The house that my fiancé and I put the offer on fell through. There was another offer and the sellers went with it. We questioned the whole process especially when the sellers wanted a bidding war instead of saying our offer was too low. Even though I really liked the house, I wasn’t attached to it. So, I wasn’t heartbroken when it went away. We kept looking for other houses. We found one that had everything we wanted – 2 car garage, open floor plan, full basement with a ¾ bathroom. The price was lower than what I qualified for. The only caveat was that it was not in a good neighborhood. The house was built in the 1950s when the neighborhood was thriving. Yet, over time as our city grew with transplants putting down roots, more of them wanted to live in certain neighborhoods where the schools had 5 star ratings. It impacted the neighborhood where the house is. Crime like drugs, abuse, etc. exists in the surrounding area which makes housing values plummet. Some houses show the wear and tear of neglect. No new painting or landscaping. Old broken down cars parked on the street or in driveways. It is not the suburbs with its pristine manicured lawns, five cookie cutter styles, imported cars and people who make a good middle class or upper middle class income. The neighborhood that the house is in is working class to lower middle class. Yet, we found ourselves liking the house with its “bang for the buck” large size and remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. As we inspected the house during the showing, we weren’t sure at the time if we liked it. There were some things that needed to be fixed like the concrete backyard. My fiancé’s dogs need some dirt or grass to do their business. Yet over lunch, we had talked ourselves into wanting to make an offer as we took a diamond in the rough and imagined the possibilities.
While visiting friends the night before, we told them about the house. They live four blocks away from it. They have lived in the neighborhood for over 12 years. They do a snack ministry for the kids who live in the neighborhood. Kids who have witnessed neglect, abuse, lack for resources, and broken families. Our friends provide a light for them in their dark lives. One of the kids who is now an adult thanked them for being in his life. He has a child and will marry his son’s mother. Our friends felt that God had called them to live there instead of the typical suburbs. And, they have seen the fruit of their labor. They admit it is not easy living there. They told a story of a drug dealer who came to their house and confronted them. Our friend talked with him while his wife stayed in the bedroom praying. After talking with the husband, the drug dealer was satisfied and left. He never bothered them again. They praised God’s protection. Now, they have a 6-year-old son that they homeschool. They don’t feel the need to move him to the suburbs. They want him to witness what God is doing in their lives. They would be happy if we moved in the neighborhood too.
I will admit that I’m afraid to live in that neighborhood. I long for safety. I’m drawn to the suburbs because I didn’t have it as a child. Most of the neighborhoods I lived in were similar to this one. I thought as a grown up, I would finally get a ticket to that magical suburbia and rest in my security. But, God isn’t about safety. He is about His purpose and will. Our friends are living it out. Living out an authentic simple life which I strive to do. It is hard to do when our American culture is about safety and our Christian culture mirrors it. But, when you look at Christianity, most of the Christ followers took courageous risks because they were called by God. It was messy, dirty, and sometimes fatal. But, it was an authentic life. This prospective house has made me examine my heart and visit those fearful places and want what I want. Yet, the more my fiancé and I talked, we could image ourselves living there. We went from being in a potential HOA community and now considering a house that is not considered as part of the typical American life script. But, my fiancé and I haven’t followed that life script too well. Our lives look totally different and we are okay with that. Our God is wild, imaginative, and sometimes unpredictable which fuels our unconventional lives. So, we put an offer on the house and may become part of the neighborhood that my friends live in. They will be happy. God may be happy too as we are allowing Him to take us out of our comfort zone. (Okay, my comfort zone). We will see as we put the offer in today. Stay tuned.
Simple Pleasure Song of the Day – Beautiful Things by Gungor