The Harvest

This is a lengthy post, but it contains important information on the future of this blog and future plans for our family, so I thank you for sticking with me until the end.

* * * * * * *

I heard a wonderful sermon this morning and it spoke right to my heart. Don’t you love it when that happens? It spoke to things I have been struggling with and planning for and the message just seemed to gather up all of the little bits and pieces of my scrambled life and tie them up in a way that suddenly made sense. I’ve been struggling with that-how to share all of the bits and pieces to bring you up to speed.

In Galations 6:7-10 the Apostle Paul writes that we will each reap an individual harvest of what is “sewn” in our lives. Each decision, thereby, is a seed planted toward that harvest. I have been thinking for some time now about the seeds I am sewing and wondering what the harvest is going to look like.

What will be its weight and its worth?

I think the flip side of this same question is “what are my dreams?” What am I working toward and why? Mr. Marvelous and I love to dream together. . It is a tie that binds our marriage together, our heads on our pillows at night, making plans for a beautiful future.

My dream is to have a cottage in the country-a fixer with a low mortgage payment, lots of home improvement projects, and acres for lots of children to run and play. I dream of my husband having a job that allows him to work from home so that I have more time with him in this life than evenings and weekends and ten days of vacation each year. Ten days. When did life become that way? At what price? Someday his commute will be the distance from our bed to the coffee pot, instead of the current 45 minute interstate drive in heavy traffic.
Several months ago, about the time that I was gigantically pregnant with Wynn (no coincidence), we decided to start taking actual steps towards accomplishing these dreams. I spent a long time praying and seeking God’s will. We considered the harvest to come and what we want that to look like. We prayed and analyzed and ultimately decided that it was going to be much more difficult, if not impossible to realize these dreams, things that we felt God was calling us to, when so many of our seeds were going directly to Chase mortgage at the end of every month. While we could afford the New Old house financially, we perhaps couldn’t afford it in other ways. Our dream home was getting in the way of real dreams-bigger dreams.
So . . . deep breath . . . we sold it.
It was HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD.
It is still hard.
Hard. Hard. Hard.

It is so hard to list your home, which you really don’t want to leave at all, but feel like you are supposed to do so, and listen to other would-be-buyers admire everything you love most, designed yourself and are going to miss dearly. I’m human. I will admit that. I will admit that this has been hard.

I want to stress though that this wasn’t just a decision of selling one house to buy a different house. It was the first whisper of a calling toward a new adventure that He has authored for us and we have had to shed some material things in order to press forward and follow Him.

“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” Luke 9:23

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, 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
We are closing on our house at the end of the month and we are moving into a house, which we are renting. It is a whole lot smaller than the New Old House so we have been going through everything we own and only keeping the things we truly love. We are selling some stuff, donating some stuff, and honestly having some fun purging. It’s amazing the stuff you accumulate and store amidst dust in the basement without second thought.
The new house is a 1950 brick colonial with great original hardwood floors and quite possibly the tiniest kitchen you ever will see. I have already started pretty-ing it up and think that some of these low cost non-permanent decorating ideas will be useful to many of you out there-especially other renters! We are excited to have the chance to live seriously below our means for awhile and save toward the future.

We are on a journey friends. This is the first step in a grand adventure.

What do you say? Do you want to come along for the ride?
I can almost see it in the distance . . . the magnificent harvest.
He has promised it will not disappoint.


“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

68 Comments

  1. i think this might be one of the most inspirational things you have done on this blog. manning up and saying you don’t want to live in debt and really working towards your dream. my hat is off to you, my friend! 🙂
    btw, the song that speaks to me at the moment is “free” by the zach brown band…. “we don’t have a lot of money, no we don’t have a lot of money, all we need is love…”

  2. Good luck to your family Erin! That’s so wonderful that you are taking a huge step towards reaching your goals! Can’t wait to follow you on your journey! And get some renter tips 😉

    ~Kiri

  3. Congratulations on making such a big decision. I am sure your new home will be just as fabulous.

  4. Wow…what timing. We just had a sit down discussion with our oldest last night along with her long time, sweet sweet, boyfriend from high school…it is not about things! It is about being happy and content with where you are in this great thing called life. Many many a times we’ve looked in the mirror and said, “I want off the roller coaster”…thank you for being so open and honest! I wish you all the best…and I will leave you with a quote that is near and dear to my heart…”home is where the love is”…

  5. Awesome, Erin!! We are struggling with that, right now, too. I am SICK of making mortgage payments. Yet, can I hand over 10 years of memories to someone else – then watch them “improve” my house (we live in a small town)? My husband used to comute one hour each way (interstate), every day. Then he lost his job in March. But, God is faithful, and he will start a new job on August 2nd. – Back to the one hour commute, but we are thankful for that commute! I am proud of you. You are doing the right thing. Debt can kill a marriage (even a good one).
    -Trish

  6. God is so faithful, and the good work he has begun in your family will be faithfully completed! I’m proud of people who step out in faith, and you’re doing it. Can’t wait to hear where He takes you!

