I said it to myself at the beginning of our ordeal, trying to get myself to believe it. But by the end of it all, I was rejoicing those words out of relief.
“It’s just a stupid house.”
It was the American Dream. My husband Danny and I were expecting our first child, so naturally we went out and bought a nice big $200,000 house and respectable $8,000 SUV.
The house was too big, but it was my dream house. We wanted to buy something once and be done with it, something we could grow into.
And we could afford it. Together we made a nice income, over 100,000. We were never really much for material things, but I never looked at store receipts or kept close track of the money. We just bought whatever we wanted.
It was great. We had the jobs, the dog, the baby, and even a white picket fence.
It was 2009, and the economy was tanking. All of those poor people losing their jobs. Good thing we were secure. That could never happen to us.
I remember the day he called to say he was just laid off from work. WHAT?! Breathe. Ok. We work in video production in a large market, so something else will come up.
But just in case, he bit the bullet and filed for unemployment. And if you have never seen that, you may never fully understand what that does to a man that is used to being a strong provider. It is a hard pill to swallow.
The freelance world completely dried up. No one was hiring. Everyone was scared to spend a dime on “anything extra.”
The GM Plant where we lived shut down. There were no jobs anywhere. He even applied for jobs at the grocery stores in town, but they had a slew of applications and nothing was available.
Our big house also had a big mortgage, and it took no time at all to feel the squeeze.
After several months of struggle, we sat in the middle of the living room with our toddler playing at our feet. I slowly said “I think we need to sell the house.”
It was a pivotal moment and we saw the reality of the situation we were in, and it was a huge blow to the pride. But it was also the best thing that could have ever happened to us.
In the moment it was terrifying. It was our home. It was where we brought our son home and became a family. We loved our big yard and there was no way we wanted to leave.
But the house we thought was the end-all be-all symbol of the good life became an albatross around our necks. The mortgage was choking the life out of every penny we worked so hard to keep.
We were selling everything. Video gaming systems, games, instruments, DVDs, a TV, tools, lawn equipment and my beloved jogging stroller, to name a few.
I was so stressed out. I was taking on all of the overtime I could while Danny stayed home with our son and tried to find work.
We bickered in front of the realtor because we didn’t want to sell and we were both on edge. We cut out restaurants and entertainment completely, and bought necessities only at the store and made everything from scratch. We had to keep the house clean 24/7 for showings. The housing bubble had burst and we were upside down with little hope.
I remember laying in bed one night, the tears flowing. I begged God, I said please, if You just get us through this I will never again take what we have for granted. I cannot steer this ship anymore, I’m so tired and I need You, please help us.
Danny was able to find part-time work in tv soon after. He was making about the same as he would have received in unemployment, but the hours grew more and more, eventually leading to full-time.
It was for a lot less money, but he was just glad to be productive again. He brought in every penny he could, even working an extra job on overnights putting children’s bicycles together at a toy store for extra income.
After scrimping and saving and racing against the mortgage-with our little hearts pumping-for an entire YEAR, our house finally sold. It sold at a loss, but we were so happy to get rid of that stupid house that we gladly signed the paperwork for the difference.
We crammed ourselves into a small 2 bedroom apartment. It wasn’t easy, but we were able to get back on our feet and save up for a house.
It is now 5 years later. We’ve had another son, and bought a modest little house out in the country. Much more suited to us and just the right size, in space and budget.
Danny was asked back at his old job and promoted up soon after. He also runs a small freelance business on the side. We are really disciplined in our finances now, and I am able to stay home with the kids.
**And God’s wonderful help led me back to church and the greatest breakthrough of my life. (Healer)
No one can predict the future, hard times can happen to anyone. But if you are struggling, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We still made great memories in that little apartment before we got here. Don’t give up. Do what you have to do. Hang on. And if you lose your house, you lose your house.
You will still make it. And it could get you to a better place, in more ways than one. The people in your house are more important than where you live.
It really is just a stupid house.
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We at long last got our finances under control using the following products: (affiliate links)