Sunday, February 2, 2014

We've Come a Long Way... But This Seems Familiar...

I have been married for a little over 4 years and 3 months.  That isn't a super long time, I know, but it seems each year gets more and more eventful! Our first year of marriage was very calm. We didn't have that first year of fights that they warn you about. We had a routine that we loved but could go off track when we wanted... Without kids, marriage was so easy.

Not to say we are sorry we have Emersyn at all! We planned on having kids early in marriage and having many, pretty close together. And even after Emersyn was colicky for a while, I asked Kyle if he still wanted a lot of kids close together, and he responded enthusiastically "Oh yeah!" But with all the joy comes the lack of dull moments, that is for sure!

In order to afford having Emersyn while Kyle worked part-time and attended seminary, we put our house up for sale and bought a trailer. Getting rid of a mortgage payment would easily cover insurance and diapers and all other things "baby". But the house never sold, and we were faced with the decision of becoming landlords, renting out the house to cover the mortgage payment.

I am thankful for every day a renter lived in the house. That was another day my mind was free from financial fears. But then the mortgage company found out we weren't living in the house and that we were renting it out... I say "found out", but I told them. I sent them a change of address to make sure I got the bill at the trailer. I didn't realize we were going against the terms of the mortgage loan. They said we had to refinance, sell, or move back in. if we didn't they would consider it a default on the loan, even if we continued to make every payment. For 2 years I kept sending letters to the company asking for an extension, and they granted it each time. I am thankful for every person who read my letters to review our file and decided we needed more time - more time to sell the house, or save enough money to refinance, or just somehow get out of the mess.

This past July we got out of the mess by selling the trailer and moving back into the house... Yep, We have lived in this house before. I have now owned it for 9, almost 10 years! I still have such warm feelings for this house. I always will. A part of me was so excited to move back into it, because this was my first major purchase! This house made me a grown-up, and yet I have had childlike fun in it for almost a decade!

My best friend, Jessica, was my roommate for the first 5 years. We threw birthday parties, movies on the lawn parties, cookouts, watched tv on the roof, did dishes in the yard, camped out in tents in the front yard and were attacked by a friend in a gorilla suit at 1am! We had slumber parties with girls from the youth group, and international college students came over for breakfast at suppertime. We had a lot of fun in this house!

Then I married my other best friend, and this house is where Kyle and I came "home" for the first time on our wedding night. We had picnic suppers on Monday nights in the living room, watched the entire series of LOST about 3 times, fought over how to arrange furniture, remodeled the bathroom, and learned how to love each other! We have played chess, and I always lose. We have had friends over for dinner, and watched countless movies. We have prayed together every night and kissed goodbye every morning. I know what his truck sounds like as it pulls into this garage. We can walk this house in the pitch black of night without stubbing a toe. This has been our home for longer than just the 7 months we have been here this time.

But it is amazing how in just that short amount of time, life has drastically changed. When we moved here, we were not pregnant with our second child. Kyle was also not the College Minister at the church. So what seemed like a perfect, quaint fit for the 3 of us has quickly become an interesting challenge. How do we rearrange Emersyn's room to fit another kid - a baby and all the things that come with a baby?! How do we have 30+ college students over for game night, movie night, or any night, when this house maxes out at 10?!

For the one week we thought we were having twins, Kyle started house hunting online in his spare time. But we soon found out there was only one little boy in my tummy who could apparently be in 2 places at once! But the idea of a larger house wouldn't go away, and Kyle found 3 houses that were huge but low in price... Now we know there would be reasons for the low prices, but Kyle is a jack-of-all-trades. Seriously, I have seen him lay tile, tear down and build walls, wire electricity to a room, fix plumbing issues, build decks, hang shelves, and organize storage brilliantly!  So we thought it wouldn't hurt to see what kind of shape these 3 houses were in...

The first house had a lot of space. It didn't require a lot of work, all of it being things Kyle can do easily.  I liked it a lot! The second house had a lot of both as well, but the amount of work was just inconceivable! And it was pink! Absolutely not!!!

And then, the 3rd on! Kyle and I both fell in love. I have felt that way only about 4 or 5 other times in my life - you know, where you just know that it fits. I felt that way when I bought our current house. I looked at it once and told the realtor I wanted it. I felt that way about my car - drove it once and put a down payment on it. When I put my wedding dress on for the first time - I hadn't even seen it in the mirror yet - it was just me in the fitting room wearing it, and I said "This is it" out loud!

And of course when Kyle asked me to enter a courtship with him, it was the most "right" response I have ever had... A calm, but overjoyed "yes".

So Kyle and I found ourselves in a bank on Friday. We found out that we have really good credit, which was nice to know since I don't know if we have ever had it checked. And we have paid off enough debt that we also realized we could afford the mortgage payment for the larger house easily, even if I only work part-time next year like we were leaning towards!

But it is all contingent to our current home selling.

Isn't there always an "if" in life?

It is amazing when you find yourself wanting something so badly, and yet you know that you have no control over today, let alone tomorrow. A wise friend, Jamie, told me once that even up to the moment before I said "I do" that Kyle was not mine. She said I must "hold loosely" all things I want, because our ways are not God's ways. The goal of this life is not to be happy, but holy. Only God knows what is best for each of us to be sanctified throughout our lives.

Maybe His plan is that Kyle, myself, Emersyn, Keegan, and college student frequenters squeeze into this little house and live life together. I can predict already the kind of patience and forgiveness we will all have to practice on a daily basis. I am being stretched just thinking about it.

Or perhaps His plan is to orchestrate our house selling and us buying this larger house we desire so that He can open up our hearts even more as we open up our home to others more.

I'm sure He will WOW us either way with how good He is. He truly is all we need, and all the large living rooms and extra bedrooms in the whole world pale in comparison to His mighty love.

God is sovereign. "God has the right to exercise His will over my life" said A wise man named Doug. But we are also responsible. We are to work out our unearned salvation with fear and trembling. We are to check our motives in all things. And if we want our current house to sell, we have to prep it for showings!

My back aches as I type this from being on my hands and knees all day painting baseboards while trying not to get my pregnant belly in the paint! And the whole time I kept praying "Lord, whatever your will is, please make it mine too."

So whether we have 2 bedrooms or 4, 2 garages or 1... We know that The Lord has been good to us and always will be. It is His nature to care for His own. I do not want my fingers so tight around a dream that He has to break them to get me to let go and learn a hard lesson. My prayer is that our house will sell before the one we want does.  I pray that we will be able to have more space for these college students we love ministering to.

And I pray we will hold loosely all that is not ours, because it all belongs to the Lord.

And no matter what, these baseboards look good :)

1 comment:

  1. Your words are so beautifully written! This made my eyes water. I just love you guys so much!