letting go of your dream house


I love how God takes you to places you would never imagine.

Three years ago, we lived in a new 4 bedroom, 1500 square foot home with four kiddos. We loved the 4 bedrooms, but I often thought about my dream house.  I imagined it would have lots of character. I dreamed of having a big kitchen, a living room with enough places to sit, a farmhouse table, a fun office/schoolroom, a peaceful white bedroom, and a sewing room, and a family closet/pantry. And pecan trees. Oh, and a big front porch.

That's not so much to ask for, right? :D

My itty bitty living room was crowded and often got messy really fast with little ones running around.

Two years ago, we felt God leading us to sell our little house there and go a different direction.

We thought we were going to rent a smaller place than our current home {funny, huh?} and save money for a house someday or maybe eventually go somewhere to be missionaries. We didn't know for sure, but we didn't feel that we were supposed to be tied down to a big mortgage on a small new house.

So, in true God-of-the-universe fashion, He turned our plans upside down, and in less than four weeks we sold our home and did the very last thing we'd expect at that time: we bought another home.

God totally dropped this house in our lap.

It was nearly half the price of the home we sold, so we could pay it off much faster.

It had a huge kitchen, living room, tons of bedrooms, a sewing room, a family closet pantry, a huge front porch, and pecan trees. Five pecan trees.

our home

We were just seeking to do whatever He wanted us to do, and He gave us the perfect house. It came with a purpose that was very clear, but for weeks after we closed I cried every time I thought about it. I am so amazed that God gave me the EXACT home that I had dreamed of- with a better layout than I had even drawn out!

He had it built to my specifications 117 years ago. {or He put my dreams into place, either way it blows my mind.} And He gave it to us at the price we could afford.

Who is this God that He cares so much for me?

It's incredible, and it still brings me to tears.

But even more than that I cry today because His ways are unsearchable, and the depth of His wisdom is so much more than I could ever imagine.

He has extended a kindness to me that I don't deserve in any way.

I'm beyond blessed to have been given this home that basically fulfilled my every dream.

But even more than that, He has so mercifully blessed me by opening my eyes to see the myth of the dream home.

Oh, I can't praise Him enough. It's only by His great kindness that He has shown me that having your dream home here on earth isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I believe that the dream home is actually very much a trap.

You see, for me, having 3500 square feet of home is definitely useful when you have lots of kiddos. But what your daydreams {or Satan} won't tell you is that the more space you have, the more of your life and energy you will spend keeping it up.

It's pretty much a fact.

The bigger {and better} your home, sweet friends, the more time and energy you will give to maintain it. In one way or another.

We acquire, we decorate, we clean, we organize, we declutter, we remodel, we repair, we redo, and then rinse and repeat.

It's completely normal for us in this day and age, but it's so, so dangerous for our hearts in eternity.

Here's the thing- it's good and right to maintain our homes, to love our families, to make them comfortable, to make the place we live a place of joy and usefulness. But it so easily can take our attention off what is most important: living for Jesus.

And the bigger home and the more stuff we have, the harder it is to keep our eyes on what really matters.

Loving God and loving people.

I love to decorate. I truly believe that God gave me the desire to style and design and He put joy in my heart to put things together that are pretty.

But here's the deal: the bigger the house, the more space there is to fill, the more stuff to buy to make it look just right, and the more money to spend on fabric for curtains and headboards and dining tables, and it goes on and on and on, ad nauseum.

Your life can so, so quickly get taken by acquiring, consuming, and maintaining.

And for followers of Jesus, this is so dangerous. It's hard to not be consumed by the cares of this world.

In Mark 4, Jesus tells this parable about the seed and the soil:
1Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3“Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


So Jesus tells them this parable, and the disciples are like, can you please explain what that means?

13And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word.15And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.17And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.a 18And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

It's this part that I want you to catch in verse 19: the thorns are dangerous for us. They can keep us from bearing the fruit we are supposed to bear.

As women, I believe we are more susceptible to longing for nice things and houses, and getting caught up in the cares of this world.

You see, behind the dream home, there are tons of the cares of this world.

The dream home is elusive. It comes with weight, and responsibility, and sucks your time and energy by the square foot. 

I don't think having a big home is wrong. Not at all. And I can't say having nice things is wrong either. It's not! God gives all good things. It's not about the things.

It's just that it is so much harder to focus on God when you are distracted by the cares of more, more, and more stuff.

That's why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

It's our hearts. It's where our thoughts lie. It's about where our treasure is.

But how do we know if our treasure is in something?

The test taught in that parable of Scripture above is this: how willing are you to give it up?

When you think of this question, do you have anxiety in your chest when you think of selling or giving away certain things {or positions}? What could you leave behind? What could you not?


Three years I had this dream of a home. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought it would make life easier or better. And while it's a good thing to have extra room and storage and furniture to sit on, it can really be a huge distraction for me, and it takes God to keep my eyes on what is important. It's not what I expected to come with the dream home.

I can paint and change things, and buy and sell furniture, but it's important that I keep my mind set on God, and what He wants for me, not on the things I have or don't have in my house.

How much heart time am I giving these things? Houses, paint, furniture, stuff...how much energy am I giving to things that won't matter in eternity?

This home is great and all, but do I want it to keep me from the best home?

If my heart serves stuff, it cannot serve Jesus. No man {or woman} can serve two masters.

Even if you have a small home, your heart can be set on it. It doesn't take a big house to distract you.

It could be a car, or a high-paying job, or a boat, or a vacation. Riches are deceitful. They look so good from the outside, but when you get them, it's so hard to not get all tangled up.

It's the cares of the world. They are a trap- they threaten to keep you from bearing the fruit of Christ.

Sometimes God gives you awesome things. Things aren't bad- but don't desire them. Give them their place. If you have nice things, don't set your hope on the uncertainty of riches. Don't give things the priority in your heart.

This is such a hard thing in our culture, but God can do it.

I still struggle with how much I should care about my home, and how much money I should or shouldn't spend, but God reminds me so often that it's about my heart, and I talk to my husband about what we should or shouldn't buy or invest in to change our home, and he helps me decide.

