Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obey My commands, check, downsize house, check, give more resources to those in need, check, serve on missions committee, check, "lose" more than a year's salary in the process, che..., Hey wait a minute, come again Lord?!

Hop in the DeLorean with me for a moment, pull down the door, buckle up, wait for it to hit 88 miles per hour (we've been watching all of the Back to the Future movies lately) and go back with me 3 years. Ah, it's 2007, we have 4 children, I have a new job with massive amounts of upward earnings potential, the real estate market is solid as a rock, the birds are singing, and the planets are all in alignment for the Freeman's and our pursuit of the Christian-American dream/lifestyle. During this year we are debt free, have a house at the lake, are tithing, enjoying life as we know it, and dreaming about bigger things. Bigger things morph into a bigger house and a flip house project, all projections/systems are looking good for leveraging our assets into more "things" and more money. Bigger house comes, some creative financing, some real estate speculation (hey, the market is rock solid and stuff in our area is selling great), and another adoption process begins for number 5. On all fronts we are the picturesque Christian-American family (don't look at me in that tone), doing things by the book, tithing, consistent at church, helping orphans by adopting and wife starting an adoption ministry at our church, all systems go!
You can see where this is headed, right? Do the math on the years, when did that pesky housing crisis begin? Ah yes, smack in the middle of leveraging our real estate equity into other real estate! Smart move Chris, I can just see God poking Jesus in the arm on the throne and saying, watch this unfold, it should be a doozy while rolling His eyes. You know, just like I might do with my wife as one of our children says, hey watch this, while doing something we just know inevitably won't end up well. But hey, we all have to learn sometime or another, right?

Fast forward a bit to Fall of 2009 as we approach finalizing our adoption of F from China. We now have 4 mortgages (1 is a rental) and a looming trip to China that we can't pay for. The thought of telling our adoption agency and the Chinese officials upon approval to travel, sorry, we'll have to wait a while before we can afford that trip, was nothing less than sickening. So... we sold our lake house to free up some funds. Keep in mind this was my sanity control and haven from all things stress related. Hmm, now that I type that, perhaps it was a bit of an idol and worshipful and took away my attention from the one truly deserving of my worship and attention. Of course I don't mean my beautiful wife, although she's running a good second place race on this one. All the while we had full intentions of selling our "flip" house, making some money to make up for some losses, and pressing on. Remember that image of God and Jesus coyly watching things unfold and how we'd react? Flip house is now going on 2 1/2 years to complete and our primary house has been for sale for a year with no takers, all the while the real estate market shriveling up like a (place some funny analogy here, use your imagination). Needless to say, while the outward Christian-American dream was looking good on the cover, inside it was crumbling and becoming a sad, sad story.

However, through this process, God really began to work on our hearts and our heart's desires. Through this fire, we have been shown how truly foolish we have been. We have seen that the Christian-American dream is in direct contrast to Gospel living, that we were saved by grace so that our works can glorify Him and help the many, many in need around us. We had become "house poor" in attempts to have more stuff, and could not help anyone but ourselves, and only barely at that. We were now spiritually poor in so many ways because of these things that we had placed our time, energy, and resources in.

To be continued......

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