Doug and I have always been house people (that sounds a bit funny, maybe we all are). We have loved houses with character, with beauty, with charm. When we were looking for our first house we would drive around Seattle for hours looking at all of the old houses and dreaming of what it would be like to live in one. As we drove past little, simple ramblers I swore to Doug that I would never live in a plain house like that. I just loved character and charm too much. I needed to be surrounded by those things. The first house that we bought was a quaint 1930s brick tudor and we swore that we would be there forever. We worked hard at getting everything "just right." I poured over Pottery Barn catalogs, house restoration books and anything that had to do with creating the perfect home. I loved making our home into a warm and welcoming place. I also loved filling it with beautiful things and dreamed of restoring the light fixures, faucets etc back to "original" looking ones. The top of my dream list were these fancy light switches that looked like old push-button ones but were really new. We settled in to being a young contemporary couple in the bustling city. Everything about our house and the neighborhood defined much of my identity and who I felt I was.
Ravenna and Parker at our country house
A funny thing happened to both Doug and I. At first we were thrilled, we talked and talked about the life we would live in this amazing house. Then, as the evening wore on, we both realized that we had a pit in our stomach and for some reason felt worried. We talked and reamed more and tried to convince ourselves it was just because it was a big move. We convinced ourselves that this was a gift to our kids to grow up in such a lovely home where they would be surrounded by natture and solitude. That they would learn to take care of the earth by the very house they lived in. We talked of how it was a house that people would love to come to and that we could host dinners and youth group parties...we would be the benevolent couple who opened their beautiful home to those around them. But....at the very last minute, when we needed to call and say yes, we both could not shake the feeling that something was wrong. We prayed and then called and declined to buy the house...and we both felt instant peace.
After that night, we decided to sit back and wait on God. We had been Moving and buying houses based on what we felt like we deserved, what we needed, what was best for our children. We made the choice to be content where we were and let God lead us if we were supposed to move. It felt like a pot of soup that was simmering. We knew that God was calling us to move but we did not know exactly where or when. More 'ingredients' kept being added and that darned soup was starting to smell good...but we did not want to eat it until it was really ready.
A few weeks later, we got a call. Doug's parents owned his grandparents house. they had been renting it to his aunt and uncle who had now decided to move. They were going to put the house on the market and just wanted to let us know. In an instant, we knew that pot of soup was ready. We both had no doubt that God was opening this door! We offered to by it and I had never even seen the whole house! I had only been in the living room and kitchen before!
A month later (our other house sold fast), our moving truck pulled up in front of our littlest, tiny, simple...rambler.
And I could not love anything more. Living in this little house that is 1/3 the size of our last had been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I have learned (and am continuing to) that what my house looks like has nothing to do with who I am. What my kids "deserve" is not a bigger and better space but a house that is full of love. They are thriving and I love having them right under foot where I hear every goofy story and know what is going on. Our marriage is vibrant. We have time to talk (we also got rid of our tv when we moved) and to listen and just be together rather than always taking care of all of our stuff. That the majority of the people who come over comment on the love and joy in our house rather than the things on our walls. I find that my soul can find stillness in this simple home and that I can hear the Lord more. We still have more space than we need in our 1,100 square feet.
More than anything, I am learning that all of the things that I pined over, dreamed about and spent my days working so hard for...those things will just be dust someday. They do not define me, or those around me. The thing that defines me is who God says that I am....and I am beyond thankful that He took me out of the path I was on.
On our kitchen windowsill I have this verse:
" You're blessed when you are content with just who you are - no more, no less. That's when you find yourselves proud owners of everything that cannot be bought."
I am putting a little house and this verse in my Memorial Box. To learn more about Memorial Boxes and read more stories
Check out Linny's blog
To read more of God's faithfulness in my life