Sometimes my purchases and house things are wise investments that bring us a return and sometimes I mess up and waste money, and God shows me that too, and He gives me grace.


I just really want to urge you- if you have a small home, don't hate it. I've been there and I remember it's hard. But it's a gift. Truly. 

Small frees you.

If you live in an apartment- you have almost zero home care right now. That is a gift- you don't have a yard to mow, plumbing to fix, or flooring to replace. Enjoy that.

You leave and could go somewhere in one month. That is a precious time in your life.

The more you have, the more tied down you get.

Don't long for the dream home. I promise it comes with it's own price.

Wherever you are, be content with what you have. It's a lesson that's incredibly hard {and one that I'm still learning every day!}, but it's so possible with God.

How do you do it? You set your eyes on Jesus, and you ask Him to free your heart from the thorns. And then you keep asking Him. And He will deliver you from the thorns. Ask Him to keep your heart from seeking the thorn bush of riches.

He loves His children, and He wants your heart. He did it for me, and I never ever expected it to happen in that way. I didn't even realize I was setting my hope on some silly big house. And I still have to rely on Him constantly to keep my eyes off this stuff and on Him. And He is so good.

You see, God wants to give you your dream home too. In eternity.

Let's pray that we keep our eyes on the real dream home that comes without cost or burden. :)

100 comments

Alana of Domestic Bliss Diaries said...

This post touched my heart! I live in a small home that, up until now, has driven me crazy. I've wished for bigger, better, nicer... But, you are so right: small equal freedom. I struggle to keep our small house clean. I'd rather not think about having to keep a larger house clean. Bottom line: we must be content in all things. Thanks to you I am so grateful for my small home. I think I'm going to print this out and read it daily until I GET IT!!

www.domesticblissdiaries.com

Anonymous said...

Mandy, your delivery of God's word is beautifully put and conscise! God is great! Blessings, Jaime

Sheila said...

We are in the process of adopting a child from Uganda. We will have 3 girls and 1 boy in a tiny 3 bedroom 1500 sq foot house. I long for more space. I long to be in a room where I can't hear every squabble and actually hear myself think. Thank you for this post.

Kat said...

This is exactly what I've been needing to hear. Thank you for sharing that.

-Veronica said...

I needed this so much RIGHT NOW. I lost my dream home at an auction yesterday. Lost by a measly $2,500. The house was 3500 square feet and everything I want. Then a sweet friend shared this link. I am still crying. God knew i needed this. My tears are freeing! You will never know how thankful I am you wrote this. God used you greatly. Thank you.

Ps- I live in a small (less than 1500 sqft) home and I will be thankful.

Adrienne Reina said...

Mandy, I was reading your blog from today, 01/18/13, and at the bottom it had posts that I might like. So I clicked on this one. And can I tell you that this spoke to me. It's exactly where I am at right now, wanting that bigger home and contemplating moving so we can live closer to church, school and work. And your words, God gave you those words to speak to my heart today. Thank you for sharing that and being transparent and exhorting us. Thank you!


Blessings,
Adrienne

Clarice Backus said...

I miraculously stumbled upon this post while searching for information on tailoring my own clothes. I've never visited this site before! :) God obviously wanted me to read this as you have spoken exactly to what I've struggled with recently--wanting more space (and my OWN space---we are currently at the mercy of generous friends while my husband finishes a master's program and job hunts) for my growing family but realizing what it would require of us....Thanks for this!

Ashley Myers said...

Stumbled upon your blog via pinterest and honestly wanted to Thank you for this post. This week in particular I have been struggling with this same issue. God reminds us in his own way.

Seaweed & Raine said...

So true. I don't have my own home, but I have had the "find the house of my dreams" (very similar to yours - sans pecan trees... I don't mind so much what kind of deciduous trees there are!) bug for some time. It's only lately that I have been finding joy (again) in where we live, even if I feel I have my hands tied somewhat in the decorating part with a rental. I want it to be a place where people feel comfortable, a peacefullness. Id love them to sense the presence of God here.


Blessings gorgeous girl!

Amanda Elaine Eldridge said...

hubs and I are staying with a relative right now as we're between jobs, and it's been difficult to be so at-the-mercy-of-others, but He's been faithful to provide what we need (as well as places to store our belongings); thanks for the encouragement :)

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Michele R.G. said...

thanks for the great reminder...we are struggling with this exact thing right this moment! We are foster parents, so we are constantly saying "If only we had a bigger home..." instead of the small one-story ranch we rent currently. The one thing I have *ALWAYS* loved about it, though, is just as you said...it takes so little to care for it physically, that it does allow me to expend that extra energy where it SHOULD go...to the Lord, and to the children who call our house their home. Thank you for this word today :)

Joy said...

I really, really needed this. Thank you.

Claire Granger said...

Amen Sister! I have recently been feeling the same way about our ridiculous need to acquire and keep worthless material things. I wrote about it on my blog: http://missmeager.blogspot.com/2012/07/weekend-goal-purging-unnecessary.html

Tina M. Piper said...

I agree...we moved into a 1144 sq ft doublewide with 5 of us. I love a small house (it forces us to be together). I would love a 'bigger' house. But I know that someday I will have a "dream home" in heaven and I will have the best neighbor (Jesus)...so why do I need one now.

Julie said...

I love the part about the Pecan Trees. Such a sweet reminder of how detailed and mindful our God is to us.

Jandtcase said...

I just had a yard sale recently and a woman exclaimed "You all live in that little house??!!" We live in a 932 sq. foot ranch and my husband and I have 5 children. And, yes, I am happy! ;) God has given me a place to live, and, while by the world's standards it isn't big enough or glorious enough, I am content and thankful to be in a house in the country with 2.4 acres! :) God is good and it's all about perspective (and not setting your heart on having bigger and better!) Oh, and I, too, LOVE to decorate!

Amanda said...

I thought you were moving. I might have gotten a little sad. :)

We found our "dream" land - but the house was quite a bit smaller than we wanted. But God provided beyond our wildest dreams and we bought the house and 8 gorgeous acres! We are so thankful for our little home - no matter how little it is. :)

Beautiful post, as always!

