06 Nov THE HOUSE THAT GOD BUILT
Buying a house in Plano, Texas in the middle of 2015 was hard to say the least. The housing market during that time was a seller’s market to the extreme degree. With billion dollar businesses moving into the area, houses were selling before they were even on the market – literally! Stories of people pulling over to make offers on houses that were still in the remodel phase, offering $10-20 thousand over the asking price, and realtors limiting the number of offers taken to fifty of the highest bids were commonplace. That’s what we were up against.
However, this journey began in early 2013 when my husband, Michael, and I decided to separate under the assumption that divorce would be the next step. We had been married 5½ years and thought we were happy nearly the entire time. In our ignorance (sometimes I think it was arrogance), we thought we were really good at this marriage thing. We thought that because we were in love there wasn’t an issue that we couldn’t solve, right? Wrong! At the time, we felt like it came out of nowhere! But it didn’t. It was a combination of not fully trusting in Christ, as well as bad habits that had grown out of our isolation. Habits that could have been identified and put to death within biblical community. The issues that led to our decision had crept up on us, and what followed were some very painful months.
Fear and doubt had led me to believe that Michael was having an affair with his assistant at work. After getting a management position, he spent all his time there and was often there 7 days a week. Even when he did take vacation, his phone became his office and enjoying time with the family seemed like an interruption to his work. I remember an instance when our daughter and I went down to the hotel pool after checking in while he stayed in the room to “call and check on work.” He never made it down to swim with us. In my anger and sadness during this time, I took comfort in a co-worker which led to an affair. Michael and I were in agreement that a separation was necessary; however, he did not know about my infidelity. But it didn’t take long for the truth to be revealed, and in retaliation he had an affair of his own – with his assistant. I felt like I had caused the very thing I was afraid of. My insecurities were leading me down a destructive path. We both spent 9 months in a dark, rage-filled, self-destructive place.
By the end of 2013, I had returned to church, where I found a women’s bible study group that supported me with their prayers. With God’s leading, I turned away from my sin and began pursuing a reconciled marriage and relationship with Christ. Michael on the other hand, was running. He had moved from the small, west Texas town where we lived to take a new position in his company in Plano. He openly admits he had applied for the position to get away from me. Little did he know that God would use His people to speak truth into his life in this new environment. One of Michael’s employees described life lived after divorce and what it was like to live without the person God had joined you with. God was softening Michael’s heart and allowed him to see what the other side of divorce really looked like. He agreed to commit to reconciliation and I moved to Plano in January of 2014. We immediately got to work on ourselves, our marriage, our financial situation, and most importantly, our faith in Jesus! All four areas had suffered greatly over the years, and our financial portfolio had taken a nosedive in the nine months we were apart – living in separate houses with zero accountability and both giving into our vices. God again used His people during that year as we began attending Watermark Church and getting plugged into a marriage ministry called ReEngage. That year was hard, with many painful confessions and bringing to light the fear and complacency that had become commonplace in our marriage. But as we were faithful, God was faithful to His Word. We were experiencing God’s promise to His people in Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…”
In 2015, we were back on our financial feet and ready to plant roots in DFW. We had fallen in love with Plano, where Watermark happened to be planting a campus, so we were excited to settle down there. That was the problem though – so was everybody else. After 6 months of pushing our budget limits on offers, writing heartfelt letters to sellers, and losing bids before we were even able to tour the house, we caught a break. A house that had been taken off the market and quietly put back on the market was available, and we were one of only two bids. We bought the house! Everything seemed to go smoothly and we were ready to move in. That is when I began to realize that in the excitement of not letting this house get away, I had overlooked some key “must haves” and desires I had for the house I wanted.
As I began to put our home together in the months that followed, I became more and more resentful toward the house. It went beyond the massive amount of painting I had to do in almost every room. The kitchen wasn’t big enough, there weren’t enough windows, it wasn’t as “open concept” as I wanted, the bathrooms were too small, and on and on. I was not holding back on voicing these opinions either. One day Michael had enough. His exact words were, “I feel like I have to defend our house to you.” He went on to say that my negativity regarding the house was making him sad, and that not only did he not share my feelings, he felt the complete opposite. All those things were still true. This was not our dream house. He had wants of his own, like a huge garage and a covered patio and a house that didn’t need so much work. But regardless of all this house didn’t have, it did have something that meant so much to my husband – something that I had missed altogether. He shared with me that after everything we had been through and after all the pain and hard work to fight our way back to each other, he saw this house as something solid. He saw this house as the foundation we were going to build on. He saw this house as God’s blessing – putting an end to the old life we left behind and the provision of the new life we were entrusting to Him. He saw this house, with both “Michael and Selena Thompson” on the deed as a concrete foundation to the life that we were promising to live with each other and with God dwelling in it, always. I was broken in that moment. I had missed all of that! I was so worried about the material things that I failed to see all that Lord had provided, and in the process I had hurt my husband’s feelings.
The Lord has taught me a lot of things in the past couple of years. I mean, really, a lot of things! But being grateful for a house was not a lesson I thought I needed to learn. I thanked God every minute of every day for restoring my marriage, for saving my family from total destruction, for making my husband into a man of God that is joyful in learning how to lead us well. But that day, seeing the hurt in Michael’s eyes and hearing the hurt in his voice, I learned that my selfishness was keeping me from enjoying all that the Lord had provided. Our house is a symbol of what the Lord can do. Our house is an example of the roots that we planted, that the Lord now waters and feeds every day. In 2 Samuel 7:10 it says, “And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more.” Our house is now a place of love and comfort, of healing and rest. Our house says to the world that Michael and Selena Thompson are married, are together, and are in it for the long haul. Our house says to God, we will serve Him and do well with our provision. Our house now says to me God will and did restore what doubt and fear and the enemy tried to destroy. Our house is not my dream house – it’s better – it is the house that God built!