I wrote some months ago about our decision to sell the dream house (“the New Old House“) we built in Indiana in order to spend our summers on the beach in Michigan and the rest of the year in North Carolina near family. For reasons that I guess you will just have to trust me on, we also felt that we were walking in God’s will for our family to make this move. It was a path He slowly revealed to us over the first 8 years of our marriage. Yes, this means 2 houses (although one a very modest summer cottage)-2 towns, 2 churches, 2 sets of friends, 2 sets of doctors, 2 sets of silverware, 2 of well, everything. If reading that last sentence makes you want to take a two hour nap, I am with you.
We sold our New Old House in Indiana almost 2 years ago and we have been on this crazy journey trying to put down roots in 2 brand new areas ever since. Now with a 2 year-old and a 2nd baby on the way, we are starting our search for that 2nd house in North Carolina (to partner with our Michigan beach cottage). We are exhausted. Times 2!
This may be a weird post. I feel like I can’t write about where my heart is right now without telling you geographically where we are and a little bit about this journey. Stick with me for a bit?
When we sold the New Old house in Indianapolis, we rented a house, also in Indianapolis, for almost a year and saved money like crazy people. We paid $500 a month in rent and that included utilities. It was a God-given opportunity, right down to the kitchen window. Friends and family may have thought we were insane. Dave Ramsey would have been mighty proud. I believe that Jesus was. I believe that He cares about the tiny details and that He showed up, right there in my pea-sized kitchen to say, “yes, beloved, you are in the right place.”
It was a big life style change for us. The house was about 1/4 the size of what we had been living in (we sold probably 70% of our furniture and possessions before moving because they weren’t really worth enough to pay for moving, a storage facility for 12 months, then moving again). I traded my prized 36″ professional grade range for a kitchen the size of a shoebox that didn’t have a garbage disposal. I won’t lie, there were times when it was hard but for the most part I was busy being a new mom and excited about the future and looking back we have a LOT of wonderful memories from that year of renting. We knew that God was with us.
When we sold the New Old House, Mr. Marvelous had a job as an engineer with a production company in Indianapolis. Of course to achieve our dream of living in North Carolina with summers in Michigan, he was going to need a job where he could work entirely from home. We had no idea what that would look like. We would lay awake at night and toss ideas around in the dark. We prayed together. Call it blind faith but we just knew that something would happen and that God would open doors. He did. Six months into our year of renting in Indianapolis, Mr. Marvelous started a new job that was entirely home-based. He worked both jobs for several months. It was HARD. He would be gone all day at his “regular” job and then he would come home and shut himself in his office to learn and work his new home-based position. I was at home all day with Wynn, then a baby, and it was super hard to not have my husband’s company or help during those evenings. I think I worked as hard as he did. Maybe harder. We both worked and prayed and sacrificed.
After a year in the Indianapolis rental (that would be last summer), we felt comfortable moving forward, literally, on the next step of our journey. Mr. Marvelous quit his full-time engineering job in Indianapolis (where he had been for 8 years, had a very comfortable salary, 401(k) with company match . . . in other words, BIG GULP!!!!) This step was a huge leap of faith. About a week before he gave his notice, we watched the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, where Will Smith’s character isn’t able to get his pre-school aged son into a homeless shelter and they end up spending the night on the floor of a bathroom in a subway station. I cried along with the poor father in that movie and told my husband that maybe we were making a huge mistake!!?? Of course, we did press forward but the fear was real and we fought through it.
It would have made logical sense to buy a “year around” house in North Carolina before buying a summer vacation house in Michigan, but the beach cottage was so affordable that it actually cost a good deal less to buy than to rent near the beach for 6 weeks. In fact it cost less than than continuing to rent for $500 a month in Indianapolis, if that tells you something! Also, this allowed us to take on a tiny mortgage with a new job and salary. So we bought the beach cottage and left Indianapolis last July, headed to Michigan and started renovating and playing on the beach. It really was a dream come true. Although to be honest, we were broke. Tan, but broke.
Eight months later and blessedly financially secure, we are in the final stage of this journey of ours and ready to search for a “year around” house in North Carolina. We left our Michigan beach cottage two weeks ago and drove to NC. We are renting yet another house for a few months while we house hunt and, once again, get our bearings.