Kendal said...

This message couldn't have come at a better time in my life. My husband and I, along with our 2 small children, live in a 1,000 sq ft house (no basement), on the edge of town. I keep telling myself, "We'll find our dream house. Good things come to those who wait. It's going to have my wrap around porch, 4/5 bedrooms, acreage in the country, etc." Today we've had many highs of finding a wonderful new place to buy, and then the crashing of dreams as we know another is very interested in the property as well. We know what's important, and that's that we are so lucky with everything we already have. I couldn't be more blessed with my faith, husband, children, and extended family....but I can always dream, right? :)

Kristy Broussard said...

From God's words to your blog to my heart! I LOVE how personal He is! How He truly hears us and cares for us and uses others struggles to help us... because they are our struggles too! I sit here with tear filled eyes bc I have been tirelessly organizing all my "stuff" that I have stored up and hoarded in preparation of selling our home for a job move, shaking my head and asking "WHY. Why am I hoarding all of this? What is it IN me that's so emotionally attached to these "THINGS"?!" THEN... I took a break, opened my computer and read your post! God is showing me, thru you and your post and own personal story, that He is here, with me (too).. feeling the pain I feel and providing me His word in comfort.
It's just stuff. It's of THIS WORLD and not of eternity. I may say I keep my eyes on Jesus, but in reality, it's on my stuff more. THANK YOU for the reality check/wake up call/2x4 I needed to be reminded where my eyes and my heart is and where it NEEDS to be!! Thank you for sharing God's word with me to be sown deep in my heart as a "go to" during times of storing up. It is so wonderfully peaceful to have God reveal Himself in such a personal way.... Again, Thank you!! xo

Kathleen said...

Thank you. I so needed this. I always get tempted to believe that if I lived in a bigger and newer home, my life would be easier. I know this is a lie but I have to constantly remind myself of that. I've always lived in NY and you need at least $1 million to live in your dream house. Whenever I visit friends in other states, I can get envious of their new homes that they paid little for (comparatively) with low taxes. But I know that God wants us currently in NY and I need to learn to be content with what I have which actually is nice but it's not that huge house.

latoya said...

Glory! This was such a blessing to read! Indeed God I pray that you will keep the thorns from my heart and my mind focused on you. Thank you so much Mandy for sharing, a great testimony in deed!

thechattymommy said...

I get what you are saying and it is beautifully written , but still hard to be in the small house listening to the person in the bigger house tell me it is not all it is cracked up to be.
No disrespect intended.
Just being real.
I love my kids and my husband and sometimes I joke that this small house is the only thing that keeps my teenager humble, but it is still hard.
And it sounds wonderful to have a house 2 times the size of my current one for half the price.
So, while I love your lesson, I still would love a little extra room, but at the same time, I am so thankful for all that He has given us.

tami anderson said...

Very well put, a much needed encouragement.

Cathy said...

Thank you so much. I needed to read this today!

Houtz House Party said...

You JUST wrote what has been on my heart for quite some time now. My how things change. Right now we have that big and in our case expensive dream home. We bought it when we were both working before kids and with different priorities. 4 children later we are downsizing and it couldn't feel better. Why? Because we know in our heart this is what God has called us to do.

Hilary said...

Great post and I think every reader can relate. Thank you!

Janene said...

A friend sent me this today--knowing we just fell out of escrow on our own accord last week--the timeliness of it is perfect and I just wanted to say--we live in a smaller home and I have often referred to my neighborhood as my mission field--part of me feels God's hand in keeping us here because there is simply more work to do: ) My husband even read the whole post--sometimes we are on different pages with the whole upsizing/moving thing.

mandyBH said...

that's awesome! We feel called to be here too- and it's funny how God's timing is so much better than ours- I was so blown away at when we sold our house and then this going on the market at the time it did. He knows everything! :D I'm so glad that we get to be suburban missionaries together! :D

mandyBH said...

It's amazing the peace and assurance He brings you when it's what He wants, isn't it? So glad to hear of His goodness in your lives! :D

mandyBH said...

Yes, absolutely! I imagine going smaller now and remember that every situation has it's own challenges, and I so agree with you that nothing -no situation will ever be perfect on this side of Heaven, and that contentment has to come from God. :D Like you said about the debt- it is so freeing to not have that payment hanging over our heads! We are still working on that too! yay! :D I am so excited and proud of you guys for listening to the Lord- it's so not about the law of too much or too little, it's about following what God wants for you- and you guys sound like you are doing just that! I'm so excited for your future too! wohooo! And congrats on that sweet new baby! :D

Holly said...

i have had a lot of the same thoughts. we were able to build a beautiful home in 2005 and have enjoyed it thoroughly. but we bought into the idea that house is good debt. yes, we can sell it for more and yes it was a good investment. it is still debt (thankfully our only debt), but good debt is still not fun debt. we have felt the urge to sell for a few years now and have been praying and fasting about it. we know that we could pay cash for a much smaller house and be debt free, which would be amazing. we are so excited about being able to give more, save more, and enjoy more with our kids. however, after prayer and fasting we didn't feel the go ahead to sell and soon we found out we were pregnant with a surprise third baby that will be here at the end of the year. so, we know feel like the Lord is having us stay here a little longer just to help with transitions for our kids. one thing i have struggled with is that a smaller house is still a house that has to be taken care of, bills still have to be paid, and food still has to be cooked. i think for a while i just had in my head that a smaller house would get rid of a lot of my stressors, but the Lord and gentle prodding from my husband reminded me that even in a smaller house there are still a lot of responsibilities (just no debt hanging over our heads). thanks for this post and reminding me to keep my priorities in line. we are excited about the future!

mandyBH said...

