we are in the middle of a search for a larger home to rent. we own a cute older house that we live in right now but, in most people's opinion, have grown out of it.
i have had some thoughts about this house hunt lately. we have put forth great effort to find a place, but keep hitting road blocks. the houses the size we are wanting in the price range we are looking are few and far between. for far too many reasons to list here, as soon as we think we may have the money together for a deposit it is drained by normal life events. i am probably asked 3 times a day, by all different people, if we have found a place yet. over and over again i have to answer no. one can grow weary saying no over and over again.
as we have prayed for God to open up just the right place and for the provision to move forward on it, i have thought a lot about what faith looks like in the middle of all of it. i know many people talk about taking a "leap of faith," and just going for something when the provision isn't there yet. i have been told, by people trying to encourage us, that one of the nicer options that have come up over the time of looking is too good to not jump on, and that if we just go for it then it will all work out. i am not in disagreement that stepping out without knowing how things will work out takes a lot of trust, and there have been times in my life when i felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do just that. sometimes i have heard a clear direction of the Lord, not knowing how any of it could possibly work, and known it was a matter of obedience.
i also believe there is a faith that looks different than taking the big leap. this is the faith of trusting God that He will open the door and provide exactly what it takes to go through the door when it is His timing. it is the willingness to look foolish, weak, and unable to make things happen. i am learning that having a heart that is fully thankful for what i already have, not being envious of what others have or demanding what i think i deserve, produces a faith in my deepest parts. entrusting my life to Him looks like learning patience and opening my eyes to all He has done for me that proves His trustworthiness.
i cannot begin to articulate how foolish i feel at times that everyone knows we have been actively looking for a bigger house for a year, and still aren't in a position to move. like, it is so hard to write this right now because i don't want pity from anyone. the only reason i am willing to write this is the possibility that it would encourage someone else in their own journey.
i know that God is using this to produce really good fruit in us that will draw us deeper in trusting Him. i know that even how it makes me feel to have to walk through the struggle can produce humility in me if i let it. i know that God is fully able and willing to put us exactly where He wants us.
honestly, the number of bathrooms or square feet in a house don't really matter. in the states we like to think they matter. they don't. we are not suffering for Jesus. we are really so blessed and have not one complaint against the Lord or how He has provided for us so faithfully the past 6 years of living on missionary support. we really don't have one complaint of provision our whole lives; even in the very tightest financial times i can look back and see His abundant faithfulness.
when i pray about finding a house or ask the Lord what He would have me do right now in the middle of the search, i just feel Him whispering to my soul to give thanks for all that He has already given me. as i start naming things out loud, one by one, and each thanks makes me think of another and another, that is when i really start having true faith. giving thanks causes me to remember how faithful my God is and how it doesn't really matter what size house i live in. that isn't really the point of life anyways. i am not going to look back and say, "gosh, life would have been just so much better with that 2nd bathroom." i am going to look back and have fond memories of this time and marvel at the Lord's faithfulness through it all.
so let me share just some of the ways i am thankful for this wonderful home God has already given us:
1. we have never missed a mortgage payment in 11 years of owning our home. this is not to boast in ourselves, as we have lived on missions support more than half that time with much of our income fluctuating every single month. it is fully God who has made a way every single month to pay our mortgage, even when it looked like there was no way it would work. He is amazing.
2. the walls of my home are colorful and i love color. i give thanks for this all the time because when we rent i may not get to choose the colors of my wall.
3. i have brought all 6 of my kids home from the hospital to this house. that means so much - it is where i became a mom and where i have grown into that role. this little house holds all of my parenting memories - the painfully hard, the hysterically funny, the preciously sweet... all a beautifully woven fabric that has made up my last 11 years of life.
4. i have learned how to live simply in this home. having 8 people in a small space means i continually go through things and decide if it is something i really want to keep. it keeps me from spending money on things that might tempt me if i had room for them. it has taught me the value of continual downsizing.
5. it really is a home more than a house. we have had many people over for coffee or a meal. we have had late night counseling sessions with couples in our living room. we have had single guys who have slept on our couch for months at a time in different stages. we somehow once crammed a christmas party of 50 (adults and kids combined) into these walls. we have had many a stay home date night in our living room after putting the kids to bed. we have had really good times here and i have loved living in this house.
6. my kids have played hours and hours in our backyard. we have such a great backyard - the perfect place for boys to explore and play. i feel safe letting my kids have time to just be kids outside.
7. we have two huge trees that completely shade our house and give us fantastically low utility bills in a city where summers are very hot! our thermostat is normally lower than almost all of our friends and our family, while our electric bill is always lower. our kids have played hours and hours outside happily, even in the hottest parts of summer, because of the shade from these trees. what a blessing with 5 little boys who would otherwise go stir crazy indoors.
8. we have a perfect block to walk laps on. i have walked and walked and walked each of my 6 pregnancies around this block. i have met many neighbors that way (who, by the way must think i am eternally pregnant!). i have cried many tears, prayed many prayers, felt many labor pains, heard the comforting voice of God many times walking this very block. my heart has come alive walking this block in this small older neighborhood. i am so thankful for it.
9. i love our wood floors. searching the rental market i am realizing there are a lot of flooring options out there that i don't love as much as the original 1950's hardwood floors i have right now.
10. we own our home! i don't want to take for granted what a privilege it is that so many people haven't had. so what if it is small - it is ours!
those are just a few thanks that i have about the house God has already provided for us. i do continue to pray that He opens up a bigger house for our family, but I want it to be His timing and not necessarily mine. i want to be a child who trusts my Daddy knows exactly what i need and when i need it, not a demanding brat who doesn't know Him enough to wait on His perfect loving leadership. i think that i have really good ideas for my life, but the course He sets before me is trustworthy and will prove to be so much better for me than my very best ideas.
as my son spontaneously prayed last night, "thank you Lord that you have provided the money for our beautiful house that we live in right now." we pray as a family all the time for a new house, but on his own he felt the need to give thanks for what God has already given us. he didn't even know this was stirring in my heart to write. i love how God confirms His word.
the mind of man plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.
want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.