My Big Mistake of 2014 ( and what I’ve learned from our house search)

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HI. It’s been awhile since I’ve written; I know. (I plan to make up for it with the following mammoth post. I’m sorry and/or you’re welcome?)

My road has led through a foggy season of discouragement and disorientation. There is much in my heart with which to wrestle and invite and explore. I am heart-weary and (let’s face it) often just plain normal-weary because three children and all that.

I haven’t written because I don’t want to air the stinky, wrinkled parts of my heart. I want so much for Smallish to be a place of encouragement and joy and general YAY!; it’s easier to just not write when optimism feels difficult to uncover.

I find myself in a place where some days it is painful to recite hope for myself. I would prefer not to share that I messed up majorly over the past year and found myself angry at God and the world because things weren’t going my way.

note: (Before you get too worried about my emotional state, please know that most of these feelings are directly connected to our not-really-working house search. Most other parts of life are great. Truly.)

As much as I want this blog to be a positive place, I value authenticity. I’d rather be transparent and embarrassed than to allow this blog to become a polished front that omits the struggles of real life. Let’s be real together, friends.

So here goes. Here’s a little bit about what I learned over the past year and what I’m concentrating on in 2015.

2014 was a “blah” year for both Caveman and I. A hard year. Oh we wouldn’t have known that in the thick of life, but in hindsight we see the high hopes and precious anticipation—neither of which were really satisfied in the way we desired, i.e., moving to a new house. Our highlight was, of course, adding Little Lady to our family. She brought so much joy and laughter and light into our lives.

(Since we’re on the subject, here is a recent picture of her. She’ll be one year old soon and I cannot get over how SMART and adorable she is. It’s actually scary.)

LittleLady in snow

And here’s me and her. I’ll never get over the softness of baby skin. Nom Nom Nom.

Me and Little Lady

Since we’re doing pictures, look how handsome these guys are:

Red Smiling

 

Caveman and WolfPup

Anyways.  🙂

At the beginning of last year I believed with all my heart that no matter what happened, we would move out of the Shoebox by the time 2015 arrived. Of course it’s not the end of the world that we are still here, but something about the turning of the calendar makes my timeline seem like a much bigger deal than it really is.

We’ve been looking into different housing options (buying or building, specifically) for almost a year now.  It’s been a long afternoon of leaping on a trampoline, which is kind of fun but also painful. You know how you feel after jumping on a trampoline for awhile? Jiggly legs, weak stomach, possibly a knot on the head or two, generally disoriented and jolted. That’s a bit how I feel after the ups and downs of trying to figure out where to next nest our family.

It took months for Caveman and I to get on the same page of what we needed/wanted. (The first quarter of the year watched us attempt to reconcile our varying views of the term “fixer-upper.” Talk about a subjective word.) Beyond that, the search for a house is difficult in itself. We’ve seen a lot of closed doors and collapsed options.

My big mistake was getting my hopes and desires for a new home mixed up with Who delivers those hopes and desires.

My big mistake was getting my hopes and desires for a new home mixed up with Who delivers those hopes and desires.

I spent much of the year with my eyes focused on a dream-home picture in my head instead of looking up at God, who in Himself is ultimately better than what He is capable of providing.

I mixed up what I wanted in a home and forgot that home isn’t here anyways—it’s in God, with God.

I placed my hope in the idea of a perfect house, and my desire for such a living space transformed into an idol. I unknowingly looked to a daydream to provide salvation through a new season of life, and with every house that we looked at which didn’t add up to my golden idol standard (or that we liked and didn’t pan out), my hopes fell. Until I was left with a bitter and frustrated outlook that we hadn’t found the illusive picture in my head within my set timeline. By the way, if you’re looking to become really angry, hurt and generally unpleasant, focusing on an idol (whatever it may be) is one really great way to do that. Just ask my kids and forgiving husband.

Have you ever noticed how life gets harder when it gets all about you? The thing about idols is that they render you senseless. (Isaiah 44:8-10) You don’t really see or comprehend that you’re focusing on the wrong thing. Your own desires for that thing or job or person or healing or house or whatever become so overwhelming that life becomes about you. All of sudden you’re a toddler in a grown up body: 5’9″ of ugly selfishness. Or at least that’s what happened to me. I fancied life all about me and what I wanted and it became painful.

