Guess what this is?
Hint: sometimes when God tells you to invest in your city,
He means it literally.
Disclaimer: if we’ve already told you, you’re not eligible to guess 😉
Our friend Tisra Fadely wins (all the way from India)! She was the first to guess on Facebook: “Are you building a HOUSE?!”
That’s right – we’re building a house in Spring Hill. If you’re surprised by that news, join the club. If you know us well, you might have heard us describe ourselves as “serial renters”. We like renting because:
- We don’t have to pay to fix things.
- We’re not too fond of owning expensive things.
- We are so not middle class, “American Dream” type people. We like simplicity.
- We like not being tied down so we’re free to pick up and go if (when) we get called to Haiti or something.
Beyond that, we’ve been sharing our rental house with friends for the past two years to save money and live more communally. That has been wonderful for this season in our lives. But evidently, God decided to take us into a new season. Earlier this year, our newlywed housemates decided to shop for a home of their own. We considered our dwelling options: we could find new housemates again or we could find another, smaller place to rent. The challenge with the first option is that we doubted that many other couples would enjoy living with our growing family. We’ve also been a bit frustrated with the interaction among neighbors on our street and with our property management firm. The latter option was not appealing since we assumed we’d have to spend much more on rent and utilities if we stayed anywhere within a reasonable distance of our church and the town we feel called to engage. So we did our research to see what living on our own in Spring Hill would cost.
We found out that, with the current state of the housing market, an affordable mortgage payment for a decent house would be about the same as monthly rent for any place we could find (including apartments). About the time we were coming to terms with that reality, our housemates told us about a builder they had met with, so we decided to check them out. Lo and behold – we found that we could afford a brand new house within our budget. Not wanting to jump to conclusions, we decided to take a few days to pray, do more research, drive around the neighborhood, and seek advice. All we encountered were confirmations that this was the right choice.
Two particularly amazing things happened during that time.
One, we felt like the neighborhood was perfect for our family. There’s lots of open space, many families with children live there, it’s flat (good for running), there’s a nice pool, and it’s close to the Interstate, the express bus stop, and our favorite businesses. When I went to take pictures of the lot we were considering, I MET OUR NEIGHBORS. The men from across the street and next door came out to chat with me, and we talked for quite awhile. I’ve been longing for a place where the neighbors are interested in community, so this was a huge sign for me.
Second, God spoke to me about our call. You might remember from a previous post that I find an adventurous life in a third-world country much more appealing than American suburbia. We both expect that one day we will end up living in Haiti, but for now that is apparently on hold. However, we know that we are positioned here for a couple of main reasons: we qualify to adopt and we are called to be missionaries in Spring Hill. While I was meditating on that tension for a bit, God clarified that this is the mission for now and I should stop treating it like a waiting room. I had told Him that I understood and that I was committed to our call to invest in our city, but now He challenged me to “put my money where my mouth is”. My response: “Wow. But…but buying a house is such a big commitment. I mean, isn’t that pretty much ‘putting down roots’? I thought You wanted us to live radically on mission.”
But that’s it exactly. Maybe the “picket fence” deal is radical for us because we’re so uncomfortable with it. Still, through all our challenging and ambiguous adventures, God insists on spoiling us. We’ve had a great time sharing a house with friends. Now we’re having one built just for us, and that’s something we never would have chosen for ourselves – not at this point in our lives, anyway.
Well, needless to say, construction on the house has started. Most of the apprehension has been replaced with excitement. AND our neighbors friended us on Facebook, invited us for pool time and lemonade, and offered to send us pictures throughout the building progress (should be done in mid-to-late August).
Life’s full of surprises.