  7. Wow. Your heart is in the right place, I’m so impressed you made that decision. I loved everything you wrote, and I am blessed to ‘know’ you !
    Kate

  8. Congrats on chasing your dream! I have to admit that we are so blessed to be living in ours. My hubs works from home while I am a sahm to our little ones. I thank god everyday for this blessing. I can tell you that this situation fell in our lap and we didn’t realize how precious the gift was until our second was born. Now we would refuse to let go of this gift at any cost. May you be as blessed as I feel.

  9. What a big decision you’ve made together. I wish your family the best with everything and cannot wait to see pics of your new old home when you find it 🙂

  10. I admire you. Really. God is pleased with your obedience….and it’s TRUE what Dave Ramsey says:”If you will live like noone else, later, you can LIVE like noone else.” Hang in there…I can’t WAIT to see your future!

  11. Erin ~ you have given me great insight as my family is working towards our dream or harvest. Thank you for posting this as it has helped me put our lives in perspective as to what I need to do for our dreams.

  12. That is awesome! I know just what you mean…the things that we just do today can get in the way of what’s really important for the future! I’m sure it is so difficult to give up your ‘dream’ home for future dreams, but thank you so much for sharing this journey so we can all experience a little bit of what’s important in our own lives and how God will speak to us if we ask! Best wishes!

  13. Wow, what a huge decision. I’m so inspired by your faithfulness, and I think what you are doing is wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us, and I look forward to reading about what is ahead.

  14. Woah! I can’t believe it! Your beautiful big house! I wonder what else your adventure will bring… LOVE that first pic! xx

  15. Beautiful. Everything. God richly bless you and your family as you seek to follow Him! Thank you for letting us see what He has and will do! It causes me to praise Him more!

  16. Erin,

    I too am on this journey. After a lot of prayer, I sold my large old home and bought a humble 1500 sq. ft. home. It is obviously not my dream home and it is taking me time to adjust, but I look forward to the realization of my dreams. Your post is very inspirational and came at a good time for me because I have been feeling a little discouraged and wondering if it was worth it.

    May God bless you and your faithfulness.

    ~ Tracy

  17. Spending more time together as a family is Priceless! I commend you on a wonderful decision for your relationship with God, your marriage, and your children! Awesome!

  18. I’m sure you made the right decision! Can’t wait to see your creativeness blossom in this new space!

  19. I commend you for following God’s path and sometimes it’s not easy but it is always rewarding. We too downsized a long while back our mortgage went from an amount that was the largest as a married couple we ever paid to $302.00 a month. It was the best decision we ever made. We can live the life God has planned for us and not the life tied to the bank. We are able to tithe not only to our church but to various charities and God has filled our open hands. It is not where you live, but the love that lives in your home. Bless you in your future endeavors.

  20. You are making the right decision!! AMEN!! It will all be worth it. We just spend a YEAR living in 400 sq at the IN-LAWS house with 3 kids. That was rough, all just to buy this dinky 920 sq ft country home (1340 if you count the attic) and it’s so worth it. You learn what really matters, not a big house, not the stuff but your family and the time you spend together. We sacrificed so hubby could start his own business and we had no money. It’s the beginning sacrifice that really builds your family on a strong FAMILY future. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you family. Blessings!

  21. I congratulate you, and think that it is awesome! You are making really important decisions, and consulting the ONE who always knows best. I look forward to seeing where your adventure takes you. Blessings to you and your family. Jackie

  22. I’ve been there in our own way and I know how it feels to let go of one dream to be able to fully live another! Many blessings on your new adventure! Looking forward to seeing it come to be!

  23. What an inspirational journey of faith, I so look forward to what God has in store for you…what a phenomenal fresh start and clean slate you’re providing for your life map, marriage and Wynn. I greatly admire your obedience and look forward to seeing your goals come to fruition! Blessings!

