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When God tells you NO

aaaah.

Do you hear it? That, my friends, is the sound of silence. My kiddos went back to school today after a long Christmas break and the house is quiet. I am able to think. to breathe. to write.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mom, and am fully aware of just how blessed I am to do this. There are so many mamas out there who desperately want to stay home, but for whatever reason, are not able to. To those of you in that boat who are reading – let me encourage you to keep striving, keep working hard, keep praying for that goal. Maybe God will answer your heart’s desire in an awesome way. I pray He does!

But what happens when our heart’s desire is not answered? Or God tells us no? Or God is speaking to us, calling us in a different direction? A direction HE wants us to take – but WE firmly do NOT want to go?

Well, that’s what happened to me.

You see, I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to be in this small, nondescript ranch, with its tiny living room and even smaller closet. I didn’t want my girls to have to share a room and sleep in the same bed as they enter their formative tween and teen years. I wanted them to have s p a c e.

I didn’t want my master bathroom to be barely the size of a phone booth. I didn’t want to not have a basement. or guest room. or play room. or art studio. I didn’t want to be so close to the neighbors and not have any privacy. I didn’t want our house to look like every other house on the block. I wanted my house to be different. to be better.

Wow. Do you hear all the self righteousness there? Well, I didn’t hear it for a very long time…close to 5 years.

But God did. He heard me.

And He firmly told me NO.

Let me back up a little. You see, it has always been a dream of ours to find some land in the country and build our dream house. My husband and I both grew up out in the country, enjoying that lifestyle. As a kid after school, you would find me fishing in the pond out our back door. or making mud pies. or hiking in the woods. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I realize that more now than I did then. So it was our dream to find an idyllic little spot like that to raise our kids. So they could have that same dream-like childhood.

my parents' pond where I fished almost every day
my parents’ pond where I fished almost every day
my parents' barn
my parents’ barn

 

So we saved money each year since we married (in 1999). Then in 2006 we were able to purchase 10 acres just a few miles from the town my husband grew up in. We had the land, but now we needed to save more money to build the “dream house.” So we waited and saved some more.

Then in 2013 we were ready. We had saved enough to pay for 50% of the house with cash, which we thought would leave us in a good spot financially. So we sold our old house in an awesome neighborhood, and moved into our current little house – roughly a third of the size of the house we were hoping to build. The plan was for us to live here in the “nondescript” ranch for a year, while we fine-tuned our blueprints and built the dream house.

I had been planning the dream house for literally years.

I am an interior designer and architect at heart (unfortunately I have a business degree instead). I love architecture and design. I love details. I love shiplap. I love farmhouses. I wanted to incorporate all these awesome details into our dream house. But the problem was, while I had the vision for what I wanted, I didn’t have the actual expertise to draw up my visions. We went through multiple architects (including nationally acclaimed architect, Mitch Ginn ) and finally, in Dec 2014 we had our plans.

It was gorgeous and everything we had hoped and dreamed.

our plans
our plans
Inspiration House - Ansley Park by Timothy Bryan
Inspiration House – Ansley Park by Timothy Bryan
Inspiration House by Crisp Architects
Inspiration House by Crisp Architects

Throughout all of this planning, endless hours on pinterest, and back and forth with our architects, I was having doubts.

What I now know to be God Whispers. He was trying to tell me something. The problem was, I wasn’t listening. I shrugged off the doubts and kept plodding forward. This was it! After almost 10 years of waiting and saving, we were finally going to build our dream house!

Then several things happened. It wasn’t written out in black and white. God didn’t make it obvious or easy. He didn’t decide for us. He made US decide.

The bids for the house came back, and despite our careful planning and hubby acting as the GC and doing over half the work himself (he is very handy and has been remodeling houses for years) – it was still quite a bit more than we anticipated. We had budgeted roughly $300k for the build (not including the land which was already paid for), but the numbers were coming back more around $400k. And these were very conservative numbers! I’m talking $10k for the kitchen, $3k for appliances, $3/ sqft for hardwood floors, etc…

Could we afford this? Yes. Was it our dream? YES! Was this what we had just spent the last 5 years of our lives planning, saving, and hoping for? Yes. But was this what God wanted for us?

No.

Again, He didn’t make it an easy decision. We agonized for several weeks. He was convicting me to give up my dream. Our dream. My kids’ dream. He wanted us to sell the land.

What?

God, we can’t sell the land! Maybe we can start over and build something smaller? No. Sell the land. But if we sell, we’ll never find any more! There is literally NO land for sale in our kids’ school district and this is my dream! Sell, Christy. Give up the dream and follow Me.

