“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” -Charles Spurgeon
“God wants our joy rooted in His grace rather than our goods, in His mercy rather than our money, and in His worth rather than our wealth.” -John Piper
“Indeed, doing justice often involves the sacrifice of one’s comforts and pleasure. For example, to give generously to the poor deprives you of wealth, which can bring physical comforts. But there is a deeper joy that is the by-product of deprivations for the sake of God and neighbor.” -Tim Keller
Less than 2,000 square feet. That’s the size of the home that holds all of my fondest childhood memories, where my parents lived for 21 years. Now, that is by no means small. Let’s remind ourselves of that. It’s way more than enough space. But in this day and age, it’s easy to lose perspective.
The room you see in the photo above was the center of it all – every movie night, game night, late night talk. It’s where they brought me home from the hospital. It’s where we blew out the candles, where we took the prom pictures, where we decorated the Christmas tree. It’s where my parents waited up for us. It’s where they made us breakfast. Like I said, more than enough space for all of the best memories. It all happened there. There was no game room. No media room. Just the family room. And boy did it make us a family.
Not that there is anything wrong with a game room, a media room, or a bigger house. They can certainly hold beautiful memories as well and knit a family just as closely together. But sometimes I struggle with comparison and need reminding that more space doesn’t equal more memories, more happiness, or more opportunities to serve the Kingdom of God. Despite our home being “small,” we always had a house full of people. I learned so much about genuine hospitality in that family room, and I’m so thankful that my parents didn’t let comparison get the best of them – that they just opened the doors and opened their arms and let the Lord do what only He can do.
I love the picture above. You can’t even see my eyes I’m smiling so hard. This photo and the memories it represents still have so much to teach me. Like Corrie Ten Boom said, “Today I know that such moments are they key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do…Certain moments from long ago stood out in focus against the blur of years. Oddly sharp and near they were, as though they were not yet finished, as though they had something more to say.”
My parents chose to live simplistically and give generously. This is what stuck out in my mind as Hunter and I searched for a home. We were fortunate to find one that I think embodies the simplicity we were going for, but also allows room for our family to grow. Again, it is more than enough space. To me, it is actually a very spacious home. But sadly, many people will see it as too small – as a “starter home.” I want to be content with living small, and to be incredibly cheesy, this is our starter home. It’s only temporary. And if the Lord blesses us with children someday, I pray that He will use us to instill the same values of simplicity my parents instilled in me.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I see a long road
In this house we’ve chosen as our home
Refusing the American Dream
Living simplistically – below our means
Because living counter-culturally
Can be ever so lonely
As others may resent
What makes us so content
But I’m not convinced extravagance
Can cure the emptiness
God created to fill with Himself
Because man cannot love both God and wealth