A Hard Decision

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We have come to a hard decision.  We are going to get the house ready to sell and move.  It has not been an easy one to come to, but we are now at peace about it.  Other than the obvious reason of how much work it is to move, it is another great loss for us.  This is our dream house.  We remodeled a 1925 farm house into a lovely 2-story, 3,400 square foot home on 8 acres.  We have a large shop, a barn, a mini forest, and ability to grow pigs, chickens, turkeys and a huge garden, which I preserve for a great deal of our food.  So, it’s not just a loss of a living space, it’s a loss of a lifestyle.  Hopefully, we can still continue some of the activities we like to engage in when we move.

As you know, in September, Rob was unexpectedly let go from his job as a children and family pastor.  He went to work one morning, and did not have a job by noon.  The reason given was that the church had hired a consulting firm and they felt Rob did not fit into the future direction/plan for the church.  They stated he had done nothing wrong, they just were choosing to not use him anymore.  They were going to go another direction.  We still do not understand their logic.  Neither does anyone else we talk to, except the 3-5 people who made that decision.  He was not given any opportunity to correct anything that bothered them, or they felt could be done better, just told to go.  So, he did.  Clearly, he had no other choice.

As you can imagine, the last few months have been filled with many, many hours of prayer, sadness, questions–you name it–we’ve felt it!  We were advised to treat it as a death, because our entire lives were bound up in the church–it was never just a job for him, or our family.   So, we have. We’ve made no quick decisions or changes.  We’ve tried to keep things going as smoothly as possible for the children. This is especially important because they have all lived through times of extreme trauma, negative life-changes, etc. and they don’t handle change well.  They lost all of their church friends, as well as their normal traditions associated with church, such as holiday services, etc. It has been extremely difficult for all of us and they are not handling it well.  They have continued in the dance lessons, etc. that they were enrolled in and their schedules have not changed, except for church.  We have been attending another church regularly, and they have been able to plug into a few of the youth activities, but not as many as we wish because the new church is over an hour away from our home.  Rob has been going to counseling to help him work through his feelings and hurts over the way this was handled.  We have tried to stay positive, but it has not been an easy road these past few months.  I do think we are going to survive this, though. We have lived through worse.

Financially, we did get a severance package, and we logged our hillside.  We are ok for a while, but that time is going to end before long.  We are living on that money, and savings from the logging.  We want to be pro-active about our finances before the money runs out, and have made cuts in many, many areas.  I am utilizing my food storage to the max!  We have cut out almost all eating out.  Things like chips are scarce around here.  Christmas was a little smaller than usual.  Still, we are having lots of fun times, and good days.

We have explored a lot of options.  Rob has looked into getting his masters in counseling, a job that everyone over the years has said he would be extremely good at, and it’s true.  However, this past week, we received a setback with the information that after he completed his school program, there would be 2,500 hours of internship, and only around 800(ish) would be done during school.  There would be another 1-1/2 years of  working, and that is usually done for free, before he would be licensed.  Then, the pay of the new job would be actually lower than what he had been receiving and we would be over $100,000 in debt.  His previous salary was not considered high, but we could live off of it comfortably.   H-mmmmmm.  We are in our 50’s.   It doesn’t pencil out.  So, he’s not giving up entirely on that, but it’s looking less promising.

He’s seen some jobs posted, but none are right for us so far.  There are choices such as “work for 10 hours a week for very little money, but your family can help a lot” and “work for 60 hours per week at a 40-hour per week salary” or “work at a camp, but there are often a couple of months per year when you don’t get paid because we run out of money” and some other options that aren’t going to work for us.

So, we are still in limbo about what he will be doing.  That’s ok.  We have peace about waiting for the right opportunity to come along.

But, what we have decided is to sell the house.  The market is quite hot right now around here.  One lady told me that the average time for a sale is 12 days right now in our area.  We have a really nice house on 8 acres in the country.  We hope that when we sell, we will have enough equity to buy something else, much smaller of course, free and clear.  We have been discussing this decision for months, but did not want to do anything hastily.  We even have family members who were willing to pay our house payment for a while, but thankfully, we never had to take them up on their offers.  It was nice to have that option in the background, and saved a lot of anxiety.  We can never express how grateful we are for their emotional and financial help.  We’ve had lots of support from friends as well.  We have received gifts of money, gift cards and time and Rob has been invited out to coffee so many times I think he may begin to float away down Starbucks River!

