“Five years, tops! Five years and then we’re out of here!”
That’s what I told my husband 13 years ago when we settled into what I now affectionately refer to as our Little House on the Freeway; our little slice of the American Dream in The Big Apple.
When we first arrived, I deplored it. Abhorred it. Out right hated it!
I cried the night before our closing. I tearfully questioned my husband’s decision to buy it.
I seriously tried to talk him down.
Yet, somehow, I believed that God was leading Him in his decision to move forward; but trust me, I didn’t like it one bit.
Well, it’s been 13 years now; 13 years since this home of ours has been living and breathing, expanding and contracting, and giving life to our not-so-little clan.
Can’t see the forest for the trees
When “it” was happening – all the living and breathing, the marriage ups-and-downs, the parenting highs and lows – I did not know “it” was taking place.
I was too busy living for the future and striving for something “better;” desperately trying to believe that something good could come out of Nazareth?
(“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” John 1:46a)
Still, “it” was happening, nonetheless: This amazing thing that is family-life — yes, it was unraveling right under my nose.
The old adage “Can’t see the forest for the trees” definitely applies here.
I was so busy looking forward, onward, upward, downward, and hiding under beds, that I couldn’t see what was right before me: the germination of spiritual seeds sown in children, the sprouting of family intimacy – in spite of the occasional disharmony, a love for our family traditions, and oh, so much more.
Indeed, HOME is this truly amazing place, where amazing things happen!
But the most amazing thing of all is the working of Jesus Christ in the Christian home.
Little becomes much in the Lord’s hands
When my mother learned that my husband and I were moving forward with our plans to foster children, she disbelievingly looked at us with questioning eyes.
When I asked her about her reservation, she said, “Your home is too small, Tiff.” in the sweetest voice that she could muster.
I gently replied, “Is my home too small, mom?” (My implied meaning: Is it really too small to help children in crisis?)
I know my mother’s heart is for children so, of course, she responded, “No.”
My mother is considering our limited square footage, the fact that we all share one bathroom (a miracle that God works out every day on our behalf!), and the fact that we will loose our beloved “homeschooling room” to create additional sleeping quarters.
I am considering purpose and destiny – an opportunity to love the “least of these,” and to influence these precious children with the lifesaving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I really have no time to consider our first-world woes of us all sharing one bathroom. 🙂
Over the years I have learned that as small as my home is, it is God’s ordained place of dwelling for my family.
So, if you’ve ever felt like your home is too small, is situated in the wrong neighborhood, or not fancy enough to make a good life for your family, think again, my sister!
I am here to tell you that no matter what your home looks like, no matter how simple or meager the furnishings, no matter where it is geographically situated, your home is God’s chosen place of dwelling for you.
You are not there by chance or fate because the Bible declares, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…” (Psalm 27:33).
“Bring them here to me”
Sweet sister, God desires to perform a great work in your home, in and through you, for His glory! It happens as you partner with Him to become a godly agent-of-change in your family.
Matthew 14:13-21 tells the miraculous account of how little becomes much in the Master’s hand.
Jesus had been preaching His heart out! Large crowds had followed him for days to hear His precious words of life and to be healed, delivered and set free!
The disciples finally asked Jesus to send the crowds of people away so that they would not starve on their journey home; but Jesus refused, and then challenged His disciples to feed them.
Shortly thereafter, his disciples discovered that a child among them had food, but they were quick to point out that it seemed insufficient: “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” (v.17)
“Bring them here to me, Jesus said.”
Then Jesus proceeded to use a child’s lunch – a meager offering of five loaves and two fish – to accomplish His divine will: to feed over five thousand people!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
When the child offered everything that he had to the Lord, the Lord took it, blessed it, and miraculously increased it to meet the needs at hand.
**And so the Lord does the same with our homes.**
Borrowing from this same passage of scripture in Matthew 14, here is a wonderful example of what that looks like in our homes . . .
“And he [Jesus] directed the people to sit down on the grass.” (v. 19)
♥ My heart response: Jesus leads me and I follow. He instructs me through His word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Through His word, He guides me and gives me the wisdom I need to be a godly wife and mom.
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he [Jesus] gave thanks . . .” (v. 19 )
♥ My heart response: I look up to my Father in heaven. I give thanks for who He is and for all that He has done in my family’s life. I offer up to Him all that I have, no matter how insignificant or minuscule it may seem. I am filled with gratitude for His divine provision for my family – my home.
