I love my house. After two years of living with my parents, I’m so thankful to have a home of my own again. And I’m amazed at how much I love about this wonderful gift of a house He was preparing for us. Honestly, I struggled for a little while to let myself receive His abundance in this home.
I had worked hard on not making an idol out of waiting for a house. I begged God many times to help me lower my expectations. I wanted to have a right heart to be able to receive whatever happy ending He was preparing for me after a long, hard season of my life.
Here’s what I wrote last fall, before we found our house:
Michael and I are nearing two years of living with my parents, with our three young children in tow. To make a long story short, we have finally reached a point recently when we were able to start seriously looking for a home of our own again. We know a little something about making an idol out of something you’re waiting on.
I realized recently that I was struggling with idolizing my future house. After all that we’ve been through, I have found myself too often thinking that having a home again will fix all of our problems. I have also found myself passing up on seeing houses about which my first thought was, “I haven’t been waiting two years for that.”
It’s a hard truth that the perfection of God’s plan doesn’t mean it will look like perfection to us. In my weaker moments, I hope so much that He will suddenly dazzle us with dropping the home of our dreams into our laps. He may do that. I’ve let Him know that He most definitely has my permission. But whatever house He has in mind for us will be perfect as-is. It will be the best thing possible for me and my family’s souls as-is. Even if we don’t buy a mansion. Even if we buy a house that’s less than pretty, or less than granite-countertopped and big-yarded and perfect neighborhood-ed.
Trying to have a right heart about having “less” than I hoped for in a future house sort of made me feel guilty about receiving the gift of a house that is much more than I thought to hope for.
Our house is far more than I dared to dream we’d have. It is updated (huge surprise) and big-yarded (also a surprise) and great-neighborhooded (a big relief!). It’s only 15 minutes away from
babysitters my parents. It has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms for our growing family (Baby #4 is due in August–did you catch the news?!:). My kitchen is enormous and I love being in it. The floor plan and large, paved back patio give us plenty of space to entertain, which Michael and I both love to do. Our house even has something I didn’t put on The Must List but secretly hoped for in a house: a pretty little front room where I can go to pray or read and be away from the chaos of the kitchen and living room.
I spent two years asking God to provide for my family, and He did. We had a roof over our head and the God-sent situation of living with my generous, non-judgmental parents to help us get on our feet again. Still, it wasn’t easy. Not at all. It wasn’t the provision I would have chosen. But it was His will to provide for my family in that exact way for the exact amount of time we were there. He was, is, and will continue to work great things in us because of how He chose to provide for us in that season.
My house reminds me daily that God can provide materially and spiritually for us in greater abundance than we even know to ask for. Even when He provides in a way we would not have chosen. Even when He provides in a way that feels extravagant to us. His will is always best for us. His will weaves together all things for our good.
This wreath is probably the most Pinterest-ey thing I’ve ever done–down to watching the YouTube video link on how to do it. (Note: It’s so much easier and cheaper to make these wreaths than you might think.) I have wanted a pretty wreath for my house forever, and especially since buying our house. So, after making $40 selling some things on Craigslist, Michael told me I could “go crazy at Hobby Lobby.” That man knows how to make a girl happy.:) It took about $30 and an hour and a half of a movie to make this burlap wreath, and I love it!
For St. Joseph’s feast day this year, I made a little St. Joseph’s Table (or “altar”) in my house in honor of the saint Michael and I have asked for help many, many times in our journey to our new home. St. Joseph is the patron of home, work, and family, among other things. We invited a bunch of friends over for a potluck Family Dinner to celebrate. It was the first time we had hosted a Family Dinner in our new home, so it was so very special to do it on the feast of St. Joseph. It was almost as special as when we had nuns and Jesus come to my house!
Fig cookies are a must for any St. Joseph’s altar, so I bought Fig Newtons and made some easy powdered-sugar-and-milk glaze, and the girls and I topped them with sprinkles.:) It was a HUGE mess and was a little stressful (think thousands of sprinkles rolling and melting all over the kitchen) but I’m glad I did it.
I bought pre-made cream puffs (another must for an altar), and used two cans of crescent rolls to make traditional shaped breads, including ladders, nails, hammers, and shepherds’ staffs. Easy peasy. And thankfully no sprinkles were involved. I also baked a Duncan Hines box-mix chocolate cake (the best, right?!), and arranged religious artwork, pictures of my family, holy cards, candles, and (artificial) St. Joseph lilies. Statues of the Holy Family and a scrap of pretty fabric from my friend Staci rounded things out.
Here’s a link to the St. Joseph’s Altar tradition, which comes from Sicily, where my husband’s ancestors are from! I think I made him feel very Italian that day.:)
We splurged and bought salvia, marigolds and impatiens to fill out the bald spots in the front flower beds.
Our south Louisiana spring azalea bloom is a highlight of my year, every year. March and April always bring exquisitely fine weather and gorgeous spots of color all over. My favorite spring activity is to take a trip to West Feliciana parish to tour the great plantation homes and gardens all in bloom.
My front entryway is simple and is filled with things given to us by family and friends. The only thing in this room I bought for myself is the icon of the Holy Family, which is special to us because it is the official icon image for the Domestic Church movement.
My mom bought me this shelf when I got married, and I’ve never quite known what to do with it, since it’s open on all sides. Well, it’s ended up being a perfect space for our Little Oratory in the new house. Ever since I read Leila’s book a few years ago, I’ve longed to figure out how to make a little oratory in my home. This shelf (and some Goodwill baskets I found on clearance) are the perfect spot to display religious items, books, Bibles, rosaries, holy water, etc. One of the kids broke off the second-to-last bottom shelf recently, hence the reason why it’s a little crowded right now on the bottom. I do realize that this is not the most baby-proof setup, but I haven’t had a baby for a while (my youngest is about to turn three) and I haven’t had much trouble with climbers until the aformentioned broken shelf episode. We’ll see how things shake out (or get moved onto upper shelves?) once Baby #4 arrives in August.:)
I love how the previous owners made over the traditional brick fireplace in the home (except I’d love to put in a custom cypress wood mantlepiece eventually!). I store toys and books in the cabinets, and the left top cabinet is a hideaway minibar with a little sink! The floors in the living room, hallway and master bedroom are stained concrete. You can’t tell in pictures like this, but the stain is actually very delicate and will scratch easily and peel off if you even drop a piece of Scotch tape on it. We will probably do something different with the concrete eventually if we’re able to, but I’m not about to complain about it for now.:)
The only shot of my kitchen that I could take this morning due to all the dishes and the dirty floor.:) It really is a beautiful kitchen. The wall between the old formal dining room and the kitchen was knocked out, and they extended shelving and counter space into that room, and put a big island in there (which is where we have our family computer and homeschool now). The previous owner of our home happened to be the vice president of a kitchen and bath design company here in town. God is truly marvelous.
My prayer and reading corner in the front room. I was so thankful that my grandmother gave us this lovely old couch that goes perfectly in the front room. Actually, the majority of the furniture in our house was given to us by family and friends when we moved in (or had been given to us by family and friends previously!).
I love having Scripture all around my house. Religious art and inspiring quotes to soak during the day really do help me remember my mission and turn back to God during the hard moments. This adorable little chalkboard was a $5 Hobby Lobby clearance section find. 🙂