Where His presence is, I am home

“Stay The Path” by Bobbie Houston | I love stories of pioneers, they make me brave to #staythepath!

“But, you will never have a home”, said my pragmatic Asian mom in empathetic response to the vision I had for my twenties:  ‘Tent making’ to build churches around the world while taking seasonal media jobs to fund my creative dreams and passions and the alternative lifestyle so etched in my heart.

That was 2007 just as I was graduating from university.

Ten years later today, I sit writing in a home I just closed three days ago, still in a bit of disbelief: I’ve just bought a lovely home. Our good Lord did it.

It was just less than two years ago where no banks would talk to us — 30, globe-trotting and wide-eye wonder still — about a housing mortgage. With our lack of continuous income history, credit and the like, it’s not surprising. The oneofherkind path I’ve chosen (and still on) meant living without regular income, CPF, 401k savings and the like.

When I met the hubs in 2014,  we had both left regular salaried jobs in 2012. I was just transiting into the film and TV world after 7 years in print and digital journalism. While he too had just left his full-time government job to start a non-profit YouTube Channel and was living off his savings. We left for San Francisco in a rental car with all our belongings and got married with our savings. But with exorbitant home rental and property prices, after a year in San Francisco, we entered 2016 with our bank accounts dwindled down to two digits! Yet right there and then, He was orchestrating the biggest miracle yet for us.

See, in Singapore, much like in the US, without holding down a profitable regular full-time job and amassing good savings, there is virtually no chance of securing a home mortgage (in Singapore, using CPF. While in USA, with the banks). Yet despite the mortgage rejections we faced from the banks, in November 2015, the hubs again made the unconventional decision to yield to the call to enter seminary and to dedicate 2016 a year of sabbatical.

Let’s just say it was a decision met with resistance from our (Asian) culture (read more on this at Edward’s #deartigercubs series). But our good Lord took no time to be our double portion. Immediately, the next day, I received a job offer with a global TV channel that was to relocate us to Europe for this season.

As part of the launch team of this global TV channel – and clocking astronomical work hours in 2016 as a result! – I ended the year recognising not only had He gifted us a year-long “honeymoon” experience in Europe that we would never have afforded out of pocket, but also having unexpected income savings and bonuses.

By that point in my life, ten years of graduate young working adult life later, this was only my second “full-time regular job” — and each time for just about 15 months and totaling not more than three years. I call it my vavavoom twenties because I can never anticipate what comes next!

So less than a year into Edward’s sabbatical, he was offered a full-time ministry gig in Colorado. This threw us into yet another transition in January 2017. It was to be our third relocation in three years! Our transitions to San Francisco and Europe were both relatively ‘quick work’, and I was not quite prepared for the 7-month transition that took us to relocate to Colorado Springs.

By our fourth month in this transition, still address-less, I was ready to throw in the towel.

The hubs will tell you how I fall short in choosing to whine than to recognize an opportunity to be schooled. I was never a believer of home ownership (still am not?) We had moved out to Colorado to stay in the rental market, set our eyes on a new rental complex and paid a rental deposit in January believing a unit would open up for us quickly.

Because God’s provision and timing is always lightning quick, right?

I can never stop re-learning that His timing is only as quick as when we have wholly yielded to Him.

Unlike our San Francisco transition, where neither of us had a regular job to comfortably pay the exorbitant $2,500 monthly rent for a 2-bedroom old-ish apartment (which was by every means a steal and a divine gift within a week of our arrival!) In Colorado, nothing was opening up for us.

In the thick of winter in March, I remember sitting in our temporary 1-bedroom rental condo in Colorado Springs with bags and boxes unopened when I heard the Spirit reminding me that this was a year of the Next Level but I haven’t been living like so. I brushed it off.

Then in April, after an episodic whining session of yours truly, I relented to that soft prompting challenge to “ask for the impossibles” and put my 2016 media earnings to “buy a field” even as the property market is not at all in our favor. It was a Rise Up and Work (with Him) moment.

Colorado is currently a sellers’ market, demand for housing far exceeds inventory available. It was a bidding war for the most part, of which we refused to just flow with the competitive climate. We might have viewed over thirty properties when it became clear two months later that it’s actually not about buying a roof. Than, to be tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit in me to be graced in this season to locate a profitable investment field(s).

That revelation would dramatically shift the way we looked at purchasing an affordable home we simply saw ourselves living in, but to study the value of the land and its corresponding trajectory of appreciation and investment growth. Until then, I’ve never cared about property investments or vineyards. It’s been a fun albeit steep learning curve, but count on the genius of the Counsellor to surpass setting up our thirtysomething season beyond our wildest imaginations.

When we knew the home we were going to bid for (and win), we actually had the audacity to underbid the asking price (much to our agent’s horror!) on a conventional loan term with 15-20 down. For that land was also the most valuable of all we had seen and bid on. (We had put in eight bids and offers at that point, only one came through. It was overpriced and we chose to let it go.)

God literally gifted this to us in so many ways. Right to meeting a mortgage broker whom we know without a shadow of doubt he was God-sent. Particularly, knowing it was less than two years ago where not a single bank or lender would speak to us for many good and valid reasons we don’t dispute.

Last week, after our lender informed us that we will be able to successfully close on our house this week, the hubs read this Proverbs 31:16 out loud to me. #keepingmeincheck

It was for him confirmation of the “assignment” he/He teamed up to send out a then-unwilling me to work on the last seven months of transition. He/he literally nudged me into it. The wonderful thing about married life is having a partner who never lets me settle for less, of which the toils of life do often gravitate me to in this thirtysomething life season. But instead, it’s a timely reminder that even in this season, my best years are still ahead of me and to never stop going deeper with Him and #staythepath.

Because in His presence, I will always have a home.

This story is part of the #livebig series here.