I recently found and was inspired by a company called Compass to write about our first home. Compass is a new real estate company manly working in Washington D.C. and New York City that helps people find the perfect agent, place and neighborhood. They are doing a series called “Starter Stories” and I wanted to be apart of it. I’ve been side planning a post along that lines and they’ve helped motivate me to actually sit down and write it.
Expect the unexpected. That seems to be the theme of our starter story. What was supposed to be a paint job and some new carpet turned into a total rebuild. That’s the thing about old houses, you never know what you’re going to find once you start poking into walls or peeking under flooring.
It was going to be ready by the time we got married, that was the plan anyway, then my father-in-law decided to take a look at a spot under the floor of one of the bedrooms. (Good thing he did too.) It was sagging and better be safe than sorry, but what they found propelled them into a two year rebuild. Turns out that corner of the house had slid off of the footing, and not only that, but concrete had disintegrated. (Did I mention this was an old house?) It was a miracle the whole room hadn’t collapsed! As they dug into walls and pulled up floor boards more and more hidden problems came out into the open. Really, it’s amazing the place hadn’t either burned down from the problematic DIY wiring, or fallen over from the places where the foundation had crumbled away.
Well we didn’t get to move in after our honeymoon, in fact, we still haven’t moved in, but through it all God has been teaching us patience and contentment. (One things for sure, when God teaches you patience and contentment, He does so very thoroughly.)
So what became our starter place? Well, for the first few weeks while we looked for something, a fifth wheel. Yup, a fifth wheel. It was a cozy place to “play house” our first month of marriage. The only issue was the fact that it was the beginning of winter and in the last week we had a problem with everything freezing. But right when the weather decided to truly turn into winter, we found a place only five miles away. (God is so good!) I never thought I could be so thankful for things like a shower and washer and dryer that were in your own home. (Before that we were using my in-laws facilities.) This place is a quaint little one bedroom cabin and it’s where we currently call home.
This little place doesn’t have a bathtub or a dishwasher, but our first winter here, I discovered a new appreciation for hot running water. Turns out the pipes under the house were not buried, so guess what happened when the temperature dropped below freezing? Frozen water lines and no running water. (We solved that issue by leaving the kitchen faucet dripping once the pipes unfroze.) After that, whenever I stood over the sink looking at a pile of dishes, lamenting the lack of a dishwasher, I would remind myself to be thankful for hot running water and the ability to be able to wash dishes.
Remember the “expect the unexpected” part? Well once spring rolled around that didn’t change. Once more our move in date was bumped as time and time again we felt like the universe was warring against us as one thing after another delayed the remodel, *cough* I mean rebuild. Yes it’s been frustrating, and there were many a time I caught myself moping because we still couldn’t completely unpack and settle, and once I found out I was pregnant I really became inpatient!
My husband and I have had the “it is what it is” and “we’re here for a reason” conversations many a time through this whole process, looking at the positive (like, hey! We have a roof over our heads and can pay our bills! We’re just fine), and remembering that God’s timing is far better than our own, but I still struggled with being content with where we were. Then the nesting part of pregnancy started to hit and I started stressing out over how in the world we were going to make room for a baby. I complained (yes, I admit it) about this to my husband and he dove right in with a solution. I have to put in, God has blessed me so much through this man I married, and I truly don’t know what I would do without him. He remained calm, and kept me calm as he pointed out furniture we could move, corners we could clean up, and even started on it even though it was later in the day and we hadn’t even eaten yet, just because it would help set my mind at ease. (I love this man.)
Now we have a baby corner, and oddly enough, even though we stuffed more things into our little bedroom, it feels more open. After rearranging the furniture a bit in the living room area, I began to feel better about the space, but then my husband made a comment that changed my perspective entirely. As we were looking at our progress in reorganizing he said, “I’ve been thinking it’s going to be really cozy, the three of us here. It’ll be fun.” Ever since then I just can’t get those thoughts out of my head. I really feel like God was speaking to me through my husband’s words, giving me a different way to look at it. Yes, it will be cozy and now the thought brings a smile to my face.
Patience and contentment are hard lessons to learn and God is a very thorough teacher. Yes there is no storage in this place, but there is a good size upstairs where we can keep things without cluttering the main living area and even have a guest space. Yes the kitchen is tiny and the stove/oven feels like it belongs in a dolls house, but it holds what we need and does its job. There’s no AC, but a window unit keeps us from melting. Our bed frame might double as a coat rack because there is no closet and sometimes you just have to improvise. So we’re not completely unpacked yet, we have what we need and it will make when we finally unpack everything feel like Christmas.
Our starter place didn’t turn out to be the one we thought it would be, but God has put us here for a reason and it’s kept us dry and warm and given us a place to call home.