“. . . and [Jesus] broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” (v. 19)
♥ My heart response: As I am broken before the Lord, He pours His wisdom and strength into me as I pour out my life to others on His behalf. As I serve my husband and my children the bread of earth (physical nourishment) and the bread of heaven (spiritual nourishment) God blesses and strengthens our home. “The Lord . . . blesses the home of the righteous.” (Proverbs 3:33)
“They all ate and were satisfied,” (v. 20)
♥ My heart response: Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35). He feeds me and I am satisfied. He is my sustenance and my strength. “O taste and see that the Lord is good…“ (Psalm 34:8a)
“. . . and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” (v. 20)
♥ My heart response: Jesus Christ is more than enough. He satisfies me with His salvation. He fills me with His peace and joy. It produces a well of thanksgiving in my heart, overflowing into the my home and bringing life to my husband and children.
And about those left overs: Not only does he satisfy my family, my home gives life to visiting friends and extended family; to strangers and pilgrims. “…she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” (Proverbs 31:15) “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20)
Sister friend, no matter how meager your offering appears to be, offer it up to the Lord! For the little that you have, when placed in the Master’s hand, will become MORE THAN ENOUGH to have a fruitful and life-giving home.
Actions steps for the home-building wise woman…
♥ I will give thanks for my current dwelling, whether it be a house, a homeless shelter, or a mud shack.
♥ I will pray for a heart that loves to be “busy at home.” (Titus 2:5)
♥ I will be intentional about making my home a place of grace and a sanctuary for my family and all who enter. “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1
Holla Back!: What positive aspects can you focus on in your home right now? Post a comment below to share. I’d love hear your thoughts!
Come and check out where I party!
Calvonia Radford says
I have lived in a parsonage most of my married life. For the last couple of years I have stressed about having our own place. But God has not said the same. Our home is a gathering place for youth and children. We have taken many in to this home for temporary placement. Your post resonates with me. I need to be still. God is using us right were we are. Bless you!
Calvonia, I feel like we are singing the same song! More of Jesus’ strength to you as you dwell in that lovely parsonage and shine brightly for Christ. Blessings!
Richella Parham says
Yes, ma’am! Bless you, Tiffiney, for speaking these words of truth! And bless you for opening your home and your very big heart to children in need. You’ve inspired and blessed me with this post; I pinned it so I could refer back to it!
Thank you so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
Hey Richella! I’m so glad that this post was a blessing to you, and that you’re featuring it so it can bless others.. Our God is truly an awesome God! And if we allow Him, He can do such a life-changing work in us and through us, all for HIS glory – even though we are unworthy servants. I’ll never get over how gracious He is to us, but that very grace inspires me to be a better parent. Blessings!
Lori Schumaker says
Whatever the size or structure the home, what matters is the love and following of Christ and the love for each other ♥ Then God seems to do the amazing! Love this post, as always love your words of wisdom, Tiffiney!
Yes . . . the AMAZING! That’s the God I know and serve. He’s so good to us. Thanks for stopping by, Lori. Always a pleasure having you. 🙂
Pam Richardson says
Tiffiney, what a wonderful post and it is so nice to meet a fellow believer! By the world’s standards, my home would be small. We built our home 39 years ago on 20 acres, and we are still here! My sweet mother taught me that if there is room in the heart, there is room in your home. I love that you are fostering children and teaching them Godly principles! Blessings to you as you serve Jesus!
Hey Pam! I’m so excited to meet you, too! I just love what your mom said – about there being room in your home if there’s room in your heart. I’m going to let that be a challenge statement for me. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Cathy mcintosh says
Beautiful post. We, too, live in a home that may seem lacking to the world but there are treasures untold in this place.
Treasures untold…LOVE. LOVE. LOVE it! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout! That’s the God we serve. 🙂
From the first time I read your blog where you described your “Little House on the Freeway” I was drawn by your authenticity about how you felt when you first bought it and what it has become to you. I read this post in your newsletter and it really spoke to my heart. I often get caught up in all the things I wish were different about my house (like STILL not having baseboards in my living room and kitchen as we WAIT until we can afford a remodel). Well, 14 years later and still no baseboards. Every time I have people over to my home or host a baptism I get bitter towards my husband about having no baseboards, lol. I lose perspective on what matters most. This post helps me to see all the love in my home that’s decorated by the beauty of living that often looks messy. Love you friend!
