I was born and raised in Southwestern PA and, except for the one summer I spent two months in Ocean City, NJ, I have lived here all of my life. There was never any desire or even the faintest notion that I would ever live anywhere else.
John, my husband, had wanted to move south since he was a kid and spent time with his brother in both North Carolina and Florida when he was in the military. He shared this with me on a few occasions, but he never pushed the issue. He was pretty sure I would never move south. My reasoning was that Florida was too hot, and there were too many bugs.
Last April, John had had a frustrating day at work and came home wondering what job could be more enjoyable than the one he was currently doing. As he looked on line for employment, he found a job at Walt Disney World working in their IT Department (computers). Just applying I think made him feel a little better. He didn't really expect to hear back from Disney World. I mean, come on, you have to be really, really good at what you do. Well, three weeks later, he got a call. This started the ball rolling on the idea that we might one day move. We had our friend, who is a real estate agent, come look at our house and advise us as to what needed done before we put our house on the market.
John had his phone interview with Disney but turned down the opportunity for a second interview. We just weren't ready. Since we had started to think about moving, John and I both were of the belief that God was calling us out of our current house. He had done that in the past. When we lived in Ellwood City, there came a time when we knew it was time to move on. Having nowhere to go when our house sold, we moved in with John's parents for seven months. That was not an easy time for me. Two women in one house does not work well. Hindsight has allowed me to see God's plan in that, though. John had the opportunity to spend time with his mom before she died the following year that he would not have had if we had still lived up north. I am very grateful for God's wisdom.
We spent a lot of time looking online at houses in our area, but we didn't have much motivation to get anything done with the house. I had started to paint some of the rooms that needed painted, but there was no urgency.
In November, we drove to Disney World for our annual vacation. We had been there in 2008 and 2009 as well. This time, however, as we were driving out of Florida and into Georgia, I almost cried. I felt like I was leaving home forever. What was that? Why did I feel that way this time when I had never felt that way before? As we drove home, the decision was made to try to move south. My arguments from before no longer held any weight. In the sweltering heat of the summer in PA, I spend all my time inside in the air conditioning. The same thing would happen in Florida. At least down south, things would be in bloom all year, and there wouldn't be any snow.
Around this same time, I started going to counseling for help in dealing with the stress in my life. My front teeth hurt all the time from clenching my jaw while I slept. While in counseling, I learned that I was a control freak and, also, that I had a very low opinion of myself. Through counseling, I was able to break free from the control issue and was also able to believe the truth. Jesus loves ME! Really, he does. I am wonderfully made. I don't have to believe the lies I let myself belief since I was a young child. I dealt with some really heavy issues over the next couple of months.
For the first time in my life I wasn't afraid of what my future held. God often puts us in the dark so we can't control how things turn out. I have always hated that. I have to know. I have to be able to see what is going to happen. I no longer cared. I handed God a blank canvas and said, "Paint it, God, with whatever you want. I look forward to seeing the picture when you're finished."
John had started applying for positions the day we got back from vacation. He had had some phone interviews, but nothing materialized. In March, we had our friend, the real estate agent, come back to remind us of all we needed to do with the house. We got started right away. There was a sense of urgency now. All five of us did our fair share in completing the painting of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two hallways, an entire basement, stairway, deck, etc., etc. It was exhausting completing it in the short amount of time we had, but there was motivation and determination.
I believed it was time to put our house on the market. John had reservations, though, since we had nowhere to go. I told him I would look into finding a place to rent in the area. We weren't prepared to go to Florida without a job. I put feelers out for information on a rental. I had told people that I was pretty sure our house would sell quickly. It went on the market the Monday before Easter. That Wednesday, a couple came with their agent and looked at the house. The sign was placed in our yard on Thursday. Thirty minutes after that, our agent called to tell us that the couple who had come the day before wanted to give us an offer. Four days...that's quick. Four days...that's God!
TO BE CONTINUED...