We have looked at houses on the internet until our eyes are popping out.  There are some small properties available (pretty far out of towns, though), and some small houses that we think we can afford (in towns). So, we are cleaning out things now in preparation for putting the house on the market.  We are going to need to sell first, then buy, as we are clearly not going to qualify for a loan with no employment.  It is all up to what we can actually get from the sale, not what we hope we can get when it all comes down to it.

So, that’s the plan.  It will be interesting to see how it works out for us.  There is an exciting feeling in my heart about having no mortgage.  I know changes are never easy, but, with God’s help, we will make it through this one.  I think in a year or so, I will be able to look back and see how he helped us through.  It’s just not fun to be in the middle of uncertainty right now.  We hope to grow as people and as Christians through this time of trial.  I also have a goal that when it’s over, I can see times of thankfulness and joy amidst the agony.  I want to live and be happy now, not just when things are going my way.  I don’t want to end up bitter and cross, or be afraid to put myself out there again.  Those are lofty goals, but I don’t think they are unattainable.  I don’t know what the future holds.  I can only do my best to move forward and make the best of what life has dealt to me.  That’s all any of us can do!

 

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14 thoughts on “A Hard Decision

  1. Becky, I am so very sorry to hear this sad news.. My son is a pastor and I know how hard this can be.. God will help Rob and lead him to the right place. But at this time,I know the fear and hurt is hard Please know I will add you and your family to my prayer list.

    I also know selling your home is so very difficult. Best wishes.. We have our house for sell , as we are going to move in the country[to an older house, we have been fixing up].. we are getting older and dont need to keep 2 places and my husband loves his other place [hunting.ha]. we built our house 20 yrs ago.. and it was a wonderful community, and as all the elderly people have died off, it has really went down. [another reason to move]. SO selling ours, will not be as quick or easy..We are putting it all into God’s hands.

    Sending a big ole hug. May you both feel God’s loving hands around you today, as you have never felt before.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. We do know that in the end, we will get through this with God’s help. Supposedly, the market in our area is really good for sellers right now. We won’t know exactly what that means until we actually put it on the market. So, we are trying to get partly ready ahead of time so that if is does sell quickly, it will be possible to move in a hurry. If it takes a while, I guess that it still will be good to have a head start on it.

      I hope yours sells for you right away. I will always choose the country over town, and have only lived in town 2 times in my life, once for 3 years, and once for 5 months. So, it is a big step of faith to trust that God will meet our needs when the time comes to buy. And, to remember that wants are not needs:)

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  2. Hello Becky! I can’t help thinking that God wanted you to have your farm, so that you could do exactly as you are doing, using the sale to secure your future.

    It’s horrible how people treat others, I’m shocked at how callous church people could be. My husband was being forced out of his job too, but he got the upper hand and retired before they could “let him go”. It has worked out wonderfully for us and I pray that it will for you also.

    You know, there’s something good to be said for a smaller place. They’re a lot less work and a lot less taxes. May the sale of your house be a blessing!

    Hugs
    Jane

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement! The idea of no mortgage is the bright spot in this situation. I am perfectly happy with the idea of an acre instead of 8. I’m even warming up to the idea of 1/2 acre the more I look at prices of land. We would still love to be able to raise at least some of our own food (including meat) if possible, and there are zoning problems with doing that in town, so…..We are in an extremely high-priced area of the country, so that means we will probably get a good price for our place, but a new house will cost a lot as well. I am hoping that we won’t have to move into town, but we won’t know that until we see what price we can get for our place. If we do have to live in town for a while, I think we will work on getting back out into the country eventually.

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  3. I’m sorry you have to sell your dream home…it must feel like such a loss. However, it seems your family is also growing up and perhaps you don’t need as much space either. I hope you find a new dream to follow in the end.

    I am curious as to what you will do with the animals you currently are raising. Will they be big enough for slaughter if you sell quickly? Or do you have someone who can take them to finish raising them for slaughter. I’m sure you’ve already thought this through, but you didn’t mention it in your post.

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    1. Rhonda,
      We have been working through this decision ever since Rob’s job ended, so we planned this last batch of pigs to be finished in March-early April. So, because our task is so big (getting things sorted and ready), if we put the house on the market in March, we will will have time to finish up those pigs before moving, even if it sells quickly. If it doesn’t, then there will be less work to do with animals as we finish up packing. We thought that leaving with a batch of pork made sense, since we don’t know if we will be able to afford property this time around or not.

      We don’t have meat birds at this time. The laying hens can be sold at auction in a nearby town.

