The Letter

I walked to the mailbox yesterday to find a letter from the law firm in Charleston that is handling our foreclosure.  Getting a letter from them is never a good thing.  This letter notified us that our request for foreclosure relief was one again denied.  This makes 4 times now.  Their reason for denial was incomplete paperwork.  Were we ever told that any of paperwork was incomplete?  Oh no.

There is a copy of the letter that they submitted last week to the Spartanburg County Clerk of Court.  We have 30 days from the date of the letter (5/16) to file a response.  Who the hell even knows what that means.  Jeff will be calling them this afternoon to give them a piece of “our response” about this whole process.  It’s a piece of total crap, that’s what it is.

I completely understand that it is fair and within their rights to foreclose on our home because we have not paid for it as we agreed.  But, the bottom line is that we had some hard months, got completely buried in back payments and could not catch back up.  We can afford to pay our monthly payment now, but we do not have $30,000.00 to give them on top of that.  With that part, we asked for help.  Our request was nothing would be forgiven, but that it would be tacked on to the end of our loan and brought back to current standing so that we could begin making progress on it again and, ultimately, get it OUT of foreclosure.  We’ve been requesting this for over a year and have made zero progress with our lender.  My husband is self-employed.  They go by our tax documents.  On paper, he makes next to nothing.

So here we are.  Less than 30 days from I don’t know what.  I think about it and I can’t help but cry.  I’ve spent hours and days preparing myself to handle what could ultimately be the worst news.  I’ve told myself that this is just a house.  It does not make my happiness.  It is not my joy.  It is not my strength.  But, when I walk these halls and look out these windows I know that home is so much more than a house.  It’s a beautiful piece of land that sits where I used to play as a child.  It’s where my children were born and have lived and come to love.  It’s family to the right and the back who are always there for us.  It was a dream in our heads that only existed on a piece of paper that we watched appear one brick and one board at a time.   It’s a place that we made perfect for our family.  And, it seems no matter how hard I try, I can’t think about it being taken from me without totally breaking apart.

It’s nice to say there’s always hope, but I’m not sure that’s true anymore.  At this point, we need a miracle.


A Step

I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for nearly 5 years now.  I’ve worked part-time for my church for almost 4 years.  Both of these things hold a dear place in my heart.  Though I’m pretty comfortable with change, the thought of losing either of these things makes me feel a little anxious.  They all feel like my babies, things I need to keep a close watch over and care for daily.

Two good friends of mine decided to plant a new church in Greenville, SC 4 years ago.  Let me tell you – church planting is not for wimps.  Sunday comes every week without fail.  The church started with a relatively small amount of money to get it off of the ground.  Through the grace of God, a lot of hard work from the 3 of us and a good many other staff members that have come and gone, this church has grown to around 160 from 17.

We started out in a local high school auditorium, having children’s classes in the dressing rooms and music rooms just adjacent to where we held service.  There were some challenges that came with this location  – questionable air conditioning/heat temps, locked doors, students who helped themselves to some of our supplies and the arduous task of packing and unpacking EVERYTHING from week to week.  The school district made the decision to no longer rent their spaces to churches, so we had to leave – and fast.

This took us to a local (struggling) church who allowed us to use their building in the evenings.  This was better.  A step in the right direction.  It at least LOOKED like a church, though not at ALL what we would choose had it been our space.  We were still packing and unpacking each week, but it was better.  But, it still wasn’t home.

Finally, we found a space to rent in Greenville that we could afford.  It was small (about 3200 square feet, I believe), but we knew we could make it “Edgy” and we could plant some roots.  We stepped forward again.  What a difference it has made to be able to put our brand on the look and feel of the building.  We’ve been there a year and a half and are already outgrowing all the space we have available to us.  Now we’re looking at our next step.  And it’s a big one.

There’s a church for sale.  It’s huge.  23000 square feet across 3 buildings with a huge parking lot and a good amount of land.  The owners have agreed to lease us the building until we can afford to purchase it at a rate that we can afford, with all the rent going towards the purchase price.  And, they are willing to hold the note for us.  It’s a dream…a miracle…a God thing.  We’re moving forward.  We’re taking this step.  Particularly because I’ve been there nearly every Sunday since the very first one, this is so exciting to me.

But this story isn’t just about a church.  It’s also about me.  And about our home.

For those of you who have read and tolerated my whinings on this blog, you know that my home is in foreclosure. We built it on an acre of land that was a gift from my grandfather.  This past March marked 2 years since we have been able to make a house payment.  We are now over $30,000.00 behind.  Getting to this point was a very slippery slope, that once your feet hit, turning back in the least was nearly impossible.  Missing one payment is reasonably recoverable, but at 3 months behind, we attempted to make a single payment.  This payment was returned to us with a letter that stated their policy (and I’m paraphrasing here): We don’t allow you to be more than one month delinquent on your payments.  You must pay at least the amount to come back to that point.  In other words, they wanted 2 payments.  We couldn’t make it.  The next month, they wanted 3…and on and on it went.