I’ll be honest with you. I am bone-tired. Pregnant and emotional. I am lonely and miss having friends. Like with every other step in this long 2 year journey, I am questioning what the heck we are doing. Our first night in our rental house in North Carolina (that would be a few days ago), I was homesick. For which home, I couldn’t really tell you. Wynn was asking over and over to “go home” and I swallowed down the lump that threatened to form in my throat and told him over and over in my most assuring and soothing voice, “we are home, my darling.” Yes, sometimes I question why we are doing what we are doing. But then I remember why. Jesus stood on top of the water and reached out His hand and invited me to get out of the boat. The boat was secure, normal, full of other peers. It felt safe. But I didn’t want to settle for safe. I fell in love with a Savior who whispered sweetness in my ear and I wanted to go with Him and know what it is like to walk on water.
I didn’t want to just live life, but live it to the full.
I love reading your posts, you are such an eloquent writer. Feeling lonely and lost is one of the worst feelings to have, but I know that you will feel the love of new friends (very soon) and find your way in each new town. I truly admire your lifestyle. You set out on an unknown journey that so many of us could only talk about, but never be brave enough to do. You are living your life instead of letting your life live you. Jessica
I should really comment here more often. I meant to on your baby announcement, so a belated “Congratulations” And I wanted to say that one of things I greatly appreciate about your blog is that you include a great balance of diy-ing and decorating with a sincere love for the Savior and desire to do His will. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. I agree that “relationship” is what following God’s will is about. I think He’s more concerned with a relationship with us, then he is about our comfort or the “end result.” But He loves us and pursues us with an everlasting love, too!
Dearest Erin, As I read your story I was touched. I am a grandmother to nine, but I remember well being a mother to two and those times in new places with new faces. It is hard and can be lonely, but He is there with His promise to give us strength for the labor and help for the way. I am so glad that you choose to trust Him, even when, especially when, your soul could easily yield to the circumstances and grumble. James tells us to pray when we suffer and sing praises when we are happy. James 5:13 Isn’t the Lord good to instruct us? I am praying for you and your family. Blessings. Joy
Just in time.
I haven’t the words to share that would be half as meaningful as your post. Your post ( and you) are a blessing in my life. XXX
Many things in this post spoke deeply to me. Thank you!
Thank you so much for this post. I always love reading your blog and I really love the way you write. This post really spoke to me today and I really needed to hear it (as I’m sure God knew!) I’m having similar feelings like you, only mine are related to leaving my old, very predictable, comfortable, safe job, and stepping out of the boat to go back to school for something that I felt God was calling me to do for the community. But I have two kids in tow and it is hard. Really hard. I very often doubt myself along the way and often ask “what the heck am I doing?” But just when I think I am stuck, God always finds a way for things to work out. This past week was extra hard with two very sick kids, an ER visit, and a really demanding exam schedule at school to round it out… and I was tired, exhausted, and really doubting I could go on. Last night as my anxiety crept up, it suddenly popped into my mind that I was doing this as a calling and I heard God reminding me… “I will get you through. That is all you need. Have faith and trust Me” To read your post was the reassurance I needed. I know God will get me through, even when things are hard. And thank you for the reminder to keep my communication with him going… I know that he will guide me and keep pushing me to “live life to the full.” Thank you!
Thank you! I really need it this tonight. My husband and I are also going through a journey and we never quite know how we got there and what the plan is for us and our three kids. This tonight has given me hope, THANK YOU!
You prayed that your journey would matter to someone and I wanted to say that it absolutely mattered to me. My husband and I know that God is calling us to move our family right now. My family, our friends, and our church are here so it is SO hard to imagine leaving them…but we have never felt His call this strongly. I’ve been in prayer a lot lately and diving into God’s word and it’s amazing all of the promises He gives when it comes to following Him. We are having a particularly hard time with my family, who don’t understand the importance of following God’s call, especially when it seems a bit “nuts” and your post was just the encouragement I had prayed for. I never comment, but I felt that it was important to say thank you for writing what God laid on your heart. I know moving can be so trying, but I am so happy to hear that you have followed God and are reaping the blessings because of it. Congratulations on baby #2! 🙂
P.S. You are my inspiration now that we are leaving the home we owned for the past two years for a rental. I have loved how you made your rental a home and I so desire to do the same for my family. Love all of the ideas you have given!
Beautiful! Thank you for writing that. It is just what I needed to hear this morning.
I hope you regain your energy. Baby #2 can take it out of you quickly.