      Thank you for your encouragement. We know that none of us likes change around here. However, I know us well enough to understand that we will make it through. It will just be more fun when the uncertainty is past. We are not hard to please in terms of material things. I don’t need such a nice, big house to be happy. I have enjoyed it while I’ve had it, though, and will miss my double ovens, the ability to host large groups of 4H families, and our extended family. I still plan to have people in, though. I still did that when I was living in an 850 square foot house with 3 children while Rob went to college the first time and those were some of our happiest times. It just looks different, and I can’t host as many at once.

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  4. Keep your trust in God. I have been through some strange, scary, weird things in my life but God has always brought me and my husband through it to the other side. Many changes but he knows what’s best for us and I’m sure you’ll look back in a year or so and say, “Oh, God that’s what you had planned for us!” Take care.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I have faith that God will see us through. Of course, as a person, I struggle with the feelings of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, etc. But deep down, I know everything will work out ok!

      Also, there is just plain a lot of work to be done to clean up everything here, and move, and so I need to kick myself in gear and get moving on it–in-between a super busy schedule! Yikes! But, it will happen.

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  5. (((((HUGS)))) I am so sorry that you and your family are going through all this and shame on your husband’s employer for the way they mishandled (at least in my opinion) this whole thing. One of our hanai (adopted bu love) sons, who was a youth pastor, was also let go unexpectedly by our former church. Having gone through that upheaval in that and another church that we were very invested and active in, I can partially understand what you are going through. It took him, us and many others months to heal from our experience, but it did strengthen our faith in God.

    Praying that your home will sell quickly for you and that you will find another home that fits your needs quickly also. I’m also praying for your entire family and that your husband will find another job where he will be appreciated and valued.

    Be blessed!

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    1. Thank you. I think it’s hard for some people to understand why it affects the whole family so much. Because we were all so invested, it sure knocked us all flat. However, we are giving ourselves time to heal, and are exploring ways that we can still minister to others, because, logical or not, that’s where my husband’s heart still lies and he still feels called to ministry. Even if he doesn’t do it for money, I know he will always want to help people in some way. Now, we just need to figure out exactly what the next step is for us!

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  6. Becky, I’m sorry to hear of your circumstances. God has a perfect plan for you. You might not know what it is now but e will reveal all in good time.

    In 2005 both my husband and I lost our jobs at the same time. We had no warning and we were working for someone who went to our church. You could imagine how hard it was to go to church on that following Sunday with myself song leading and my husband preaching. We couldn’t tell anyone except our assistant pastor. We thought our world was falling apart. The only income we had was our usual family payments ( government ) and the two days my husband worked at our church We had three weeks until our next mortgage payment was due and we didn’t know if we’d have the money for it. We scaped through by cutting all spending except for basic foods.

    Fast forward nine years and my frugal lifestyle gave me many opportunities to be on tv and share with Australians how we manage to live so well on so little. A few weeks after that I set up my blog. I never would have guessed in my wildest dreams that something so good and rewarding could come from such a hard time in our life.. It’s been just over a year since my last tv appearance and people still stop me in the street to talk about those tv stories. God is good and my life is filled with joy knowing that I’ve given people hope.

    As hard as it is at the moment Becky, you will get through and God is with you. I will be praying for you and your family xoxo .

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement! That would have been extremely hard to lead worship under those circumstances. I can’t even imaging being able to hold it together for that. We did nothing buy cry all the way through service at the new church each and every Sunday for a couple of months, at least.

      I am having a hard enough time continuing my piano lessons in the old church, but I still go there to do those on Mondays and Wednesdays. I was given permission to stay through this school year, and have felt like I had to continue working, as every little bit of money has been needed. My time is almost up there anyway, but I’m itching for a change of scenery as well. It’s so emotional to be in the building, especially when well-meaning people wander through and want to talk about the entire situation while I try to give lessons and not cry. I will miss the children, but it’s been pretty taxing. I hope to re-start again after we get settled, but it takes quite a while to build up the business to the amount of students that I have now, and we don’t want to live in that town. We’ve had no luck finding another venue in that town, except for a house that was offered to us, but there is no piano in there. To give lessons, I need a good one, or a good keyboard, and right now I don’t want to put out the money that would cost. I don’t know where I’ll live yet, and so, to drive a distance, pay a large price for an instrument, and to use someone else’s house,—it’s just not making sense right now. I’ve decided to leave that up to God as well.

      I love hearing your story. I know I will have a story of how God brought us through this after some time has passed and can’t wait to share it when he does.

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