“God wouldn’t do this to me.” I assured our realtor as we walked through the tiny two-bedroom house. Ceiling tiles, paneling and old carpet adorned every room, including the eat-in kitchen and small bathroom. I HATE ceiling tiles, paneling and carpeting, especially in a kitchen! Terry spent a few minutes in the house before rushing out the back door with the children to explore the 15 acres that came with the house. I felt bad that he would have to forget about those glorious acres, which included several outbuildings, woods and a creek. The 963 square foot house was much too small for our family and had only one bathroom. God would never do this to me, I repeated. Poor Terry.
We’d been “homeless” for a few months, since our previous home sold and the large house we’d bid on failed inspections. When that deal fell through, we found ourselves in a rental in one of the worst neighborhoods. Terry was anxious to get his family into the country as planned. I’d had concerns about every house we looked at and knew Terry was getting frustrated. I made a decision to keep my mouth shut and simply trust the Lord to handle the situation.
Just days before, two pink lines revealed that “Baby #9” was on the way. Mother’s Day was approaching and I decided to wait to share the news with Terry and the children. No one else knew but the Lord.
Terry submitted an offer on the house. The owner counter-offered. Terry groaned; it was still out of our price range. Terry re-submitted and once again groaned at the counter offer. He tried one last time, but said it wasn’t looking promising. With a smile in my heart, I reassured him that the Lord knew where we were supposed to live. He called later that day, screaming, “WE GOT THE HOUSE!”
A week later we moved into our new house. I was grateful for two things: Our new home was a mile from my Dad's; and it was springtime, which enabled the children to spend their days outside. Once autumn ushered in cold weather, we would become “closer” than ever.
By November, I was in need of a serious attitude adjustment. I felt cramped and discontent in our small space. I did not appreciate this little old house with all its paneling and ceiling tiles and carpet in every room. I was angry at Terry for bringing us here and even angrier at God for not intervening. I was a mess.
One rainy morning, I broke. Escaping into the woods alone, I sat by a babbling brook, sobbing my heart out to the Lord. I was finally ready to acknowledge my negative feelings and repent of my anger. Hours later, I came out of those woods a changed woman. Surrendered and broken.
Contentment was not instantaneous, but it did come in time.
Our little house has seen many changes since that rainy day in 2004. The back bedroom and bathroom were completely gutted and remodeled in 2007. The ceiling tiles have all been removed and most of the carpet is gone. More recently, Terry and the girls completely renovated the attic, turning it into a beautiful bedroom for six girls. Yes, the alterations have been slow, but drastic.
However, the most significant transformation has been wrought in my heart, by my Savior. He used this little old house to teach me contentment and to me, this has been worth more than a brand new mansion.
It is well with my soul.
Cheryl @Treasures from A Shoebox
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