In these 2 years, we’ve applied for 3 types of loan modification and been denied because of insufficient income.  I get it, I really do.  They don’t think we’re worth the modification because we don’t make enough to pay, in their eyes.  My husband is self-employed and he works commission only.  If you are self-employed or know anyone who is, you’ve probably got some idea of the difficulty of proving income.

About a month ago, we called our mortgage company about our current options.  They told us of another new program that would totally forgive all back payments, reset our loan to current and modify to give us a lower monthly payment.  I teared up when I heard this.  THIS is exactly what we need.  So, we’ve applied.  We haven’t heard anything yet, but I’m concerned that we may hear the exact same thing from them: denied for insufficient income.  My prayers are for a miracle, but of course I realize that their decisions are primarily made from data.

A few weeks ago, a friend and former college roommate told me of a job.  She works in IT for a nearby school district.  Her job is expanding to 2 positions.  Reading the description, I KNOW I can do this job.  I briefly fought the battle of whether I could leave my babies, all 3, to do this.  Almost immediately I knew that it was time to go back to full-time work.  Yes, my heart hurts a little at the thought of leaving this job that I love for a new opportunity.  My heart hurts to think that my youngest son will go into daycare for 2 years (until he can enter Montessori school with my older son).  But, my heart also tells me that I can do this…that I need to.  I don’t have an interview or even the promise of one.  I haven’t gotten a phone call from the resume and letter that I mailed in.  I have no assurance that this job could even happen, but if it does I am ready.  I am ready to get this worry of losing my home off of my shoulders.  I am ready to have dental and health insurance again.  I am ready to get up in the morning and go to a job that allows me to earn a good income to help my family.  I am ready to use my college degree in education and my years of experience in technology.  And, selfishly, I think of things I’ve missed being able to do – like get a haircut whenever I want, see a movie with my husband, buy clothes for myself, get out occasionally.

So, it’s not a change yet.  Right now, it’s just a step.  We shall see where it leads.


Facing Fears…

There’s something that is nagging inside my brain that I just can’t shake.  I don’t know what to do with it, honestly.  I figure the best place to start is admitting that it’s there.

I work for my church.  I handle the admin and techy stuff for my two good friends, who are the pastor and his wife.  I read the message each week as I prepare the graphics to be displayed on the big screen.  The message this week is about the fear of rejection.  In some of our advertising, there was a line about this being the biggest fear.  I wanted to cross-reference that a little and see how true that statement was.  As it turns out, rejection is the #8 biggest fear that people have.  Lurking just below it is good ol’ #9 – the fear of intimacy.  While I was there, I read a bit about this fear and how it rears its ugly head.  As I read it, I knew I was reading about myself.  And that hurt a little.

It’s very easy, over the course of about 20 years, to bury things deep.  Real deep.  Walls of comfort are built to compensate and life goes on.  On a purely logical level, I can see that I am a terrible friend.  I can look at myself holding people at arms length.  I justify unanswered and unreturned phone calls.  I live inside my own head.  I even keep my husband out to a certain extent.  There are wrongs that have been committed against me, relationships that were shattered and scars that are left behind.

There’s really no use to make excuses, but there are those wrongs.  Forgiveness has been granted and deep healing on my part has taken place, but the scars left behind form this nasty little fear.  I guess it’s a bit like guarding my heart, but probably against the wrong people now.

2o years ago, I didn’t know anything about guarding my heart…

I was nearly raped in the 8th grade.  My parents and the police walked in and found me and took me out.  My parents were very, very angry.  I went to a bad place mentally for a while after that.

People who say they care about you don’t always mean it.

I graduated high school with no close friends.  I had close friends.  Some moved, some went down bad paths that they couldn’t return from and some I ran off on my own.

Friendships are temporary.

I had plans to marry someone I dated for almost 6 years, but I caught him cheating on me.

You never know when the bottom is going to fall out.

I flipped out a little, went wild and made a very bad decision.  I lied to everyone who loved me and ended up getting raped by someone I met on the internet who deceived me, in a place very, very far from home.

No one and nothing is safe anymore.

I graduated college with no close friends.  I had several, two that were like my family.  An argument weeks before graduation tore us apart and nothing was ever the same.

It’s better this way.  I don’t need anyone.

My husband hurt me repeatedly by doing something that I’ll not mention, out of respect for him.

I am the only one who will take care of me.

And here I am now, with this annoying fear of being really close to anyone.  I’m not oblivious.  I know who I am.  I’m not someone who dislikes hanging out with people.  I love that.  I love being social.  I think I’m pretty fun.  I’ll do anything to help someone out.  But there’s an intimate place that no one gets to.  I’m not sure it even exists outside my own head anymore.  Realizing it, or realizing it again, makes me think it’s not healthy to live that way.  It doesn’t feel bad to me at all, but I know enough about what’s important in life to know that I should try to change.

I wish I could end this with some encouraging pep talk about how I’m going to be different from now on.  A lot of people would say that I should “just stop”.  Right here and now I’m not sure I know how to do that.  And I’m not sure I’m really motivated enough to do anything about it.  But this is something, right?