 So going forward. Looking into 2015, I’m looking UP. Up past me and what I think I want. Up past my perceived problems. I’m so grateful that God didn’t let me go longer under the influence of the idol I had fashioned for myself. It turns out that Jesus saves again and again and again—from myself.

My prayer for this year is Colossians 3:2:

Set your mind on things ABOVE, not on things on the earth.

So going forward: we continue to do life as best we can in the Shoebox. We continue our house search, and honestly it is still a very trying process. But it is different now. I hold the houses and prospective changes loosely, holding GOD alone in my gaze as my complete salvation.

I’m back to trusting that He will provide the right house for us in His own perfect timing. It won’t be a “dream home” and that’s okay. We’ll take what He gives and do our best to turn it into a home by the same grace that we’ve enjoyed in this darling apartment.

So there you go. Thanks for caring and sharing and bothering to read to the end. 🙂 Happy 2015, by the way.

Look UP with me?

 

(…. P.S., can anyone tell me what type of flowers are in the top picture? They are my very first bouquet from a child —Red decided he wanted to buy Mom flowers and then Caveman let him pick them out. I think they look like fireworks, and I love that. They have lasted for.ev.er and I also love that. But I don’t know what they are. Someone?)

 

 

 

 

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24 Comments
  • Amy
    January 29, 2015

    I’m pretty certain your flowers are dahlias 🙂 I love them too.

    We’re going through a similar situation though in reverse – looking for a rental and selling our house. We need to downsize and simplify due to my chronic pain issues and my husbands frequent work travel. For two years we’ve been shedding our extra stuff and getting the house ready for the market. We tried to move last spring and it just didn’t work out. I keep reminding myself that God will provide in His perfect timing. This was an encouraging post to read. Thank you for sharing!

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Hi Amy,
      Oh I’m so glad you were encouraged. All praise to the King. It’s true that we can trust God to be Provider all the time. (By the way, it sounds like a friend Debbie would love to get in touch with you. See her comment below. 😉 )

  • Debby Messner
    January 29, 2015

    I could have totally written what Amy said.
    We are getting ready to relist our home. It was for sale for six months. Too bad you don’t live here.
    We planted St. Francis in the yard and prayed and prayed.
    Good luck. As long as your family is healthy and you can pay your rent hopefully with God’s help you will find what you need.
    Id love to talk to Amy but couldn’t find a way to contact her.
    Hugs

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Hi Debby,
      Thank you for sharing! Try just commenting and saying “hi” on Amy’s comment above. Chances are she’ll get an email and say hi back. 🙂 I love to see community forming!

  • Anna Lockwood
    January 29, 2015

    Hello from Flagstaff, I have been where you are. And, yes, it was hard and it hurt just like you say. And I can tell you it is humbling in ways I did not want to be humbled. But I can also tell you that what God has planned for you is so much better and so much richer and fuller than anything you can imagine. He really does have your back. All He asks is that we trust Him. Love to you and your B.E.A.utiful family.

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Hello Anna! Oh, I so appreciate your encouragement from one step ahead of me. Thank you dear friend.

  • Kathy Lewis
    January 29, 2015

    Evie, this is beautifully written! At my CBS conference this weekend, a similar thought was spoken: so often we want God to save us from “them” (people/circumstances) but God wants to save “you from you”! Thx for your open heart!
    I can’t see the leaves on the flowers but they’re either mums or dahlias. I’d guess mums because they last so long & dahlias are more fragile.

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Hi Kathy,
      Thank you for your sweet thoughts and comment!! Haha, yes I definitely believe that God has more work to do saving me from ME–my desires and selfishness, and, well, ME than anything else around me. Truth. I think that mums are definitely the leading contender. 🙂

  • Gail
    January 29, 2015

    Yep, you mixed up your desires with God’s plan…not first time, nor last time (so sorry to tell you this). No judgement from me , a 56 year old Christian who has done that numerous times, but I think I am wiser now and not doing it as much as my ealier journey in life. You’ve learned a lot and are STILL striving to be an obedient daughter of our Father. All good.

    Flowers are either mums or dahlia – can’t see the leafs to determine.

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Hah! Oh Gail, I love your candidness. Thank you. I guess it keeps us humble to know that we’ll have similar mix ups in the future, but such is the process of sanctification. 😉 Thanks for the flower tip!

