Remembering back to the four long, frustrating years it took us to sell our house in the Chicago area, I’m thankful not to be living in it still. Although we’d listed our six bedroom farm home at the peak of the real estate bubble, a free-fall started immediately thereafter, and as the economy toppled, so did our house value. We watched it plummet to nearly half its original listing price and wondered if it would sell at all.
I recall one anxious morning in vivid detail. The kids had gone to school, so I gathered my Bible, notebook, pen and coffee for an hour of conversation with the Lord. The realtor had been over the day before, walking through the house in an effort to determine how to make it more saleable, and I’d been nervous about what she was going to say.
We’d already torn out old basement shelves, put up Perma-seal walls, installed a new drainage system and painted the floor. All the bedrooms had received new carpeting, and other carpets had been cleaned. I’d put up new curtains, bought new spreads and throw pillows for the beds and eliminated clutter in every room. The exterior doormats were new, as were the kitchen throw rugs.
We’d replaced the old furnace and added a third central air conditioning unit. I’d emptied the crawl space completely and also the attic. We’d repaired irregularities in the garage floor and re-tarred the driveway. I’d removed one third of everything in every cabinet, drawer and closet.
All three bathrooms had received new tub and sink hardware, and we’d had all the grout between the ceramic tiles on walls and floors professionally re-dyed. The largest bathroom had gotten a complete makeover. All three had received new towels and rugs.
The laundry room had been given a new energy-efficient, front-loading wash machine with matching dryer and a new countertop over both of them. Lastly (and most expensively), we’d wrapped the house in white vinyl siding and painted the shutters, after which I’d pruned all the landscaping.
That morning as I sat in a sunny corner of the living room, our realtor’s advice from the day before pounded in my head like a migraine headache: “Paint every room beige… paint every room beige.”
Was she kidding?
I loved my dramatic navy paint, touches of which were in all the rooms. Besides, our house was squeaky-clean and completely in order, something that hadn’t happened in 35 years. Could paint possibly make any difference?
I’d prayed about the house sale a thousand times over. How hard would it have been for God to send just one buyer? But it turned out he wasn’t as interested in a closing date as in something else: our character. Without our realizing it, he’d enrolled us in his School of Perseverance. Never mind that Nate and I had worked the better part of four years to get the house sold and felt we’d done enough. Perseverance is a quality God highly esteems, and he apparently thought we didn’t have enough of it.
Although it was early morning in my navy blue living room, my spirit began to sag as if it was well past midnight.
(…to be continued)
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)