Lessons Learned from Our Little Home

When we first moved into our poorly-designed 650 square foot home for Joshua to start law school, I felt cramped and could hardly wait to move to a bigger place. The kitchen only had about two feet of counter space, the dryer was on the damp back porch, and my “pantry” hid on shelves behind the couch in the living room.  Our previous home wasn’t big, but this was about half the size!

Little did I dream that when we finally did pack up our boxes (after four years and two more children!) to move back to our home state, that leaving this little home would be tinged with sadness. This little home was crammed full of fun memories and life lessons.

Lessons Learned from Our Small Home

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Lessons learned from our little home

1. God gives grace for each day

Looking back, I don’t know how I would have handled knowing we’d live here for four years. Probably not very well. But God gives grace for each day, not the next four years!

2. Perspective is vital

One day (when I happened to be wishing for a bigger home) my then three-year-old daughter came up to me and said, “I love our house. Don’t you? It’s SO big!” I couldn’t help but laugh. For a child, even a small home seems big. Compared to many in the world, our home is big. Compared to what we need, our home is big. Learning to see it that way, makes it feel much bigger.

3. Creativity makes all the difference

The kitchen was by far the toughest part of the home for me. We could barely squeeze a table and three chairs into the corner and leave enough room to reach the stove. As Will and then Meg were added to the family, we had to get rid of anything un-essential (like the portable dishwasher) and squeeze things in a bit tighter. With a bit of creativity (and added shelves for storage) we were able to make what I hardly thought would work for a year work for four.

4. Wherever you are, someone else would gladly trade.

Recently, Josh and I had an acquaintance over for lunch. After looking around the kitchen he said, “Oh! I sure love this kitchen. I hope that next year I can afford to move into a similar home.”

I was a bit stunned and definitely humbled.

5. Short-term sacrifice pays off

The temptation to move was strong, but we had a goal in mind: keep student loans as low as possible and pay them off quickly! We don’t know what the future holds, but are so grateful to be able to face the future without the burden of school loans.

6. Embrace where God has you today

While dreaming of the future is fun, God placed us here, in the present, for a purpose. “Be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5) Whether in a mansion or college apartment, God has promised to not leave His children. That’s reason enough to be content and embrace where He has us, even when you don’t have any elbow space.

Lessons learned from our little home

I never thought I’d actually feel this way, but I am going to miss our little home. I will miss the feeling of adventure, creativity,and togetherness that living in a small home almost forces you to embrace.

What about you? What’s the smallest home you’ve lived in? What lessons did you learn through it?

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Comments

  1. Kimberly S. says

    Ironically, I learned more lessons from living in a very large house. We moved from a two bedroom apt, where the table sat on the side of the living room, to a 9,200 sq ft home on ten acres. We moved there for ministry purposes, but it ended up never being more than my husband, our baby, one other girl and myself living there. The house was perfect to house a number of people…not so perfect to house four. After spending seven hours mowing the lawn (with a zero-turn riding mower) and an hour just sweeping the basement, I decided never again did I want to live in an over sized space.

    I cannot say how thrilled I was to move into the upstairs of a house split into to apts, where we are now living. Yes, we share the yard and that stinks…but we don’t have to mow it! Yes, the half bath in the master bedroom is literally one quarter the size of our master *shower* in the other house…but I don’t have six bathrooms to keep clean. Yes, there are about 1/3 the kitchen cabinets…but it is enough for us.

    We were living entirely in the master bedroom and kitchen while the rest of the house sat empty. While that was plenty of space, it is SO nice to have a separate office and even a comfortable living room now! I always thought I wanted a large home. Now I realize that I actually just want the right size for us home, with just a little extra space for guests and for our family to grow. And I am so thankful to have exactly that right now.

    • anna says

      Thanks so much for sharing Kimberly! It’s so wonderful to see another perspective and realize that we really need to rejoice *right* where God has us. The grass may look greener in a bigger yard, but as you said, then we’d have to mow it! :)

  2. says

    Funny you should post on this today, Anna. Mom and I were just talking about needing to go through some things and get rid of some stuff to make everything fit since we don’t have room to keep it all. :) Our house is “large” when compared to some places, but with four adults who have lived there for 24 years, you start to accumulate things. :) (I’m really a “keep-all-I-might-use-it-some-day” person) I was just starting to half wish we had more room. Thanks for the timely reminder to be content with where I am. :D
    Now, I do need to get rid of some things . . .

    • anna says

      How fun! :)

      I should have added “You learn to enjoy living with less.” to my list! When I start to feel crowded, just going through the house and getting rid of stuff makes such a big difference!

  3. Del says

    Hello Anna! This is my first time visiting your blog and I loved this post (and your blog, just looking around :) I have been married for almost three years and we spent our first year of marriage living in a studio apartment that was one full room (open plan kitchen and living room/bedroom) and a small bathroom with a shower – with my two small children. It was CRAZY, lol. We learned a lot though. How to make the most of the space we had, furnishing and using furniture to divide the space and how to have a bit of personal space and definitely giving one another grace. When we finally moved, it was into a 2 bedroom apartment and that’s our living situation now and I am very content and happy about it. I love living in a smaller space, it feels easier to keep clean, forces us not to buy unnecessary things and has just enough space for me and my family and a few guests. My husband is in school right now and we have debts to pay off, so we are definitely not trying to take on more than we can right now. One day, I would love to live in an actual house – but never a very big house :)

    • anna says

      Awwww… Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

      Wow—compared to one room, our house is quite big. I love the way you creatively made it work for your family!

      The longer we’ve lived in a small home, the more I like it. Like you said, you’re forced to simplify… and don’t have nearly as much to clean!

  4. says

    We lived in a one bedroom apartment for the first couple years. We ended up having both our boys during those years. It was tight. But learning to thrive where God has you is the key to a joy-filled life. Always wishing for something else accomplishes nothing. And as you said…God uses those situations to cause us to turn to Him and rely on His grace and strength.

    • anna says

      Amen! If I’m not content right where God has me, who’s to say I would be anywhere else, even if it were lots bigger.

  5. Kasey says

    I love the way you worded number 1: “But God gives grace for each day, not the next four years!” So very true! Wonderful lessons he had for you while you were busy making happy memories in your little home! :) May this next season of life be every bit as blessed! {I linked a relatively old pot when I realized that I had no others that we budget related! Obviously, I really need this Thrifty Thursday thing!}

    • anna says

      Awww, thank you! I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us.

      And thanks so much for linking up! I love that post! It’s so easy to think a tight budget means we can’t minister to others. It may change how exactly we minister, but there are always opportunities–makes me think of Betsie ten Boom. :)

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