“A Home of Our Own,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 54
It began as a lark—an opportunity for a weekend together and a chance to see Washington, D.C. My husband had received the invitation from a colleague at a professional conference he had attended. Though my husband was not seriously considering changing jobs, he wanted to visit his friend’s facility and have a family adventure.
Despite our flight’s smooth landing, my heart lurched as the plane touched down. I was filled with the impression that this city was to become our new home. This was not welcome news!
After six years of attending college and living in rental housing, we had just managed to purchase our first house a few months earlier. I was still in the process of painting a mural on our dining room wall, enjoying my freedom to do so after years of restrictions. We finally had a place of our own with a yard and a swing set for our two children.
However, my husband, Denis, did receive an offer of employment in Washington that we felt he should not pass up. We knew that housing in the D.C. area was very expensive, and sure enough a real estate agent confirmed that we could not afford to purchase a home at that time. Nevertheless, we decided to follow the prompting of the Spirit and put our precious home on the market. I finished my mural knowing it would be enjoyed not by us but by some other family.
With the small proceeds from the sale of our home, we paid off the remainder of our student loans. Debtless but houseless, we drove to D.C. early that spring. With a goal in mind to sacrifice and save so we could buy a house as soon as possible, we rented a small house in a modest neighborhood an hour away from where my husband worked.
As time went by, we were able to set aside some money, but it seemed that home prices were escalating faster than our savings. We were also discouraged to learn of a transfer tax that nearly doubled the amount we would to have to save in order to buy a home. Our goal seemed unattainable.
Denis’s long commute soon became a strain on the family. Having to leave before the children were awake, he also found it difficult to arrive home early enough to spend time with them in the evenings. His job required him to be on call, so many nights he had to make the long drive back to work. When we learned that we had another baby on the way and would need more room, we knew that something had to give.
About that time Denis received a calling in the stake. When Denis was set apart, the stake president promised him that he would receive all the righteous desires of his heart. My mind caught hold of those words. Were not a house and family time righteous desires for us? We had owned a home before, so surely it would not be asking amiss to pray for something that, circumstances permitting, need not be entirely beyond our financial means.
One day I was struck by this message in Moroni 7:26 [Moro. 7:26]: “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.” Those words spoke to my heart. My husband’s blessing returned to my mind, and I was filled with longing for a home of our own. But then my doubt resurfaced: how would we afford the down payment, the transfer tax, and the other closing costs? I concluded that, circumstances being what they were, it would surely take a miracle.
Resuming my reading, I was stunned by the opening words of the next verse: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased … ?” (Moro. 7:27). This message was underscored as I read verse 33, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me,” and then in verse 37, “It is by faith that miracles are wrought.” I could feel the Spirit reassuring and encouraging me.
When Denis arrived home that evening, I shared my experience with him. We agreed it was time to look for a house. As we circled possibilities in the real estate ads, we noticed a listing for a home in Maryland near my husband’s work that offered “flexible financing.”
Our savings at that point were enough to cover either the down payment or the closing costs and transfer tax, but not both. Also, we learned that most banks were not offering mortgages in Maryland at that moment because the state’s ceiling on interest rates was about to be lifted. Given these circumstances, our real estate agent told us she thought it was pointless to look for homes right away. She told us to continue to save and come back in a few months.
But we were determined. We arranged to see the house near my husband’s work. Though it had been vacant for some time and needed work, we felt it was the home for which we had prayed. We presented our financial situation to the new agent, and then we watched as a miracle began to unfold.
The owner, who lived out of state and was eager to sell, accepted the price we offered and agreed to make some repairs. Our savings covered the transfer tax and closing costs, and in an unusual move the agent loaned us the money for the down payment. The bank used by my husband’s company wrote us a mortgage as a favor, and our landlord graciously let us out of our lease.
At long last, we had a home to fill our need. The fact that our prayers were answered has been a powerful reminder to us that the Lord can indeed guide us as we seek His help and that the answers to everyday problems are often whispered to our hearts through the scriptures.
“It’s really a miracle how this all worked out,” our amazed agent commented. She didn’t know how right she was!