own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Every night when my daughter and I “talk to God” before bed, one of the things we give thanks for is our house. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for our house and am learning to be content here. Let me start from the beginning.
I lived with my parents in Arlington, Virginia until I got married. I had lived in the same house since first grade. Once we got married, I figured we'd settle down in a nice apartment until we started having children. Little did I know that God had planned for us to move four times in five years. It was exciting at first, but the excitement soon faded to frustration in having to find a new place (that allowed dogs!), pack and unpack so often. However, I was thankful that God provided places for us in Arlington that were affordable and close to our families and jobs. Sometimes I had to be more active in looking for ways to be content in where God had placed us, but each place was “home sweet home.”
Before our last move, we were in a two bedroom apartment in Westover (a neighborhood in Arlington) and had hopes of expanding our family there. I figured that we would be there a while and was actually looking forward to staying put for a change. A lot happened the year and a half we lived there—I quit my job of over 10 years, got pregnant, had a miscarriage, got a new job for the rest of the school year, got pregnant again and got an interim position where I worked until around the time my daughter was born. PHEW! With all that change, I WAS NOT looking to move any time soon! Unfortunately, our downstairs neighbors started smoking a lot (in what was supposed to be a smoke-free building) and it really affected our way of life in our apartment. Especially being pregnant, we did not want me or the baby in that kind of environment. We weren't really getting much support from our landlord and didn't know what to do because we had just recently renewed our lease. As we were exploring our rights as tenants, our landlord decided to let us out of our lease. This was a huge praise and we were so thankful! Now came the dreaded (as by now, moving was less than exciting) task of finding yet another place to live for our growing family.
It was a struggle to be content with my circumstances at that point because I don't like change—especially so much in such a short time! Obviously, God was (and still is) trying to grow me in this area. Given everything that was going on, my husband felt led that we should look to buy a house. I was in my third trimester and that was the last thing I felt like doing! My husband works with someone who is a Christian realtor who made it a priority to help us find a place to live. Since our landlord was letting us out of our lease (and the smoke) we didn't have time on our side. We were looking in Prince William County, Virginia area at single family homes. After some disappointments, our bid was taken on a house.
God continued to work on growing me in contentment because the house was not ready for us by the time we had to be out of our apartment. By now, I was about 9 months pregnant and ready to be done with moving. We had to put all of our stuff in storage. Thankfully, we were able to move in with my family for two weeks. It was easy to be content there as it was a calm place amidst the chaos. Our daughter was born the second week we were there. My husband used his paternity leave to move our stuff from storage into our house....OUR HOUSE! It seemed unreal. It was hard to leave my family (and Mama's helpers!) but it was time to go home.
It was so exciting to bring our daughter into our new house. A place where we will (hopefully) be for many years to come. Plus, I get to be a stay-at-home mom. What is there not to be content about? The answer is nothing, but since I am human, I find things to complain about. The biggest is the distance from Arlington. As I drive through the Westover neighborhood on the way home I sometimes think “You could be home by now.” Then I catch myself and ask God to forgive me for not being content and thankful for what He has provided for me and my family. I also thank Him for everything I do have—a house that keeps me dry when it rains, warm when it is cold, cool when it is hot and that is filled with the things I need to care for my family. Not everyone can say this.
With today's stories of forclosures and job loss, I have NO reason not to be content with this season of my life and where God has placed me. Wherever our house may be, as long as I am with my husband and our daughter it will be “home sweet home.”
Since writing this article, we have welcomed a second little one to our family. I still have some boxes I haven't touched since we moved. (I know, it's been three and a half years! I didn't say I was proud of it!) Sometimes the house feels too small or I don't like the layout or things need to be repaired, but I keep reminding myself to be content where God has me. This doesn't mean I can't work to better my situation or make the best with what I have, but I surely shouldn't be complaining about it!
better for you than the one in which you are, God
would have put you there. You are put by him in
the most suitable place, and if you had had the
picking of your lot half-an-hour afterwards, you
would have come back and said, "Lord, choose for
me, for I have not chosen the best after all."
--Charles Spurgeon (March 25, 1860)
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