The Home We Built Debt Free!

"Live Like No One Else, So That Later On You Can Live Like No One Else!!!!!!!
Dave Ramsey
This is our Country Cottage that God Built!
I have been asked by many to share our journey of building a home debt free for the glory of the Lord, well, here goes! You might want to grab a cup of coffee or tea, I do rattle on....
In 2005 my husband and I were living in a nice custom home that we had built in 1999, about 2700 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, office and playroom, large kitchen, 2 car garage all on about 8 acres in a restricted subdivision. This was the first home either one of us had ever owned and we were very pleased with it and content:). Our mortgage payment was modest enough and we had really no other debt so we thought we were doing fine. Well, our pastor at that time decided to have a mini seminar on becoming debt free with John Morgan. Little did we know that our beliefs were going to be permanently changed concerning debt! Jimmy and I became so excited about tackling our debt. We prayed about it and decided our only debt was the house so we would refinance and cut our mortgage down from a 30 yr note to a 15 yr note. After we did that we felt led by our Lord that this is not what He had in mind, so... we decided we would pay extra every month on the principal and cut it down to 7 years!!! This excitement only lasted about a couple of weeks and the burning desire to be completely out of debt was still there so we prayed again. We knew without a doubt now that the Lord wanted us to be debt free sooner than 7 years and the only way to do that was to sell our home. This was actually not a hard decision because we felt completely led by the Holy Spirit and His grace was sufficient. We sold alot of stuff, painted, touched up the landscaping, did a few minor repairs and put the house on the market. This was back in 2005 when house prices were booming and our area was a much sought after location!

The Lord seemed to give us a clear price He wanted us to ask so we did and in less than 3 months the house sold and we were able to profit about $100,000.00 on our initial investment!!!!!!!!!! We had been in the house for 6 years and had made extra payments on our principal but still had only paid down our principal about $4,000.00, is that not CRAZY! All that money was going just to interest!

During the time the house was on the market we often thought about where we would go? Would we be able to find a home for the amount of money left over or would we have enough for land and to rebuild? We loved the area that we lived in and loved our neighbors, such a great location for us. The land next to us had 6 acres that a friend owned and had plans to build their retirement home on.. I really wanted this land, I thought it was much prettier than our land because it had so many large oak trees and a nice winding drive to the middle of the property:). But it was not for sale! We prayed daily asking God for wisdom and to show us where He would have us to go but seemed to be told, "Just wait and trust me." So we did.

One day while I was shopping in Tyler, this friend, that owned the land next to us, saw me and asked where we were moving to and why we were moving. As I told her our story of wanting to obey God in becoming debt free and that we really did not know where we would be moving , she asked if we would be interested in their land next to us! the 6 acres that I loved!!!!!! Would we? Of course we would!! I could not wait to call and tell Jimmy! Well, we sold the house and bought this 6 acres right next to us and then moved to a rental while we waited to build. Oh what God can do!! The first blessing was Jimmy receiving a substantial raise in his salary!!!!

When we first decided to trust the Lord and sell our home we were so happy that we thought we could live in a shack as long as we were debt free! Well, when we met with our builder we told him our plan of building debt free, he was somewhat skeptical and seemed to think once we got into this we would go to the bank and just finish it out. The house was started and the plan seemed to grow the more we talked with our builder, we went from a small little house into a nice 2400 square foot plan. The Lord was guiding us all the way though and we had complete peace. Just after starting the house "Katrina" hit and building supplies skyrocketed!!! We were taken by surprise at this because it kinda just blew our budget or so we thought. Isn't it wonderful that our budget is not God's budget?

As we became low on the money, we would tell the builder to cut back on workers, slow the pace and give us time to gather more funds. Jimmy worked all the overtime he could, I watched every penny, shopped all the clearance sales at Lowes and Home Depot and both of us marveled at God's faithfulness. The Lord had people ask us over for supper(one less meal out of our grocery budget), showed us things we could sell, lowered our monthly bills......When it came time to order windows the builder let me know what I could spend and I got on the phone and started calling. I needed 24 windows and I knew the kind I wanted but had no idea how expensive they were!!! I was told over and over the only windows I could get for the price my builder said we had budgeted were the cheapest ones they had, not the nice energy efficient ones I wanted. I have to tell you, I just got off the phone and cried, I got on my knees and cried out to my heavenly Father, " I really wanted to stay on budget but could I please have nice windows?" As soon as I got off my knees from praying the phone rang and my builder said, "Rhonda, you need to come down to the hardware store right now with Jimmy. Someone has brought back some windows that I think you might like." We went right down there and I could not believe my eyes!! Here were the windows I wanted, nice energy efficient windows, way too expensive for us, that someone had decided they did not want after ordering them for their home, and the sweet guy that owned the store was ready to make us a deal! I went out to the car and prayed while Jimmy talked with him about price. When Jimmy came back to the car, he said the total for all those windows was going to be below what we had budgeted for!!! All 24 windows! God is able to do more than we could ever ask or think! And He hears our prayers before we even speak them! Time after time God blessed us this way.

