Since Justin and I started dating in 2009, I pictured what our life would look like after marriage. We didn’t live together before our wedding day, so I had quite a bit of time to imagine what our married life would be like together. I always pictured waking up next to Justin first and going to sleep next to him at night. Then I would picture our home. Not really the details or what it would look like… I just imagined cooking in our kitchen, movie nights on the couch, and having friends over whenever we could for whatever reason. I pictured all the memories we would make in our home and how we would make it a place anyone was welcome whenever they’d like.
More than anything, I wanted our home to be a place of peace for Justin to come home to at the end of the day. I never wanted him to dread coming home but the exact opposite. I wanted it to be his safe space, a place where he wanted to be and couldn’t wait to get home to after a long day at work. I would bake cookies, make him little after-work snacks, and have surprises waiting for him on the kitchen table when he got home or dinner plans underway when he walked through the door of our first apartment. I loved this little game of mine, building and creating a home for us. It was the happiest I’d ever been.
For the first 10 months of our marriage, we lived in a 981 square foot apartment in Tysons Corner, Virginia. It was 10 minutes away from Justin’s work and he would leave at 6:45am and get home at 3:40pm. We had so much time together in the evenings and so much to explore! Tysons is a lively area with tons of restaurants, shopping, and coffee shops to experience. It was a dream. I loved our apartment with the loft, cathedral ceilings, and the tiny square kitchen with a breakfast bar. Believe me when I say it was difficult to leave. It was one of those decisions in life where you really already know what you need to choose without having to think about it.
All throughout college, for some reason, I thought we’d be buying a home before we got married. I think I saw a lot of people doing this, people I admired and looked up to as well as just acquaintances on Facebook, and I thought, well of course, we’ll be doing that too! What do they have that we won’t? (By the way, that is never a healthy thought process to practice.) In today’s world, it is so normal to be purchasing a home before the wedding day even arrives. It is also now normal to see those homes that everyone else is buying every day when you wake up and browse your social media sites. Sometimes it feels like someone new is purchasing something new every morning! More than anything, there is a focus on the home. Making it your own. What it looks like, how long it took to build, whether there’s shiplap or white cabinets in the kitchen. Buying and making a home is such a fun season. I get that. And I totally believed that was a possibility for us. Of course, I pictured an apartment sometimes too, just because maybe we’d take a year or two to save up before buying our perfect, forever home. I had all the Pinterest boards and all the excitement in the world. But as it turns out, buying a house as newlyweds wasn’t in God’s plan for us.
On March 10th of this year, we moved back home to live with family and accelerate our savings plans for our future home. I don’t know when the realization happened, but I do remember always wanting to put a 20% down payment on any home we’d ever buy. I shared this with a few people before we got married and I got a crazy look in their eyes as a response. “Are we crazy?” I’ve asked Justin just about every time a house conversation comes up between us. It’s hard not to feel a little insane having that kind of goal for a house in our area. But for me, that’s all the more reason to have that goal. When our future (average-sized!) home is going to cost half a million dollars, I can’t fathom only bringing a few thousand dollars to the table when we’re talking mortgages and interest rates. All of this is everything I didn’t DREAM about before marriage, but it’s a huge part of our reality now. And it can feel like a lot of pressure sometimes.
We walked into this house-saving venture with our hearts and minds in the right place. We knew God was calling us to be patient and not purchase a house yet. We also knew we had this amazing opportunity to live with family for less than it would be to extend our lease or move into another apartment, so we jumped on it. Now here we are a few months into this new season, and every time I browse house listings, my heart sinks into the pit of my stomach. “We’re literally going to need $100,000 just to…” and then my voice trails off. I know I have lofty financial planning goals when it comes to buying our home. I want to be good stewards of our finances so that we are always able to live and give in an amazing way. But through all of this, we said from the beginning that even if we only saved 1% for a house, we would go when the Lord called us to go. I just don’t feel that yet, and I don’t know where He is going to call us.
It’s a tough season when God calls you to be patient and wait on him. It’s even tougher when that feels like it’s been the majority of your relationship. Justin and I dated for six and a half years by the time we got married, and all of it was waiting. We made so many special memories together and had SUCH a fun dating season, but I had to wait to love him like I wanted to love him for over half a decade. We could take trips together, but only with family and had to have someone else room with each of us; we could have late movie nights but had to go home to our own beds… at the time, it felt like a cruel joke. I hated it. Especially when it felt like we were the only ones doing something that everyone called us crazy for. But on our wedding night, I knew it was worth it. It wasn’t even a question. All of our waiting had led up to this moment of finally being able to bring our lives together, fully and completely, and start our own. Marriage has been the most beautiful gift and adventure and I’m still excited to fall asleep next to Justin at night and without question, it was totally and completely worth the wait.
I have to remember that now when we are in our season of waiting as husband and wife. We are diligently following the Lord’s plan for us and know that he has called us to be right where we are. As discouraged as I may feel when I browse home listings, I find promise in his word. I can have hope for a bright and beautiful future.
The other day, I was having a particularly tough time navigating the waters of home buying, real estate, mortgages, interest rates… the list goes on! (There’s so much I’m learning.) I got to that point where my voice starts to trail off and I can’t wrap my head around what our future is going to look like because I don’t know when it is going to arrive. I started to moan and groan about how expensive houses are and gave my now infamous when-can-we-move-to-Texas-because-this-is-ridiculous line and then resigned to do just that. Later that night, for some reason, I decided to pick up this specific devotional book that I hadn’t opened since February. When I opened to the blank devotional that was next, I was speechless… because this is what it read. I will end this post with that: