Wanda sells the mansion
The following is a letter from my daughter Wanda, written on July 9, 2004 in Florida.
I want to share with you a wonderful thing God has done for me. He has answered my prayers to sell my Houston home. The house has a particularly unique story of how it came about that I should still own it after my divorce, and I would like to share this story with you of God's Provision and Answer to Prayer.
In the Old Testament, the story of Joseph (Genesis 35-50) has been an example for me, helping me understand how God works. Joseph's brothers were jealous and hated him. They tried to kill Joseph, but ended up selling him into slavery. Joseph was a servant; then was thrown into prison for an unjust cause. After many years, the King had a dream, and was told Joseph could interpret his dream; which was a warning of a great famine ahead. Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt and saved many people from the famine.
If Joseph had grumbled and become bitter with his situation, God's will for his life would not have been accomplished. God was working out His plan. What seemed to be a tragedy in Joseph's life, was God's plan for prosperity. Years later when Joseph told his brothers who he was and what happened to him, the brothers thought Joseph would have them killed for the evil they did against him. In Genesis 45: 5-8, Joseph says, "Do not be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. God sent me before you to preserve you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God."
Again in Genesis 50: 18-20, "But Joseph said to them, 'Fear not, for I am in God's place. As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.'"
On October 4, 1996, I married J. M. Shortly after the wedding, he filed for divorce. A two and a half year court battle began, despite the pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. The home we purchased during our marriage was community property under the State Laws of Texas and in our marital agreements. Any proceeds from the sale or equity in the home would be divided fifty-fifty. J.M. sued for 100%! I offered to pay him for half the equity so I could refinance the mortgage in my sole name. He refused -- not wanting the property for himself nor wanting me to have it.
Sin and anger distort our perspective and good decisions. The Judge's order required both parties to be present for all negotiations of the house. J.M. went against the court's order and negotiated a deal directly with the bank to rescind (take back ownership) for the sale of the house. The amount of their sales price was commercially unreasonable. In the beginning, we purchased the property from a bank that foreclosed on the previous owners who had gutted the house, taking out all light fixtures, appliances, etc. and leaving holes in the walls and other damages. We saw the possibilities for restoration; and if our finances changed, we could sell with a greater potential to recover our investment. I did not want to lose the equity of time, labor and money which I put into the home. The court does not have the authority to force me to sell my home to anyone! However, the Judge did approve the rescission (taking ownership), which meant the cost of repairs and improvements we made would be lost, leaving us to recover only our down payment and closing costs. I objected greatly. I did not want my four children and me to move away. I did everything in my power to show the economic loss that would occur with this ruling. Yet, I lost the battle in court.
I came home from court, broken and full of tears. I could not believe what happened. I had lost my home and had to move out in two weeks. Through the uncontrollable tears, I prayed, "Lord, You are in control of all things. This loss must be in Your plans, and maybe I should not have the house for unforeseen reasons. You helped me find it, and I believed it was in Your will to make the purchase with sound economic advantages. I don't understand why the court ruled against me, when the law supports my position and rights. Lord, I praise You through the tears, and trust You are bigger than the Judge, and the evil which men are doing against me. Lord, you are still in control, and bigger than my problems. You can handle them for me."
I needed a word from God. I opened my Bible, asking the Lord to speak to me and help me stop crying. He led me to Isaiah 41:10-13, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be ashamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent. For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"
About that time, a dear friend called to check on me. I was too broken to keep up a good front. I cried and shared with him what had happened. It hurt. I was hurting. I told him I was trusting God for the outcome. I had lost my home. I had to move. The court ordered me out of the house by May 19, 1999. My children were in school and in the middle of finals. How could we move in two weeks?
My attorney said I could not talk to the bank until my divorce was final (which was a lie) and we did not know when that would be. I told him by that time, the house would be sold to someone else. I called my CPA and asked him if someone could by a house anonymously. He said YES! We called another attorney and asked him to call the bank and tell them he had a buyer. The bank agreed to sell; but could not give a sales price at this time.
We waited, and waited. Again, we were in court. The Judge said I could not purchase this property -- even though a Judge cannot make that order! My attorney was dumbfounded. After more arguments, the Judge reversed her ruling, as she knew she would be overturned on appeal. However, she prevented me from purchasing the house until my divorce was final.
The bank allowed me to rent the place, hoping I could get a divorce quickly.
Then came the call from my attorney, opening a path of sunshine all the way to Heaven!
"The bank has agreed to sell your house back to you for the current loan balance only." I could not believe this! It was lower than I ever imagined or expected.
