If you had asked me a year ago if we’d ever move again, I would have genuinely, passionately denied it. When Jordan and I moved back to Charlotte from Richmond (more here and here!), we did so with this lofty plan of moving into his childhood home with a genuine desire to raise our family in the sweet little town he called home for so many years. It was a romantic and fun dream, and we dove in head-first. But over time (and clearly, not a very long time), factors that we didn’t anticipate with living where we did wore on our hearts. And as I look back on how steadfast our dreams and hopes were for this chapter just a year ago, I believe that only God’s direction could be intense enough to pull us into something different just one year later.
So here we are, a little closer to civilization and a little further from our comfort zone. I won’t make this into something it’s not: we moved even closer to family than we already lived, and we’re now both closer to our jobs than we were before. We wanted to move for convenience, but it also became abundantly clear to us that we needed to move for us. We needed to move for Harper. We needed to move because we’re human, and sometimes our dreams and visions don’t come to fruition like we thought they would. Even though it doesn’t necessarily make sense to me, I will praise God that for whatever reason, our plans didn’t work out the way we intended.
I’m sure I will have much more to say about what this new chapter of life will bring, but today I wanted to open up about what the search for a house brought up inside of me. For those of you who are in a similar stage of life, maybe you feel the weight of finding the “perfect” home as much as I have these past few months. I feel like this age can be tricky, because suddenly so many components of the “American dream” are within reach, but they also feel just barely out of grasp. Even though I know that God doesn’t call us to a life lived in beautiful, Pinterest-like homes with farmhouse kitchens and hardwood floors (and don’t get me wrong, sometimes He gives us these gifts!), I consistently found myself making these things ultimate (let me re-emphasize: I didn’t find these things simply good, I found them ultimate. All-consuming. Must-haves.) To add insult to injury, we’ve spent the past year renovating our current home to make all of my Joanna Gaines-esque dreams come true. So when I started our home search and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I felt this deep-seeded frustration that ultimately showed me my selfishness and greed. On the outside, I would claim that it was important for us to move for Harper’s sake, but on the inside I didn’t want to move her anywhere that I couldn’t post on my Instagram without significant praise.
I wish I could say that I turned it all around the instant I realized what was happening, but I didn’t. I’ll be completely honest, it’s HARD for me to walk away from a home that I’ve spent endless hours customizing, only to feel like I’m starting from scratch elsewhere. I would look at so many homes, and would immediately write them off if they didn’t have the right front door, kitchen island, cabinet color, etc. I decided that I wanted to build a new home, because (yes, I said this) “that’s the only way I’ll be happy.” This situation and this opportunity captivated me, y’all. I couldn’t think about anything else. I wanted a dream home, and I wanted it in the right place with the right bells and whistles, at the right price. I would stay up late searching floor plans, and it would dominate the conversations I had with Jordan. I spent hours and hours on Trulia and Zillow, sizing everything up and reaffirming my thought process that everything in my house needed to be customized to MY liking. I was praying throughout it all, and in His patience, God was working and meeting me with so much grace the whole way through.
God could have taken a lot of different paths to make me confront my weakness and poorly-rooted desires. He could have taken this move off the table, or orchestrated any number of events to show me how far gone I really was. But in His amazing grace, He didn’t. On a random Saturday afternoon, Jordan and I were running a few errands and decided to pop into a nearby open house. I had already looked at the house online and it didn’t meet my “perfect home” criteria, but we decided to give it a shot anyway. When I walked in, I fell in love with the house. It didn’t check every box on paper, but it felt like a real home instead of a picturesque exhibit. It was so refreshing, and it made me realize that there is more to a home than the “right color” cabinets. A home is what you make it, and my attitude would have made our home one cold, self-absorbed place to live. And I was too blind to see it.
…we didn’t buy that house (I know, this story would have been cooler if we had), but God used it to change my perspective. I took a step back, apologized for my crazy obsession with a custom-built home, and decided to cool off the home search for a bit. It was just a few weeks later that I stumbled upon the place we now get to call home — and guess what? It doesn’t check a lot of those boxes I originally had spelled out either, but I truly believe that God led us here in His perfect timing and provision. He has slowly, so very graciously, allowed me to see that my identity is not safe when it rests in my home – it can only rest in Him. He has given us above and beyond what we could have ever asked for, and I’m so immensely grateful to start this next chapter with a renewed perspective on what it means to pour into my home. I pray that it’s a place of hospitality and rest, a place where our family can set aside their burdens and find joy in the comfort of being home. Lord, make it so.
If I’m being completely honest with myself, I know that I’ll make the same mistake again. It may not be with a house, but inevitably I’ll find something else to put my hope in, obsessing over it and trying to control every single aspect. But when I do, I pray that the Holy Spirit brings me back to this story, reminding me of God’s presence in every. single. moment. of this life I am so blessed to live. All praise be to Him.
…now I’m off to watch HGTV. (Kidding… or am I?)