“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation, all the day-
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God, I will come.
I will remind them of your righteousness alone.”
Psalm 71: 14-16
If you read that title and didn’t start singing that song… what’s wrong with you?! 😉 But anyways, in case you didn’t catch it, Paul and I just bought our first home. (Insert every single happy emoji right here.)
Next to finding out I was pregnant, moving into our first home has been the most surreal experience of my life thus far. And, one of the longest processes ever ha. I have found myself crying and saying “thank you Jesus” over and over and over since moving in. I have prayed for this home for years, and time after time I have had to say “I trust you, Lord” as my dreams and desires for settling into a home were deemed “not possible right now.” It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I have been pruned and molded in my discontentment over the last 3.5 years painfully but beautifully. But, sitting on my sofa with a cup of coffee, a “Mom to Be” mug no less, and looking around the still, quiet of the morning in our home has brought my heart to worship each morning we’ve been here as I reflect on all God has done in our lives to get me right here in this exact spot. I have literally been jolted awake so early every day just because I am so excited and want to go sit and soak it all in.
So, today I celebrate, first, the Lord’s faithfulness of bringing a home to fruition for us.
Here’s where I really want to go today, though, because I know we are all in different seasons of life and waiting patiently to buy a first home might not resonate with you. Maybe you’re in high school trying to figure out where to go after graduation and your dream school didn’t accept you, maybe you’re in a season of singleness or experienced loss recently, maybe you just went through a heart wrenching break-up, perhaps you’re waiting to finally read “positive” on that pregnancy test after months of failed attempts, or maybe- like us- you are actually waiting for the right time to finally buy a home and settle some roots and kiss goodbye the game of apartment hopping. Whichever one of these seasons of waiting and feeling unsettled you connect with, whatever you might be facing, I want to tell you to continue the race, continue the fight, continue to trust even when it feels impossible, and (the main piece of encouragement for you) seek contentment in all seasons while still praying toward the end.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Here’s my story, and though we are all in different seasons or different circumstances, I pray you see God’s goodness and faithfulness. The Lord is in absolutely every season you are walking in, and there are things he is teaching you and there are absolutely blessings if you just open your eyes.
So… apartment living. You might be one of those city people who love living in their flat or cool apartment. If so, right on! I, however, never lived in an apartment my entire life until I got married. And let’s be really honest with one another- I liked the apartment life for about three months… and then my heart began stirring and longing for a home. And let me tell you, we were nowhere even close to being able. One of my first pitfalls to contentment in the beginning of our marriage was comparison. I compared our situation to people’s I saw on Instagram or on TV. I would get so discontent and frustrated that we were so broke while others our exact age were living so lavishly. We were literally going negative every single month, over-drafting and begging Wells Fargo to give back our overdraft fees so that we could eat that week. (Not kidding, y’all.)
I also was comparing the life my parents provided for me to the one I felt my husband was… oy, this will ONLY lead to destruction you guys. I hated even writing that sentence out… it felt so icky. Their story: When my parents got married, my dad was just shy of 30 and mom was 23, and my dad was already deep into his career, had owned his own businesses, and was a successful realtor. He owned a home that my mom got to just move right into, and because that’s all I knew, I compared my situation to theirs. Did I mention my dad was almost 30? Our story:… Paul and I got married at 21 and 24. We both were just starting careers and just working jobs to pay the bills (our careers have changed drastically over the last 3.5 years). Paul hated his job so much that I had to yell “you are the light of the world, a city on a hill, do not hide your light under a bushel!” down the hall every time he walked out the door to work. Needless to say, we were definitely not anywhere close to home ownership when we got married. We were just trying to keep our head above water month to month, and it certainly caused a lot of tension between us.
But here’s what the problem was- because, let’s face it, what Paul and I were experiencing as newlyweds… it’s the norm y’all: But, where I failed was the more I compared my previous life and securities to my current situation, the more bitter I grew. And, I was very much so dishonoring the vows I had made to my husband without even realizing it. I didn’t see it as an opportunity to grow together and learn and laugh together, but I just was always frantic and frazzled feeling. The more discontent I grew, the easier it was to get upset at Paul about the little things.
(Am I getting too real for you yet? Am I stepping on your toes yet?)
If you are engaged, married, or even plan to be married one day, my greatest piece of advice to you is to never compare your husband to another man, especially your daddy or previous situations. I will say though, funnily enough, over time I have said more and more “I married a clone of my dad.” You will likely marry someone who resembles your dad, if you grew up in a home with a good fatherly figure, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I married a man who works hard as heck like my daddy, and his mannerisms are often things my dad did or said. But, comparing how my dad provided for me vs. how Paul was establishing a home and working his B U T T off for us to make it in the beginning was destructive.
Discontentment in seasons leads to bitterness and frustration.
Another thing I had a hard time with for so long was my longing to settle roots somewhere. But, my reality was 4 different apartments in 3 years and feeling anything but settled. As someone who grew up in just a couple homes, moving only because of a change in dad’s job, I felt the need for the same stability and security of a home.