When J.M. found this out, he was furious! He wanted to buy the property. His lawyer quickly told him that after months of telling the Judge he needed to push the sale through the bank for economic reasons, there was no way he could change his mind.
Basically this meant: Of the fifty-fifty equity J.M. and I were to share, I received 100%!
Along with that, I received half of the money we got from the sale to the bank for an unreason- ably low price. The Lord protected my equity, gave me a double portion, and then some.
Though I could not see God's plan in the beginning, I trusted Him and praised Him through tears of what I thought was defeat. I was in God's place. They meant evil against me, God meant it for good. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him and keep His commandments." He says, "Come to me all who are heavy laden; I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Notice it is HIS burden; not mine.)
In the last few months, I had to accept the fact if the house didn't sell soon, it may be in foreclosure. I had moved to Florida and purchased another home. I was not working and did not have the income for two mortgage payments. My prayer to God was to search my heart. I said,
"Lord, I am Your child, and my bills are Your bills. I want to pay my creditors. I have borrowed to buy and to maintain my home. I do not believe You would have Your child not be able to pay her debts. I accept whatever Your will is, Lord. I will do it."
An offer came that I felt was too low. I prayed and asked God for guidance. I did not feel this was the sales price I should accept. I could not believe the peace and how strong I felt to walk away from this deal after waiting three years for a legitimate contract.
Two weeks passed. Nothing was happening. Silence! I began to wonder, "Did I make the right decision?" I was filled with Scriptures God gave me and said to myself, "Don't doubt in the darkness what you have seen in the light." My realtor called that very morning saying she had a buyer! We closed the sale on July 6, 2004. Praise God for His answer to prayer and His wonderful provision!
At a very early age, I realized I was a sinner and fell short of what God expected in my life. I knew the wages of sin was death, eternal separation from God, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I confessed with my mouth Jesus as Lord, and believed in my heart God raised Him from the dead, and I was saved from eternal separation from God; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
I could not live a day without Him.
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During all these weeks and months her home did not sell, Wanda's faith never wavered. She would say, "I know God has a time for everything. And in His time, He'll provide a buyer." She asked for prayers from me and my prayer group. Then verified every week that we were praying! We couldn't guess why it took so long for this million dollar mansion to sell. Perhaps not many people have need of 6 bedrooms and 6-1/2 baths! It was well advertised, even with a write-up with photos in USA TODAY. It was very beautiful. I loved it!
One day she called and asked, "What are you doing today?" I told her I'd be going to my prayer meeting from l:00-3:00." She said, "Don't forget to pray for my house to sell!" She called again about 2:30. When I answered the phone, she said, "Oh, you're back already. Soon as I heard the ringing, I reminded myself you were at church."
"We didn't meet. Only three of us were available, so we decided each would talk to God at home about everyone on the prayer list."
"MOTHER! It only takes three! (Matthew 18:20). I wanted you all to pray together."
I was staying at Ronnie's home when she closed the deal on Tuesday evening. Her return flight to Florida would be at 3:00 Wednesday. She called me just before departure. She was happy beyond explanation. She said, "Mom, I am debt-free. I have paid ALL my bills. It is such a WONDERFUL feeling."
Before she left Florida, she made a list of all her creditors and their telephone numbers. With a hefty cashier's check in hand, she went to her bank and told them she wanted to make a deposit and pay bills TODAY. They said, "You can't do that, even with a cashier's check. It will be seven days before we can honor withdrawals." They were firm in this decision. She went to a second bank where she also had an account. They said she must wait SIX days. She wanted to pay off her creditors today, before she returned to Florida. They suggested she go to the bank that issued the check. Great idea! She sat at their desk and said, "I want to open up an account in your bank with this cashier's check."
"OH! YES MAM!!! Just fill out this application."
"And I want you to give me electronic access so I can pay all my bills TODAY."
"Oh, we can't do that. It would take at least THREE days to set up an account."
"Then I want to CASH this check! I am being charged a lot of daily interest on debts."
"OH NO! We don't have that much money on hand. We can't do that!"
"Is this a counterfeit check? Two men from this bank signed it declaring you DO have the money to back it up. I wonder what my lawyer will say about this…better still, my cousin Don in Anchorage, Alaska listens to Marvin Zindler every night. He must televise nationwide. He'd probably love this story."
"Wait, just a moment, please." He went into an office with upper half walls of glass. Soon several other men and women joined him. Looked like a bank board of directors' meeting. The banker returned to Wanda and said, "O.K. We'll pretend we cashed the check so you can make a cash deposit and telephone your creditors who may take electronic withdrawals on your funds today. Welcome to our bank!"
I say, "Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart!" (Psalm 37:4).
> Wanda sells the mansion