Not all seasons of life end up looking like what we hoped for or dreamed of.
11 years ago I married Troy and we started to build a life together with very little money.
I moved to Canada from the US 5 weeks before we got married, with no work permit, and Troy was a drummer in a band.
Although Troy owned a small condo, we were unable to live in it due to our lack of funds and decided it would be best to live with his parents as we got on our feet in the early stages of marriage. Looking back at those days I can’t help but reflect on the grace, patience, and love of his parents. We were 22 & 24, immature, and doing the first season of marriage in front of his family…literally everything. (cringe)
Let’s just say when we were finally able to move out on our own a year and a half into marriage, I was beyond thankful for that 600sqft condo that allowed us to have our own space. Having the Canadian dream of a white picket fence and security was actually never a dream of mine (or so I thought) hence why I married a touring musician, but somewhere along the way I developed this mindset that homes, cars and things represented security, happiness and a stamp on my life that said “we had made it.”
Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of money, maybe it was because I grew up in a home that was always financially stretched, I’m not sure. But what I do know is these things held a bigger place in my heart then I ever intended.
Fast forward 9 years into marriage….
We built two beautiful homes, Troy had a very successful job, we had three children and we were very secure where we are at.
And then we feel a call to the lower mainland to help plant a church. That’s a whole other blog post, but what I want to focus on in this post is the beauty that comes out of our discomfort and the growth that happens when we allow God to take the plans and dreams we had for our lives and build something far greater then we could have ever imagined.
As I write this I’m gazing around the 1200sqft condo that 2 years ago I would have never imagined our family could live in. When we moved from Kelowna we came from a 2800 sqft dream house with a big beautiful yard that we thought we would be in forever. But the reality is our lives were small. It’s so humbling when I look back at that big house and think of the countless ways we could have used it to bless people, to fill its spaces with friends and how we could have lived with so much less. It’s been 2 years since we have moved to the coast to answer a call to serve and love a city of people we did not know.
In this process there have been countless situations and experiences that have challenged and pressed us. One of them being letting go of what we felt we needed in order for our capacity to grow. Maybe 1200sqft for you represents a whole lot of space and in this very moment you could be thinking #firstworldproblems, and I get that. But I think one of the most amazing things about God is that He meets “us” at a personal level. God knew what a challenge it would be for me to let go of my beautiful home, the security of owning, and all the love I had put into those 4 walls. But He also knew the beauty and learning that would come out of a pressing season that included selling my beautiful furniture, downsizing our lives, and learning that four walls do not determine our success nor the capacity of our heart.
Over these past 2 years of letting go what has physically taken up space in my life, I have seen the walls of my heart explode for people, my capacity expand and my world get larger than I could have ever imagined.
Don’t ever despise your small seasons. Although my heart still at times longs for a home that can hold huge parties and host friends from out of town, I do believe God is going to make a way for us to have that one day. But for now, learning to live in a small space has really taught me to get creative with less, that the walls of my home do seem larger when they are filled with more love, and life doesn’t need to be perfect for you to make space for others. This condo has really taught me in countless ways that God always knows what’s best for us and sometimes he needs to make our physical spaces smaller and less cluttered in order for us to grow.
It was never about four walls. All along it was about learning to be content, thankful, and at peace in whatever state I’m in. This 1200sqft has hosted some of the richest conversations with friends, become a resting spot of our kids as we invest in their life, and along the way God taught us to take our eyes off ourselves and shifts them to a city that doesn’t need you to have large space for you to do life with them.
God shows up in our small beginnings, and sometimes he needs to make the process very physical in order for us to see that.
I want to say a special thank you to Urban Walls and their creative team. Our landlords had asked that we keep our walls white (which I love) but our kids needed some life, fun and creativity added to their rooms. Danielle and her team did a fantastic job of helping us select the perfect style for our home, installing them and creating the perfect to add something special but also respect your landlord;)
Also a huge thank you to Curated Tribe. You brought the perfect vintage-bohemian flare into our home with your beautiful rattan furniture pieces. We are such a huge fan of yours and will forever be stocking your Instagram page for new inspiration.
This condo has become one of my favourite projects to decorate and has become the perfect home for our family in this season.
Enjoy these beautiful photos by the incredible Brit Gill