That's awesome! Isn't it funny how He gives us those desires of our hearts too?! We prayed and prayed and when we talked about buying the house, we both wanted to be missionaries in our neighborhood, and to be able to be hospitable to our family and church families, and host Bible studies as well, and we've been able to do just that! God is sooo good to us- I know that this sweet house was given to us for a reason, and I love it when God totally takes something and makes it for His glory. Ahhhhh! I pray that you will find just the right house in His timing, and it will be so obviously clear like a path light to your feet. He is so awesome! :D I'm so excited to hear how your home journey goes- and I'm so so thrilled we will get to hug and chat in person at Allume! Eeek! :D

Janelle said...

God has given you such a beautiful home Mandy!!! What a neat story. We are in the middle of this right now...to move, or not to move into a larger home. God has placed desires deep within me to have a ministry in my home- right now, our ladies bible study is kinda smooshed when we are in my living room. I would also love to have church visitors {missionaries} stay with us and to be able to take care of some relatives who are sick. I want so much to have a ministry in my own home..but, I am just praying God will guide our decision and protect us where we need to be protected...and give us what we can give back to His kingdom. I am not good at decorating, lol...but I LOVE to cook and have people over in fellowship, bible studies, and be the home where the kidos come...beautiful post. Can't wait to meet you at Allume! Love, Janelle

mandyBH said...

Much love to you sweet sister! It's real life, and being sisters in Christ we can talk about real things! :D thank you for being real! I totally understand that feeling. It's like I know it's true, but it doesn't make me feel better- or that's what I would tell my husband, anyway. heeehee.

I know some things you have to experience for yourself- and I don't blame you at all for thinking that! The only thing I can think of is that in a five year span I have been on both sides- I have lived in an 800 square foot 3rd story apartment with two babies and I've lived in a big house with lots of room, and I spend tons more time and energy and thought on the house that's 4 x bigger, and while I have a purpose here, it makes me wonder why I long for more if it just brings me more work and quietly steals my focus on what's important in life. More takes more. :)

I guess I was trying to bring a perspective from this side of having a bigger home that we as Americans don't think about as much, because I remember longing for more space only 2.5 years ago. :) I still struggle with wanting more some days, so it's definitely a battle no matter where you are. And you are so right, thankfulness is everything! It's not wrong to wish for more space- it's a practical thing sometimes, for me, it's just where is my focus, or contentment or where is my joy found? Does that make sense? I hope that's what I was saying in the post. :D

mandyBH said...

I too pray that He will keep you safe from the thorns and give your heart it's desire and focus, sweet latoya!! Thank you for your sweet encouragement!

mandyBH said...

I'm right there with you, girlie! I know that feeling- it's Satan's favorite for us, I think! :P I am so glad to hear that God is working and speaking in your life! It's funny to think about how we are all in different situations and we all feel so much the same! I am so glad we can share and pray for each other and know that we all struggle together! To God be the Glory for showing us and giving the ability to do what we don't feel like doing sometimes! I'm so proud of you for listening to His voice!

mandyBH said...

:D I've so been there with you- and what's funny is that God works so amazingly- when we give Him our dreams, sometimes He gives us the very thing we desired in the first place, it's just that it's so much sweeter when we don't desire it anymore- when we only want Him. We are sooo blessed! I pray that God's hand will be clear in your life as you go about your house hunting! much love sweet sister!

mandyBH said...

Sure I remember you! :D thank you for your encouragement- such good words! thank you! It is like an ebb and flow of getting distracted and pulling back in. God is so merciful to show me that things aren't bad- I love what you said He gives them to us- and that we are supposed to reflect on the giver, not the gift! how wise are those words! Thank you for sharing and encouraging me- I keep praying that I will keep my eyes on Him, and that He will bring glory to Himself through whatever I do in my home and in my heart. thank you so much again for your sweet words.

Robolady said...

Hi, do you remember me, we've met and I've seen your home. Don't beat yourself up. Does an artist beat themselves up when they paint a beautiful picture? No the artist with God in his heart will praise God for giving him the talent to paint the beautiful picture. When you realize that all gifts are from God you glorify him and therefore you are glorifying him through your home, your children your blog etc. He gave you the beautiful gift of your home as a canvas and wants you to enjoy it as you want your children to enjoy what you provide for them. The fact that you take time to reflect on the giver is, in my opinion, what he wants. We all fall into the trap of "things", I believe it is in our nature and a survival tool. But as Christians we will step back from time to time and reassess what is important. That takes us stepping out of our nature which is God working and shaping us. You are doing exactly what you should be doing, don't beat yourself up. I worked myself up into a full fledged depression over this issue once upon a time and hate to see anyone else feeling "guilt" over being given gifts from God. Praise him in all things, live with a thankful heart, reassess your priorities from time to time, and I think He will smile upon you.

mandyBH said...

Amen, sister! :D We have one waiting for us far better than we could imagine, don't we? It puts all these worldly ones to shame! :D

mandyBH said...

Oh praise God!! He is worthy! Godly contentment is such a precious thing, and He has blessed you with it sweet sister!! yay!!!!

mandyBH said...

Oh, how funny! Well thank you for your moment of sadness! :P

I love love love hearing stories of how God provided!! ahhhhh! Thank you for your sweet words! I hope to see you soon!!

mandyBH said...

I ask myself those very same questions!! doesn't it feel like a burden on your shoulders sometimes? Stuff seems so heavy, and leaving it behind is sooo freeing, isn't it? oh the Holy Spirit is so good to us to share these things with our hearts!! Praise God that He could use our weaknesses to show His mighty strength and sovereignty! He is so, so ALIVE!!! and in our hearts, isn't he? It's incredible how His timing works and how much He loves us! Oh praise God for working in our lives! :D eeeeek! I love hearing stories like yours!! It gives me chill bumps! Much love to you sister!

Kimberly Dial said...

I love this post ... such wisdom ... thanks for sharing it. :)

Frogkb said...

I REALLY needed to hear this - 20 minutes ago I was complaining under my breathe how small my house is and how sufficated I feel! Thank you!!

Kathrine Landau said...

Your family is so blessed, Mandy. Your family was able to live in a stunning house with a size of 1,500 sq.m. that includes 4 rooms in it. Then, when you decided to sell it, you were able to buy a new home, which happened to be your dream house! Things have a way of really working out for the best and sometimes, in the most mystifying ways.


mandyBH said...

