Since then we have been on a search for the "perfect" house. One that would not put our health in danger but that also met our special, detailed list of criteria for what we wanted in a house. We led ourselves to believe that a house would solve all of our problems - space, peace, nervousness, anxiety, etc. We let the search for a house consume us and who we were for almost 2 consecutive years. Numerous offers were written up for houses we thought would have been great only to have them fail for lots of reasons - including our own stubbornness. We felt like we knew what was best for us - forgetting what we learned from our first attempt at buying a house.
That lesson: At the end of the day, God knows what is best for us and will either provide it or protect us when we're wrong. He will help us through the tough times, He will help us to grow, and He will be the one who ultimately can make us happy. A house will not provide us with happiness - it is only a box. Stepping out in faith and trusting Him is what will provide joy in the long term.
After a lot of prayer and a lot of discussion - we stopped looking for perfect. We reminded ourselves about what was important - and that it didn't matter if it took us another 3 years to find a house. We have each other, we have our faith, we have love, we have friends, we have family, we have God. Those are the things that will help us through the tough times - those are the things that will help us to grow. It was almost like we stopped looking for ourselves and let God look for us.
Then it happened. Within a few days of these realizations - we found one.
While this house isn't 100% perfect - it's as close as one can get to a "perfect" house while still allowing room for God to challenge, mold, and grow us as individuals and as a couple. We've been praying that if this house is not to be the one for us - that God block this, or that, or maybe this. To date - nothing has been blocked and in fact our heart has been filled with excitement and motivation and anticipation for this house to become our home. Those feelings were not there with the first house we almost purchased - it felt like more of a milestone or something to check off of our "things we're supposed to do" list. We close in just under a month - and we are looking forward to settling down and continuing our life's journey.
What we didn't know as we began to get excited was that this house was not all that God was planning to put in our path.
Things at both of our jobs have started to ramp up to a new level of intensity - especially Steve's. Anyone who works... which is most of us... knows what that can do to a person's stress level. We've learned that because of how we both navigate through stressful times, we need to be extra careful to let God work on our hearts during these times to make sure we don't hurt each other inadvertently.
Work + New House Purchase = Pretty darn stressful, right? Let's add one more thing just for fun.
Work + New House Purchase + Grams' Condo Finally Selling = Lots of Stress!
God never ceases to amaze. Just when we thought we might have been at max capacity, there was one more thing thrown into our little whirlpool. So what happened?
It turns out that the last 2 weeks we've been at pretty close to our best. We've become more solidified as "Team Athanas", we've been relying on God for a lot more than we have in the past in terms of trusting him to use us and those around us to get things done. There have been minimal adverse stress reactions and we've been able to enjoy our moments of down-time with smiles and high-fives.
I've been excited daily. Not just because we're buying a house or because Grams' condo sold or because work's crazy levels are presenting opportunity for job stability; I've been excited for something bigger than that.
I've been excited about the level at which I've felt God's presence guiding our decisions, molding our hearts, and using His love to grow us and help move us forward. I find that it's absolutely amazing what can happen when you place everything in God's hands to do with what He will. It always ends up being bigger than you could have ever dreamed. I can't wait to see how what He's doing right now in our lives works out in the end.