Listen, none of these wants are bad: stability, security, roots, establishment. But they become a hinderance when they block your view of all that is good before you right now in the present. Anything that becomes a greater desire than the need for Jesus exactly in the season you’re at is a road block that YOU are establishing. There is no greater gift than the present, and God made Paul and me lean on him over and over in our discomfort, and in my discontentment, to teach me what is important. I saw God’s protection and my faith was challenged at every single apartment where we 1000% experienced warfare. God allows for warfare in order for us to be pruned, grow, and learn- and clearly, I had a lot to grow in. Look at the story Job for the most intense example of God allowing spiritual warfare- all still while being protected by the love of God. I absolutely believe in satan’s armies, but I am not one to always be like “Ohhh that’s the devil!” when something bad happens. But, every single apartment we lived at since the day we got married, we had odd, over the top attacks happen to us that got to the core of my discomfort and challenged my security that were no doubt attacks from the enemy. Both of which are two of my greatest needs both personally and just as a woman.
Sexual harassment, a break-in, a dog attack out of freaking NO WHERE in front of our apartment, being followed and watched, a man who unscrewed our tire and we didn’t know until driving down the highway, illegal drugs coming through our vents at all hours of the day while pregnant and our apartment management not believing us…
All of it- true stories and this is not even close to everything I could share. It got to the point that every single place we moved to, I would pray for God to go before us and coat the walls with his protection. I had to trust God with every move, laying down my desire and knowing I just needed him to go before us. I had to ask him to show me his goodness in every situation, and lean so heavily on him all while trusting that each move was getting us a step closer to where he wanted us. (Ultimately leading us to Anchor Church almost two years ago.)
This is the fruit I got to experience from 3 and a half years of fighting feelings of discontentment. I learned so much, and Paul and I both got to the point that we would genuinely say, “If we never make a penny more than what we do collectively right now and live in an apartment for a long time, I am so thankful for what we get to do that I wouldn’t even care.” I don’t take it for granted for one second that we have the ability and are trusted to lead hundreds of teenagers in their daily lives, use this platform to speak Jesus and truth daily, and that we get to work from home together. Guys, that’s not normal but it’s definitely a dream- I am so thankful. We got to the point that if we stayed exactly as things were financially/living-wise, we were so happy just to do what we do and grateful to God for what we had.
Aha! A heart change.
All the while, of course we prayed for a home throughout each season and each apartment. We got A LOT wiser with our money over the course of 3.5 years, and our perspective shifted over time. All throughout the frustration, I praised God and I got better and better at thanking him for what I did have- not just asking for what I wanted to be in or where I wanted to be at. The righteous acts of God are numerous (see top scripture from Psalms), and I learned to thank him in all seasons for his goodness and numerous blessings.
I am certainly not saying that every time it clicks for us, God will give us what we want. He isn’t an “if-then” God- I remember my mom teaching me that at a really young age and it’s something that has always stuck with me in my prayer life. But, he does care about the desires of his children’s hearts, and he will handle your desires with care. For us, that meant an amazing story of getting into the home I currently am sitting in (read here). But, it could have also meant living happily in an apartment for 5 more years, and I would still be sharing my story of heart change and finding contentment in all seasons.
I pray you are encouraged today- whatever it is you’re waiting for. Fight discontentment by praising Jesus daily for a list of things you’re thankful for. Every morning and night when I pray, I just start by thanking Jesus for all the good things in my life. It sets the posture of your heart upright and looking straight ahead.
As for these photos by Cottonwood Road Photography, I nearly wept when they were uploaded. I still can’t believe that we are here, and I am so grateful. (Have I said that enough yet?) Sure, I could have waited to share photos of inside our home until the walls are the color I want, the curtains were hung, or the fireplace is resurfaced just how I want it… but that is cheapening all that God has done for us. So here’s our living room exactly as it is with what we moved in with, and I am happy as a clam. There is a whole lot of blank spaces, but I love it that way. We only have space to grow- a home full of babies, love for one another, and a whole lot of dancing. I get giddy thinking about eating chili with a fire in the fireplace this fall, and pumpkin candles all over my home. I get thrilled to think that in just 4 months, I will have a baby in the midst of my FAVORITE time of year… I can’t wait to hang ornaments on our tree in the window with a baby strapped on the front of me, Paul putting lights on the house, and soaking in every single second of the holiday season as a new little family in our amazing new home.
Ugh, all the feels y’all. I seriously can’t stop smiling.
My whole entire outfit shown is from Landry Kate. You can DM them (@shoplandrykate) about my kimono and top, call them up, or just shop online for similar items! If you want to shop with me, seeing what I have on the must-buy list for our new home, head here. I have made shopping for a light and airy space easy for you by finding all the best items out there and putting them in one spot. 😉 You’re welcome.
For my curls, I use the Sultra Bombshell wand, here.