The Story of Our House

As a minimalist, I sometimes find myself justifying the size of our house when people see it for the first time.

“We live in a very low cost of living area.”

Which we do.

“There’s almost always someone living with us.”

Which there is.

“We use it for hospitality purposes and hosting.”

All these things are true. But there’s really no need for me to justify our minimalism to anyone.

There’s more than one flavor of minimalism.

We aren’t all called to live in tiny houses.

I’m glad some people are. It’s awesome.

But there’s more to it than that.

Josh and I believe God led us to this house.

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We lived in the suburbs before we moved here, but we both felt the pull to move closer to the city.

We believed God was calling us to live in diversity, and to be a part of the peace and reconciliation movement that was already happening.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Jeremiah 29:7

This is the verse God gave to Josh about three years ago.

At the time we worked two jobs in two different directions, so we began to pray that if God wanted us to move into the city, to provide a job for Josh.

Sure enough, a job came through! We started looking at houses in what is now our neighborhood.

We saw several, many of them historic homes, because those our prevalent in here once you leave the suburbs.

Two of the houses fit our needs – our needs for our family and for hosting bands, which we were already starting to do in our old house.

One of the houses was smaller and one of the houses was larger.

We called the smaller one The Canton House and the larger one The 81st House.

We didn’t want to waste the space if we went with the larger house, and we definitely didn’t want to choose it for selfish reasons.

In all honesty, our small family (we had one child at the time) didn’t need all that space.

So we prayed about it.

As we drove back to our suburban home (in two separate cars, because we hadn’t minimized that part of our lives yet) we both prayed about which home to pursue.

I felt like God spoke to my heart almost immediately:

Either house will work. But the smaller house will hold the smaller dream and the bigger house will hold the bigger dream.

Of course, I got excited. I wanted the bigger dream, whatever that was. The more opportunities, the better.

But Josh said he hadn’t heard anything yet, so I prayed for God to speak to him also.

The next morning Josh kissed me goodbye as he left for work. He said that before I woke up, a Bible verse had popped in his head. He looked it up:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

Psalm 81:10

He said that maybe God’s answer to him was that if we open wide our home, he would fill it. Josh’s biggest fear had been that the space would go to waste if we didn’t use it.

Then he noticed that the verse about The 81st House was located in Psalm 81.

“Whoa, I guess we know which house we’re getting,” I said.

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So that’s what brought us to this place.

We know it’s big for our family (of four now.)

But we also know that God led us here.

I recently looked our home up online and saw the sales history (which I had actually never looked at before.)

Apparently, this house had been under contract three times and put back on the market.

I don’t know the details, but I think it was providential.

Our home is old, but there were no major issues with it and it was a great bargain.

I truly think angels were guarding this home for us because we hadn’t found it yet.

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We aren’t all meant to be traveling musicians living on the road.

We are all important members of one body.

If we were all travelers, there would be fewer homes to stay in and get a home cooked meal.

If we all stayed put, there would be fewer traveling friends to connect us and weave us together.

It’s really beautiful how we’re all meant to do different things, and how God uses us in our callings and giftings.

People have told me I have a gift for hospitality.

I’m honestly not sure if it’s a gift, or if I’ve just done it enough and been around people who did it better than me that I learned a thing or two.

Either way, I feel that I’m meant to be *mostly* planted right now.

That doesn’t mean we don’t travel at all, but it does mean that, at least for now, it’s okay that we aren’t the kind of minimalists who denounce all their possessions and live in trailers.

As cool as that sounds, and as happy as I’d be either way, even with small children, I think it’s pretty clear that God wants us here.

Being rooted means we can invest in our surroundings, and hopefully contribute to the neighborhood and community.

It means we can stay active in our volunteering and serving at church.

It means if someone needs a place to stay, we’ll be here. (As a matter of fact, a young women just stayed with us who was a friend of a friend, stranded in an ice storm.)

Maybe we’ll be here until we’re old and gray. Maybe we’ll move in a year and downsize tremendously.

We just don’t know.

But until we’re called somewhere else, this is where we’ll be.

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