  • Jane Sasser
    January 29, 2015

    Well, if I were in your shoes, I’d definitely be 5’4 3/4″ of the Terrible Twos. I would be throwing some tantrums. 🙂 It is so hard to be patient and to wait. As my youngest son used to say, I can’t like it. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Of course you want a home for yourself and your family where you can move around a little bit and not step on each other. We are praying that it will all fall into place for all of you, and soon. Lots of love.

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Thank you Jane. 🙂 Lots of love right back to you!

  • Tara
    January 29, 2015

    Thank you for your honesty. The community of Christ should be one where we can be open about our hurts, disappointments, frustrations and failings. I’m glad you’ve found peace and are letting God have control. God takes care of the birds, He knows your heart and what’s best for you. Of course you know that. Rest in Christ.

    • Evelyn
      January 29, 2015

      Thank you for your encouragement, Tara. Letting God have the control wavers moment by moment, honestly, but I think that’s part of being human. I’m so glad you commented!

  • angela
    January 30, 2015

    Hello, your flowers are spider mums☺
    I have been in your situation (searching 2 yrs for a house) and it did become an idol. Unfortunately I didn’t see that as soon as you did. When we found our “dream house” I spent the next couple of years trying to make it perfect- updating, decorating, landscaping… not seeing how much of my attention I was sacrificing to a mere thing. I actually became more focused on my agenda after getting the house than I was before! Eventually the Lord got through to me and I saw my idolatry for what it was, and I hated what I saw. We decided to let the house and the stuff go and begin again in much smaller and humbler accommodations, renting instead of owning, to get our hearts back in the right place. However it took putting the house on the market twice in 2 years before that happened! What a patience growth opportunity. It all finally worked out and we’re so pleased and relieved to be free of what was a stumbling block to us and enjoy a simpler life. I want to be content in all circumstances, focusing on Christ as my joy and appreciating all the blessings he provides daily. I hope you will be filled with peace as you continue your search and that you’ll be able to keep things in the proper perspective even after finding a house. Loved your post!

    • Evelyn
      February 1, 2015

      Hi Angela,
      What a journey you have been on! It’s a beautiful encouragement to me that you saw something that needed to change, made the action, and are continuing to focus on Christ as your joy and source of contentment. That’s perseverance! Thanks so much for commenting. Hope to see you around on Smallish more!

  • Jlynn
    February 2, 2015

    Spider Mums.

    This post really hit home. I made a terrible financial decision and now I have to scramble and work really hard to right the wrong. However, I know that God has me, he sees my whole path, and he is already steps ahead of me while being right beside me – as only God can be.

    • Evelyn
      February 2, 2015

      Hang in there, JLynn. It’s great that you see your error and are being faithful to sort it out! I’ll pray for encouragement as you persist on your road.

  • Sarah W
    February 3, 2015

    SO PROUD OF YOU for sharing your heart. I am so grateful to be able to share in a piece of your genuine life. Love you

  • Katie
    March 1, 2015

    Isn’t it amazing how God puts things in our paths when we need them? I really needed to read this! I too have spent much time being discontent with my living situation because we are in a rental. Your words are true though, we need to keep or focus on him!
    Katie

    • Evelyn
      March 1, 2015

      Hi Katie!
      Yes, we serve a good God who is also a GREAT parent. He always knows what is best and how to make us more like Him…even if it’s not what we want. 🙂 Things are always happier and clearer when our eyes on on God instead of frustrating circumstances.

      By the way, have you read Nesting Place? It REALLY helped me with practical ways to make my rental more livable/enjoyable for our time here. 🙂 http://www.thenester.com/landing/the-nesting-place-book

      Thanks for commenting friend! I just found you on FB… looking forward to keeping in touch!

  • Tabitha Panariso
    September 1, 2015

    Friend. This was SO good. He is so able, and I really loved this line, “My big mistake was getting my hopes and desires for a new home mixed up with Who delivers those hopes and desires.”

    And just like that, God reminds me that it is He that is able – and I who am blessed by Him. That seems to be a larger theme that is getting spoken this year – seeking His Kingdom, building to glorify Him, looking past the world and into Him.. and on and on.

    I am so excited to see how He is going to work in all our lives this year. He is doing great and wonderful things. Let’s look up together!

    • Evelyn
      September 4, 2015

      Well said! And all so true. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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