When our time came to move to Lawton, OK, we were pleasantly surprised to find that John’s parents’ rent house was vacant. That would mean that we would be living a block away from John’s parents, we wouldn’t be tied into a contract, and we wouldn’t have to rush into buying a house right off the bat. It was very obvious to me that God was providing for us in this way.
However, my sweet mother-in-law balked at the idea… not because she was afraid to deal with us as tenants, but because she couldn’t visualize us in that house. She went on and on about how gross it was. It was infested with roaches, the carpets needed to be cleaned, half of the blinds needed to be replaced… the list continued. Nevertheless, my eyes were too filled with stars: “God provided this house for us; it must be His will that we live here.”
So we moved out of our gorgeous 2,400 square foot house that I had just finished remodeling and into the 1,400 square foot rent house.
In the months that followed, it was very clear to me that God had indeed provided the house. Shortly after we moved, the contract we had on our house in Texas fell through. Had we gone with our original plan, we would have been under contract on a new house. For the time being, we were able to bear paying for our mortgage and paying for rent. It was slightly sickening and a little scary, but it was completely doable. And now that we’ve sold our house, we’re stashing away money and dreaming about building a house.
But none of that is the point of this post. Did you notice… our rent house is 1,000 square feet smaller than our previous house? Oh, and did I mention that the original floor plan is only around 900ish square feet… that the carport has been converted into a den… which means that the main living space is pretty tight. And there’s only one bathroom. And the tiny kitchen doesn’t have a dishwasher, garbage disposal, or ice maker in the fridge.
So when the kids go to bed, I have to sit and be completely quiet. I can’t clean or talk on the phone. I sometimes sit in the den and fold clothes while watching TV on the quietest level, but often even that is too loud.
And when it’s time to clean the kitchen, I have to take liquid-ish left overs and flush them down the toilet to avoid stopping up the sink. I also can never seem to get my dishes clean enough, so I find myself hand washing things over and over again. When you consider also my normal insanity of trying to cook for my allergy boy, it starts to look like I’m living in the wrong decade.
Add seeing a cockroach in my bed last night, and well, I’m pinning a lot of new house ideas on Pinterest, if you know what I mean. Every minute I’m home, I’m dreaming of living somewhere else.
So here I am. This house has definitely helped me to see just exactly how spoiled I am… how entitled I can be.
It seems that our society has propagated the idea that our happiness is first. Happiness is the indicator for how successful you are at life, and it should be sought out above all. We also tend to assume that our happiness comes from our external circumstances. While those external circumstances definitely effect us to some degree or another, true happiness and joy comes from within.
Happiness is a choice. It is a perspective. As someone who has battled depression in her past, I can testify that some days its a harder choice to make, but still… it’s a choice WORTH making. (If you or someone you know is battling depression, please feel free to contact me… and more importantly, please get help. Don’t fight depression alone.)
And true joy, in my experience, comes from God. It comes from knowing your Creator… from feeling His presence in your life.
Now, how does all of that mesh with my rent house? I’d be lying if I said I’m enjoying every minute here. But I can honestly say: I’m grateful to live here. Aside from the obvious blessing it has been to us as I detailed before, this house is like sandpaper to me. Not only is it really showing where all of the rough places are, it is smoothing out those rough places: the entitlement, pride, and selfishness.
Philippians 4: 11-13 (ESV): Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Emphasis mine.)
What does God use as sandpaper in your life?