Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews: 13:2
My husband and were talking the other day about downsizing sometime in the future. That got us to thinking about our first house and I thought, “Bingo!”, a post.
In fact, I can’t think of why I haven’t written this sooner because the circumstances surrounding the purchase of our first home is the closest thing to a miracle I’ve ever experienced. And it’s the Christmas season. What a better time to share our story with you?
I don’t really know a lot about angels. But I believe they exist and I believe they show up in our lives.
So here’s the story:
My husband had gone back to school and just graduated so we were just really getting our lives on track. We couldn’t afford to buy a house so had rented the downstairs apartment of a two apartment house. Our landlady, a retired teacher, lived upstairs. (Weird, huh?) Her closest relatives lived in Arizona. I often took her to the doctor as she was in bad health. She was a very large woman so when I look back, I wonder how I even got her up and down those stairs. She was a difficult woman but I tried to befriend her as I never knew her to have company.
She died just shortly before the birth of our daughter. My husband was a pallbearer at their funeral and it was difficult even finding anyone else to help. Few people attended. I thought that was so sad.
Here comes the miracle part.
Our landlady had sisters we never knew existed. They lived in Arizona and we were told by the bank that they were coming to settle the estate. I was in the hospital due to deliver at any moment. We had no idea what was going to happen to the house and we were in no position to move right then. We were scared. Here we were with a young child and a baby on the way any minute. We were worried we’d be forced out of our apartment because we figured it would be sold and we knew we couldn’t afford to buy it. So that would mean trying to find a new place to live in the middle of winter.
The sisters arrived a few days before I went to the hospital. The day after our daughter was born (December), my husband came in and told me the sisters had proposed something to him. They were giving us the opportunity to buy the house. We were both floored but disheartened at the same time because we knew we were in no financial position to buy it.
Here’s the next miracle part.
They asked us if we could afford $$$$$$.
Again, we said, ” No. We can’t. We can handle the mortgage but we don’t have enough for the down payment.”
The next miracle part.
They waived that.
They said they would handle the financing.
The miracle just keeps going.
They let us decide the monthly mortgage payment.
While we’re still reeling from all that, they asked us if we’d like all the furnishings in the upstairs apartment. Again, “No, we can’t afford that.” Do I need to say what happened next? I still have two of the bedroom dressers. The rest we sold.
(This is not a good picture as compared to the one above but I wanted you to see it with the doors closed.)
One last part,
Before we had even completed the paperwork, we had a renter for the upstairs apartment. It covered our house payment in full.
Now about our renter.
He was a millionaire. Seriously. He really was. He didn’t want his estate any longer, just an apartment. Why he would have even considered renting ours, I have no idea. I don’t even know how he made it up those steep stairs; he was probably in his seventies at the time. And I don’t know how knew the apartment was for rent in the first place.
Mr. Schnorbach was his name. He spent most of the year in Florida. Needless to say, we never worried about him making his payments on time. Once we learned who he was, we drove by his estate. And “estate” it was!
The only thing we could ever figure is that he wanted people around him and he liked knowing there was someone living below him. I don’t think he had family in that town. If he did, we never saw them. He wasn’t exactly personable either.
I mean, seriously, two much older people living in the upstairs apartment? Go figure. (And, no, he didn’t leave us any of his estate when he died.)
Every word of this is true. We never heard from the sisters again. Our checks were sent to an address in Arizona. We often wondered if they even existed outside of their presence in our lives at that time. Did we “entertain angels unaware”?
We made sure we used our house in a way that reflected our blessing. We hosted many Bible studies. Our church built a new building and so we also hosted Sunday Bible classes in our home. One year, we hosted a three-day open house and invited the entire church. (It wasn’t a small church.) We never stopped entertaining others. It was our way of paying it forward.
I don’t know if I’ve ever even shared this story with our children.
That house was the beginning for us. Since then, it’s been a steady climb up. We’ve been blessed with a great marriage. We’ve seen the world. We’re certainly not rich but we’re not poor either.
What a gift we were given by those two sisters. We didn’t deserve it. We weren’t special people. Just two young people starting out in life. We have tried our best to “pay it forward”. Whether we’ve succeeded or not is up to God to determine.
Do I really believe it was a miracle? Could there be another explanation? Did the “sisters” just want to get rid of the house?
You decide for yourself.
But the circumstances surrounding buying that house were pretty spectacular, don’t you think?
Why us? Believe me, I’ve often asked myself the same thing. But God is God. He can and does show up when we least expect it.
I love recalling this story. I love telling you this story. Especially during this season of miracles.
Hope you experience a miracle someday as well.