The Beach Cottage {the important back story}

I realized the other day that I needed {wanted} to share the “back story”  behind our decision to buy the beach cottage.   I posted a year ago that we had decided to sell our house to free up resources to chase after the dreams that God was writing on our hearts.  At that point in time, I had already realized the dream that *I* had written for myself- law degree, good job, beautiful house full of custom details that mirrored the pictures I had torn out of magazines for years, filing away for my “dream future.”  I had been walking with the Lord-I knew Him personally and I loved Him.  Still, I was walking full-force ahead with my own road map and periodic glances behind my shoulder to see if He was still there and that I hadn’t been forgotten.  {He was.}  There was something missing.

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14
Then, two years ago this coming September, Mr. Marvelous and I went to a wedding in South Haven, Michigan.  I was four months pregnant.

That weekend we were lifted out of the pattern of our everyday lives and given a new perspective.  Have you ever had a vacation like that?  We walked the pier aside Lake Michigan and talked like dreamers beneath the hot Indian Summer sun . . . we talked about what we wanted in this life and, more importantly, what we felt that God wanted of us.  We felt that we were being called toward something different.  Something more.  We talked and planned and prayed and walked and then the three of us charted a new course that day: husband, wife, and savior God.   

“Can we really do this?”  I dared to wonder.

One of the things that we planned that warm September day on the shore was for Mr. Marvelous to make a career change so that he could work exclusively from home and not spend 10 hours a day apart from baby and me.  For us, that seemed like the world’s way and not God’s plan for us (we had never stopped to question it before!).  We had no idea how we would accomplish this-none-but it felt so right and natural and we put our faith in God that if it was indeed His plan that doors would be opened.

They were.  

The second thing we dreamed that day was to be able to spend half of our year down south, where my husband grew up and where his family still lives, and where it can be warm on the beach in the middle of winter and where our baby could grow up with grandparents to know and love him.  Where we could be reunited with our nephews and help shape their little lives with love beyond measure.  The second half of the year-the summer months-we would spend in Michigan, where I grew up, where again our baby could know and love his grandparents and where we could find a little fixer near the beach, where real estate is cheap and life is good and beach glass is abundant.  We would be together, as financially free as possible, and the dream was so sweet and so real I could almost reach out and taste it.

That weekend vacation ended, almost two years ago now, and we went back to Indiana.  Baby grew inside me and we waited and prayed.  Eight months passed and we decided to take things one step at a time and hand in hand, we stepped out of the boat and followed Him onto the water.

We put our house on the market in a horrible housing market.  He sent us a buyer in a matter of weeks.

We had no idea where we would move once we closed on our house, but God provided not only housing, but housing so affordable it allowed us the chance to save money like crazy people toward the purchase of that fixer cottage we were dreaming about . . .

Once we were settled temporarily in our rental house, a wonderful job opportunity came our way.

And now in a matter of weeks, we will move into the beach cottage, where Mr. Marvelous will work from home and we will spend the summer on the shore, with a mortgage payment smaller than a typical car payment, and it almost seems too good to possibly be real . . . although the world might not see the beauty in this cottage that is full of 1970s wood paneling and shag carpeting, but I am working on seeing beauty in God’s way, not the world’s way.  And let me tell you that I am going to make this cottage truly beautiful.

I am sure that this is but the first step on a new journey of thousands of miles to come.  And I surrender.  To a God whose love for me is greater than my love for myself and whose plans are exceedingly better than my own. I am not so bold {or foolish} to try to lead on my own anymore.  Even if I have to humble myself to sit down in the dust and wait for Him to reveal for me treasures hidden in secret places.

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”  Isaiah 45:3

It is absolutely worth the wait. 


  1. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. Not only the beautiful story of reaching for your dreams and catching them, but also for sharing your faith. Truly inspiring.

  2. Your story makes me want to jump out of the boat with you! You have such a gift for beauty- in your home and in your writing. You have challenged me today. Maybe I’ll go dip my toe in to see if the water is warm!

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. Our God is amazing and has such great plans for our lives if we just let Him lead. Thank you for this reminder!

  4. love this post, e. so glad I met you. so glad god gave us each other for some time in the same town. now we can visit each other in our new hometowns & forever be on our journey as friends!

  5. Erin, I’ve never posted but felt today was the day to tell you how excited I am for you guys! What a wonderful example of how God cares about us intimately and is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.

    What a joy to share in this journey with you!

  6. It is soooo encouraging to read about this stage in your life, the enjoyment of God’s blessings, the fruit of faithfulness, surrender and trust. Thank you.

  7. Erin, what a fabulous post! I want to encourage you to get your cottage paid off as soon as possible! Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Just by paying a small amount extra on the principal every month, you can get it paid off much sooner–and it is so freeing knowing that you are not in debt! Just keep following Him, though. That’s the most important thing. Thanks again for sharing your heart with us.


  8. What a beautiful post! Congratulations on your new cottage, I pray you fill it with love and laughter and make incredible memories as a family. I left the corporate world 3 years ago to be home with my babies and have never looked back. Putting aside fears and doubts and trusting in God is often easier said than done. My only regret is that I didn’t listen sooner. But I too had preconditioned myself to believe I was destined for another track and thought we required two incomes to live how we thought we wanted to live. but then I had a baby and became a mother and my true calling was clear for the first time in my life. Many blessings for the three of you! (We are heading to Michigan in August. For the first time. To SOUTH HAVEN!! :))


  9. beautiful! stated so well and speaks to the dreams i believe we all have but rarely take the time to realize, much less think about. so nice to see you are enjoying the journey as well!

  10. congrats Erin on your new home and also walking in faith!! we love SH and I am sure you are excited to embark on this new adventure. i am excited to see what you have in store for us!! hugs, cathy

  11. So, so, so, so happy and excited for you, friend!!! I cannot wait to see the place! (I selfishly wish it was located in Alabama instead of Michigan though! LOL!)

    Love you lots!

  12. Lovely dreams, Erin! Thanks for sharing the back story. This is so similar to what we’re waiting for.

  13. Inspirational and inspiring. To God be the glory! Exercising our faith can be such a beautiful journey — we just need to take that first step and board the train…

  14. I’m so excited for you. We’re so looking forward two a two-week stay on Lake Michigan soon — it’s right around the corner and I’m so ready to relax with my toes in the sand. I look forward to buying a little fixer upper on the water too. We’ve been talking about it. If only we could buy the one we rent. Love. Good luck, and enjoy!

  15. What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing! We are “aliens” in this world and I have found that when He calls us to do things we will look different than the world’s norm. It is hard and scary at times but there is nothing like knowing you are exactly where He has called you and the joy and peace He gives!

  16. This comment is coming way late as I just found your blog and have been touched. I have only read a few of your posts and as a believer myself, I love reading the words of another believer. I have a question, though, and please know it comes from a place in my heart. I struggle a bit with your focusing so heavily on yourself and your family. God does want us to be happy and he will give us the desires of our heart. But, scripture also states we are to serve, care for the needy (Proverbs 19:17, Luke 6:38, for example), etc. I don’t recall Jesus living his life for himself but rather, he lived for others and so much that he died for us. As the first two commandments state, love God with all of your heart and then love your neighbor as yourself. I am 110% guilty of being selfish myself and struggle with this everyday. Perhaps that’s why reading your posts about doing things to create convenience in your life, to serve yourself, husband and child struck a cord (as I do this as well). That said, I wonder if I am missing more to your story…interested to hear what you have to say.

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