Hey Val, I know about that bitterness that springs up towards my husband whenever I consider our undone projects. Oh my goodness! What a universal struggle that must be for wives. Yes, let’s keep our perspective on what matters most and remember to maintain a grateful attitude. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.
Michele Morin says
Tiffiney! Your story is my story!
We moved to this little house on a country hill nearly 25 years ago . . . for a few years. Just until we could make some improvements and then sell it and move to a bigger place. Then a lovely piece of wooded property adjacent to us came up for sale. And we had three more sons who fell in love with this location.
And so, slowly we are making the improvements we imagined, and here we are. God has used this location as a platform for so much hospitality and relationship building, I can’t even begin to describe it all. His plans for us may be different than we imagine, but they are good.
Hey Michelle! “Hospitality and relationship building.” I love that! And yes…His plans for us are usually different that what we imagined. I “sort of” love that too. LOL! Thanks for stopping by!
Tracy Albiero says
Yikes!!! This shot me right through the eyes. I needed to read this today. I often feel our home is too small and long for the day we can build our dream home. Shame on me! I am missing valuable time to use my home NOW to show God’s goodness. #rechargewednesday
Tracy, I could have written every word of your response as if it were my own thoughts. Interestingly, even though I know better, sometimes I still struggle with discontentment. Perhaps that makes me human, but I know a spirit filled walk is the antidote to ingratitude. I’m so glad that God is patient and understanding when we do struggle – because we all do. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
Oh my! How this resonates with me on so many levels. As an Army family, we’ve lived in far more than our fair share of homes over the last 20 years. I’ve learned (the hard way many times) that home is far more than bricks and boards and square footage. And, as you say, God can work miracles with far less than we could ever imagine! Blessings to you!
Hey Liz, I so agree with you. The quality of our home life is not determined by its physical attributes, because HOME comes from our hearts.
When we can finally find gratitude in our hearts, our hearts change. Thanks for blessing us with how God grew that in your heart and uses you and your home to bless others.
Hey Debby! Gratitude is so fundamental to enjoying our home, our family, our marriage, our life! Yes, Gratitude!
SUSAN SHIPE says
Tiffany what a refreshing, encouraging read. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? COME AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!!! Neighbors at Holley’s.
Hey Susan, I came, I saw, and something amazing happened! And it’s all because of Jesus!
Marva | SunSparkleShine says
Tiffiney, girlfriend, you can’t imagine how much your words mean to me today. Over the past 6 months ‘home’ has taken on a different meaning for me. I’ve slept in several different beds, on floors, on couches, yet I’ve never been without a roof (even when it was a leaky one).
These 6 months of recovering and rebuilding after the storm have prompted some complaining and frustration on my part but your words (tearfully) reminded me today that my home — wherever that might be and however it might look — is a haven for my family. I thank God that the four of us get to be together and to shine God’s light in a place that needs Him so.
Blessings to you, dear friend. Your words (His words) have been a blessing.
Oh Marva, I am greatly moved by your words. I am so grateful to God that you were blessed by this offering. I can only imagine what you and your family have been through in recent months, but I do know this: your light has been shining – in spite of your circumstances. Praise the Lord! I have been so blessed by what you’ve shared on your blog since the storm. I can’t wait to hear the testimony that comes out of all of this. We are all rooting and praying for you and your family, dear sister. Keep shinning brightly for Him.
Thanks so much for this reminder, Tiffiney. What we have is more than enough in the hands of Jesus. Blessings to you.
Indeed, Boma! I’m so glad this post resonated with you. I always love when you stop by. I’m leaving the porch light on for your next visit.:-)
Yay! I love stopping by!
Diane Linton says
Every blog, and I mean every blog touches my heart. It’s almost like you’re telling my story. I felt the same when Justin and I had to move back to Canarsie after his mom passed. I hated it, I cried, I was down. But it took me some time to see that it was all God’s plan. God planted us here for many different reasons. The most important was my relationship with Him. It didn’t exist before moving here, but since has flourished and now I’m able to share that with our children. I’m able through His power to have our children grow in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Love your post Tiffiney,
Oh my goodness! I don’t know how God does it, but He’s the Master at giving His people an on time message. And to think, I doubted myself the whole time I wrote this. Even though I was certain the Lord gave me the message, I still doubted. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, Diane. It helps to encourage me to be obedient in my writing. And what a similar story we have. Thanks for stopping by and being so transparent!