“It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there’s always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there–wherever “there” is for you–you’ll be happy. But that’s just not life. If you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in beauty, either.” Joanna Gaines
In January 2016, something really exciting happened for me and my husband – we closed on our very first house! We were so excited (and a little stressed), but it’s safe to say we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
We got the keys to our new home shortly after closing, and we started the process of cleaning everything, ripping up carpet, refinishing hardwood floors and painting nearly every room. We gave ourselves about a month to prep the inside of the house before we moved in.
Thankfully, we had saved a good bit of money after the wedding, so we were able to have a down payment as well as some money for minor renovations and new furniture. Up until we bought our house, we had been living in a rental condo with a lot of hand-me-down furniture, so we were excited to plan and purchase a lot of new stuff for the house (well, I was excited – I don’t know about Matt!).
But then something happened. About a week after we got the keys to the house, one of the drains in the basement started backing up. We obviously knew we needed to call a plumber at that point to see what was going on, thinking maybe we just needed to have the drain snaked and we’d be good to go.
But the problem was much, much deeper than that.
Unfortunately, the last plumber to touch our house had no idea what he was doing. Turns out, we had some major issues in the way the plumbing was setup, and we needed to get it fixed ASAP. We had to pull back all the carpet in the basement so they could open up the concrete, re-route the pipes and then pour new concrete back in to seal the floor up.
Obviously, this was no small task. And the price tag wasn’t small, either.
Yep, you guessed it. The thousands of dollars I had saved for new furniture and decor went into fixing the plumbing. Every. Last. PENNY.
At first, I was extremely upset. We had worked so hard, we had saved our money, we had purchased a modest house – we were trying to do everything the right way! And now all of my money for decorating was gone? Just like that?!
But then something happened. A lightbulb went off, and I realized that I should be on my knees thanking the Lord that we even had the money in the bank to spare. How many people – after buying their first house – could say that? The Lord provided for us all along. We didn’t have to go into debt to fix our plumbing!
It’s been a little over a year since all of that went down, and I am genuinely grateful this happened to us. And as I look around my house, I am thankful that I didn’t have the money to purchase a bunch of furniture and decor up front because honestly, a year ago I didn’t have a defined interior decorating style. I really hadn’t shopped around enough to decide what I liked or didn’t like! In retrospect, I think I would have ended up buying a bunch of stuff on a whim and regretting it later.
By taking it slow and spending a little bit of money here and there (instead of all at once), I truly believe I was able to put a lot of thought and intention into each purchase. Over the past 15 months, I have scored a LOT of deals, garbage picked and painted some great pieces, and have developed my own personal interior decorating style.
As I look around the living room while I type this post, I’m thankful for the TV table that I garbage picked and taught myself how to paint. I’m grateful for the coffee table given to us by my parents. I’m overwhelmed with joy when I feast my eyes on the brand new dining table I scored for a fraction of the price. Sure, I still have a lot of work ahead of me – I need to finish decorating the guest room and the library, and at some point we need to finish some projects in the basement and renovate the bathroom – but I want to fully enjoy the season I’m in.
As a follower of Christ, I am always learning and growing and becoming more like Jesus. Sometimes it’s a painful process, but it’s worth every minute. Throughout this process, I have learned so much patience. I have also learned to love the space I’m in – as well as the place I’m in. I often have to remind myself that I will never “arrive” as long as I live on this earth. I will never have a perfect life and I will certainly never be perfect myself. So instead of always waiting and wishing for the next best thing in life, I want to live well right where I am.