It was clear as day, when He told me. And when I told my husband I think we should sell, he agreed. It was like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. We were heartbroken and grieved the loss of our dream, but we had peace.

You see, if we had built the dream house I would have had to go back to work full time. I dreaded it, but I was going to do it so we could have our dream. I had been a sahm for 11 years, now 12. But I think God was calling me to stay home a little longer. He is calling me to write and to paint. And to follow Him wherever this new journey takes me. So I started this blog.

And sold the land.

He is gently teaching me that I don’t need a gorgeous new house with tons of space, a giant walk-in closet, or even lots of land for my kids to explore. When we’re forced to make tough decisions and truly rely on Him, we realize we don’t truly need any of that. He has given me everything I really need.

I now have time. Since we’re not building the house and sold the land, we now have a comfortable amount of money in savings to live on while we wait on Him to lead us to the next place. I have more time to stay home with my kiddos. I have time to write this blog. Who knows where it might lead, but I feel this is what God is whispering me to do. He wants me to write – I have many, many doubts about blogging. Will anyone even read it? He says if I write it, they will come. So I will trust Him.

My husband has time now too. He quit his office job and is managing our rental properties and working on our house flipping business full time. He loves it. He comes home for lunch every day; he sets his own hours. Did we make much money in 2015? No. One of our flips still hasn’t sold, and we have no steady paycheck to rely on. But we are happy; we are learning to rely on HIM.

Friends, I write this not to brag or boast or even garner a pity party for myself. I hope you don’t take it that way.

I write to encourage you to listen. Listen for those God Whispers. Is there something He has placed on your heart or been trying to tell you? Do you have an idea or dream? Are you trying to overcome something? Does it seem too crazy or impossible? Nothing is impossible when God is at the center of it!

Is He whispering to you right now? I truly hope you will listen.

 

linking up here:

Mommy Moments | Titus 2 Tuesday

 

 

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45 Comments

  1. Thank you for being so open! We can all be hard headed sometimes. Visiting via Titus 2 Linkup! God bless you on your journey!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Chari! Don’t you wish God had his own personal telephone and could just tell us what He wants us to do? Sometimes my kiddos have a hard time believing God talks to me – I’m trying to encourage them to listen for little God whispers too. Have a great week!

  2. That peace He gives when you finally fall in line with HIS plan is amazing, though, isn’t it? He knows how hard it is for us to give up “our” dreams, but I’ve experienced it too that when I do what He wants it’s amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are SO right Jennifer! It was crazy how stressed I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Trying desperately to make it all work – but knowing that God was telling me no. It’s hard to give up your dream and it took me a long time to finally listen. But the peace He gave us once we made that decision was amazing! Thank you so much for your comment!

      1. Indeed Christy; his peace is amazing. I believe you made the right decision, and what a good light for the rest of us. So many of us have reluctance about big decisions and projects we take on in life, yet often we don’t stop and let ourself hear his whispering, because we “know” it’s what we want and it’s what we’ve dreamed of and saved for, and we “deserve” it. But if we sold everything we had and gave it to the poor we would have much greater peace. “Godliness with contentment is great gain”. I too have experienced that unexpected, profound peace that accompanies a “turning over” or even obedience to his whispering. In profound and heartbreaking tragedy if we have God’s peace we have everything. He has a peace that passes all understanding of man. And it’s ours for the taking if we can stop, and listen for the whispers…….. Thank you so much for your brave sharing. May your children see from your deeds that you have a true faith in the maker and you don’t just “talk the talk” but you “walk the walk”. All the best in finding your “dream home”.

        1. thank you so much for your beautiful words. your comment just made my day. It is so hard to make these big decisions, giving up what we want for what God wants is definitely not easy. But you are so right – if we give up all the “stuff” and focus on what’s really important, we’ll gain so much more instead. The world is so full of unnecessary things, it is truly my prayer that my children will be grateful for all their blessings (even if it’s not exactly what they want) and not have a sense of entitlement. And I hope they will rely on God for everything in their lives. Thank you for visiting!

