I sat in the bank parking lot, weeping. I was in my car, needing to go in and deposit some money and get some cash out, etc. I had a lot of errands to run and a certain amount of time that my kids were being taken care of so I could run said errands. But, I just sat and cried. Life stopped for a second and I felt as if things I had been praying through for years were coming to be, in front of my eyes. Stinging tears of pure thanksgiving. I just had to sit and soak in all of the things. I felt so seen and so loved.
See, if you remember, not quite a year ago, we decided God was telling us to sell our home, downsize and save money. So we did. and it was weird. It all happened really fast and we found ourselves in a 2 bedroom apartment, living small and simple. It has taught us to be content, even happy, without a lot of stuff, room, space, comfort. The girls have shared a room and have a limited amount of toys. They went from a backyard with a play structure and space to run, to a small patch of grass, a sidewalk and limited time outside. Nick went from a garage with storage and tools to a tool box and lawn mower being stored at his mom’s house, a weed eater being stored at a friend’s house and a small tool box under the bed. We had a big pantry with great storage, a garage for both cars, and room for people to come over. We got rid of clothes, stuff, furniture, and I got rid of a ton of kitchen items. We decided it was worth it to sell a house we didn’t love and that needed us to start updating it, to downsize and get rid of endless clutter, and save. This experiment/decision came with mixed responses when people in our world found out what we were doing. haha! We had some super supportive people and we had some who smiled and nervous laughed. Some were very concerned about us living in an apartment and why would we want to rent when we owned our home, etc. 🙂 But we went ahead with this calling that God was very clear on. He was very clear, so we placed our home on the market and we had a signed contract in a week. Hello confirmation. We closed in a couple of weeks and it was done. That almost 10 months ago…the last ,almost year, has been wonderful. Yes, there have been moments where we felt like we couldn’t stand the apartment anymore. But, overall, we have enjoyed our simple time in the apartment. It is a part of our life that the girls will remember. Ava has enjoyed having a pool too, obviously. 🙂
So, the last few months I have been gazing at houses online and occasionally becoming obsessed with it. ha! A couple of weeks ago, I spotted a home that caught my eye. It wasn’t in the place we were thinking of wanting to buy, but it was in one of the runner up places. 🙂 I felt really drawn to it and decided we needed to look at it. We have been saving for this last year, and are at a place where looking isn’t out of the picture. We can always save more, but we’re at a place where we can seriously look. We called our realtor. She met up with us and showed us the house. We walked through and this feeling of joy and calmness at the same time was welling in me. I was imagining movie nights, life group, holidays and honestly, plain ol Tuesday nights.
I’ve learned in the last year of apartment life, that movie nights, regular Tuesday evenings, Life Group and holidays can all happen in less space, with less.
Contentment and simplicity create space to appreciate what you have, where you are.
When we appreciate what we have, where we are, we are able to receive, with gratitude, more.
Jesus teaches in
Luke 16:10-13 New International Version (NIV)
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I’m not telling you to sell your house and downsize, but I will say that when you clean out the junk from your closet and your heart, you save instead of indulging constantly, and you decide that you’re blessed with what you have, you will see that there is room in your life, heart, and mind to obey, enjoy and trust at a level you’ve never known before.
Where is it that you are needing to trust more? Maybe you don’t feel like you have enough faith, courage or boldness to let go and trust. Take the first step. I’m not sure what is more cluttery, your heart or your garage, but start somewhere. Clean out a drawer and then let that act be the stepping stone for another act of obedience and freedom. You can find excitement and fresh life in old spaces if you look. You don’t have to buy a new house to find fresh inspiration. You don’t have to sell a house to save money. You can find ways to clean out your house and your heart. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and that causes all sorts of places in our life to get out of control. We spend more money on more stuff to fill up a house that is already stuffed full, all because of a heart issue we won’t deal with. Sound familiar?
Nick and I followed God’s leading and we made some major changes in our life, to pursue obedience and see what he wanted next for us. It started with small steps though. Once we did sell, downsize and settle into a smaller more simple life for a bit, we still had struggles, we still accumulated stuff and had to clean out, we still had life happen and had to spend money on things we didn’t plan like medical bills or car repairs. None the less, we realized this last year that doing the obedient thing, even when it seems silly, unpopular or weird, can be the best thing to ever happen.
We are closing on our new home in August and this home, for us, is an example of God’s faithfulness and more than that, his sweetness. He has gifted us this home through a number of different ways. There are many rewards in this season, as we get to settle back into a home, with room to breathe, a backyard for play, and amenities we have gone without. Life will happen too, like car repairs and I’m sure a clogged toilet or who knows, maybe even something worse…even in this fun and blessed season, but having God do a hard work in us has built in us a calmness and a perspective that whatever happens next, will be ok. Having faith isn’t being naive. Faith is letting God do hard work in us and it’s letting him give good gifts to us. It’s both.
Sometimes I struggle with (lots of times I struggle with) letting God love me. I try so hard to earn, prove, work for his love, approval and goodness. Sometimes when we ask in faith and God gives us things we’ve asked for, it really is that he just loves us. He cares. He provides. He listens. He knows. He sees. He enjoys. He delights. He loves. He is a good good Father and he gives good good gifts to his children. He also desires us to obey, trust, ASK, seek, knock and be a vital and living part of the relationship with Him. Do you see? HE WANTS YOU. He wants you to be all in. When we’re all in with him, we’re in the best place we can possibly be. His will.
So I let the tears fall, feeling more seen and loved than I had in so long. Holes caused by loss, filling up. Wounds endured by suffering, mended by his hand. Dark times being redeemed in so many beautiful ways. I let the moment be what it should be, an altar of praise and worship to my God who knows all, sees all and makes all things new.
How can you find or make space in your mind/heart?
How can you let God love you today?
How can you challenge yourself to trust him in a new way?
Let’s #findtheheart where we’re at. I’m finding that the heart of life tends to be obvious when we find the space, make the time, and stop long enough to listen and be aware.
Let’s be people who notice, appreciate and find contentment in what we already have.
Trust and obey, there’s no other way…