  24. I am totally surprised, but so happy for you, Mr. Wonderful and the darling Wynn. I know you will find so many new adventures in this new harvest, but I know how much you loved your new old house and I can only imagine that was a BIG, HARD decision. I CANNOT wait to hang on for the ride and watch you beautify a new home, but more importantly follow your dreams.

    Good Luck!

  25. Wow! I admire your family for doing this, truly opens my eyes.

    Blessings

  26. I’m so impressed by your leap of faith! That is a big decision, one that as you mentioned was really difficult. You have a beautiful home now but I know your rental home will be gorgeous too! I can’t wait to see what projects you have planned and what you do with your smaller home.

    Best wishes for your packing/moving and God bless you for following what He has called you to do. 🙂

  27. I just wanted to tell you I can promise you’ll love your new home. My husband and I live in a small home that has been in his family for some time. We have one little baby girl and plan on having a biggish family. We put our house on the market for a while in the hopes of having a bigger home. (isnt that what we’re supposed to have after all? ):) But God closed the door on our plans…but really he opened doors. My heart is much more at peace. It has reminded me how much I have and how thankful I need to be for what He provides. I can’t wait to see what you do with your new home!

  28. oh buddy. this is brilliant. my absolute favorite post you’ve ever written. i have no doubts this path is going to be the most beautiful and worthwhile adventure ever. i have to say, andy and i’ve been talking about this very thing ourselves– stopping this vicious cycle of working harder and harder, and spending more time doing things we don’t love, just so we can pay for more THINGS. it’s not the life we’re after. i know it’s definitely not going to produce a harvest we’re happy with. i hope you will take us along for the ride– the good and the bad. i know i definitely need this encouragement. 🙂 xoxo kh

    and ps email me some pics of the 1950s colonial asap!! 🙂

  29. Erin, this post brought tears to my eyes. I think because of the excitement of what God is doing for you, through you and with you. Wow! Count me along for the ride. I can’t wait to see what amazing things He has in store for you and your family.

  30. Dear Erin,
    I understand completely! We just went through the same thing, and it warmed my heart so much to hear of another family doing the same thing. I pray healing come to your heart sooner than later. I promise I didn’t try to copy you on my blog 🙁 I just couldn’t think of another way to say our new (old) house. Different meaning of course. Congratulations on the sale, and hope for the future. The Lord knows the desires of your heart.
    -Beth
    p.s. imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! 🙂 Love your blog.

  31. Erin,

    I am humbled and inspired by your post, and thank you so much for sharing your journey.

    I have always had a LOVE of houses and interior design, but lately my husband and I have felt the lure of a more simple life as well, and have wondered if we could actually do it? It is amazing to me that the person whose house I have ADORED is feeling the same way and is brave and faithful enough to take that leap of faith.

    It is hard to break away from society’s definition of success and trust God will bless with you riches that having nothing to do with anything material – but I am so excited for you and can’t wait to see your harvest 🙂

  32. I’m a follower of the blog, and let me say that I think it’s great what you’re doing. To sell your home in order to live a life more balanced. Would you say you’re sacrificing your idols?

    Way to go. Loved reading it. Very impressive.

  33. I commend you and your husband for being brave and listening for what God needs from you. That is what it is all about. That is why we are here. Nothing more. Nothing less. In the end. Honoring Him, is all that matters. I’m excited for you and your family on this new adventure and I’m ready to tag along here when you share what you are learning, living and loving.
    Hugs, SJ

  34. Erin….I am so inspired by your blog. I have been a renter, but wanna be home owner most of my mothering life until a few years ago when the Lord really spoke to my soul of the things that mattered. I now find myself so content in my 1400 square foot home that, although I do not own it, I have made it mine to share with others and bless my family. Thank you for sharing. Your words inspired me to keep on walking in contentment as it’s helpful to know when the allure of things try to reach out and grab my attention that others are walking in this same way.

  35. I feel honored to have been given the grand tour of your new old house by you. I know this journey is going to be hard but I know you are doing what is right for your family.
    I am so excited for the new decorating ideas I can gain by you from reading your blog.
    thanks for sharing your life with all of us!

  36. I know I’m a little behind on my blog reading so I’m just now finding this post! One that I find truly inspiring and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you! Thank you so much for sharing something that has really touched my heart! God Bless!