    1. thanks so much Tammy – I feel very vulnerable putting all this out here, but I really do feel like He’s calling me to do it. I’m excited to start this new blogging thing and hopefully we will find another house SOON. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. That was lovely. Thank you for sharing. I feel you made the right decision because regardless of all the obstacles God put in my way 10 years ago we chose to go ahead and build our dream home anyway. Even though I was the GC and my husband and I did the majority of the work the house still ended up being way over budget, in a neighbourhood we didn’t like, took our free time away from our young son that we can’t get back and almost destroyed our marriage in the process. On a happier note we sold the house, even though it was for a loss and moved back to the neighbourhood we had been renting in while we were building. Our marriage has been reborn, we’ve found God and we live in a lovely little home that we didn’t have to renovate or build to move in. I am envious of your decision but I am grateful for the lessons. Your blog is lovely and I look forward to reading more of it.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Linsey! I am totally new to this blogging stuff and I really feel God calling me to write and share stories, but it’s hard to know if I’m even reaching anyone or if anyone is even reading. But I shouldn’t doubt God, should I? He will put in front of the people needing to see it and that’s all that matters!

      I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles in building and with your marriage. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Sometimes God brings us through difficult times to learn the lessons He knows we need. I am so glad your marriage has been reborn and you’re leaning on God! Life is hard, but aren’t you glad to know we have an awesome God that loves us no matter what? thanks so much for visiting ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Hi Christy. I stumbled across your blog while looking on Pinterest for “Fixer Upper style”. I just wanted to reach out and say that this article really touched me. My story is quite different but I believe I needed to “hear” your story and take something away from it. My 23 year marriage ended a few years ago (not by my choosing and I was devastated) I had to sell and leave my beautiful home that I loved. I downsized and bought a twin home (attached) and absolutely hated it since I bought it because it wasn’t my dream home. I have been struggling with the “why me” issue for a few years instead of listening to what God is trying to tell me. Reading this article really put it into perspective for me. I now realize that God knows what is best for me and is leading me down a path that maybe I did not choose but need to embrace. Thank you so much for sharing and yes, you are reaching people. God Bless.

    1. wow Colleen, your comment brought tears to my eyes! First of all, I’m so very sorry to hear about your marriage. I can only imagine how heartbroken you must have been. But you are right – God has a plan for all of us, even though sometimes we do not know what it is or how we can benefit from it. It is not for us to know, unfortunately. That is why it is called faith. Such a very very hard lesson to learn. I was talking to my 12 year old daughter about this a few days ago. She desperately wants her own room and I desperately want to give it to her, but I told her we need to rely on God and have faith that He will bring us to the next house – wherever that might be. Faith and patience are what He’s trying to each us I think. And you never know – whatever He leads us to next might be even BETTER than what we had planned on our own! I am praying that God will wrap you in His comforting peace, Colleen. So glad you stopped by!

  6. Oh Christy, I am glad I finally had the chance to read this! I love when bloggers share stories like this because I often struggle with the idea of letting go of my “dreams”. I am an achiever at heart so it’s always tough for me to stop what I am doing and listen to what God has called me to do. Thank you for commenting on my blog and directing me your way– you’re a wonderful writer and I love your encouraging words!

    P.S. I am LOVING your blog design. Beautiful colors!

    1. Tenesha, I’m so sorry I”m just now responding! I don’t know how I missed your comment earlier, but I do apologize! Thank you so much for your comment. Blogging is truly amazing as I get to connect to such wonderful new friends that I otherwise would have never met! It’s so nice to “meet” other kindred spirits in the world going through the same struggles and fears. It is TOUGH listening to God when He’s calling you in a direction you simply do not want to go. But it’s also amazing to see what comes next and thinking that this whole blog thing never would have happened if we would have built that dream house, as I would have had to go find a “real job” and wouldn’t have even given blogging a second thought! His plans are often times SO different than our own but also sometimes SO much more fulfilling than we could have ever dreamed of! Thank you again and many blessings to you! xo, Christy

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  8. Simply inspiring! I think you’re spot on – God calls us to follow Him. It’s crucial to remember that material things are not important. That can certainly be a challenge when a lot of what we witness in media and society is to the contrary. I relate to you and your Husband in your journey. My Husband started his own business last year shortly before I quit my well paying but terribly stressful job. Our finances have changed but now we have time for one another and our family! God spoke to us and we listened – we’re able to do ministries we wouldn’t have had time for before and our hearts are always full!
    Thank you for sharing and may God bless you and your family!

    1. aww, thank you so much for your sweet comment. It is so true that you don’t realize what you truly need in life until faced with the decision to give up your “dream”. Having peace with your life and time to spend with your family is so much more valuable than a large bank account and materialistic “things”. That is wonderful that you’re using your time for ministries! Isn’t it funny that we don’t know what He has planned for us until we give up what WE had planned for us and just listen. Thanks for sharing your story and God bless you too!

