Oct 28, 2022 • 13M

When Hard Does Not Equal Wrong [+podcast]

Our Big Move #3

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Appears in this episode

Becki Baxter
Our life raising four boys, moving to a new country and living as entrepreneurs. This is our story of how we make everyday decisions our ministry, why it matters and why it's important that YOU do, too!
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I can’t tell you how happy I am there is no house-hunting in Heaven…’cause I am pretty sure this whole ride is not of Jesus! The housing market may have cooled off a bit (for the time being) but if you have been on the house hunt in the last few years, you will know that can be the wild wild West. And our experience was no different…

This past January we sold our charming 100 year-old fixer-upper farmhouse in Ontario and had begun the hunt for our new home in Florida. The very week our house sold, we found the perfect home in the neighborhood we had been hoping for! As you can imagine, based on the timing, we though this was a gift from God! After so much unknown over where we were moving and when we would go, it was like the lights had suddenly lit up along the path we were to take. This was it! We put in a pretty good offer and with the understanding we would get the house, Sam booked his flight to go and get the deal done! Mentally, I had already moved in, decorated the house, met the amazing neighbors and sent the kids off to school. You could say I was emotionally invested.

Well, of course you can guess what happened. Rule #1 of house buying - do NOT get overly invested before the property is yours. Before Sam flew out, we were told our offer came in second - we did not get the house.

*Cue tears.

We had prayed for God to open and close doors as He saw fit so we would end up where He wanted us. This felt like less of a close and more of a slam because we felt like we already had one foot through the door. Sam had bought a cheap flight that didn’t offer cancellation so he decided to go anyways. He would spend the next week getting a bit more serious about finding a house. We still had a couple months before we had to be out of our current home but with the housing market heating up in Florida, we wanted to secure a place as soon as possible.

We know God’s timing is perfect (which is easier to say than believe some days). However, while Sam happened to be in Florida, a house happened to come on the market and was only having showings for one day then would take offers right away. The fact that Sam was there and we could see it and put in a confident offer seemed nothing short of God’s perfect timing. This house looked like a dream! We could host anyone and everyone here. It was finished from top to bottom and we wouldn’t have to spend one dollar on fixing it up. (Which was a hope since we had spent the entire five years at our last house chipping away at our never ending reno list)

So again, we prayed about it, trusted God would close the door if it wasn’t meant to be and put in our best offer. I mean, we’re Canadians, we’ve been living in a crazy housing market for the last 10 years - we know how to put in a good offer and we felt really good about it! Unfortunately, there were other Canadian’s who also knew how to put in a good offer… and we were neck and neck. The only thing keeping us from the house was the closing date. If we could find bridge financing, the house would be ours! We tried our very best, but because we were buying in a new country and had zero credit (FYI, credit ratings don’t follow you to the States) - we were out of luck. We got the call saying our offer had come in second …again.

Disappointed and deflated, we knew it wasn’t meant to be, and were thankful for the closed door - but it was still frustrating. By this time, the home prices were rising daily and the home we had hoped for was moving farther out of reach. Sam’s week was just about up, so we figured he would come home and we would wait to keep looking once we made the final move South as a family.


Just as we had come to terms with losing this majestic house, we got a call from our agent - the first offer had fallen through!! They couldn’t meet the closing date either. The house was ours for the taking once again, if only we could secure bridge financing. Well the next 24 hours involved a lot of phone calls, prayers and not a lot of sleep. By the next day we had actually done it, we had secured bridge financing!!! Excitedly we called our agent who contacted the sellers - only to find the sellers had signed the house back to the next offer on the list just five minutes prior to our phone call.

UGH! I mean, losing a dream house once is hard, but loosing it all over again was just exhausting. I would remind myself over and over - God knows where we will live. I can trust Him. I would have to tell myself this daily to keep my hopes alive.

At this point, I had begun to disconnect from my regular routines because it was all hands on deck to get our house packed up. Everything started to feel a bit out of sync, like I was going through the daily motions but wasn’t actually getting anywhere. It’s a weird place to be, the in-between places.

I would wake up with anxiety about all the odds against us in finding a house, getting our visas on time and a whole list of other things. The only thing I could do was start my day in the Bible, reminding myself that God was in control. He would provide. And if it doesn’t go the way we hoped, He is still good.