  37. i just stumbled upon your blog from centsational girl’s link to your kitchen redo (love it! by the way) and i just want to say that i already love your blog. i can’t wait to go back and read old posts. this post is especially powerful to me – we are going through the same process (in a much smaller way – not moving, but trying to find our dreams instead of living in ruts, cutting back, etc). best of luck with your new adventure.
    ps – your baby is adorable! 🙂

  38. Erin, found this post from Nesting Place. My husband and I have a similar dream, although our girls are 17 & 18. Our house is up for sale and we are looking for a smaller home – one that is paid for and one that is a little more quaint. Loved my previous quaint little 1,500 sq ft house we had before this one- (3,000+sq ft and a 2,000 sq ft basement). I remember my neighbor asking me several years ago “don’t you want your next house to be bigger”? I thought she was crazy because our current house has always felt too big for us.
    So glad you are looking to Him for your dreams instead of what the culture says.
    My husband made several decisions to not advance his career at the expense of time with his family and I am grateful for that. He is home every night and has a very flexible job –
    I also wrestled with God many years ago about quitting my job and staying home even before I had children. My husband didn’t make enough money to support us ( I made more than him at the time) and I felt like I was Indiana Jones in the scene where he takes the step of faith to walk on the unseen bridge. Long story shorter, I gave my notice & two weeks later my husband got a bunch of new business and his income was more than enough to support us. Thanks for the post – and don’t forget …you can trust Him.

  39. Hi Erin! I am so happy that you are finally following your dreams!!

    I started a very similar journey about a year and half ago when I bought my first home…which was a 950 square foot, dated, ugly, foreclosed, little house. It was exactly what I dreamed of!!! 🙂

    I’ve always realized I was more comfortable in a smaller home. But it was when I started getting my financial life in order, and through reading quite a few ‘financial’ books, that I realized I wasn’t living a life I wanted. I was a slave to my job! A job I don’t enjoy, a job that doesn’t fullfil me.

    It’s taking time to make a full transition to the life I want…but reality of living in today is I have to get my financial life in the right place. But I know that my small home and my small mortgage are what ultimately is going to allow me to live the life I WANT!

    Time to volunteer to the homeless and the women’s shelter! Time with my daughter (besides just the weekend and 3 hours a night)!! Time to do my crafts and garden!

    God’s path isn’t always the easy road that’s for sure. But when we truly open ourselves up to hear Him…we know without a doubt we are doing what He has planned for us!!

    I look forward to reading about your journey!

  40. i am soooo happy to see ths post!! we too are getting ready to do the same exact thing!! i LOVE my house, it’s on the water, but we are living pay check to pay check, it stinks & we have 3 kids who need/want stuff, so we too are moving… we are very fortunate though to have such good friends whom are in the military that have to move so we are going to rent from them. i have to remind myself everyday that everything happens for a reason…. goodluck to you guys!!

  41. Erin,
    A few years ago my DH & I did the exact thing, sold our dream house that we had built and people thought we were crazy! We now live in a 1930’s colonial that we are fixing up and we love that we pay the same mortgage payment on this house as we did the old one, only this one will be paid off in about 11 years instead of 30!! Enjoy the process, God is good!!!!

  42. I just found you and this wonderful blog today. It’s my birthday, and I was feeling rather broken hearted about our house that is still on the market, which hasn’t sold. My husband and I are doing the exact same type of thing you describe here, and most of the verses you quoted are verses that have touched our life, and directed our journey thus far. Anyway, I am commenting, because I have previously been throwing up my hands and asking “God?, Why aren’t you selling my house? Don’t you know I want to live for you and get rid of the junk that ties us down so we can do it better?” God wasn’t really responding. It was such an encouragement to see that there is someone else out there that is actually doing it, and that your house is selling. It gives me the smallest hope for my situation. I just wanted to share that you had encouraged me.

    Blessings,
    Sasha

  43. Hi! I found you through the Nester. This post touched me so deeply. I could have written it word for word. The desire for a fixer up cottage in the country. My husband working from home. My six children running happy and free, away from suburbia. We however, are upside down in our mortgage thanks to the real estate market in Washington state. We built our house in 2008 as well, and wish we could find a way out of it. I will keep praying. I’m so amazed by what you are doing. And I wish you the best. I want you to succeed so that my own dreams of being free of this huge mortgage and huge house will feel like they can be possible. Good luck with everything, I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

  44. What an inspirational post! It definitely touched me. Thanks for sharing this story, best wishes and blessings to your family as you take this journey together. Loved reading this.

