We used to live on the edge of town, in a back-to-front cottage surrounded by paddocks of fat grazing cows. A couple of years ago, this cottage was demolished and now the cows have gone too, their former fields divided up into plots of land waiting for new houses.
We drove along our old road the other day. The row of trees, that used to mark the length of our driveway, can still be seen: trees in which our children spent many hours climbing and swinging and sitting. For a long time after we moved out, a left behind home-made bow could still be seen, hanging silently from a tree branch.
We noticed that the first of the new houses is finished. It is on the block of land next door to where we used to live. The owners were busy moving furniture into their beautiful large designer home.
“Wow! That house is much bigger and nicer than our old cottage.”
“But I liked our old home. We had fun there, didn’t we? ...  even though it was small and old and rather mouldy.”
I remember the day I first saw the cottage. We were looking for a property to rent and I’d arranged to meet the real estate agent there to view it. Would this be our new home? I waded through the overgrown grass with Sophie in my arms, carefully up the wobbly back steps and through the rickety porch door. Inside were damaged walls with peeling paint, threadbare carpets and blinds that had forgotten how to go up and down. And I thought, “We could make a home here. I really want to live in this cottage." I don’t know where that feeling came from. It was as if God whispered in my ear, “This will be your next home. I have chosen it for you.” 
I turned to the agent, “Is anyone else interested in the cottage?”
“I’ve shown it to two other people.”
“It would make a great home for a family. I know we have six children -do you think that’s a problem?- they have lived in rental properties all their lives. They know how to look after a house.”
“Well, it’s hardly a palace,” the woman admitted. “They couldn’t really do any more damage.”
And I looked around again at that house in desperate need of some love and attention, and I wondered why I was so set on having this property.
We moved in a couple of weeks later. Andy didn’t even get to see the house until the day we received the keys. I watched his face as he unlocked the door, and held my breath. Perhaps it was all a big mistake. Perhaps he’d say, “Why on earth do you want to live here?”
But he turned to me and grinned. “The kids will have a ball playing in the garden and watching the cows. And I’ve always wanted to live somewhere quiet, away from neighbours.” I resumed breathing.
We spent six very happy years in that cottage. It wasn’t really an ideal house for eight and then nine people. Our dining area barely accommodated our table and entertaining guests was next to impossible. Every few weeks, Andy had to remove all the rising damp mould from the walls, and the sliding doors of the wardrobes drove us crazy as they continually hopped off their runners. But…
We loved the quiet, the view over the paddocks, our amusing cow neighbours, the privacy… the peace.
I think back to all the other houses we have lived in, 14 houses in 28 years of marriage. Some of those houses were equally as dilapidated as our cow cottage. But we were happy in every single house. We’d move in with all our possessions and children, unpack and arrange everything and then within a day or so, we’d have set up our home. We’d made the house our own and we were home.
The house itself isn't important. It is the family who live in the house that matters. As long as we are all together we can make a home anywhere.
Two and a half years ago, after renting for 25 years, we bought our very first house. I think of those exciting days when we were viewing possible properties. We didn’t look at many houses. When we walked through the front door of the house we are living in today, we knew this was the right one, the one God had picked out for us.
I really love my home. It feels so good knowing we can stay in one place and not have to move on when our lease expires.  Sometimes I sit in the lounge and I look around with pure delight. A thrill runs through me. This is our home, OUR home. And I am thankful.
For 25 years God looked after us, always finding us a house we could turn into a happy home. Do we not need God anymore? Have we found our own security? I think about this and conclude that no one is really secure.  Houses can be whipped out from underneath us at a moment’s notice even if we look upon them as ours. Jobs disappear, mortgages can’t always be repaid, bushfires appear without warning… No, the only real security is God.
So I enjoy but I try not to get attached. However much I love my house, I tell myself it is still only a building.  A home is much more important.
I love these words from the poet John Bradburne:
Strange Vagabond
God’s love within you is your native land.
So search none other, never more depart.
For you are homeless save God keeps your heart.
And where is our home?  It can be anywhere. As long as we have each other and God, we are home. And one day we will stop wandering, we will search no more: we will be Home.
Home is with God.

Post a Comment

  1. Ah the memories of good times past!

    I remember many years back our home was so cold and damp we had a permanent rainbow in the kitchen, and the windows used to steam up from the outside!

    That house was so small that even the mice were hunchbacked. We used to call them Quasimodo!

    No central heating in those days - we used to sit in a circle and suck strong mints.

    God bless.

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  2. I am so happy for you all that you have a home of your own. You're right, though - home is where your family is - not really a building. We must keep our hearts on our heavenly home - our eternal destination. Beautiful post!

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  3. It is funny how you 'just know' 'this is the house'. I never experienced that feeling until this property, really amazing.

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  4. I've had these thoughts about our home, too - that it's important not to get too attached and materialistic about them. Another thought was that a way of showing gratitude to God was to share His gifts by making our houses hospitable places which are always open to visitors. There's a lot of ways to glorify God and serve Him better through the gifts He gives us, isn't there? There's an idea for another post for you!:)

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  5. Victor, I'd forgotten about the mice! Oh! I could tell you some good mice stories that happened in that cottage. We didn't call the mice Quasimodo. No, that was the name of our old hunch (hatch) back car.

    But were you happy sitting in that circle sucking your mints, Victor?

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  6. Thanks Dana. I really enjoyed reading your own story of searching for a home - your cardinl story. I'm sure if we listen, God guides us just where He wants us to go. God bless!

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  7. Erin, I bet you could write a great 'just know' story. Or perhaps you hve already written it? God bless.

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  8. There is no doubt, Vicky that our home is a great gift from God. I do share our home. I just wish I was one of those relaxed and calm hosts who didn't stress out every time we entertained! I want things to be so special for guests but really I'm sure, they just want to enjoy my company.

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  9. Hi auntie sue.
    Thank you for your comment. My favourite toy storie movie is number 3.I like the cottage.
    from Melanie xo xo

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  10. Hi Melanie, it was a real pleasure visiting your blog and reading your post. We both like Toy Story 3best! I am sure you would have liked visiting our old cottage and seeing all the cows. We love looking at the horses over your fence, when we visit you. xxxx

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  11. Great real life story. Isn't it just wonderful how God just looks after us and even directs us to our new home. We didn't look through to many houses either before we decided on this one.

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  12. Thanks, Leanne! Didn't you say St Joseph helped find you your perfect home? I think you wrote about this. Yes, I'm sure God directs us. We just need to listen.

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