving twice and the whole renting fiasco. Our offer went out at 8PM and we requested a response by noon the next day.
I knew in my gut it was wrong. Really wrong. And I think my husband knew it too. But the fact was we needed a home and we both realized that maybe our dream of more space just wasn’t possible at that time. I knew it wasn’t right and I can remember feeling sick to my stomach as I tried to sleep that night. I laid awake praying for God to help us. Praying that He would get us out of this mess. Praying they would reject our seemingly perfect offer. I just couldn’t stop thinking of the million and one reasons why that house was a bad fit for our family.
The next morning around 9AM we got the call. They REJECTED our offer. Our full price, no contingencies offer. There were no competing offers on the table. We were not out-bid. Our offer was the only one they had to consider. Simply put, there was no logical reason as to why they would reject us other than God intervened. God knew better and He had a plan. When we got the news I felt more relief than I can even put into words. God had saved us from a terrible decision and it became very clear in that moment that He wanted us to slow down and wait. It was truly one of the most profound God moments of my life.
Fast forward a few weeks and we still didn’t have a house. Our time had run out. It was just two days before our closing date when I finally forced myself to call local apartments and find a place to live. Talk about last minute, I know. I found us a two month lease, at a ridiculously high price, in a tiny, one bedroom apartment. I couldn’t believe our worst case scenario was really happening.
The day we left our home and moved into our apartment I cried. A lot. The fact that the four of us were moving into a one bedroom apartment and leaving our beautiful home with no prospects in sight was down right scary. Honestly, I was heartbroken. But within an hour of being in our apartment I was back online looking at houses. A new option in the area we loved had just come on the market that very day. It was an older home, built in the early 80’s, but it looked promising so we arranged to see it later that evening. It was raining and dreary and we were exhausted from moving all day, but off we went to see yet another house.
By three steps in the door I knew this was home. Literally it happened that fast. It was perfect. It was custom built and full of all the character and charm we so desperately wanted. Plus it was sitting on nearly one acre, which was HUGE compared to what we had in town. Sure it needed some work, but I loved it and I saw so much potential. This is the view I saw when I walked into the house for the very first time. I just knew in my heart this was it.
We put in a full price offer immediately and the sellers accepted within hours. We were finally under contract and sooooo incredibly happy and grateful. But now the four of us had to endure seven looooong weeks in a one bedroom apartment before we could officially make it ours. And I’m not going to lie. It was pretty darn awful in that tiny apartment. The whole thing smelled like cat pee, it was fully equipped with fluorescent lights, and it was teeny tiny. I hated it and the first week in particular was a major struggle for me. I can remember sitting on the kitchen floor one of those first days, just crying and wondering how I was going to make it through the summer in that dark, smelly apartment with two little kids. I know there are far worse things in life, but at that time it felt crushing. Plus I was angry. Angry we were in that situation. Angry at how much money it was costing us. Angry at the fact that my kids had to spend the summer in a tiny apartment. I was angry at it all. But God started working on my heart and helped me to realize that my anger wasn’t going to change anything or speed up the process. It would just make me miserable. Instead I had to endure the situation and embrace the lesson He was trying to teach me.
Those seven weeks seemed like an eternity, but we made it through. We finally moved into our 1980’s fixer upper on July 17th, 2015 and I’ll never forget how happy we all were on closing day. I can still remember how huge this place felt compared to our apartment and the kids were absolutely thrilled. We had a lot of work ahead of us, but it was an incredible to know we were home. Everything we went through was worth it. I snapped this photo in the midst of unpacking on July 21st, 2015. Lamp on the floor, house a mess, but happy as can be. I cherish this photo.
Getting here didn’t happen as easily as I had hoped. And we almost wrecked the whole thing with that crazy offer, but God had a plan for us. Unfortunately, it’s hard to trust that plan and walk faithfully into the unknown in the midst of what looks like chaos. But that summer taught me so many lessons and I grew in my faith tremendously. Looking back now, I never could have imagined how this home would bless our lives. If it wasn’t for this little 1980’s fixer upper and all the craziness we had to endure to get here, I know 100% that I would not have this blog. Truly, LVN began solely because of this home and our renovation story. And now here I am, two years later, blogging our journey in our fixer upper. I can’t even express how grateful I am to God for taking me down this road, even though I was kicking and screaming along the way.
I am so thankful to all of you for the incredible support you give me every day. And I hope that if you’re struggling right now, this would encourage you to trust God and know that He has your back. Even when life seems out of control and completely chaotic, rest in the assurance that God will provide if you just LET HIM. Stop trying to control it all and let Him do it. I know that despite all those tears I cried in that little apartment two summers ago, God was right there with us. He had amazing things waiting just down the road for me, but I had to endure the storm to get to the sunshine on the other side.
I hope whatever storm you’re going through right now, big or small, you remember that something great is waiting just around the bend. Hold tight to that promise.