I’ve loved walking with you on this journey. It is an encouragement to hear how He has led and is leading you!
I’m so sorry that you are feeling lonely and homesick.
That can be such an overwhelming feeling..praying that this morning you feel refreshed and ready for your new day…trusting that his mercies will be new for you today.
I needed this post…it was packed full of faith.
We are 6 months into renting, and I’m soooo ready for a house of our own. We are literally bathing our next home purchase in prayer.
We want it to be the house HE has for us. It’s way too easy to look around at what everyone else is living in and then base your decision on what they have chosen.
I will pray for you both as you search for your NC house….He will lead you to it. And, I know that He will lead us to our home, too.
I love your journey!!!
I can definitely relate to the “still, small voice”, you are talking about. My Savior’s voice. Unfortunately, my husband and I did not pray about our move before we left the province (State for you)we were living in, where our daughter, after almost 10 years of praying, was conceived and born. A job became available in our home province, in our hometown, and we bolted. And, yet, during the last vacation we had had, while living in that province, we had driven to our home province, while I was 6 months pregnant. While driving back to the other province, I felt like I was going home. How weird is that?! It wasn’t even my home province. We have paid for it since! We were just starting to making connections in the other province, and we left, with a 2 month old child, back to our hometown. And, unfortunately all of our “friends”, had moved on with life. We have had to basically start over. The good news is we found a terrific church, and we are starting to make some new connections.
Bottom line is, be willing to be quiet, oh so quiet, and listen, really listen to God’s voice. He will tell you, it may be a “feeling”, “circumstances”, something. But, listen to it. I have called it my “gut” feeling… to put it into a “language” others can relate to. Listen, just listen.
Thank you for sharing. I very much needed this reminder!
I know it must be hard but following God isn’t always easy, is it? Prayers for you to find a home quickly and get settled. 🙂
it spoke to me. thank you
such a personal post, but so relate-able too. We’ve watched that movie too, and when things get really overwhelming around here with projects and uncertainty sometimes we tell each other, “I’m feeling like The Pursuit of Happiness” and then the other knows that we really need to take a step back, recharge and take it one step at a time.
A very thought-provoking read for me. Some of your scripture references spoke to me deeply, as my husband and I are trying to figure out what God wants us to do, and where He wants us to go. With two little ones and expecting our third, I’m having trouble agreeing with God’s prompting. Thank-you for sharing your struggles, and giving me hope as we continue to forge ahead.
Erin, thank you for sharing your story. We are at the beginning of a new journey as well…one we are walking with our oldest child. She is in the first stages of testing for a stomach ailment, and the initial reaction by her doctors was possibly cancer given her symptoms. We are getting through this with God by our side, and knowing when scared we can call out to Him and He is right there.
Very brave of you, and what a story of stepping out in faith!
Rest assured..it matters…to me!! I love your blog posts, you are so great at getting his word out!
Keep on keeping on! We are called to walk by faith and not by sight. It always encourages me to think about some of the examples in the Bible and what they endured… Noah (how could he feel at home in a wicked culture), Abraham and Sarah living out of a tent without a home, Joseph, Ruth, Daniel as a boy in Babylon, Mary watching her Son suffer. As the old hymn says, this world is not our home, we’re just a passing through. I’ve enjoyed your blog as a mom of 3, 3 yr and under living on a shoestring in a tiny cottage after leaving corporate life to be home – and my husband started his own biz to be home too. SO worth it to store up treasures in heaven! You are modeling a walk of faith and obedience for your little boy – especially when it’s hard.
Following your blog over the past two years have been a source of endless joy and inspiration for me. I absolutely love this one. At every juncture in your journey, from selling the New Old House to the Indiana rental to the Lake Michigan cottage, I have tip-toed along beside you (in my mind): crying the tears over leaving your 36″ range and the house of your dreams, the thrill of discovery of your rental’s kitchen window (with the Southern Living kitchen window crazy-insane similarities), the TAWANDA! moments in the beach cottage (when you busted into the ceiling while Mr. Marvelous was on a conference call). But with this post, I feel like you have allowed us to have a wide-angle view of your life and your incredible, beautiful story. Not an easy story. Not a story without sacrifices and “what in the world have we done?!” moments. But a story that will be etched in your heritage and will be a part of your family’s legacy for generations. You are building up your spiritual house.
Thanks for being so vulnerable to share with us all of the hard, behind-the-pretty-scenes stuff.
