A Letter to Mary Jo

Eight years ago we came to this lot just to see this house. It was well out of our price range ($264,900), and more than we surely needed, with just the three of us. Me, my husband Greg, and our then 3 year old son, Ezekiel.

While we were here we not only fell in love with the whole thing, but we felt like it was ours. We thought that was strange, given the obvious above facts about our needs and finances.

The gut truth is, I stood right here (this is what it looked like then) -

And for the first and only time in my life, the whole world spun around me once, and God told me this was for me. Like some kind of pre-planned gift or something.

I laughed at the idea. Because it was not possible. And I walked away, knowing something special in my heart, but laughing in my head. Surely, this house would sell quickly and someone else would have the pleasure of living in such an awesome place.

We went home from that showing and we could not shake the feeling that we would live in this house we had seen. More and more so, as the time went by, our own house of 7 years started to feel less and less like we belonged there.

By December we were amazed that this Partridge home was still an active listing. We prayed and waited, wondering what was going to happen. At the end of December, my husband’s long time employer hired someone who would fill a position under him. But because my husband's salary was lower than what the company had to offer this new employee, they unexpectedly, uncharacteristically, raised my husband's salary. A lot. On top of that, one month later he was given an unexpected and unusually large bonus.

We were floored and in awe!

We knew that this Partridge home was still available and that the price had since dropped by $20,000, as the previous owners handed it off to the company who moved them out of state. We also found out that because of this change we would not be able to put an offer on it with any contingencies. So we had to sell our house! This wouldn't have been such a big deal, but the market was of the worst it had been since I was born, and we knew this would be a long shot.

We got all our ducks in a row, purged, packed, and put tons of our belongings in PODs. Then we cleaned and staged the house. We put it on the market, and again, prayed...

That home sold in 7 days for above asking price! We were amazed again. Everyone was amazed.

We immediately put an offer on the Partridge home, and with some countering and drama, it was finally accepted. 16 days later, we moved in!

Living here has been like a dream.

We wake up to all of this and wonder how we got so blessed.

The home itself, the little luxuries and beauties.

The space, and peace and quiet. The views and wildlife… it’s all so amazing.

For the first four years we filled the home with friends and family. For a long time we had Open Fridays, where everyone we knew was welcome to come out for a bonfire and food, bring their friends, and stay as long as the wanted.

All our holidays were filled with friends and family who would bring their suitcases, pick a room, and live here as long as they could be away from work and school. Sometimes our friends would even call into work and take their kids out of school just to stay an extra day. It was the perfect home for gatherings.

During those first four years we hosted a foster son and a foreign exchange student here as well.

About four years ago, something changed in our hearts. We felt our time here would be coming to an end. We didn't understand it. It didn't feel heavy or certain. It felt like preparation work.

As we began to consider things more logically we realized that we always figured we’d have more kids who would fill this space one way or another. But we were unable to conceive biologically after Ezekiel, and we never ended up taking the adoption route. Our season of hosting had changed and gatherings dwindled. We knew now that our son is not an outdoorsman by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am the only one who really likes the woods and bonfires after all.

We prayed for God to make things clearer for us. We even tried the house on the market. Several months of many showings and there was zero interest. Our realtor at that time told us that we needed to reconsider the sale because it was clear to him that were not supposed to be moving. He said this house should have sold quickly, and instead it was being ignored past 70+ first showings. He released us from our contract early. We were grateful and relieved to be staying.

Years passed and we felt a little out of place. Not in a bad way. Just more as if we were occupying a space than really living here. We prayed and stayed open to the chance of moving.

We decided to do some maintenance and makeover the basement so we could use it more often. We replaced the four sets of sliding glass doors that directly exposed to the elements.

I planted more, cut down a ton of trees that were sucking from the older ones, had a lot more bonfires...

It still felt like we were getting it ready for someone else, and we wouldn't be staying here.

