Some new blog readers have asked for some background on the house we have just finished building. I thought it would be good to share briefly how the Lord has brought us to this point.
Around three years ago, it became obvious we had a space crisis on our hands in regards to our family’s ministry. Since our first book, Managers of Their Homes was published in 1999, we have added eleven more books that need to be stored and shipped. We were using about a sixth of our basement, which is all that was available, for storing the books, shipping orders, and computer stations for Sarah and Joseph. A couple years earlier we had built the largest shed the city would allow to ease the book storage problem. Even with that, it had became obvious that our current home was simply not adequate for housing both our family and ministry, even though we had been very satisfied with it. We had lived there eighteen years, and it was all we could desire.
Around four years ago, when I approached the neighbor immediately behind our house for permission to cut down some diseased trees that were threatening to fall down on our shed, he responded with the offer to sell us the property. We had no current need for it, but God had been putting on our hearts the need for a bus for our family’s speaking travel. This property would be the perfect place to park a bus. The price was reasonable, and we felt the Lord’s leading to purchase it.
Somewhere about this time, neighbors approached Christopher about buying their house which was close to us in the neighborhood. He committed it to prayer, and we were all surprised when he said he felt the Lord told him no. We couldn’t understand it, because it was a great house, at a price he easily could afford. But we rested in the seemingly strange fact that the Lord said no.
Then one day, we are not sure exactly how it came up, but I asked Christopher if he was interested in buying our house. Without hesitating, he said he would love to. We knew that if Christopher bought our house, we could take that money and build a bigger house on the new property if we did most of the work ourselves. The question was how to decide on a fair amount to have Christopher pay for our house and whether that would be enough to build with. While Christopher had it appraised, we set to work trying to estimate the cost of building a house. I felt led that if the appraisal came in near the estimated amount, and if Christopher was satisfied to buy it for the appraised amount, we would go for it.
Well, the appraisal and the estimate were close enough that we thought we could do it. And so it began. We did end up overrunning the estimate significantly, but God was faithful in continuing the work that He led us to begin.
The new house has a walk-in basement so we no longer have to carry pallet loads of books down and then back up stairs. The old house’s attic was large enough to have moved the boys’ bedrooms from the basement to the attic, but it structurally wasnâ€™t able to support the weight of the modifications. So the new house was built for the “attic” to be the boys bedroom with enough room still for a bathroom and music practice room.
Since we were content with our old home, the new home was designed much the same as the old one, only reversed with minor changes. We tried to concentrate on function and economy. We contracted for the inside concrete work, framing and roofing of it, plus heating and ac systems. We were going to install the insulation, but to have it installed was cheaper than what we could buy it ourselves. We did the rough-in plumbing, drainage around the foundation and on the inside, all the outside concrete work (drives and sidewalks), built the deck, electrical wiring, plumbing, sheetrocking, finishing, painting (inside and out), finish carpentry and landscaping. We had carpet installed upstairs but the whole main floor we tiled ourselves. We’ve not been thrilled with how hard is it to keep the carpet clean, and so we opted for all tile on the main floor. We also found it less expensive than the carpet if by laying it ourselves.
We have marveled at God’s grace. We had a little experience in most of the skills required to build this house, but not to the extent that was called for. We have been greatly challenged, often daily, but God is the One Who always enabled and directed. We know we could have rented book storage space somewhere or had the orders shipped by a fulfillment company. However, that would have taken Sarah and I away from the home, and we didn’t feel that was God’s leading. We also see how Joseph and John have become incredibly skilled in a vast variety of building skills through building this house. This is allowing them to begin their own business.
So as we finish the odds and ends, we are truly grateful to the Lord that the building phase is finished, and we can focus our time more fully on the ministry that God has called us to. The building project has taken longer because of our ministry responsibilities including writing and the travel involved in our speaking. Many have prayed for us while we were in the midst of this project, and we can’t thank you enough. We covet your prayers as we look ahead. May we hear Him and be obedient.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10
Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalms 148:13