Rich and I bought our house nearly three years ago. It was a crazy time for us. We had bid on over 9 houses- all of which had fallen through. We desperately tried to avoid looking in this particular area because we wanted a fresh start- somewhere not everyone knew us. We didn’t want a big house for our first one- we didn’t even know how to unclog a drain. All this to say, God had obvious other plans and this house for some reason or another, chose us. I want to be clear in case my romantic and whimsical notions are falsely translated into causing someone to believe that I think inanimate objects have feelings- I do not. This is not a judgement, just a clarification. But a home is what you make it and I have come to love this house because of what has happened here.
I love the impossible to clean kitchen floor because it reminds me of sitting on it while it was vacant, with our family, toasting our move with champagne in plastic cups. You’d have to pay me to sit on it now, amidst the crushed strawberries and dried up lentils the broom missed.
I love it because it’s a physical reminder of God’s provision- of his mercy. Of his steadfast faithfulness. Of his family. I sit on our front porch and breathe in the sunshine, knowing that I am able to because my Mom graciously sacrificed her time and her space in her house to put us up while we waited for the deal to go through, and then helped us with a downpayment. I walk downstairs in my basement and am awed at the working hot water heater-the old one busted and flooded our basement this week-and the electrical boxes and the new pipes and plumbing all because I have wonderful in-laws- a selfless father-in-law who is smarter and handier and humbler than practically any other man I’ve ever met who fixes everything that busts or breaks and a mother-in-law who has, fairly singlehandedly outfitted my kitchen, scrubbed my floors when I’ve been too tired or sad and organized Ellie’s entire nursery before she was born because I couldn’t see my feet- let alone what was in the drawers of her dresser.
My living room is full of the laughter of our friends, as is our backyard. Our guest room has held family, and friends, and people who were just passing by who needed a place to stay.
I love our house because it’s not perfect. It has holes and leaks and creaks all night long. The windows rattle. The third step from the top is broken. The bathroom is too small. All of these things leave so much room to dream and ruminate on it’s potential. I love potential.
My backyard’s not very big, but it’s big enough to hold a swing set and a sandbox for my little girl, and a large veggie garden in which we dig in, poke at and repeat, “Wow!” over and over again every morning when we go out and investigate how high our bush beans and tomato plants have grown, and how many buds on the raspberry bush that will become fruit and how a little tiny plant could ever possibly grown something as large as a watermelon.
I love the opportunity this house provides us- opportunities to throw parties, house loved ones, space to be creative, space to commune and to be alone, space for our favorite things- like our piano, and the cellar to hold all of our brewing equipment. I love that it never feels like we are tied to our house, but rather than we get to live here and whenever it is time for us to move on it will make a beautiful home for someone else to rent or to buy. It is not a ball tied around our ankles, but an amazing window through which we can see so many possibilities because of our investment, monetary and otherwise, here.
But, aren’t you scared, you ask? The housing market is still plummeting. You’ll never get back what you put into it. How will you continue to pay your mortgage on one income? What if you can’t sell?
This is the house where I first brought home my little girl and showed her each room as I sang to her. This is the house where we’ve rejoiced, we’ve mourned, we’ve fought, we’ve laughed. We are so privileged to live here- it is an honor that God has called us to be caretakers of this little piece of property in Northern New Jersey. It’s an honor that a lot of people long for and never obtain. Every time something breaks or floods or creaks or splinters- I may be saddened and frustrated, but I never regret investing in this house. No, I am not scared. I am humbled that I get to walk these, beautiful hardwood floors everyday with my daughter while somewhere else, there are lots of women with daughters who are taking much different walks.
Being a homeowner is a constant reminder for me of how God cares for us- how he houses us, shelters us, stops our leaks, delights in our joy, is committed to us. How he pays for things that we should have payed ourselves. After nearly three years, I still love everything about this parallel. There, I’ve said it.
I love being a homeowner.
Paying our property taxes?
Now, that’s a different story for another day.