It's been almost a year since we moved into our home in Keller; and in this year, I have discovered all of the things that I wish I could change about it.
I have struggled with maintaining a consistent, thankful heart for simply having a home to live in.
I have struggled with justifying space for space's sake. Is space really worthy if the space itself doesn't really work for you?
I have struggled with a constant voice that reminds me of all the things that could potentially go wrong in this house ... that we'd have to fix out of our pocket because we were given such a low monthly rent comparable to the real cost of the owner's mortgage.
I have muddled through a winter where our fireplace was our only source of heat during the freezing, winter days because the cost to heat a house this size is beyond our budget, and beyond the capacity of our heating system to keep up with.
I have sweated through a long, hot summer because a house this size is beyond our budget to cool during the day, and it's also beyond the capacity of the AC system to keep up with during the intensity of our summer days (even if we could afford to run it 24/7).
I have really struggled not having a single place I can retreat to in my house to have a private conversation because noise travels like crazy when there's no carpeting to buffer sound, doors that don't actually reach the floor because all the carpeting was removed or rooms/places where there just isn't a door at all.
I have struggled having property that is not useful for kids to play on yet we have to take care of simply because it's there; and lawn equipment that doesn't work and we have to pay for it to be fixed because we have such a low, monthly rent.
I have struggled with the cost of maintaining a pool that is really only enjoyed by me; even though I thought it would be the saving grace for my kids during the summer. The problem is, they don't enjoy it like I thought they would, so it's not a saving grace after all.
All in all, at the end of this year, I have come to the conclusion that while this house has provided a roof over our heads, space to move around, and beautiful scenery ... it's not working for us.
But here's where I also struggle: just because this house doesn't work in so many areas that are important to me, does that mean that this beggar has the right to be a chooser?
Is it okay for me to not be content with where I live on so many levels and just be satisfied that I have house at all? Or is it a red flag, a Godly-warning, that it's time to start looking for something else; that signing another 12-month lease is not the wise thing to do?
Every time I've questioned things something has happened to bring peace on the other side. But is peace an answer in and of itself?
I started questioning whether or not our landlords would renew our lease (at our current rent) back in April. It was but three days later, after first voicing my concerns, that our landlords called and asked us if we'd be staying (without an increase in rent). PEACE!
I questioned my family to see if this is where they want to be regardless of the lack of doors, privacy, heating, cooling, workable yard, etc? Minus Alec who would live in a box because he's not a fan of space for space's sake, both Anthony and Teighlor love our space and love where we live (the area). PEACE!
I love the area, too. And that's another nagging question for me. Alec's made friends here for the first time since being home schooled. Teighlor's best friend is just 5 miles from where we live and this affords us the opportunity to have her over more frequently. We are close to baseball, church, and our neighborhood is truly a place of peace for me because it's a bit of country right off a city street. We have a second car at our disposal, and while it's not the safest piece of machinery on the road, it's definitely made our lives easier. PEACE!
Weeks ago I was settled on the fact that come September we'd be moving ... some how, some way. The space for space's sake was just the final straw of thinking for me, and then ... all of our space was shifted around due to Teighlor's idea to share her room with Marian. From that idea came all of the ideas that moved our furniture around and actually made more sense of the rooms and how they looked and lived in then they had since we originally moved in. It felt good and it felt right again. PEACE!
And then last night the 2nd of our AC systems went out. We were able to live on one system semi-comfortably. Well, not really comfortably, but we've come to realize that we can adapt to hotter-than-we-would-care-to-live-if-we-could-fix-it-or-afford-it. Beggars can't be choosers, right? We have a house to live in. Just because we can't afford to heat or cool it in the extreme months doesn't mean we should complain... ???
So, once again, I am unsettled about being here and staying here and signing another 12-month lease. I struggle with knowing whether or not that PEACE that follows my questioning is really God's answer to my always unsettled heart and that maybe I should just finally settle the score in my heart and choose to be content with what really doesn't bring me contentedness.
Are all of these little things red-flags that I should be paying attention to because our season in this house is over and God's trying to tell us that, and the peace itself is just manufactured out of normal circumstances?
I've been through life situations where red flags were waving and I found a way around each and every one - a way that made sense for a moment and brought a sense of peace - only to discover that I manufactured the peace and the red flags were there because God was trying to move me away from where I was or out of what I was getting into.
Is the fact that I constantly question where I live a red flag to begin with or is it just a selfish desire to have something better, something that I feel would work better for us? Or is God so faithful that every time I question He's right there to bring a peace?
I know He provided this place for us last year. I truly settled on that before moving in. It has worked well in some areas and there are some pretty special memories wrapped up here that I'll never forget.
BUT ... does He require us to stay in a place He provided for more than one year's worth of seasons simply because it was the answer to our questions/prayers a year ago? Isn't He just as capable of providing a new place that would work and provide and satisfy and bring excitement if we just had the guts and courage to step out?
I don't want to move out of where we are simply because I have selfish desires that I want met ... at least that's what I'm labeling them for right now because I know people who would give their right hand just to have a place to call their own, regardless of whether or not the AC worked or the toilet wasn't bolted to the floor.
This is my mental struggle and has been for months now. I'm at that place where I just want God to audibly say to me, "Stay" or "Go". I want a true sign, not just a peace. I want to know that if we stay because the house works for us in some areas but not in others, that He'll provide for the ways to fix this house should something go wrong. Is that going beyond faith to ask for all of this? Is it requiring my God to settle too much in my heart so that I don't have to wonder if He'll work it out or if we'll struggle?
I know that God's economy is not struggling and that fixing an AC is so not beyond His capacity, even though I can't see where the money would come from to fix it. I know tomorrow morning we could have someone show up and tell us it's something super easy and super inexpensive and Voila ... my heart is settled in PEACE again because God took care of that which we could not.
And so I come to the end of my blog without really coming to any sort of answer. I have rambled more so for the therapy of getting it all out than to expect I would have heard from God in the midst of writing. Not saying that hasn't happened before, but I don't know that I was even considering that as an option when I sat down to write.
So here's my plea:
God, I need true Holy Spirit wisdom to know the difference between being content and seeing the flags for what they are. I need to hear Your voice in what's the best move for us ... Should we stay or should be go now? (Homage to a song from my 8th grade year). I need to be settled on the fact that either You are bringing PEACE to each of my concerns, or I am manufacturing the evidence so that I can sleep at night. I need for my husband and I to be unified on this. Our budget doesn't show that this house, in the end, is really affordable even given the monthly rent because we can't afford to cool it or heat it during the months we most need to. But budgets don't matter to you unless they need to matter, so it's another area that needs to be settled in my heart. I know that You have us on a learning journey right now, especially regarding finances. I don't want to be careless or unwise as we move into another season in this house. I want to do the right thing, make the wise choice, but I feel as if I couldn't make the right choice today if my life depended on it. I feel stuck. But I also know that that "stuckness" is right where I need to be to hear from You. So, I'm asking for You to be clear; to speak into my questioning heart and settle me. I declare that I will not move without Your asking me too. This time, last year, we had no idea where we were going to live. We would soon be required to move from Bedford but where we would go was still completely unknown to us. You settled that for us. You opened a door. I'm asking to be settled once again. In Jesus' Name.