Stress is a weird thing, isn’t it? Despite feeling like I had some grip on our daily schedule, my body started manifesting the stress I was constantly battling. Weight gain and acne are not exactly ideal when you’re about to go to a new place to make new friends!

Then the war breaks out in Ukraine. And as the housing market was heating up, the Canadian dollar to US dollar exchange started to go down. More stress. More weight. More acne. More tears. I was trying to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. I was committed, but man it’s hard when you can’t see how things will work out.

One morning in my devotions I read the story of Gideon. A man who had never yet seen battle but was called a mighty warrior by God. He gathered 32,000 men to go into his first fight. They are outnumbered but hopeful - after all, God is on their side! But before they head to the battlefield, God sends most of those warriors home until Gideon was left with 300 men to fight an army of 135,000. There was no favor in those odds! Gideon and his men won the battle and it was God’s name that was glorified - HE got the honor because it was so obviously God who had brought the victory!

Having things stripped away leaves a whole lot of room for God’s provision - I had a feeling our story would look a bit like his, and I was right.

Well, mid-March had arrived and it was time to say goodbye. Oh man, that last day was the hardest. I’m pretty sure my neighbors thought someone died when I showed up on their doorstep to say goodbye all blotchy faced and bawling my face off. (Unfortunately, I am not a pretty crier)

I took a final walk through our creaky, empty farmhouse remembering every day we spent there. It had been an answer to prayers from another time, when we had begged God for that house in the country and He had provided it in a way that only He could have.

I loved every single day in that house. It had brought us close to family, provided a place to do life with friends and the quirky layout made for some wicked hide and seek. On more than one occasion, Sam and I solved all of the worlds problems while sitting out on our front porch to the soundtrack of night-time crickets after the kids were in bed. The house held such good memories.

But it was time to pass it on to someone else. Another family that would enjoy its old charm. How could something we knew was so right also feel so hard? I felt like God nudged my heart saying, Hard does not mean it’s wrong. It means you have to walk closer with me.

I didn’t even try to hold back the sobs. With every hug and every goodbye they just spilled out unabashedly. I was going to miss it all so much. The house. Our family. Our friends. Everything we knew and were comfortable in.

But that stirring in my heart reminded me just because it felt hard, it did not mean it was wrong for us to go. There was something else ahead for our family and we would have to trust God with everything, but He would take care of us.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

What a promise!! We are guaranteed the heat will come - hardship is inevitable in our lives. But, we don’t have to be taken off guard, we can be ready for it! If we plant ourselves close to God - if we keep meeting with Him, pursuing Him and getting into His word, we will not be burnt up with the heat of trials. We will continue to thrive in even the toughest circumstances because our roots are deep and they are attached to the source of life. The fact that life gets hard does not mean we’ve made a wrong turn, it means we need to dig in even more to our relationship with God. That is exactly what I needed to keep doing, and did my best to keep doing in the coming months when things only got harder.

And just like that, with still no idea what laid ahead, we forged a new path for our family. And amidst the grief of saying goodbye, there was an incredible peace that assured us this was right. We made our pilgrimage to Florida and as soon as we crossed the border, the weight of grief lifted. Of course we would continue to miss everyone but now our sights were set to the new life ahead of us.

We pulled up to our temporary home, a beautiful condo that my in-laws had graciously let us stay in. We basked in the sun’s reflection as it bounced off the water. The palm trees swaying in the cool Spring breeze calmed my normally frantic tempo. Thank you, Jesus!! We finally made it here!

*cue deep breath and sigh of relief

It had been quite a journey to get even this far! But it wasn’t long before the heat turned up yet again - we still didn’t have our work visa or a house to live in. The questions loomed, Will we ever find a house? What if we buy a house and our visa gets denied? Will all of this be for nothing? All very weighty questions that had to be continually surrendered to God and His Will for us.

The housing market was getting hotter by the day and not long after arriving we would find ourselves in a situation we couldn’t have imagined, praying in ways we’ve never had to before.

(…to be continued )

Make sure to catch the first two parts of our story:

PART 1: THIS Changed Everything I Understood About My Calling

PART 2: Why Our Prayers Might Not Be Answered