(there, i said it.)
We've been renting for all 14 years of our marriage.
our first place was a one bedroom apartment in a 3 story walk up. it didn't smell great, but it was so fun to 'set up house' together for the very first time.
a year later we moved to a two bedroom apartment in a different 3 story walk up. the place was recommended to us by our friends (who later became our neighbours!) and we loved this little place. it had a little brick corner fireplace that we used all the time. it had a small chef's kitchen with a large pantry and a dining room i painted lilac. it had a large storage room/closet that we transformed into G's "office" - complete with desk, bookshelves and a large office chair (that he often napped in). we brought our first baby home to this place.
two years after moving in, we were expecting our second child, so we moved again! this time it was a two-storey side-by-side with three bedrooms and one AND A HALF bathrooms. major upgrade! :) this home had a great fenced backyard and an eat-in kitchen large enough to have a kiddie table in one corner. we threw down some carpet in half the basement and it became a great playroom for the two little ones. we lived there for 3 years.
in 2005, we had our third baby and moved again...not because she came along, but because my husband had applied and was accepted to study at Duke University in North Carolina. this move was a little different. far - very far - away, into a new country. we moved into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse in a lovely neighbourhood a block of the east campus. the townhouse had large bedrooms and good space. i tried to overlook the weird "miami vice" glass bricks that were a large (curved) part of our living room wall. this home was special to us because it was where our family grew very close together, where we learned what it meant to rely on the Lord in a more significant way and where we had many visitors from back home. a year later, we moved again.
this time we ended up in Mississauga, Ontario. our rental was the main floor of a semi for the first year until we took over the rent of the basement as well. this place had nice space, was walking distance to the kids' school and a 3 minute drive to our church. we were very comfortable there and enjoyed hosting bible studies and small groups and family and friends who came for visits. we had a separate guest room (and bathroom) and lots and lots of storage.
when we moved back to our home town 2 years later, we moved into a rental house that was a direct gift from God. it answered little dreams of mine that i'd had for years and had all but stopped hoping for. it has lots of character and yet has been upgraded in a modern way. it has a nice sized deck for entertaining, a great old bannister for hanging garland and stockings, and is in a neighbourhood that we love. our kids never want to leave this home.
i used to feel badly about the fact that we're not homeOWNERS. like somehow we're not REAL adults. it has been a lesson in contentment, in trusting in God's timing and provision. i've been blessed by the nester who writes a blog called content to rent. i guess we're not the only ones - who knew?
and even though i'm getting a little itchy to move again (we've now lived in this home longer than any other), i know that God's plans are best and i can enjoy what He has for me today even while i dream about the future.
here's a verse the Lord has used in my life over the last 14 years:
Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
and he will establish your plans.