Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God, Use Our {Little} House

When our oldest was getting ready to start kindergarten, Mike and I decided to try and sell our home and move to Mike's hometown. We figured we would simply stay where we were if we couldn't sell our house. Whatever route it took, we wanted to be content.

Our home sold in four days.

But finding a home in the town where Mike grew up and where he now worked with his dad? Well, that proved to be tricky. The plan had been to list our house one week, then begin house hunting the next. Yet over that weekend, nearly every home on our "search list" had disappeared and become a home that was pending a sale.

Our price range was modest, yet doable. But I've lost track of how many homes we looked at that had either cracked foundations, bowed basement walls, and obvious flooding issues (My favorite was the quad level that had the same crack/shift in the floor and ceiling at the same spot on every single level of the home....and the realtor running the open house said he hadn't noticed before?!). The search was frustrating and exhausting.

We went through one home during an open house where the kitchen was not only small, but it had a layout that made no sense. The rest of the home was a little choppy, and it was listed about $20,000 over what it was worth--and because Mike was a real estate appraiser, he knew it wasn't worth close to the asking price the moment we walked through it.

But the basement walls weren't bowed or cracked, and (according to the report) it didn't get water. With our realtor starting to panic a little, her never having gone through this home with us, and the price dropping closer to its proper evaluation, she dragged us over to look at it again. NOTHING else was on the market that met our needs.

We bought that stinkin' house. And I cried.

Over time, that house began to feel like home. The kids adjusted pretty well, and it was the perfect neighborhood for a young family. But I struggled with comparison. With wanting more. Our constant talks were, "When we can afford to move...."

And then, God really began to challenge Mike and me on the fact He had us where He wanted us. We reached the point where we could move, but was that the wisest financial decision? Were we being motivated by others' expectations, or by His?

So in January 2014, we decided without question that we were content. That we loved our home, and that we still saw its amazing potential. It took over seven years, but we were finally at peace.

And then God sent us not one, but two babies to foster.  And He still pressed in for us to remain content.

I look at our home now, with it's 6 kids, 2 adults, 1.5 baths and no coat closet, and smile. It's not always easy, and things are often chaotic--but that chaos would be here whether we were in this home or another. And I'll be honest--in the middle of the night, when babies are awake and you can't let them cry because they will wake up the other kids--that's the time I am stretched and struggle with my attitude. But Mike and I have enjoyed creating a game plan for maximizing our space and crossing things off the project list. Most importantly, I love how God has us--right now, right in this moment--serving Him with what we've been given.

For you see, it's easy to tell God "yes" when everything lines up the way you desire; the way you have planned. Christians enter the "maybe someday" phase, and never do what He has pressed upon their hearts. When Mike and I felt called to foster, I wanted someone from the agency to come look at our home and tell us if we had enough space to foster a child before we began any other stage of the process. Then, when we got our license, it said we could have up to SIX kids in our home.  What?? I called to verify, and they said that was the routine number and yes, we had the space.

Never in a million years did we plan to have six children in this home. But here we are, realizing what we can offer the kids we foster is beyond any opportunity their birth parents ever had. Homelessness, sleeping on couches, getting dragged from one place to another as children and getting kicked out of places as adults best describes their situations. The generational cycle should have continued with our little three. Foster care removed them from that environment, but our willingness to say "yes" put them with a family who loves them fiercely, inside a home that provides shelter, safety, consistency & stability.

God wants to do big things through us, under the circumstances He has allowed. And I'm humbled and thankful for the chance to serve Him inside our small, very precious, home.

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

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