:D my house is not either! I know what you mean, for sure! :D Thank you Jesus for our big old homes!! :D

{darlene} said...

You cannot imagine how I relate to every word you said. My story is the same as yours, and this historic home of mine can so easily become an idol and a chain because it requires so much. Our list of to-do projects sits in my head like a heavy weight. But then there is God. He keeps me straight and reminds me what matters so that I don't get tangled up in the web of it all. It is a regular struggle, but He points me over and over again to the truth. Thank you for this amazing post, Mandy.

lenabean said...

I really like this post, I've been reading your blog and I really connect with it- which is funny because I'm actually a Buddhist and not a Christian. But I think you write in a way that is so accessible, and so many of these key ideas between religions are actually the same. I very much enjoy my apartment living and minimalist life, for me it is freedom! (Though my house plants are slightly overtaking my living room- advice? I have very tall ceilings that could be utilized!) Love the blog!

Crafty Mama said...

This is the issue I had when we moved out of a tiny basement apartment to a huge, old home with way more bedrooms than we needed. The extra space was great for all of our junk, but since we had so much space, we kept collecting even more junk. I don't know if we use even a quarter of our possessions! And the house is certainly never spic 'n' span. I thank God all the time for His blessings. However, I certainly would be happy with a smaller house, too. Or at least one that's more organized!!

Nicole said...

Thank you for your post. Decorating my house is my creative outlet. In my mind, the decorating is complete. But I could go on and on and spend a fortune bringing that vision to life. Today I said a prayer asking for help in being content with the way my house currently is. What a gift from God that I found your post this afternoon. I love when my prayers are answered in such tangible ways:-)

fe enriquez said...

moves me into tears.

mandyBH said...

thank you for sharing your story, Darlene! Oh, it's so funny how He does that for us, isn't it? He takes our blessings and turns our view of them upside down and it makes us need Him more, and helps us love them less. I love that He gives us so much grace- because it is so hard, especially when you feel this natural desire to design and make things flow, you know? :) It seems like such a hard, delicate balance of using His gifts {for His glory even here on blogs} but not idolizing them...Oh, I'm so glad I'm not alone! We are old house sisters! heeehee! I can't wait to meet you! :D eek! much love to you!

mandyBH said...

Oh, thank you Jesus! I'm so glad that He used it in your life! WOW! :D thank you for sharing Nicole!

Stacey said...

Good reminder :) We have three kiddos and are expecting our fourth... and we live in an 1120 square foot house. My dream house is pretty much everything that you described yours to be. I do have that conviction though, that more will not necessarily be better, and that God requires us to give out of our abundance. So I just think that it's a dream that will never be fulfilled here on earth. Maybe my mansion in heaven will be my dream home :) I just can't justify the extra spending here on earth.

Katelyn said...

thank you so much for this, our sermon today was over this very topic Being Content in a Dissatisfied World, and this is one area that I struggle in. Thank you for your honesty.

Kelly said...

So well said, and I can completely understand your perspective. God blessed us similarly, down to the beautiful Red Bud tree towering over our new home's deck, replacing the one I mourned leaving at our last home. (Had been a Mother's Day gift). He loves us so much, and I love how He plants and fulfills the desires of our hearts.

I try so hard to keep my focus on the family and not the things, which can be a challenge for this interior designer and Mommy. Recently, I called to price a security system, and the operator kept talking about the "things" we needed to safeguard, our t.v.'s and computers. I finally stopped her and told her the only thing, and I mean only thing, I care about in this house, is my children. Thieves could have everything else. I was so thankful for that moment of clarity, and the reminder that all things here are temporal. We have so much to look forward to!

mandyBH said...

We do, don't we? It's going to be so much better than this! :D

Angie said...

I truly enjoyed {& needed to read} this blog today! I'm also sharing it with a friend.

jasonandanita said...

So so true! I struggle with the same things. We were obedient four years ago, and God blessed with a four hour move away from all we knew into a beautiful home in the country. But with that does come more "brain and heart" space for this home and the "treasures" it holds. How wonderful would it feel to sell everything and float away with our family of six and home school and live life for God? This is such a true and honest post. Thank you for sharing your heart. Our God is soo good, and He is just soo magnificent and awesome that my brain hurts just TRYING to figure out all the things he does and the meaning. One day, I will sit in heaven and ask all these things... but really I probably won't care at that point.. because my heart will be so full of love and I am sure all I will be able to do is smile! Thanks again for sharing ;)

mandyBH said...

oh that glorious day! I can't wait! :D

Katejo7 said...

I very much needed this. Beautifully written, thank you.

Mary @ Finding Healthy Hope said...

oh! how i wish we could chat over this with some coffee!
i have the GREATEST story of losing what we thought was our dream home{God took it away} and gaining our perfect home{the one HE plopped in our laps}.
it still humbles me every time i think about it.
my perspective on homes was so wrong until he stripped everything away and gave us just what i thought i didn't like, and i LOVE it. :)
He is so good and there's no better feeling than knowing we are right where He wants us!
muah!
xoxo

mandyBH said...

okay, we need to agree to move to the middle of us. Because we need to be neighbors! Are you going to Allume? :D {hopeful}

Anonymous said...

I live in a small home and it's not freeing at all- I have no place to put anything so I feel cluttered and stressed all the time. I feel like I can't breathe. We tried selling our house, but I guess God didn't want that for us. So, I'm just sitting here waiting, doing the best I can to organize and put things away in places I don't have. Sorry, I'm feeling really frustrated tonight. (lately) Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

What you say is true and biblical, but it doesn't make it any easier. Waiting and being patient is so hard. My husband is a European and after we got married we moved to his country (the most expensive country in Europe). We both have good jobs with good salaries, but we can't afford our dream- a house (big, small, doesn't matter!). Instead we lose money month after month on rent. Last week, we finally found a small little home that needed a lot of love and it got snatched from us. I'm so heartbroken. I hope this will all make sense one day.

Desiree said...

I love this so much. Its focus on eternity is so right on, and you did a great job unveiling the problems of consumerism and placing our affections upon things that won't go with us into eternity. Well done.

