House Plans

from Terry Strom

I started drawing house plans when I was nine or ten years old. As soon as I finished one set, I would start another. By the time I was seventeen, I had a whole stack of plans for houses I could build, someday, if I had the money.

Years passed. I ended up raising a son, working full time, and going to school. By the time my son went to college, I had my graduate degree. The idea of having my own house returned in full strength.

There was still his college to pay for though. I had a little savings, yet nowhere near what I’d need for a down payment. But I felt God guiding me to buy a home, so I began looking. Within a few days I found just the right one: a simple two-bedroom cottage, seven minutes from where I work.

That evening I went back and sat on the porch of the house, just listening to the wind in the trees. I felt explicit inner instructions to submit a bid for the house. I didn’t know where the money would come from, I just knew I had to master my fear and go forward with faith.

The owner accepted my bid, and I had to give him $5,000—money I would lose if later I backed out. I had no idea where the down payment would come from.

Three days before the deadline to sign the papers and turn over a lot of money I still didn’t have, a long-time colleague called. Some twenty years earlier, several of us had gone in on an investment. I had put in $9,000 from a small inheritance. As far as I knew, nothing had come of it.

“We have an unexpected buyer,” my colleague told me, “for your share of the investment.”

I expressed mild interest.

“You don’t understand,” he said. “Your share is now worth $42,000.”

Of course I said yes, bought the house, and lived happily in it for fifteen years. Then I sold it and, with the proceeds, moved to a rural area and built a house of my own design.