Weeks went by without a buyer, but finally a young girl's faith was rewarded.
Posted in , Dec 3, 2012
Two teachers raising three children had to keep a tight budget. But when my mom and dad saw that the white house around the corner they’d admired for so long was for sale, it seemed like even God wanted us to live there.
The house had not been treated with love recently. No doubt that’s why we could afford it. So we all pitched in to clean it up.
“John, you can sweep the floors,” Mom directed my brother that day in May when we first got started. My sister, Judi, and I tore down old wallpaper. Along with all the housework, Mom had an even more important job for us kids: pray we’d find a buyer for our old house.
Mom took out a prayer card and placed it on the mantel of the fireplace in our new living room. Saint Theresa. Mom always enlisted the help of the angels and saints in her prayers, and taught us to do the same.
When things were lost Mom relied on Saint Anthony. In times of distress Saint Jude was included in our prayers. All other times, like now, she turned to Saint Theresa. “Is Saint Theresa going to sell our house?” Judi asked as Mom showed us the prayer card.
“No,” Mom explained. “We’re just asking Saint Theresa to help us pray. Only God can make things happen.” She gathered us around the fireplace. “We’re going to say Saint Theresa’s prayer every day, asking God for help to sell our house.”
As we waited for our prayer to be answered, we worked on our new house. The more I cleaned, the more I could see why Mom and Dad loved the white house: high ceilings, limestone fireplaces, inlaid tile in the basement.
My new bedroom had an airing window in the closet where I could climb out and sunbathe above the front porch. On summer evenings, after a long day cleaning and a dip at a pool, we could sit out on the swing that hung on the front porch.
However hard we had to work to get the house in shape, it was worth it. One day I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the oven with a scouring pad, just as I’d been doing twice a day for several days now. John and Judi came into the kitchen.
“We’ve been praying to sell our house for weeks,” John said. “How come nothing’s happened yet?” “It takes time for God to answer prayers,” I said.
“How do we know he’s going to answer?” asked Judi.
I pulled my head out of the oven, glad to take a break. “Saint Theresa will let us know,” I said. “When you pray with Saint Theresa, she sends you a sign.”
“What kind of sign?” asked John.
“A rose,” I said. “When we get a rose, we’ll know our prayer has been answered.”
We kept praying every day, and we kept our eyes open for roses. But summer passed and none came. In September the white house was finally ready for us to move in, but our old home still hadn’t sold.
I was really starting to worry. So were Mom and Dad. Every time we got an offer on the house, something went wrong and the deal fell through.
John, Judi and I were getting desperate for our rose. “I haven’t seen one anywhere,” John said one day.
“Me neither,” said Judi.
“We’d better say another prayer,” I said. What else could we do?
By this time we’d all put so much of ourselves into the house it seemed like part of our family. Mom and Dad had bought the house on faith, believing that God meant for us to have it. My own faith was beginning to get shaky. “Please, God, help us sell our house,” I said.
“Amen,” said John and Judi. Was God listening? I wasn’t sure. I looked out the window at our huge yard. Not a rose in sight. No bushes springing out of the ground. No deliveryman with a bouquet coming up to the door. Not even a picture of a rose on a truck going by.
A few days later the whole family sat in the kitchen. Mom had just put lunch on the table when the phone rang. It was the real estate agent.
“Someone’s made an offer on the house,” Mom said when she hung up.
“That doesn’t mean anything,” John muttered. It was hard to be hopeful after being disappointed so often. There was no reason to think this offer was the answer to our prayers.
We kids barely listened as Mom and Dad discussed the offer—until Mom mentioned the name of the family making the bid. This family John, Judi and I knew would become our new neighbors around the corner: The Roses!
It’s been years since I grew up and bought a home of my own. But that white house will always feel like a special home to me. It’s the place where we learned about faith.
Learn more about St. Thérèse.
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