Anonymous said...

As a devout Christian I love Jesus, God Almighty with all my soul and heart. I truly take him at his word and I stand on his promise. I also know and serve a god that has all power and blessings in his hands. No knows what god has promised one of his children. I live in an apartment that has wonderful neighbors,decent community and access to get to the beach in Los Angeles. I have to child and I pray to god to bless me with a home for me and my children. I have lived in apartment to apartments for a very long time, I am blessed to not be homeless. I want to give my babies a home and their. Own room, a backyard and more freedom to just be. I was blessed with an older car in which took me and my kids a lot of places, I am so thankful to Jesus for blessings us so amazingly! my car is no longer working and I invested a lot of money in that car. Now I walk and catch the bus. Not acting like an ungrateful brat, I asked the Lord to bless me with a car that I have that is not always used, old and breaks down or stops working. I am a single mom who just wants a better life for me and my children. I am not asking to be a billionaire just the simple things every parent. Wants for their children.

,

Cheryl Z said...

We did the same thing! We lived in a tiny 960 sq.ft. home with 4 children. Super tight - stuff against every wall. Then God blessed us with a 100-year-old farmhouse that was bigger than anything I'd ever hoped to own! And for the same price as the tiny house we sold. Four bedrooms, living room, den, kitchen, dining room, 2 full baths, enclosed front AND back porches, walk-up attic (which we've finished to accommodate the next 4 children we had after moving here) and a full basement. Three car garage and 1.65 acres of land! Our paradise on earth! We had so much space and I remember saying to my mother-in-law that if we fill this place up there's a problem. It took only 4 years for the problem to surface! As you said, more space = more stuff, more cleaning, more clutter, more time to tend, more repairs. When it's time to clean I really, really miss my little house that would fit on my first floor! After almost 15 years here I'm about ready to downsize ;) But I remember that God blessed us with this house and I need to enjoy it while I have it, because one day I'll probably be somewhere else wishing I was back here ;) Oh, human nature!

Heather said...

Our little family of four has experienced the joy (although it was hard to see at the time) of being downsized. First the job and after the job didn't come for 2 years the home had to be downsized along with everything in it. We sold things throughout the two years while staying in our large comfortable although rented home. I had brought so many "things" from a previous dream home when I joined my husband 7 yrs ago. Each and every time I gave away or sold an item I had i felt lighter. We kept up until my husband got a job. It was 3 hours from where we were living and only for half the year. So we decided to be apart for part of it so the children could finish out their school year. He went to a tiny shared basement suite with strangers in the new town and we went to a tiny 1 bedroom basement suite near our school so he could take our one car. We took bare minimum items to the suite and the rest went into storage. If we couldn't fit it all in it went to the dump or the donation. My husband felt the joy of getting rid of so many things. Me and the little ones (6 and 4) shared a room for 10 weeks. Very cozy! And for the summer months we took a "vacation" together. We lived together again but in a college residence hall with 2 double beds. But it was together and across the street from my husbands work. He no longer had to drive 4 hours one way to see us for the weekend. And he no longer had to share a suite with strangers. When the contract finished and another was not available we moved back to where we had been but to a small 2 bedroom ground level suite. And I am really enjoying it! It is all about perspective. This place is half the size of the home we rented but twice as nice and big as the suites we lived in prior to moving here. Only one bathroom to clean, Yeah! And it has a dishwasher and our own laundry. Enough space for the stuff we still have. And I have more time and energy to spend with my children and with all this tribulation I have felt the desire to seek the Lord. My husband has found the Lord a huge comfort during his time away from us. He is working away from us still. I am grateful everyday for the change in perspective. I have all I need. Love, a roof over our heads, food more than enough everyday, and reliable transportation. Therefore I am truly blessed.

Anonymous said...

Everything you said about this is true!! We moved from a small double wide to the historic home of my dreams for a wonderful price. God said to fill the home with love, laughter and lots of fellowship. With our "open door" policy, we have done just that, but indeed, large homes are filled with the never ending tasks of cleaning that beautifully detailed woodwork and the corners of the 12 ft high ceilings. Am I thankful? OF COURSE! But I will also very much enjoy the day when we downsize in our empty-nest years and relish the free time I will have from being released from the role of "dream home" keeper. There are pros and cons to big and small homes and it's very important to appreciate them both wherever God has placed you for the season in your life. My hats off to a wonderfully written blog that reminds us to keep it all in perspective.

happyhome said...

Thank you for the reminder. We gave up a lovely home and salary to leave the corporate world for a ministry position. Everyone said, "That's awesome! We're so excited for the opportunities the Lord is giving you!" I would smile and nod in agreement, all the while crying inside at what I felt we were giving up. The Lord has been gracious and patient with me over the last year, showing me I had a tighter hold on "things" than I ever thought. Learning life lessons from a loving God.

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this today. I love how perfect the Lord's timing is. Thank you for sharing and being so honest.

Amy said...

Wow! I truly believe God lead me to this specific blog. Ive been constantly torn between what God has so graciously given me and what Satan wants me to desire. Up untill now I wondered if I was the only one who felt this way( constantly torn). Like you I love to redecorate , redo, repurpose, and resell items but lately I have had to put much of that aside ( having my 4th child and my oldest , whom is autistic, struggling in school) . What you've said has touched not only my heart but my mind and it's focus. You are so right in saying the more we have the less we concentrate on God. Thank you ! You inspire me to build a better relationship with God !

Veronica Watson said...

This really blessed me today. My family and I live in an apartment. We been living in this complex for 7 years. Its a 3 bedroom apt with two bathrooms. We have two girls so everyone has their own room . I always thought of my "dream home" but today my view has changed because of you. Thank you :)

Carla said...

It is no random act that you reposted this to facebook today. This is exactly what God wanted me to hear today. Thank you so much for letting Him speak through you directly to my heart. Truly, thank you.

Lacey said...