We were really counting on cashing in on some of Jimmy's retirement so we could finish the house enough to where we could go ahead and move in and then we were told this was not possible! We were actually shocked! This was a little kink in our plan that we had not counted on, what was God doing, we had come so far and now were we going to just have to wait and just take month by month what we had left over and work on the house after paying our living expenses? He was testing us again but then He showed us some other funds we had that we had completely forgotten about for almost the exact amount!

About mid way during our building process we find out that our 6 year old son would have to face major surgery on his brain stem. Sweet Caleb had become increasingly restricted on his movements to the extent of having to walk with a walker like elderly people have. He had compression on his spinal chord at the base of his brain stem. You know, God is so wonderful!! He gave us complete peace on this, He had seen us through an almost identical situation 2 years prior with Caleb, and we knew He would again. Caleb had a rough time, his lung collapsed in the ICU after the surgery, and his recovery was very slow but praise the Lord, he is able to move like never before now!!

Things like this with Caleb help you see that a house is just that, a house. Nothing more. Our relationships are what really matter in this life!

Well, we did get the house finished enough to move in. We moved in without cabinets, no air conditioning ( it was March), no baseboards, only one room was painted, no steps or porch, absolutely no yard! just alot of dirt and leftover boards, nails, shingles.... people thought we had lost our mind! The outside was not painted, lots left to do but livable. We were two of the happiest people in the world!!!! We knew we were exactly where God wanted us, doing what He had told us to do and there is no better place in the world to be!
After moving in we had to save every penny each month to finish a project. First on our list were cabinets for the kitchen, this took at least a month of saving. Then I think it was a front porch. We then had some medical come up that took at least a months savings. We had no air conditioning during this time and that year was HOT! Hardly any rain. I would pretend with the kids that we were in the depression and so we would go swimming, take cold showers and sleep with our hair wet, fans in the windows, ceiling fans a must! We visited the library alot:) so cool in there. A dear man that is a pastor had heard what we were trying to do and brought us 2 air conditioners to use until we had enough saved to finish the A/C. People wanted to get involved, they offered their services at a reduced price or for free! We finally had enough money to finish the a/c in August of that year:). And we would do it again in a heartbeat!
The exterior of the house did not have paint for the first year, no yard for about a year. But you know you really appreciate it all the more when you have to wait and you do it yourself. Jimmy and I laid the grass with help from our son-in-law. I would go upstairs several times the next few days just so I could gaze out the windows and see the whole expanse of that beautiful sea of green grass!

And there you have it! We would do this again in a heart beat!

We have the most awesome story to tell
of how God led us to build this house
debt free on faith, obedience and lots of fun!
Even all our windows have a wonderful
testimony of answered prayer,
sweet hydrangeas just like my granny's:)

We have over 900 acres behind us of forest!!!

If you could have seen the before on
this you would not believe it! He will give us
more than we could ever hope for..
Hundreds of mature oaks, pines and elm surrounding us.
view from our back porch
view from kitchen windows.
The heart of our home for sure!
living room

Master Bedroom Restyled:)

chairs part of the set I found back this summer, night stand Aunt Jewel

Living Room soon to be Restyled:)

Master Bath
Henry's Room :)
More to come....
This is Mavis room before, all pink &
This is Mavis's room now,
all set for the next few years:)
Her $20.00 Chandelier
with over 80 glass prisms!!
We found the antique
bed and dresser at a moving
sale painted a chocolate
brown:( so we gave it
an upcycle look with Tiffany Blue
& lightly distressed, CUTE!

Mavis & Henry's Bath
Our School Room/ Play Room
Mavis & Henry call this their upstairs apartment!
Laundry Room
hard at work!
Mavis and Harriet's Office

Thanks for listening!!

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