There are loads of awesome and amazing and totally spectacular things about the life we've chosen to live. New people, new families, adventures, fun, experiments, travel, joy, fellowship, meaning, love... literally long lists of awesome things. But in the other column, the one thing: no home.
Just over three years ago, we squeezed our family of five into two bedrooms in suburban Kansas City. Longtime family friends were empty nesters, and they graciously offered to share their house with us. Two dressers, our clothes and a television were the only things of ours we moved in. Jack and Ella shared a double bed, Asher slept in our closet, and we called it home.
In hindsight, it was never going to be a long-term solution to our seemingly endless transitional phase. I was hoping, though, that if I sacrificed enough – giving up the idea and the longing for a place to call our own, saving money and living well below our means – God would put us on the fast track to where it was we really wanted to be.
When we realized that His ways are so high above our ways and He was not falling for any of that, and how we had chosen to be on this long obedience in the same direction, we moved out of those two rooms and into a 3-bed apartment. After those three months, Asher sleeping somewhere other than a closet seemed downright luxurious! We had a dining room, an exterior brick wall (what I always wanted!), most of our belongings (my dining room table! Matt’s pots and pans!) moved out of storage, and anything we didn’t have was donated by friends and family members and strangers.
Our newest new home was filled to the brim with God’s provisions. We thought we’d be there 9 months. We moved out exactly two years later.
Today, I walk Asher into his own bedroom, dry him off after a bath. The children do their homework at the table in our eat-in kitchen. After three years without, we plant herbs and flowers in our backyard, put up an old barn for Asher to play in. We’ve traded coin-fed laundry machines for a washer and a dryer (a true luxury!) and a tiny utility closet. The hallway doors open to the sitting room, the sitting room doors into the makeshift office and playroom, the office doors open to the hallway, and the children run circles through the whole of the first floor, up the stairs, in and out of their bedrooms, hiding in wardrobes.
This house is not perfect. I hate honey-do lists, but we’ve got one with project after project laying in wait. I love the big kitchen, but dislike the green tiles, the warped laminate floors. Our bedroom is quite small and the en suite is a vicious yellow. I often forget to turn on the immersion water heater, so our infrequent bubble baths are frequently cold. A bird talks to us from high above our gas fireplace (not the wood-burning one Matt was hoping for), dropping seeds and other paraphernalia for me to hoover (vacuum) up.
And we are forever renters, so the many things we’d like to change, we may never change. As long as we’ve got a bucket of paint, we’re OK with that. Our landlord is kind and we have room for friends. We can lock our doors and open our windows. We have made a home in a closet, and now we make a home for us all to nest with room to grow.
No house will ever be perfect, but our home is, wherever we may find it. And we have a good one here, just like the one before it, and the one before that, and every other place we’ve ever laid our frazzled heads.