Friday, January 11, 2013

The "why" behind my nesting

So, I've been sharing all of my "nesting" projects with you recently, like my pantry, Gavrel's closet, and a few other odds and ends. And I've had no qualms about calling them nesting projects, because the nesting drive has definitely provided the energy, motivation, and deadline for getting these things done. But if I'm really honest with you, the whole thing started a ways before being pregnant.

For years now, I have been moving around, taking a lot of stuff with me each time - always finding temporary solutions for things because I figured someday I would have a house with "real" storage space, or at least enough room to actually use or display the things I have. At some times, this has meant leaving enough room to walk between stacks of boxes around the house or in my room. At all time this has meant a royal pain moving. My husband, and our good buddy Alex, will both quite readily attest to this.

A little over two year ago, we attempted to get a job in Hong Kong and move over there. We never got to the action part of moving, so I guess I will never know how that might have worked out, but I think my backup plan was just to put everything in storage and take what we could. If you don't know, Hong Kong real estate is at a premium and everything is TI-NY. It seemed reasonable to expect to live in a small space in Asia, but I still held out for the "someday" of a bigger space in the US.

It didn't happen that way. When Gavrel was three months old, we moved from our 660 square foot house into an 1100 square foot apartment. While it was a major upgrade for us, it still seemed so temporary to me. And I treated it that way - partly because I had a small Monkey monopolizing my time, and partly because it just didn't seem like a long-term housing solution. There were still stacks of boxes against walls a year after moving in, because I just didn't know what to do with them. And our bonus room was floor-to-ceiling boxes, extra furniture, and just stuff. 

And then Gavrel and I went to Berlin for three weeks this summer. The apartment we were staying in was considered particularly luxurious for Berlin standards, but would still be small by American home standards - or at least in the areas that we usually think of mattering like bedrooms and kitchen. But we met another sweet missionary couple there who live in an apartment of similar size, and their entire ministry is based on hospitality; they host parties, overnight guests, dinners, etc. in their home, always looking for a chance to share Jesus with the people in their home. And that's when it hit me:

The whole rest of the world lives in the equivalent of two and three bedrooms apartments.

Only in the US do we expect that everyone (short of very-large-city dwellers) will have a house, yard, two car garage, and a separate bedroom for every child. Here, it's the ultimate goal in life. To most of the rest of the world it's not really even on the radar. I suddenly realized that I am not missing something, lacking something, or somehow inferior because I don't have that. God calls me to use my gifts and my home the way they are right now - not put it off until "someday."

**Quick disclaimer - If you are privileged to have a house with a yard and lots of bedrooms, awesome. I don't have any issue with that or begrudge you that. I would love to have a house someday if we stay in the US long term. It's just ok that I don't personally have one right now.**

And so I started on a mission to make the most of what I have right now. To sort through boxes I haven't even opened in eight years. To organize the piles of stuff I keep stashing in corners and closets. To go ahead and decorate and accessorize as much as I can in a rental space. To make the most of every square foot we have. Because I want to enjoy my home. Because I want to open my home to others. Because I want this to be a low-stress, enjoyable place for us and our children to be. Because I want it to be a welcoming, low-stress place for others to be. Because I want pretty. Because I want settled. But most all, because I want to be faithful with God has given us right now in this season of life - whether living arrangements move around the world and only get smaller, or whether we are blessed with more room just down the road.

I have been unsatisfied, and I'm working to change that. I want to use our home to its fullest potential and flex the hospitality gifts I have let lie dormant for too long. And so maybe having an energetic pregnancy has been God's way of helping me honor Him with our home. It's been a big help to have the energy and motivation to go with such big goals. But in the end, the goal isn't to have a perfect house by the time Baby gets here (if you knew us and saw where we lived when Gav was born, you know I'm perfectly ok with making baby things work in whatever space we have), but rather to live fully in our home from here on out.

I want to be the servant who was faithful with little. And now that I've told all y'all about it, I have to actually live up to that, right? :-)


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