For today’s story I’m going to start with some words from a Book, one that is an inspiration for much of the direction that I gain for my life…
Yesterday was our day…it was an average day really but it was the day that we were to receive our promised “offer” from TDOT for the acquisition of the #phillipsfamilyfixerupper. I’ve said before that I’ve lived in every sort of house from the meager to extravagant, and felt a sense of home in them all.
But yesterday I had this sick feeling in my belly all day long. The Spirit will tell you what is to come if you’ll listen. Dan was happy-go-lucky, always expecting the best of everyone and fully expecting the solid, fair offer we’d been promised from the beginning. I asked him if he was nervous, he wasn’t, of course.
Before we walked into the conference room we looked at each other and said a prayer, we said, “God has us.” He does. He always does.
The short part of the long story is that TDOT grossly under appraised our property for what the market is doing in Knoxville currently.
Knoxville peeps, just for our kicks, think about what it would cost to purchase a 5 bedroom 3 bath home with an office, bonus room and partially finished basement, 3600 sq. Ft., on 2+ wooded acres with a pool and a detached garage with an additional 700 sq. Ft. Guest house.
Oh, that guest house…it pays our mortgage payment through monthly Air B&B rentals because that property is 5 minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from the airport…and a *very* passionate designer put her heart and soul into making it feel like the ultimate retreat. And because of this abundance, my husband is able to travel to Israel and make a difference in the life of the country that is so important to our faith. We are also able to house and mentor young football coaches and give them a free place to live and work and learn, so that they can love and influence men through the game of football on the other end of the world. Dan does what he loves…for free. Because of this house…because we are serious about investing in people.
When we walked out of the TDOT conference room yesterday God still had us. And I had peace and stillness in my belly, let me tell you why…
I’ve always been a “lay down and take it” kind of girl. I called it meek and humble, but it was really mousey and afraid. God was gracious and patient with me though. He sees our fear and says that He’ll protect us until we’re brave. Because make no mistake, I needed protection. That’s what Love does: Love sees a weakness and fortifies it until its a formidable strength.
After all, a bravery that is fought for from a soul who is afraid is a powerful thing against anything that opposes it.
So yesterday I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t walk out and think about all the things I needed in order to deal with this thing.
I walked out and thought about all the things I already had in order to deal with this thing.
Apparently, a few people follow this little blog and the story of the #phillipsfamilyfixerupper. Because maybe you need hope for your story too!
Last week I was contacted by WBIR Channel 10 who wanted to do a segment on what it was like to have a road take your house. Dan and I fiercely defended TDOT and their commitment to fairness to a reporter who would have been very pleased at a little more TV/social media drama. I will follow up with said reporter and be truthful about how events have progressed.
Also last week I went for drinks with a friend and she introduced me to her friend who is on the city council, she told me if I needed anything to give her a call. I told her that I wouldn’t need a thing because TDOT is wonderful and they’ll be fair like they’ve promised. I called her up and told her that I needed her after all, and she gave me a plan for what we’re going to do next.
Also, I have a family who make good friends in this little town of Knoxville and as redneck as we are, we stick by each other when things go south. We made calls to family friends and they responded.
Also, I have a story, one that says after all that’s been lost, more has been given. Our careers don’t allow us to make the most money. My husband is a teacher. And I own a small business and raise 4 children and serve in the community to make marriages better. But my hunger for life and for knowing others and celebrating who they are has allowed me to make some pretty neat connections. Connections with lovely people like you.
We may not have been given the most, but we have been given more than most.
“I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!”
I’m actually not a “lay down and take it” kind of girl anymore. I’ve grown up I guess. We haven’t contacted an attorney because due to the statues and restrictions that are part of eminent domain, an attorney wouldn’t be very helpful. We have no legal recourse against the “on the market” comp that determines what it would cost to replace our property. We also cannot request that they don’t cut up our property and leave us with a remnant that has no real value…only compensating us for the house and the dirt it sits on, not the property as a whole, our guest house, acreage, garage and pool: the experience we have as a family and as a ministry.
From what we understand, the only way to affect the outcome of how the acquisition is held is political clout and influence. I have influence. I will use my influence as a woman who isn’t afraid to address what I believe to be unfair. And lest you think this is about money, its not. We actually do not get any ”money” from TDOT. They are obligated to provide resources so that we may purchase another property. In other words, you have to spend it to get it.
This is about not squandering an investment that was given to us to a government body who can certainly afford to replace what they are taking away.
We risked everything we had to buy and restore the #phillipsfamilyfixerupper. We worked tirelessly and believed we were making a forever investment. A place where all were welcome to eat and drink and feel at home. A place that was a life source for souls and where you could be less than your stellar self, and still be loved. A place where we could tell a miracle story. From lack to abundance.
There are far greater injustices in the world. And not all people feel a passion for being involved in issues that affect others. But IF you feel the need to use your influence to contact your County Commissioner on our behalf or the local TDOT officials, our family would be grateful for your support.
How are you living cautiously and “playing it safe”? In what areas of your life should there be abundance, but you have allowed circumstances to determine your response? We all know that we can’t control the outcome. But we can certainly choose how we respond to this messed. up. life. We can lay our heads down and say, “It is well.” Because we’ve done what was needed to make wise investments, to multiply the gifts and miracles that are given to us.
After all we aren’t held responsible for what we have.
We’re held responsible for what we do with what we’ve been given.