Love the home your in
I think its really important to love the home you're in, whether its rented or owned, making your place a home is a real gifting. A home is a place you come back to be together, to grow and love one another, to relax, unwind and to be yourself. My husband and I have moved home 11 times together! A lot of these homes were rented (as we were students) and we were not always given a choice about moving, due to landlords deciding they wanted their property back to move in or sell on.
Our Home history
Our first home we bought together was a detached flat with a garden - a flat on a set of garages next to a Pilon. It was a nice 2 bed flat and a step on the property ladder. We always saw it as a step and never our forever home. It wasn't in the best area but it was good enough for what we needed. We sold our flat with dreams of buying a house - our flat sold quickly and we needed to move out temporarily till we could move into our bought home, thankfully our friend was selling a property and we moved in here for a couple of months to wait for completion.
Our first house needed lots of decorating work, new bathrooms and kitchens but we didn't mind - it was a small 3 bed house with a garden. Almost 3 years on and our family expanded and decided to buy a bigger house that was a doer-upper. We loved the idea of a project. The quote we initially got did not match anywhere near the amount we actually needed. We got into debt. A recession hit and my husband took a pay cut but kept his job. We were there nearly 5 years and this is how long it took to pay off the debt and to do the house up with a young family. It was really hard work and tainted the house for us. During the renovation we still had people over and didn't hide away - we made the most of it. Lots of lessons learned during this period and it was very stressful.
We then relocated to our current town and had to sell our property, due to the recession, we did not make a lot of money on it and did not have enough for a deposit for another house. The doer upper cost us greatly. We had a lovely rental and enjoyed having diy free weekends but it didn't last - 5 months in and the landlord wanted it back. We then couldn't find a new place to live so we settled on a small house available to us. We tried to buy twice but God said no, we tried to move to a different rental but doors were closed too. Each time I prayed it was met with love the home your in - i didn't want to but i learned how too. When I learned how, this is when God provided us with a way to buy a home - the home we're in now...
How we learned to love the home we were in
I had to grieve for the home we couldn't have. It was hard, this wasn't what we wanted for our family to be at the mercy of a landlord. After grief came acceptance. I started really slowly - in a rental there is not a lot you can do to the actual property without seeking permission. So I started in the kitchen by buying some nice new tea towels and oven gloves. They tied the colour in and were more my style. Little personalised touches here and there, made our home feel more like ours. We started small and the personalising grew. A lot of our stuff was in storage as there wasn't room for it but some pieces could come out.
Praying over our home with gratitude. Being thankful for the home we had. It may not of been our ideal but actually there were lots of good points when we stopped focusing on what wasn't there. When my husband and I were students we moved around a lot but now we had a family, we didn't want to keep uprooting the children. It was hard to trust our landlord knowing they could take the house back at any point but we had to learn to trust God that he would look after us and place us where he wanted us to be.
Investing in our furniture - we started to buy some nice versatile good quality pieces that we could move with us. Bed linens, soft furnishings helped - making more of the garden made the house a home too. Looking after the home, cleaning, making more of it, personalising really helps to make it your own.
Saying hello to your neighbours and getting to know your street. It seems simple but when we first moved in we were so focused on moving out that we hadn't made a lot of effort. This helped us to feel more settled and safe.
Once we felt settled, we had the call from our landlady that she was going to put the house on the market. I felt at peace because i had come to accept this was a part of renting and we had been there for nearly 3 years. We didn't think we would be able to buy but actually God provided us with all we needed. Please read about it here.
Our Home and why I love it
God provided us with the home we are in now - its an end of terrace, town house. Its really versatile which suits our family. We went from a snug 3 bed house to a 5 bedroom house with a double plot garden. Our sons decided to share so one bedroom has been converted to their games lounge and the other to a study. This worked out really well as my husband now works from home. It has all the space we need and the potential to do more.
Previously, my prayer partner had suggested I pray for the house I want. I didn't have a lot of faith for it, if i'm honest. I love looking at houses for sale online and I saw this house months earlier and prayed for it. It was at the nicer end of town and I prayed that we could live here, where the better secondary school was. The house soon came off the market and I didn't think much of it but then when we came to look again - the house had come back on (as previous sale had fallen through) we were the first to see it, put an offer on and it was accepted that day. God provided us the way to buy and the house in the area i wanted!
It needed work doing but was liveable. We remember the lessons from our last doer-upper and have spent time decorating our home without debt. We have worked on this together. Some jobs have been more enjoyable than others but i love the creativity we can express in our own home. Choosing the colours and flooring, the fixtures and fittings. Making plans, researching... I really love this about our home. I normally have the ideas and my husband enjoys the challenge/working out how to make it a reality.
I'm grateful for our home - its not a do up to sell and move on project. We wanted a place to be settled in, to make roots and now we have that. It's not a neutral box, we can add our tastes to it. I really like our neighbourhood too. After being at the mercy of landlords etc now we get to choose to stay/move on. We don't have to ask permission to decorate or to have a pet. In fact, after moving in - one cat became 2, then 3 chickens, then a dog and then some fish!
We have had friends and family over. I think sharing your home helps it become more homely too! It creates memories, having fun in your home is good!
We care for our home, clean it, organise it, look for ways to improve it and make the best use of it, we spend a lot of time here and use it. This is what makes it our home and not a house/show home. We build memories here - good, bad, ordinary and extraordinary - time together and with others. We do life here. I love our home and grateful for it!