Well said. God has a plan and purpose for each of us where we are! Contentment brings comfort and peace. :)

Spring Davison said...

thank you for sharing your heart.. i too long for a dream home, but i know that with it would come a price... less time to spend with my girls... i am learning to be content where i am !!! So grateful to our Saviour for His Holy Spirit and wisdom!!

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this. Currently my children and I are living with family and my mind is constantly being held hostage by thoughts of a home. Not even a "dream" home, just a home of my own for my children's sake. Been here over a year, and I still pray every day that God will work a miracle and give us a home of our own.

Sabel Sisney said...

I surely needed to hear this today. My husband and I have lived with my in-laws for almost 3 and a half years now. We have a 2 yr old daughter. My husband got out of the military and went back to school to get his bachelors. He graduated and it took him about 6 mo's to find a job. Once he found a job, we started house hunting. We found the home for us and we had them starting building. Then about a month and a half later he got laid off. So then we were wondering just how we were going to pay for it. But we have fasted, prayed and trusted God this far. In the past I have been so selfish to the point where I would say I almost worshipped my things. We had all of our things in storage and a couple needed furniture bad. They were literally using lawn furniture in their living room. I knew God wanted me to give our couch to them but I was so angry and upset that he wanted me to give it away. Once I came to a place of understanding and also still a little uncertainty, I knew I had to give the couch away. It was the most freeing thing i've ever done. After that I try to pray and keep myself in check with God to make sure i'm not giving things a place in my heart that shouldn't be so. In saying all of this, I believe all will work out with our home and my husband will have the job that will pay our bills. But I trust God no matter the situation, no matter whether it looks good or bad to anyone on the outside. I know that God works all things for the good and I trust him that he has already gone before us and cleared a path for us regardless of the direction.

Naoni said...

Wow this is so very very true. Earlier this year we sold our "dream home" of 5,000 square feet and bought 1/2 the size. I love so many things about it. It cleans so much faster. We went from 6 toilets to 2 to give you an idea. We'd like a little bigger but not back to 5,000. But for now I live that my family is closer together because we are not spread out all over. I like the payment I like the less burden in many ways. It has been a serious adjustment getting rid if things we don't truly need. And it has been such a blessing to be able to walk away from the dream home. It took over a year to come to terms with it but we have been blessed and a little of me feels like there will come a time again in my life when The Lord will need me to give something up again and I feel like this has helped prepare me for that. Thank you for such a wonderful post

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing --- yes, this is a very beautifully written blog, yes, the points are excellent, but to say "Don't long for the dream home, but please excuse me, while I'm in mine" is a little hurtful, to those who are are not in theirs. I joke with people there are seven of us "in a shoebox" -- yet this is the portion the Lord has served me, so in this state, by the grace of God I will be content... it just kind of felt like - "Don't wish for a spouse, they aren't all they are cracked up to be" while you are laying in bed going to sleep next to your husband.

Anonymous said...

Last spring my husband and I decided to sell our 2,000 square foot 3br house and look for something bigger. we have four kids and we are cramped! so we put our house on the market, then took it off when our fourth baby came two months early. we decided we were going to be content with what we had for right now. Then out of the blue, A friend called us and offered us a house (3500 square feet, 5 br, 3 baths, in ground pool, HUGE master suite) for a ridiculous price. Our dream home right? of course! so we told them we would buy it and I set my heart on this house...I could not wait to get in this house and out of my current home! Over the summer God totally changed our plans when he called us back into full time ministry, which includes living in house smaller then the one we are living in now and giving up the dream house we were getting ready to buy. I still struggle with this when I think about moving into a smaller house and leaving the big house behind...totally living off faith because we will be missionaries instead of living off of a pretty good salary from my husband's construction business...which we will also leave behind. SO, yes, we are trading it in. and its tough. worth it, but tough nonetheless. Satan knows my weaknesses and he keeps bringing these things to the forefront of my mind. Thank you for the reminder to stay focused on what really matters.
Scarlett

Anonymous said...

Wow this is exactly what our family is going through right this very moment....we are selling our large 3 bedroom home , feeling led by of the Lord to be completely debt free. We too also feel the Lord is leading or 3 person family into ministry in which we need to be free of this burden. We plan on renting a two bedroom and put hubby through Bible college. We have already put the house on the market and given away many items. It is so freeing to do so and to live more simpy. We felt like in so many ways that our house (even though we've really enjoyed it) has been a trap for us...The work that it takes to maintain it and the financial burden also. Your article was almost like reading our own story. Thank you for putting it into words what we feel. I too have been struggling with the whole dream home stuff and realized that truly there is one waitng in out eternal home. We want to spend our energy on the eternal. We want to see souls won for Christ!! We are now in a waiting stage... waitning on the Lord to see what he is going to do. It's exciting, scary and quite an adventure. thanks again :)

Jayma D said...

It's kind of crazy how much I relate to this post! My husband and I were given the gift from God this past Fall to build our dream home.... and to this very day, I do shed tears of joy over how amazing God is! Thank you for sharing!!!! :) You are such a beautiful woman of God - I pray there are countless more women with your heart. :)

Many Blessings.... Jayma

http://adiamondintheroughministries.blogspot.com

DanielleB said...

I have never lived in a large home....most of my married life we were blessed to have 1200 sq ft. I had 8 children. We homeschooled. So there was always someone there. Always. I look back now and am amazed how we arranged the children in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home. Our dining room.was also our school room. We had like 10 full size bookcases scattered throughout the house...always....and its amazing now I live in a 1400 sq ft house with hubby and 3 children and its almost too much room. But I have learned over the years that things are just that, things....there is very little in my house right now that I would fight to keep....(well maybe the teaset that my dad brought back from Japan after WW2).

The Rogersuz said...

Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I and our two kids are moving from the midwest to Denver, CO and my heart has had a heart time seeing that house prices are at least triple there than they are in the midwest. We have a small house here and I have been "dreaming" of a bigger house. Wow, this post really hit home for me today!

Gina Mercier said...