  9. Oh wow! I just love the spirit in which this post was written…. So candidly and with such humility. I came for the design tips but gained a lot more. Thank you!

    1. what a sweet comment, Naomi! You made my day – thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing what God has in store for us, if we just take the time to put our own wants and needs aside and listen to Him. His dreams are SO much bigger than our own somtimes! thanks for stopping by, xoxo

  10. I sent you a message earlier before I read this post. I’m so grateful I found it and read it. I am fighting a similar battle myself. We are hoping to be able to build this year, but who knows. Our bids are coming in high too, and I also don’t want to go back to work just to pay for a huge house.

    But I wanted to let you know how inspiring you are. I have only read a few of your posts and am in awe of all you have accomplished.

    1. aw, thank you so much Jennifer! Your comment made my day ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so hard figuring out what to do, but I encourage you to listen to the little voice in your head. More times than not, that little voice is God leading you in a direction you never dreamed you’d go! Pray about it and seek Him, and He will give you peace in your decision. I’m happy to tell you that even though we never built the “dream house” we did find another house and are happily remodeling it and putting our own spin on things (although at a snail’s pace, but there’s no rush – lol!) My girls are happy to have their own rooms now, and it’s right across the street from my son’s best friend. Also, we were able to completely pay it off with the money I’m making from the blog and the last flip house we sold! I never in a million years would have started this blog if God hadn’t told us to sell our land and give up the dream house. But blogging is a huge blessing – I’m able to still stay home with my kiddos, share tips & design ideas (which I love) and still make a full time income. I’m so thankful! Thanks for reading, xoxo Christy (ps. I never got your message – but feel free to email me [email protected] )

  11. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY! I FEEL LIKE IT WAS GOD SENT.
    I have been trying to sell my house. Everyone who comes here loves it. I hired the top agent in my neighbourhood. Everything else she listed has sold except my home. I have prayed about it for months. The only thing i have heard is stand still. Ive tried to search the scriptures and to pray more for more clarity on but I have not heard anything else except stand still over and over.
    We renovated the kitchen in the process. I even bought another home that the deal fell through because i couldn’t sell my house and the people are now suing us. I appreciate your story as when we are in desperate times, reading about others who are in the same situation helps us to realize that God IS standing by.
    The house is still for sale. I’m still seeking direction from God on what to do.

    1. Oh Liya, big hugs to you! It is so hard not knowing what to do or why things happen. But even in the uncertainties of life, it is so comforting to know that God is still there for us. Even when we can’t hear Him or think that He’s being silent, that’s not the case. He’s just waiting and working things out in His time. In this crazy world where everyone is hustling here and there, God doesn’t command us to hustle. He wants us to Be Still. I’m so glad you are praying and seeking His guidance. I pray that your home will sell soon if that’s God’s will, but also that you’ll have patience and comfort in the waiting. I am happy to share that we found a new house that we all love and we are spending time fixing it up and making it our own. It’s not the huge farmhouse of my dreams, but it’s our home and we have the mortgage paid off (praise the Lord!) and it’s right across the street from my son’s best friend! And it’s allowed me to continue to stay home with my kiddos and work on my blog and other adventures. Everything has worked out and I pray it will all work out for you and your family too! Thanks so much for visiting my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. Wow. What an inspirational story. I am happy to be living in a world where there are still people who listen to God whispers and value His guidance over all sorts of pressure to do things that wonโ€™t bring peace or happiness. Really impressive that you were able to listen even though it meant giving up on a dream (at least for now). Most people wouldnโ€™t have been able to do that. And making the decision to stay a stay at home mom will have a positive impact on your family in a million ways!

    1. thank you so much for your comment Susannah. It really came at a great time! I feel God is calling me to step even further out of my comfort zone and open an online Christian shop geared toward teens. Of course, I know absolutely NOTHING about any of it but I am trying to trust God to just use me in however He sees fit. He has truly blessed my family and I SO much and I want to give back and help get some positive messages out in this world. Thanks so much for reading!

  15. Thank you for sharing this! It is such an encouragement and reminder to listen to that still and quiet voice of God.

    1. thank you so much for your comment Elyse – it means so much that God is using this little blog to reach people!