  45. Erin, came here from The Nester. Love this post, because it is so near and dear to my heart. My husband and I have just decided to sell our house that we built with our own two hands only a couple of years ago. And we are doing it for all the reasons that you just listed. We’re sick of working to pay bills and there is just so much that we are missing in life. We are not able to put our house on the market until some business stuff is taken care of, but maybe by the end of the month, hopefully. Take care and I’m going to take a look around your blog now!!

  46. Wow, what an exciting adventure!! I think you have such a good perspective on life and your journey, Erin! Can’t wait to see pics of the little rental!! And I can just see you and your family in a cottage on land…with fruit trees and a tree swing and a picket fence and maybe a creek…. 🙂
    ~michelle~

  47. We’re doing a similar thing. We sold the nice house in the nice neighborhood, lived with the inlaws for 20 months … in order to start building debt-free on property we purchased with the house equity. We’re currently moving into a 30 year old ranch-style rental house. Its an adjustment. The carpet is stained and paint colors are too bright for my taste … but its what we can afford while we work on the debt-free dream. I loved your kitchen post (think I’ll copy this comment there too, in case you’re not returning to this old post).

  48. Dear Erin,

    I just began reading your blog and am enjoying it more and more each day. This particular blog subject has been on my mind and heart for our family recently. I have a lot of medical bills and getting rid of a huge mortgage payment would ease our stress. I am going to share this with my husband tonight. Thank you for sharing.

  49. Erin,
    One of the things I love most about blogging is that it can bring two strangers together under common circumstances. The Lord did that tonight for me with this post. My husband and I are in the EXACT same circumstance (although we bought our house new, we didn’t build it), and I’ve been like a little girl, kicking and screaming, fighting the decision. But I know God has bigger plans for us… we need to be faithful. Thank you for this post sweet sister in Him,
    Rebekah

  50. Erin, you did have such a beautiful home! Which I’m sure made it all the harder to give up, but do take heart. Take heart everyone who shares such a dream as Erin’s!

    I owned an urban 1930 cottage that was built by a carpenter as a wedding gift for his daughter. It was love at first sight for me. I lived there for 10 years.

    Husband and I had began to have the same feelings about life that you described. We felt there was something more for us and we wanted a simpler, less materialistic life. A smaller home, acreage so that we could garden, raise laying hens, have space for our dogs to romp and future grandchildren to play. Serenity. I especially want to donate fresh, organic produce to the local food banks and to get involved with the area Farmers Markets.

    Since I telecommute and husband’s business involves travel with plenty of home time in between work, we realized that we could make the change. So, we did. I admit it was scary at first!

    We found a little 900 sq foot fixer upper of a country cabin. On 4 of the most beautiful acres on earth an hour north of the city. We have a creek, 2 large fields, huge old growth fir and cedar trees, and abundant wildlife. We’re now erecting deer fence around a large garden space, as well as rehabbing an old outbuilding into a darling 400 sq foot guest cottage.

    All of this, and the mortgage is so reasonable, exactly as it was at our city home, which is now a rental. We are using the positive cash flow from the city house to pay this mortgage down early. Our utilities, property taxes, and virtually everything is 30-40% less than it was in the city. We are also able to give more generously to charity.

    We wake up to the call of the red tailed hawks. We watch a precious family of deer meander by as we sip our morning coffees. We are serenaded at dusk by the Great Horned Owls in woods. At night the sky is filled with bright stars that wink and smile from the heavens. I’ve never felt so close to God.

    I give thanks every single day for this life. I feel immensely fortunate.

    Oh Erin, good for you for pursuing your dreams and following your heart! God does have plans for you and for all of us. We need to have more than faith in that, we need to be brave and take the steps necessary to help realize it. Good luck and many blessings as you continue your journey in life.

    Gosh, I’m sorry for this longwinded comment. I’m just passionate about this subject and so very excited for your family, Erin!

  51. Congratulations and Thank You …. and a prayer for blessings to rain gently upon those gorgeous fields you sow.

  52. I found this post a couple days ago and I was so moved by it. I hope you won’t mind my mentioning it in my post tomorrow. Prayers for your family! I admire you so much for heeding the Call!

  53. I just discovered your blog and love it! This post was one of the most touching I’ve read out there in blogland. Thank you. Can’t wait to follow along on your journey!

    Rachel
    xoxo

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