God is grinning at your obedience. I know it makes Him want to click His heels (in a holy way.)
Such a beautiful post. And I am feeling you completely. We are going through the selling, moving drama and it is very stressful. We really felt like God was telling us we needed to be in a different place, but it is not an easy move. We too are in NC. near Charlotte. I keep moving forward with what I feel God is saying for our family but everytime the road gets bumpy I question if I heard him right in the first place. It’s not an easy road for sure. Your plan sounds fabulous! So happy to hear it is coming together for you. Blessings,
Thank you for sharing! I’ve been walking a very different path as far as actual circumstances, but the timing is similar – two years.
That is approximately how long ago it was that my family signed papers to buy a country property and then began remodeling the shed/barn into a home. This is a very romantic idea in shelter magazines, but the reality was sometimes difficult. When the cold of winter hit, we hadn’t finished insulating the exterior walls, we had limited plumbing and no hot running water. Our main heat source was a tiny woodstove in a spacious, open house. We spent a lot of the winter huddled round it keeping warm! Come spring, a new chapter of our adventured faced us, the building we were remodeling was threatened by a mud slide and the family evacuated one cold, dark night. We returned the next day and moved everything out as quickly as possible and into storage.
I’ve been gone for a lot of it, but since our evacuation my family has been living with other family members, in a camp trailer & “well house,” and in a tiny cabin (at least it has indoor plumbing and hot running water!). It has been an interesting journey.
It may not seem like it, but God is working! No, I don’t understand everything he is doing, but I feel like I have learned a lot, that God has solidified things he was already showing me.
Honestly, I think it had to take something like this to move our family in a completely new direction. I don’t think moving to town was even considered an option, and yet it seems very clear that is where God is taking us. The journey isn’t over yet, but it looks like there might be light at the end of this tunnel.
God moves in mysterious ways. He doesn’t ask that we understand, he asks us to trust him.
Thank you for the encouragement of your journey of faith!
Thank you so very much for your words. They have encouraged me to follow His lead!
I do pray the yucky stage of pregnancy ends for you quickly. I have five children myself and always had such a difficult time the first few months. But in the end, as you know, it is so very very worth it!
I so appreciate not only your candor via this blog but also your love for the Lord. I find myself in tears everytime I read one of your posts (sometimes joyful tears and othertimes sad tears).
This post really spoke to me as I know what it means to move many times, this last time moving out of Country, now knowing exactly where everything would lead. I’ve often felt lonely here, especially while hubby and I lived apart for 18 months while he was getting his Masters Degree out of state. I had many heart-to-heart talks with God but He always knows what is best for us and leads us to what will make us stronger and what will allow us to give Him all the glory in the end.
Thank you for sharing yourself with us Erin! I pray you’ll have peace and rest in your new home very soon!
Your posts are always such a blessing to me. Thank you. Once again congratulations of the next baby. It can be hard to step out in faith, and their are times when we are discouraged, but our Savior has already fought the battles. You need to simply stand. Blessings.
I have been reading your blog all this time and I never knew the New Old House was in Indianapolis! I grew up there and my family is still there. I married a Virginia gentleman and live in Northern Virginia now.
Rest. You are in His hands. He has guided you here and He will not leave you.
We’re following a similar path to debt-free living, and will also have home in two places, one rented and one owned. Currently, I’m torn between the old life (pretty home, big debt) and the new life (rented home, someday home). The “signs” aren’t there, because “signs” often mean ease … and a mindset that it must be the right thing since its going so easily.
Taking this road isn’t the easy one in the short term. This path means delayed gratification, something hard to learn after giving up the easily obtained mortgaged pretty new home.
(I was also pregnant during part of this journey, and the lack of “home” makes that natural nesting seem lacking. I had to remind myself that Mary didn’t have any home to give birth in, so why did I deserve better than she had?)
I so enjoy your blog, Erin. You are a woman of faith – something I long to be. Keep believing and listening.
My dad always said, “Don’t doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light”. I have repeated this to myself many times over the years!!
I just discovered your blog, and appreciate your faith and thoughts about God. I love the way He guides His children. There is such security when we know Him, because we can really trust Him and find rest in Him each day, no matter what is going on around us. One of our family’s favorite quotes is “May Your Kingdom be what wakes us up and lays us down” – Toby Mac. Blessings to you, and yours.