  16. Thank you Christy for being obedient to the Lord in writing this blog! I am one of the “ones” He said He would bring to read your writings. I was searching for an answer from God as to why our flip home has not sold after 135 days on the market when I came across your story. We sold our big beautiful home which was fully remodeled and moved into a 1000 foot cottage style home with a dream to renovate it after the sale of this flip home which has not happened yet much to our surprise and with four offers falling through. It has been a very frustrating time for my husband and I as we know the Lord directed our steps in moving to this little cottage. Why our flip home is not selling in a hot market is a mystery to my husband and I and causing our “dream” to be on hold. Not sure what to do and trusting God to lead us! Obedience, faith, and patience is the key just as you have mentioned. Thanks for sharing a beautiful story.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Julie. I will be praying that God will guide you through these next few weeks and months and let His will be known to you. I’m so sorry your flip house hasn’t sold yet ๐Ÿ™ But His way is bigger than our own and you are doing the right thing by putting all your faith and trust in Him! It is so hard to wait though, I know. Thankfully God provided us with another “dream home” – just different than the original dream we had! It’s a lovely home right across the street from my son’s best friend and we are loving fixing it up. Maybe God has a different dream in mind for you too? Many hugs to you and your hubby! God Bless! xo, Christy

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  18. Thanks so much for this blog Christy! I stumbled across it while searching for articles on trusting God when he takes your dream away. It’s inspiring how God redirected you and you were willing to listen and sacrifice ‘your plan’ – it’s so hard isn’t it when there’s that pull to pursue your own dreams and try and make stuff happen! I’ve felt God saying ‘No’ 3 times houses over the past few years to me purchasing a home. .I’m currently in a rental property and have been praying for my own home for 6 years now. It’s been my lifelong dream to own my own home and do it up – I’m itching to go! I’d saved for years to go but then 3 years ago God asked me to give my savings away to help various people – including ironically helping another friend and husband but their own home! I was devastated and resisted that one for a while! But felt such peace when I finally did. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness last year which means i can no longer work full time and can’t quality for a mortgage. Still, my family had come up with a way of me still being able to buy a home as my rental payments have increased so much. Again, i was ready to go up until last week and had an offer accepted, but feel the small voice of God saying No. It feels like I’m back to square one again, but I’m reminded to trust God’s wisdom and not trying to force something. I’m now considering moving home with my Dad who’s 78 which is really not ideal at 36 and single. I so struggling to see God’s hand in all this but your blog was such a comfort that I’m not going mad or the only one to be going through this! Thank you for the great and encouraging words! Xx

    1. aw, thank you so much for those sweet words, Rachel! It is so hard trying to give up our own dreams and follow what God wants us to do. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job though. That is sooo amazing that you’re willing to give away your savings to help others! Maybe God is nudging you to spend more time with your Dad, so He’s making a way for that to happen? Sometimes these things that we see as set backs are really His blessings in disguise. I’m praying you find hope and comfort in your obedience to God’s will, whatever that may be! Many hugs and blessings! xoxo Christy ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. This brought a tear to my eye. Ive been waiting to hear from god.I’ve been a stay at home mom for 10 yrs. I daydream alot about a farmhouse with horses. My house is really weird (1948 cabin added on 3 times with plenty of issues)not the safest place.to live. I feel guilty because I’m so blessed why can’t I just be happy with what we have? God days no and not anytime soon

    1. Hi Amy! Thanks so much for stopping by! Being a stay at home mom is a tremendous calling in itself. I think society tries to downplay it a lot, but these years spent raising your babies are so important! I definitely know how you feel though. As I’ve gotten older, I try not to beat myself up about my dreams and desires. God created us to have passions and dreams. Which means God has dreams and desires too since He created us in His image! Just keep praying and serving Him in the wait. It’s hard sometimes, but He does have a plan for all of us! And remember to give yourself the grace to be human and have these feelings ((hugs & blessings to you!))

  20. Oh Christy…. I don’t even know what to say. I commented on one of your diy posts and put my phone down and when I picked it up I was somehow on this post…. I can’t believe it… Although I should as I know God works in my life through people. I think you just brought me a message from Him. God has been telling me no quite loudly and I’ve been frustrated but reading this blog just brought me peace. Thank you. โ™ฅ๏ธ

    1. Aw, thank you so much for that sweet message, Alexis! I’m so blessed to know God used my message to speak to you today! He truly does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? I’ve actually been struggling with what to do next with my blog as it’s been 6 years since I first wrote this post! I feel Him whispering again to me and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do and then this was the verse of the day on my Bible app this morning: Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 I feel Him nudging me in a new direction and I need to just surrender my plans and TRUST HIM with whatever the future holds. Easier said than done, I know – but I’m praying we can both obey His whispers and find peace & joy! hugs and blessings to you and thanks so much for reading! xoxo

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