Hey, friends. A million apologies for the fiasco Friday when our web hosting company shut my blog down for NO REASON other than a couple hundred people tried to read my post, which I guess was WILDLY SUSPICIOUS after my lack of blogging the past few months. Boo on you, Hostgator.

Here’s Part 1 if you need to catch up. And on we go.

I’ve learned over the years that I have little control over what people think of me. Sometimes I make a valiant effort to explain/justify myself (because who wants to be looked down on for reasons that aren’t even valid/true?), and other times I just shrug and say, “eh.”

I wouldn’t say my skin is thick. It’s not. The tiniest thing can still make me cry. But I’m slowly learning that I have but one name on my To-Please List, and that’s God.

With this whole moving saga, I had a sneaking suspicion that without knowing the story in its 3-blog-post entirety, people would jump to one of two extreme conclusions. We’re heroes or we’re losers. Neither is true. We’re a happy, messy medium, thanks.

Speaking of messy, at the time of this writing, our story doesn’t have a tidy little ending. So, while Part 2 will be another cliffhanger because I’m long-winded and also a stinker, Part 3 will be a cliffhanger because I refuse to make up an ending that isn’t true. We’re all hanging here, friends. Take it up with God if you don’t like it (I know I am).

So our realtor friend had an idea for us, clearly something we hadn’t thought of. Instead of telling us what it was, he started asking questions.

“Are you behind on your mortgage payment?”

Eek. “Yeah, but only by a couple of weeks. Miraculously, we’ve been able to pay it this whole time until now–with lots of overdraft fees–but yeah.”

“Good.”

Good??

He went on. “And you have lots of medical bills?”

“Yeah, we owe a few thousand dollars. Quite a few actually.”

“And are you behind on any other payments?”

“We’re behind on everything. Gas, electric, phone, school bill. Thankfully, our cars are paid off, and we don’t have any credit card debt.”

“Do you have any money in a checking or savings account anywhere?”

“No.”

“And Gabe, you had to quit your job last year because of your heart attack and anxiety, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then I’m pretty sure you’ll qualify for a short sale.”

“A what?”

“A short sale. It’s a step up from a foreclosure. You have to be upside-down on your house, and you have to have some kind of circumstances out of your control–death, divorce, medical event and subsequent bills. Basically, you sell your house at a lower price, the bank takes a hit but avoids foreclosure, and you walk away with nothing but owing nothing.”

Gabe and I look at each other in disbelief. Owing nothing??!!??

“What’s the catch?” I say.

“Well, you’ll take a little ding on your credit.”

Credit? What credit? Most of our medical bills have gone to collections. We got sued by a hospital. Credit schmedit.

Could this be the beginning of the answer to our prayers?? To get out of debt and be free to serve God wherever, however?? Up until that moment, we saw no possible way out from under the mountain of debt. We’d pay a bill only to add another two or three.

We did a little praising Jesus right there at our kitchen table, and our realtor smiled and understood. We’d picked him because we knew he loved Jesus too and would understand why a family of 5 would want to sell their house, lose $, and move into an apartment complex with Somali refugees in a not-so-great part of town. And then maybe someday move to Cambodia.

And then it hit me. If we had come back from Cambodia in January 2012 and sold our house as planned, and there had been no anxiety and no medical bills and no job loss (so no short sale), we’d probably still be paying what we owed on the house.

Hole. Lee. Cow.

“Let’s do it.”

That was Friday. We frantically cleaned/rearranged our house. Tuesday there was a sign in the yard. Two showings. Saturday we had an offer. We accepted it.

In the meantime, we filled out and signed mounds of paperwork. I made 112 copies at Staples of medical bills. (!!!) We listed every outstanding bill, every medicine, every doctor Gabe sees on a regular basis, every everything. Gabe had a good job at this point (he started on August 26), but our “money out” list still far exceeded our “money in” list.

We scurried over to the apartment complex and filled out an application. They had one apartment available in the same square as the ministry apartment (glory!). (There are four squares, each with three stories of apartments, with a courtyard in the middle of each square. Does that make sense?)

We paid a deposit. They could hold the apartment for 30 days.

Then we waited for our mortgage company to approve the offer.

And waited.

And waited.

They sent someone to appraise our house. It appraised for the same amount as the offer. This was a good, good thing. Woohoo!

But still we waited.

And waited.

The apartment complex called. Our 30 days were up. Take the apartment or lose it.

Deja vu. What to do??