I was on the fence about hiring someone to take family photos. I knew why I wanted them taken, but the price, combined with uncertainty of how the kids would behave made me cautious.
Of course opening the email a week later with the edits, I was nothing but glad we did it. They brought me thankfulness, perspective and joy. The perfect way to say goodbye to the place we have called home for a little over a year.
I’ve tried to become more open to the time-honoured pop-in. The unexpected door bells, or the, “I’m five minutes away, mind if I stop and see the kids?” texts. My Mom and Dad have perfected the phone call, “Hey I’m in the area, can I pop-in quick?” When something like an unscheduled visit interrupts my daily routine, it’s usually a good thing, exposing my selfishness and my need for control.
Earlier this month Dad called with his usual pop-in request. He was on his way and the kids were waiting by the window. My phone rings and I’m surprised to hear worry and frustration as he explains he has been at the door for a few minutes knocking. I look out the window and his car isn’t in the drive way. It takes me only a moment to realize what’s happened.
“Uhh Dad, we moved on Sunday, remember?”
This old house hasn’t been the first place Jay and I have lived together, it hasn’t been the second, or third either. The number of times we have moved out numbers the years we have been married. Each move has had its circumstances, visa’s ending, bank account dwindling, due date approaching. For some moves the decision to pack our boxes was easy, and came with no choice.
At the beginning of this year we had no event or date looming in the near future. We were comfortable. We didn't own it, we weren’t crazy about the neighbourhood, and the list of changes we would have made to it was long, and yet, I came to love it. The walls held our children’s laughs and rooms were filled with people we love. We grew from a family of three, to four here. It wasn’t perfect but it gave me what I wanted. A place to care for, that I could care and love my children in.
Renting was never ideal, of course, but up until recently was the option that was available to us and our family. We made the best of it and were thankful for a safe place to call home.
“I really want to own by the time she goes to school.”
“A yard would be really nice.”
Stay and save steadily, or make a bold move and reach our goal in half as much time.
A thought out plan was devised and a horse pill of humility was swallowed. A year of accepting help for a fast tracked plan of saving for a well sized down payment. Short term sacrifices for a long term gain. With our eyes on the prize we loaded the U-Haul and did the familiar unload of sorting and storing.
A driveway to pull into, our own yard to cut and gardens to water, shines bright as our gold medal. The race of life’s milestones is one I’ve run before. The prize of marriage, career, another child. All trophies that I love, am proud of, have worked hard for, but have never left me without further want.
Legitimate desires and needs that are beneficial to pursue, that eventually left me in the familiar state of wanting and discontentment, looking to the next thing.
What am I willing to sacrifice in the race of storing away money?
What if my sacrifices don’t take me to where I want them to? What if my sacrifices and hard work don't match up with the time frame I want? The goal of intense financial saving means nothing if in the process, my heart is compromised and my fists clenched. What if, instead of sacrificing I am called to surrender.
Surrendering my dollar amount and number of months it takes me to arrive at it. Surrendering what I want, in order to receive more of who I want, who has proven to provide emotional contentment and satisfaction unlike anything before. Surrender is not waving a white flag of defeat, signalling that I’ve given up. When my heart is deceived into thinking home owning is the prize, I forget the goal is not a building to own, but a person to know.
As I continue to run the marathon of checked boxes, number of countries visited, vacation home purchased, retirement funded, I try to remember that the prize I am ultimately pursuing is only given at the end of the race. And that instead of rushing ahead to these events that may or may not happen, I am to rest in God’s nearness.
Crafting a house to be inviting, warm, beautiful, and full of love is something I am passionate about and am looking forward to, and I know will come with great ease. It is allowing God to do the same with me that proves to be much more difficult. Creating my heart as home for the eternal. Gutting out the old and constructing it in the form of his newness. Breaking down walls to open it up, allowing more space for more of him.