Do you hear it? That, my friends, is the sound of silence. My kiddos went back to school today after a long Christmas break and the house is quiet. I am able to think. to breathe. to write.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mom, and am fully aware of just how blessed I am to do this. There are so many mamas out there who desperately want to stay home, but for whatever reason, are not able to. To those of you in that boat who are reading – let me encourage you to keep striving, keep working hard, keep praying for that goal. Maybe God will answer your heart’s desire in an awesome way. I pray He does!
But what happens when our heart’s desire is not answered? Or God tells us no? Or God is speaking to us, calling us in a different direction? A direction HE wants us to take – but WE firmly do NOT want to go?
Well, that’s what happened to me.
You see, I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to be in this small, nondescript ranch, with its tiny living room and even smaller closet. I didn’t want my girls to have to share a room and sleep in the same bed as they enter their formative tween and teen years. I wanted them to have s p a c e.
I didn’t want my master bathroom to be barely the size of a phone booth. I didn’t want to not have a basement. or guest room. or play room. or art studio. I didn’t want to be so close to the neighbors and not have any privacy. I didn’t want our house to look like every other house on the block. I wanted my house to be different. to be better.
Wow. Do you hear all the self righteousness there? Well, I didn’t hear it for a very long time…close to 5 years.
But God did. He heard me.
And He firmly told me NO.
Let me back up a little. You see, it has always been a dream of ours to find some land in the country and build our dream house. My husband and I both grew up out in the country, enjoying that lifestyle. As a kid after school, you would find me fishing in the pond out our back door. or making mud pies. or hiking in the woods. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I realize that more now than I did then. So it was our dream to find an idyllic little spot like that to raise our kids. So they could have that same dream-like childhood.
So we saved money each year since we married (in 1999). Then in 2006 we were able to purchase 10 acres just a few miles from the town my husband grew up in. We had the land, but now we needed to save more money to build the “dream house.” So we waited and saved some more.
Then in 2013 we were ready. We had saved enough to pay for 50% of the house with cash, which we thought would leave us in a good spot financially. So we sold our old house in an awesome neighborhood, and moved into our current little house – roughly a third of the size of the house we were hoping to build. The plan was for us to live here in the “nondescript” ranch for a year, while we fine-tuned our blueprints and built the dream house.
I had been planning the dream house for literally years.
I am an interior designer and architect at heart (unfortunately I have a business degree instead). I love architecture and design. I love details. I love shiplap. I love farmhouses. I wanted to incorporate all these awesome details into our dream house. But the problem was, while I had the vision for what I wanted, I didn’t have the actual expertise to draw up my visions. We went through multiple architects (including nationally acclaimed architect, Mitch Ginn ) and finally, in Dec 2014 we had our plans.
It was gorgeous and everything we had hoped and dreamed.
Throughout all of this planning, endless hours on pinterest, and back and forth with our architects, I was having doubts.
What I now know to be God Whispers. He was trying to tell me something. The problem was, I wasn’t listening. I shrugged off the doubts and kept plodding forward. This was it! After almost 10 years of waiting and saving, we were finally going to build our dream house!
Then several things happened. It wasn’t written out in black and white. God didn’t make it obvious or easy. He didn’t decide for us. He made US decide.
The bids for the house came back, and despite our careful planning and hubby acting as the GC and doing over half the work himself (he is very handy and has been remodeling houses for years) – it was still quite a bit more than we anticipated. We had budgeted roughly $300k for the build (not including the land which was already paid for), but the numbers were coming back more around $400k. And these were very conservative numbers! I’m talking $10k for the kitchen, $3k for appliances, $3/ sqft for hardwood floors, etc…
Could we afford this? Yes. Was it our dream? YES! Was this what we had just spent the last 5 years of our lives planning, saving, and hoping for? Yes. But was this what God wanted for us?
Again, He didn’t make it an easy decision. We agonized for several weeks. He was convicting me to give up my dream. Our dream. My kids’ dream. He wanted us to sell the land.
God, we can’t sell the land! Maybe we can start over and build something smaller? No. Sell the land. But if we sell, we’ll never find any more! There is literally NO land for sale in our kids’ school district and this is my dream! Sell, Christy. Give up the dream and follow Me.
It was clear as day, when He told me. And when I told my husband I think we should sell, he agreed. It was like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. We were heartbroken and grieved the loss of our dream, but we had peace.
You see, if we had built the dream house I would have had to go back to work full time. I dreaded it, but I was going to do it so we could have our dream. I had been a sahm for 11 years, now 12. But I think God was calling me to stay home a little longer. He is calling me to write and to paint. And to follow Him wherever this new journey takes me. So I started this blog.
And sold the land.
He is gently teaching me that I don’t need a gorgeous new house with tons of space, a giant walk-in closet, or even lots of land for my kids to explore. When we’re forced to make tough decisions and truly rely on Him, we realize we don’t truly need any of that. He has given me everything I really need.
I now have time. Since we’re not building the house and sold the land, we now have a comfortable amount of money in savings to live on while we wait on Him to lead us to the next place. I have more time to stay home with my kiddos. I have time to write this blog. Who knows where it might lead, but I feel this is what God is whispering me to do. He wants me to write – I have many, many doubts about blogging. Will anyone even read it? He says if I write it, they will come. So I will trust Him.
My husband has time now too. He quit his office job and is managing our rental properties and working on our house flipping business full time. He loves it. He comes home for lunch every day; he sets his own hours. Did we make much money in 2015? No. One of our flips still hasn’t sold, and we have no steady paycheck to rely on. But we are happy; we are learning to rely on HIM.
Friends, I write this not to brag or boast or even garner a pity party for myself. I hope you don’t take it that way.
I write to encourage you to listen. Listen for those God Whispers. Is there something He has placed on your heart or been trying to tell you? Do you have an idea or dream? Are you trying to overcome something? Does it seem too crazy or impossible? Nothing is impossible when God is at the center of it!
Is He whispering to you right now? I truly hope you will listen.
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