We Were Comfortable
Alison and I were recovering from our illnesses, and we discovered that we were happier than we had been for a very long time. We were comfortable, and we loved our home, so we decided to tackle a few projects around the house. I installed a ceiling fan in the living room. Replaced some faucets. Fixed some toilets. My dad and I began to put in a concrete sidewalk – mixing almost all of it by hand in a wheelbarrow. I repaired flooring. Then I replaced the mailbox and somehow managed to break three fingers on my left hand in the process, which slowed me down. After getting tennis elbow in my right arm, I decided to take a break. The rest of the sidewalk would have to wait.
I started reading the book "George Müller of Bristol" by A.T. Pierson, about a man who relied on God's divine providence as he cared for orphans. I began to think about how we might be able to do something practical to help orphans. And that's when God started tugging at my heart about adoption. I started talking to Alison about it. "I told you you were different now," she said.
I thought of every excuse about why adoption wouldn't and couldn't work. We already have four kids. Our budget can't handle it. Our insurance is terrible. Our house is too small. But God had already saved our health against incredible odds. And he had taken care of the massive financial blow of Alison's hospitalization. Why shouldn't we trust him with this, too? We started talking to folks about it. Some of them told us that we were crazy. We ignored them. We started reading books about adoption. We sat down and made notes about the trajectory of our lives and the kind of things we want to see God do. We prayed. We sought counsel. We decided to get our house ready to put on the market. Suddenly, things weren't so comfortable anymore.
That's When Things Started Breaking
And then it rained. And it rained and rained. Somewhere in the midst of it, our water supply line broke. Here's what I wrote about it at the time:
One morning this week, I discovered a huge leak in our water line under our concrete driveway. After digging for several hours, and consulting a few plumbing companies, one of which gave me a quote of $2,218 to replace the line from the meter to the house (because we couldn't locate the pipe and that would be the only way to be certain that it was fixed), Elijah discovered a key section pipe I'd been desperately searching for. I had an idea for how to repair the break without cutting through the concrete and digging a trench, but my Dad figured out how to implement it in an even better way. We didn't even have to solder copper pipe or buy additional tools. Genius! It worked perfectly and we saved $2,192.23! That's right, it only cost $25.77 – just 1.16% of the price the big plumbing company would've charged! My Dad was an awesome help and my little buddy Sam was right there beside us the entire time. The whole family pitched in, really. What's more, I can see how God very specifically steered the entire process and took care of our need for water in an amazing way. Praise the Lord!
Then the HVAC broke. Then the stair railing gave way and Elijah fell, acquiring a concussion in the process. And termites showed up in the mulch. And I broke Alison's phone. God steered us right through those hardships, too.
We made a list of all of the things that had to be done so that we could sell our house, and it was a long list. We got rid of possessions we no longer needed, painted, built new cabinet doors, replaced the back of the pantry cabinet, replaced and added light fixtures and bathroom fans, repaired electrical stuff, built a trellis, seeded the yard, mulched, finished the sidewalk, and then pressure washed pretty much everything that could be pressure washed and then some... The list was much, much longer, but I'll spare you further details. Suffice it to say, we were always working on the list.
Flowers began to bloom, and we were finally getting on top of the list. Suddenly, it was time for our house listing to go live. The evening before it was slated to go on the market, the toilet downstairs overflowed. Big time. We called a plumber, and they snaked the drain. We were told it was fixed. No big deal. The house was listed.
Then the folks at the very first showing managed to break our garage door as soon as they arrived. Our agent graciously paid to have it repaired. We had several other showings and lots of folks said they loved it. But it didn't sell.
Two months later, the toilet overflowed again. We called a plumber again, and they snaked the drain again. We were told it was fixed again. We had a few more showings and several more folks said they loved it. But then the showings dwindled down to nothing. We had so many questions. Had we heard God right? Is He trying to tell us that we're making a mistake? Is He protecting us from something?
The summer came and went, and it was time for Alison to start the new school year with our children. "If God wants us to sell our house," I said, "He can sell it even if it's not for sale." We took the house off the market.
Three days later, it sold.
The day after our inspection was completed, the toilet overflowed for a third time. We had another plumbing company snake it and run a camera down the line. And it was actually fixed this time.