Mandy... God brought me here last night (on a link through Facebook), and I've read it twice since then. I truly know how blessed my husband and I are, and we take time to lift praises to God every day, for all of it. But we are both guilty of getting caught up in the thorns - guilt of envy. So, thank you (from the bottom of my heart) for taking the time to write this blog and share with us, not only your faith, and this scripture - but also your beautiful journey with Jesus. This blog is a ministry in and of itself! Be encouraged. God is using your writing in ways you may not even realize.... thank you for your obedience to God, in taking the time to reach out with your story, along the path of your very busy life!

Anonymous said...

But WHO could actually say knowingly, "Don't wish for a spouse, they aren't all they are cracked up to be" than someone who HAS a spouse. or in this case, a bigger house?!? We can trust what she is saying because she has been there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, it was written wonderfully and is something that is near and dear to me. Though I would have to agree with another person who posted earlier that it is easier to say this after you have been blessed with your wonderful home and I mean no offense by this. I think this is something that many women struggle with and I feel the longing of their hearts for their "dream home". A husband and four kids later, we were bursting at the seams in our house. The layout, the wonderful before kids, was simply a dysfunctional layout once the kids arrived, among many other issues with our home. I have longed for a slightly bigger and better layout for our dream home...it has taken us almost 7 years and some major heartache in the process, but we finally found it this past month. Though God has opened my eyes and heart to compromise, and I had to let go of some key things that I had always wanted for our "dream home", I feel that God has led us the home he wants us in. A home, that though not perfect, will allow us to have more room to have friends and family over, to have bible studies, to have room to open up our house to guests from church and so on. I've had a lot of people over the years tell us that our expectations are to high, that we should be thankful for what we have and some other hurtful advice/comments. But for me, as a woman, wife & mom, I wanted my home to be comfortable, yes, nice too, but I wanted it to be a welcome haven for my family and those we love and even a place where my kids' friends will feel welcomed. Yes, bigger homes come with a price and tie you down even more, but I don't think we should have to let go of having the dream home. I think the key is to balance everything if you are going to move into a bigger home. Set ground rules for buying things for your home, budgeting, etc. and mainly, keeping in the Word and praying to see how God can use your home to bless others.

Danielle said...

Currently my husband and I are struggling with debt from our wedding, college and tools for apprenticeship. We have been so blessed to finally have a job. We have been living in a one bedroom apartment with our one year old daughter and I have been telling myself for the last 2 1/2 years that if only we had a house it would be easier, better, more space, cleaner, more organized… etc. I have been feeling God telling me to be content in my circumstances so this was definitely confirmation. Thank you. I can do all those things in our tiny little home that we are blessed with.

noelle muthard said...

But in the Bible it says God wants us to prosper and I feel if he wants the best for us then there is nothing wrong with having a big home! You don't need to clean your home everyday and you can pray and talk to God while you're cleaning!! We only get one chance at life on this earth and I will continue to pray to him for my dream home because I would love to live in a kingdom on earth til I get to his kingdom.
I don't agree with this post and I hope most don't take it to heart and give up on their dreams!!!! There are 24 hours in a day and that's enough to pray and maintain a home!

Nicole Washington said...

I just read this post and it's awesome. The heart behind it is having a heart devoted to God alone, not being double minded and start to idolize your "dream house" thinking life will be better when you get it. Seeking the Kingdom of God first is what we are called to do and He'll add the rest. Scripture constantly reminds us to not seek after money, riches and the like. It only leads to destruction, hence the rich boy Christ encountered who did all the "law" abiding check list things to do but had no true heart to follow God. It's about living like Paul said being content in ANYTHING big or small. Great blog, I was on here to get tips on how to become a better homemaker and saw this article which was a specific prayer I had with God today about being content. Like so many other responses here, we are a large family (6 kids- two in college, 4 home) but we live in a 3 bedroom. Sometimes it's REALLY easy to live in discontentment but that's not the life God said we should live. So thanks for this post and blog- AWESOMENESS!

Cathy said...

Not trying to be rude, but, it's easy to tell others to let go of their dream home while you are living in yours. And, it's easier to make a larger home look better and keep it cleaner than rearranging piles because you have no closet or storage space in a house too small. Your post only made me feel worse about the dump I live in which is in a bad area that I've had to contend with for 18 years. I've prayed for God to move me, I've prayed for him to help me like this dump, so again, your post only made me think, "what's wrong with me God, why don't you answer my prayers like you did her's After almost two decades it's hard to fight the bitterness.

Cathy said...

Thank you, Noelle, it hurt me to read this post for I live in an ugly house in a bad area. It's easy to say it's no big deal like she did when she's living in her dream house...

Wendy said...

I lived in my dream home for 8 years with my husband and three children before losing it to foreclosure. Everything you said in this piece is true. I was beyond thankful for our home and blessings, but it consumed my time, time I had promised to my children by living my life as a stay at home mommy. Don't get me wrong, I did and still do spend great, real quality time with them, but when I look back at all the cleaning and organizing and reorganizing I did, I regret it. It has been hard to lose the home. An emotional roller coaster. After moving 3 times now, God has shown me that my security is ONLY in Him. Not in my home. My family is even closer because of the trials. Satan was not able to tear us apart because of the loss. And as crazy as it is, well, we are now building tiny homes and about to be living a BIG life in a small footprint! God shows us the better way no matter what it takes. Be thankful. Be content. It's easy to say now, but I wish we had stayed in our first home together. Tiny little house with a tiny little mortgage to boot!! Live and learn and keep on trusting no matter what though, that 's what we have to do!!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been living in an attic one bedroom apartment for the past five years. I can't tell you how much I have prayed for a bigger home, bigger kitchen etc. God has been showing me through some of those scriptures you mentioned, but I didn't want to see it this way. Thank you for sharing your experience. I do want time to be in God's presence more than anything else right now. I guess I am still here for a reason. Thank you again and I will pray that God grants you the grace to overcome all temptations in Jesus name.

Anonymous said...

I really needed to hear/read this.
Thank you!

Mary said...

Wow, I came across this on accident. It is exactly what God is teaching us. Right now we are selling our house to move to where God is calling. After 8 years as a home owner, I'm ready to be a tenant. Makes life so much easier! Thanks for the encouragement!