This week Emily and I are celebrating the one year anniversary of officially no longer being home owners. (Emily celebrated by making brownies.) As long-time readers may recall, we spent eleven months between August 2010 and July 2011 deciding and preparing to sell our home, trying to sell it on our own, having two deals fall through and finally getting it sold when we went with an agent.
Now, a year later, are there any regrets?
Life after home ownership has been a great gift from God for our family. Here are three reasons:
1. We’re able to be more generous.
A year ago, we were struggling to make ends meet, with barely enough money coming in to pay our mortgage, our (exorbitantly high) utility bills, buy food, and give something to our local church and to one outside ministry. Since selling the house and reworking our budget, we found our total outgo significantly reduced (by over $300 a month). In addition to giving us wiggle room for the first time since before Abigail was born, it means we’ve been able to be more generous where we’ve seen a need.
This is a wonderful gift from God because it allows to better live out our faith and help to further the gospel with greater (and more consistent) support of our church, some other opportunities that have come our way (I want to be careful to not sound like a braggart), and do simple things like (gasp!) buy gifts for friends and family without it being a huge amount of stress.
2. It’s reduced the tension in our home.
Even though we saw the Lord always meet every need we had in some pretty amazing ways (like baby clothes always showing up right when we needed them for example), our financial struggles still created a great deal of tension. Now, although we still have our disagreements, money is rarely ever one of the things that comes up as an issue. There’s a lot of trust and frequent communication, and never a real concern about whether or not we can keep living on one income, because we made sure to choose a place to live where we wouldn’t be at the upper limits of our budget every month.
3. We have more freedom to obey the Lord.
One of the great difficulties we faced as home owners was the question—”what if God calls us to move across town… or across the country?” Would we be able to respond in a timely fashion to the call, or would we wind up sounding more like those who Jesus told to follow Him and said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” (Luke 9:61)? We want to be ready to act in obedience in whatever circumstances—and by not owning a home, we’re ready to do it.
This is not to say that home ownership is bad. For some, it’s very, very good. But a year’s distance has only confirmed that the best way for our family to glorify God at this time is to live simply and strategically, so we can be ready to serve in whatever way He commands.