When I was young and first married, I envisioned one day owning a grand, old Victorian style with a huge wrap-around front porch with a swing, and a beautiful oak staircase inside. Of course, the place would be in perfect condition, no maintenance needed, and it would he the home we lived in until we were old and couldn't manage stairs any longer.
In reality, after our wedding we lived with my in-laws for a week, then moved into a small, one bedroom apartment for a month, then into a tiny, but cute, two-bedroom townhouse that welcomed our first child, our first puppy, and our first experience at really stretching what small funds we had.
Next, we lived in what I considered our first true home, an old raised ranch with three bedrooms and one bathroom that welcomed our second child. I was so grateful to have it, but I could never get rid of some smell that lingered in every room, especially the kitchen. Yet, it became the first place I really began to decorate with what was partly my taste, but mostly what I could afford. After six years, we were blessed to move into a newer home. This was a side-to-side split with three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, and a nice, two-car garage and basement that quickly filled as our family matured.
This modern home certainly wasn't the style of my youthful dreams, but over time, I no longer wished for that large Victorian home. My spirit only cared for this place that held memories of times with the dear ones I treasured. Although relatively small by the standards of homes today, our place had room for all we needed, and held our sweet celebrations and stories over a span of 22 years.
When we "started over" and began raising our third baby after our first set of children was grown, we considered what we desired in a house. Were we content to stay where we were or did we want to make any changes as we embarked on parenting another generation? After deciding to make a change, we found the home we prayed for and dreamed of retiring in.
Our story and a half has all that I ever wished for, yet didn't know I desired. We've endured more trials and tragedies in this residence, but the bonds we've strengthened through the tears have made it a home of love and resilience, of rest and refuge.
After living here for over 16 years, what has mattered most is the love and care we show each other and the bonds we strengthen through our journey of life together. Artwork lining the walls in the home consists of joyful pieces that light our space with love and goodness, hope and peace. Our house has become home through guidance from above, His work in our hearts, and our love for each other.