About three weeks ago, we closed on our house, making us official Maui homeowners! It’s been a wild ride getting to this point, and Ken and I are so thankful to have our own little slice of paradise, where the kids can run around the yard and play with paints and enjoy lots of water activity (the kiddie pool and water table we brought with us from Eastern Washington are getting great use once again!) Our neighborhood is really friendly and quiet, and it’s lovely being tucked away on a dead-end street overlooking bushy trees and a vast panorama of the island. It is also such a blessing to own something – a home that we can call our own. A place where, Lord-willing, Ken and I can raise our children and grow old together. This is the third house we’ve purchased together in the past five years, and I think both Ken and I are hoping that this is the one that sticks.
It’s been a huge adventure getting to this place, and I look forward to sharing the joys as well as challenges of our new house in the years to come. Did I mention that it’s only 500-square-feet? Yep. A two-bedroom house on a spacious lot. We can technically build a main house on this property, as the cottage we live in is small enough that it’s allowable. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start that process in the next three to five years, give or take.
Buying this house has been a giant step of faith for us, in particular for me. I never saw myself wanting to live in such a tiny space. (Seriously, this place is about the size of the first apartment Ken and I shared together in Seattle nearly 8 years ago! The studio where we had to keep our bed in the closet.) To put things in perspective, whenever Ken and I have watched documentaries on tiny houses together in the past, they’ve given me panic attacks. I’m an introvert by nature – a very social, outgoing introvert, but an introvert nonetheless. And the thought of not having enough space totally freaked me out. If we moved into a small space, how would I ever get downtime? Would our kids ever sleep again? Would I ever sleep again, listening to them crying? These are questions I asked myself and Ken and God. It took an interesting turn of events for me to really accept that this house could be the one for us.
Let’s rewind to a few months ago, when our friends Luke and Sarah were visiting from Seattle. Ken had seen a house posted on Zillow in a really nice neighborhood and one day he asked if we could all do a drive-by together. I remember being instantly turned off to the house by its steeper driveway, and then noticed how incredibly tiny it was! I’m pretty sure I told Ken that it was a “No way!” So, we moved on and continued to look at other houses.
A couple months later, I started to come around to the idea of that house again, after multiple other houses fell through for us. Maybe a smaller house wouldn’t be so bad, I thought, as I considered how challenging it’s been for me to keep up with our active babies, along with cooking, and cleaning our three-bedroom places the past few years. I was ready to consider the teeny-tiny two-bedroom cottage, and Ken jumped at the chance to see it. (He’s been excited to downsize and live with a smaller footprint!) Unfortunately, the house was under contract all of a sudden. Disappointed, we kept looking at other houses and prayed for God to provide a place for us before our rental lease ended, the first week in June.
Weeks passed, and we saw that the same house was back on the market. The buyers weren’t able to make financing work with the appraisal, or so we heard. Thrilled, Ken and I immediately contacted our realtor to go and see the place. After doing a walk-through and thinking on things together, we put in a lower offer we felt good about. The seller quickly got back to us with a counter offer in writing, and within hours of receiving it, we were ready to move forward and accept it.
But then the seller rescinded his counter. Apparently, he got a much higher offer than ours (within hours of him entering into contract with us) and did something very unprofessional – he reneged his agreement. Furious and taken aback by his actions, Ken and I decided that the only way we could get the house now was if God wanted us to have the house. We were so angry, and frustrated. There was nothing we could do to change the seller’s mind, our realtor confided. It was devastating. We had never heard of anything like this happening. Our realtor had never had this happen before. He was so angry for us.
That week was a like a haze over us. We went from being ecstatic over the thought of owning this house, to feeling completely dejected and confused. Ken and I would sit together at night, praying through our frustrations, asking God why He brought us the house in the first place, if only to take it away? That week, I spent so much time crying out to God, praying that He would change my heart if the house wasn’t for us, because deep-down I couldn’t shake the feeling that He had this house for us. My heart was now so much more open to this place. It would be a place of growth – for me, for us, for our family. Honestly, I really didn’t want such a small space initially, but it felt like God had prepared my heart to say yes to this possibility – to live out my desire to be a woman of faith, not fear. To start to live more intentionally, with less material things. That’s what this house embodied to me. Yet, I couldn’t make this house work out on my own. It was out of our hands. And still, we prayed for God to change the seller’s heart, for something to work out, if truly God had this house for us.
Then we got a call the next week. It was our realtor. Apparently, the current buyer couldn’t get their financing to work during escrow. The seller contacted our realtor and asked if we were still interested. He would take our offer this time, he said. Shaken by the whole situation and in shock, Ken and I said yes and signed all the paperwork immediately. We decided that we would hold things loosely and continue to press into the Lord for whatever happened, whether we truly got the house or not. It was crazy, having it come back to us. A modern-day miracle.
Here we are now, official homeowners, slowly settling into life in our cozy new abode. It’s a little past 8 p.m. and the kids are sleeping soundly together in their shared room while I enjoy these quiet moments. Many of my worst fears about living in tight quarters have come true – the kids are adjusting to sharing a room, and Ken and I typically wake up 2-3 times a night to the sound of their crying. Many times, Ruby ends up moving to the couch in the middle of the night. Her brother is teething badly, and his discomfort is likely the culprit of his crying. And then there’s the trouble with naps and trying to get them to fall asleep together in a shared space. It’s exhausting, and I find myself struggling to maintain a good attitude when I’m sleep-deprived and feeling very pregnant. (Baby girl arrives in two months!) We’ve all had blowups and meltdowns, and Ken and I continue to seek the Lord for grace and forgiveness as well as wisdom in parenting.
In the midst of this, I’m reminded of the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” It’s a Bible verse that my older sister led me to years ago. It speaks well to this season we’re in. God is at work. He is crafting His beauty in me, as I continue to step forward in faith. He gave us this house, and I’m willing to put in the work it takes to live more simply, more intentionally, and possibly right now, that also means more uncomfortably than I’m used to. Thank you, Jesus.