In the fall of 2016 we started to wonder if we were seeing some direction. As homeschoolers, this school year we started to spend more and more time in the city for day classes and lessons. We fell in love with a church in DePere, began to form bonds and friendships with the people, and started to serve and gather, weekdays and weekends. We again wondered if it might now be the time to consider listing the house and looking for something smaller in town.

We prayed in hopes that if it was God’s will He would open the doors and usher us through them. Some very obvious and unlikely things took place, and by November we were certain it was time. We took the winter to prepare slowly, and by January we were in full swing.

Here’s where you come into the story.

As I was spending time with God while I purged and packed, cleaned and painted, fixed and hired people to come and install more new windows, to repair and replace things, I prayed for who would be here. I asked that God would make their path clear and in His perfect timing.

Shortly, I began to realize there really was someone. I could feel God’s heart for them.

I felt like He knew that they needed a place of peace and rest. Like a gift of some kind. And it reminded me SO much of how I felt when He told me I would be here.

I began to do the things I was doing to the house specifically with love and consideration for this person who was coming to live here. I added things to my list as I went along, knowing what would be appreciated and what I wanted to pass on to this dear person. I was so moved, daydreaming about all the ways you would be blessed, as we have been, living in this amazing place.

We set everything up to sell, and then we waited. We didn't know when or how God would make it clear that we should list the house, but we knew we were NOT making a move until we knew it was the right time.

This timing became clear to us, both Greg and me, individually, on Friday, April 7th. And that's the day we "pushed the button" as we called it.

We put the house on the market on March 10, and we learned within the first 30 minutes we would have to leave for the day because there were so many showings already being scheduled. As you know, this market is far better for sellers than it has been in many years.

Our realtor called to ask if we wanted her to set it up so there would be a little more time for people to see the house. We prayed and agreed to wait until Wednesday, April 12th at 3:00pm to take all offers placed. We felt good about this decision and commenced to letting any and everyone see it between 9am and 9pm until then. And did they ever!

Over 30 families toured this property and home in 22 hours during those three days. You viewed it at 11:00 on Wednesday, just hours before the cut off time. Thank God!

By 3:30 on April 12th, we were surely leaning towards your offer out of the three presented to us. It was the highest one, clean and solid, and we could tell by the choices you made that you felt the way we did when we made our offer on this house. Like, "please just give me my house".

At that point we had to wait for a fourth offer to come in as it was being finalized. When we received it, we were surprised to find that it was very similar to yours, only with a higher price offered. That’s when we knew that it was you, for sure.

Mary, we didn’t know your name. We didn't know if you had a family, or where you would be relocating from, or what your intentions were. We had none of the facts that can sway or dissuade a couple to or from connecting with a buyer. But after we had gone through the last offer, though it looked “better” on paper, we did not care. We had chosen your offer, we felt good about it, and we realized that nothing was going change that.

We were glad to share with our realtor that she could write up the acceptance and inform you and your realtor that the house was yours. I recalled what it felt like when we got that same call eight years ago. SO much joy!

I thought I would be sad accepting that we had released this home. I’ve said it so many times, “how do we walk away from a place we don’t want to leave?” Our last move brought us from a small house in the city - so we could not wait to say good-bye and get here. But knowing that this move would be back to a smaller home in the city, I wondered how we could ever feel good about this good-bye.

That night I got my answer, and it was because of you. Knowing that it’s your turn. That God planted the seed and had us wait four years for you. That you are the one He wanted to bring here, to bless every morning with these views, to pour out all this peace and refuge to you and your kids. We are so happy for you, and trust God's plan for us in such a way that there is little sadness over this exchange. Just peace and happiness.

This place is more than a home. I won’t try to explain that to you myself. But we will be thinking of you, knowing that you are discovering exactly what can’t be put into words as you unfold your new life in this new place. This time is for you, and we will continue to pray that God pours His love on you in ways you never knew before.

Thank you for being here. And God bless you and your family.

Love, The LeBreck

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