Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whoville is Saved!

 I have GOOD news! Horton called me this morning. She said we qualified for the HAMP government modification for our home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still doing flips about it. I'm so happy. Whoville is saved!

Our home was scheduled to be auctioned to the highest bidder TOMORROW! Granted, this sale had been put on hold for another 30 days by Horton. (This sale is now completely suspended while we complete the 3-month mandatory "trial period" for the HAMP). But the point is that, without Divine Intervention, in an alternate reality, our house would have been sold tomorrow. This was the track we were on before the Spartacus post. The post that changed our lives, the post that caused a "reversal of fortune" (Beth Moore, Esther study.)

 Horton taking us to safety!

Before the Divine Intervention--we had been denied twice for the HAMP modification (Home Affordable Modification Program). I had everyone praying for us at our church. Everyone knew our plight. People prayed for us every single day. People I don't even know prayed for us. One family even prayed and fasted!!!! So when the second denial came in--there were some surprised people (not that you always get what you pray for, because you don't,....but everyone felt a YES coming down the pike for us!)

A few Saturday's ago, I was at a church dinner and our Pastor's wife came up to me and asked if we got the modification. I said, "No, we were denied." Her face fell as though she had just asked me about my baby and I told her that I had miscarried! She said, "I didn't see that coming." No one did. We all threw the full weight of our prayers behind this thing and it still wasn't budging!

The next night I put my daughter to bed. She grabbed my hands and she prayed for us to keep our house. You know when you can just feel that someone is near--like static electricity? It was like that. I felt someone in the room with us. I even told her, "God, heard you." This is when my discouragement turned into passion. I didn't know HOW but I knew WHO would finally help us. I knew that while things could not look any bleaker--it wasn't over yet!  

The next night, I wrote the Spartacus post. This post was not planned. I was on my way to bed and I walked by the computer. Something told me to write. I kept walking. Something inside me insisted that I write. I went back to the computer and sat down. I pulled up this Recession blog of mine. Before I knew it, my fingers were flying. I could barely keep up with my brain. The entire post came to me as I was typing it. Revelations about the bank came to me as I was typing. I had a physical reaction to the post. I was breathing hard, crying, furious and then ready. Ready for anything. I finished the post believing that our fate would shift. I had stepped onto the battlefield, armed with only my voice, and I had called out my giant.  

The next day, around 4 o'clock, Horton called me from the OneWest corporate office. She said the words that I will never forgot. She said, "I read your blog." And with that, our fate shifted.

Horton discovered that we were being denied because the bank was using an old, outdated appraisal on our home. The appraisal was too high. We had too much equity in our home. She ordered a new appraisal. The new appraisal reflected that our home had dropped about $140,000 since the last one. This reduced our equity to almost zero. She ran us through the HAMP mathematical formula again with the new appraisal--and we passed!! (It's called an NPV test and it's so complicated that only a mathematician would understand it! I will write about the NPV formula in another post because people should know what they are up against with these modifications.)

Without Horton, our home would still be set to be auctioned tomorrow. Ramon and I would be filing papers in court to stop the sale. We would be fighting and I would have no peace. Horton also wanted a peaceful resolution. She kept me calm while we waited for an answer on the HAMP. She also had her own Plan B to help us save our home.

I believe that God's solutions always work out the best for everyone involved (although it isn't always as obvious as it is in this case!) Getting the HAMP loan is good for the bank, good for our neighborhood, good for our animals, good for the economy and good for our family. Everyone wins! 

But while we waited to hear if we were approved for the HAMP, our home was in foreclosure and the clock was ticking. Because I had gotten nowhere with the bank's call center for the past two months, we were close to our auction date. I had called the bank every Friday for two months. I had talked to a new person every single time. Not one person ever realized that they were using an outdated appraisal. We could have lost our home for that silly reason alone!

Soon the actual auction notices were posted on my door! These were legal documents! These papers said, "Will sell at public auction to highest bidder for cash on June 2, 2010." This is scary stuff. I was scared. I wish I could claim that I had gone through all this without fear. I was quaking in my boots! But I never stopped believing that God was bigger. Sometimes it was more hoping than believing, I'll admit!

You never want to come home to this sight....

In fact, when I first chose to believe in God, years ago, it was a leap of faith. I made a choice that can't be made academically or intellectually. I thought that was the extent of Faith--believing in what you can't see--boy was I wrong! Even though I chose to believe in something I can't see--I still believed in everything I could see! I believed in medical diagnosis, I believed in bank accounts, I believed what my eyes and ears told me about the world around me. Now I have learned that deeper faith is about NOT believing the world.

It is the faith that looks at a bag lunch and sees food for 5000. It is the faith that walks on water. Peter glimpsed this faith. Jesus told him to walk out onto the water with him. Peter did it. He walked on water! But when the wind kicked up, he saw it and he doubted. He began to sink. Of course, Jesus gave him a hand back into the boat :)

Peter experienced a miracle! But he still couldn't help but believe his own eyes and his own lifelong experience with water. He was a fisherman. He had probably seen men drown. He believed more in his own view of water than on his actual experience of walking on it. His faith in himself was stronger than his faith in Jesus--and it sank him. I am no Peter, but I have glimpsed this Faith that makes the impossible, possible. This is the next level, the deeper level!
 Don't Doubt!

Without God, I would not be writing this today. I believe that. I believe that God inspired me the night I wrote the Spartacus post. I was on my way to bed. I had no plan to write anything that night. As I wrote, I sensed that same static electricity in my fingers when I typed the name of my bank. I had never written the name of my bank in my blog before but it felt important that I do it. Later, I learned that it was because I wrote the name of my bank that I ended up on their radar at corporate. This was how Horton was able to hear me! Part of her job is to monitor internet activity related to her employer--my bank! Horton called me and soon discovered the problem with the outdated appraisal. All of this led to our HAMP approval today! But all of this really  began with one small voice, one simple prayer. 

I thought the voice that saved Whoville was mine, but now I believe it was Crystal's. Horton heard me because God heard her first.


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