the bigger story

I never imagined that when our house sold after 8 months of showings, constant cleaning, and over-analyzing our home, that we’d be in this position.

We can’t find the house for us. God has closed the door to three houses.

I’m feeling sorry for myself because we’re packing up a house that I’m emotionally attached to and we’ll be doing something temporary. Thankfully? Oh so very thankfully, our “temporary” is with Todd’s sweet grandmother in her home. We may drive her crazy with our loud boys and loud dogs, but we do have a place to live.

I’m thankful we sold our house, but sad that we’re taking our things out of this house and don’t have a place to relocate.

And then I realize that I’m talking about homes. And things. We’ve been given so much. And I sound spoiled. And I pray for Jesus to give me a good bit of perspective and to stop feeling sorry for myself.

My home is where my family is. We love our house that we’re leaving, but it doesn’t define our family. And the next house won’t define us either.

And living for a few months in a temporary situation wasn’t part of my plan, but it’s obviously part of God’s plan. God’s story is bigger than mine. He can see the whole picture and how it all falls into place. I can see bits and pieces and waste time worrying over very small details.

I’m so thankful that He knows more than I do.

We may have a miniature Christmas celebration in someone else’s home, but it will still be Christmas for the Reason that we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

My mom told me this morning that I need to practice this exercise today, and every day until we figure all of this out.

“Dear Father. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Thank you for what you’re going to show me and teach me. Please help me to see it as a gift and not as a trial.”



And for some seriously beautiful words, I’m re-reading my friend Ellen’s posts from her 31 Days series on Abide. She doesn’t know it, but it was so important for me to read her posts this month.



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  1. says

    Hang in there! So many homes go “off the market” around late fall & don’t come back on until after the holidays. You’ll have SO many more options in the spring & the “right” house for your family will find its way to you guys! I know that it is just a house & just things, but I don’t like things unsettled & imagine that’s how you’re feeling. xoxo

  2. Heather says

    I know this must be a difficult and unsettled time right now, but I’m guessing it won’t be long before you will look back at this time marveling at how perfect your new home is and how it just took a little time to get there.

  3. says

    It will all work out. I cannot wait to see what home you find for your family! How fun.

    Make the most of this new transition… hang in there.

  4. Kelly says

    I was in such a similar position. I was SO ready to sell our home until it happened and we had nowhere to go yet! I cried and cried leaving that house and my husband was so confused because he knew it was what I wanted. We laughed and laughed as he would tell everybody that I was ’emotionally homeless’! And you’re right, it was so silly given how blessed we are. But it’s where I was at the time. Home is just such an emotional thing for me.

    After 7(!) months in temporary living, we are in our new home now. And I hardly remember that feeling now. Hang in there!!!

  5. says

    Thank you for pouring your heart out! You don’t know me and I don’t know you (other than reading your blog) but my family is going through a difficult job related trial right now. What your mother told you, spoke VOLUMES to me!! Instead of seeing this as a trial I am going to make it my goal to see it as a gift every day! In fact I am off to write that on a few sticky notes to post around my house! Thanks again!!

  6. Laura says

    Hey Erin, we are going through some issues in our marriage and this week I came across John 12: 27-28. Jesus is speaking and says “Now my soul is troubled and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

    I’ll be joining you in reworking my thoughts from ‘Father, save me from this!’ to “Father, glorify your name through this!’ Not fun, but I’m thankful for an active and living Savior that helps us along the way.

  7. says

    We lived in temporary housing for a few months while waiting for our Charlotte home to sell. Everything will work out and this will seem like a blip on your radar in just a few short months.

  8. says

    Ok, I’m calm now. I was about to be so excited for you! When I saw the title of this post I immediately thought you were pregnant.

    I’m still excited for you though – the memories your boys will make this season will be once in a lifetime memories. Spending time with their Great Grandmother like this – what a gift in itself. You will have so many stories when they get older – about “the Thanksgiving/Christmas we lived with Great Grandmother.” I bet she’s excited to have y’all.

    I’ll be praying your new home reveals itself sooner than later and in the meantime that y’all have the best time on this little adventure! Some of the best memories I have are when my sister and her family lived with us for over a year. I loved it. 🙂


  9. says

    I felt the same way when my lease was up, knew I wasn’t going to buy & also knew I had to wait 5 months for for my sister to move out before I could take over that condo. Living with friends was not ideal, but I tried to look at it as an opportunity to grow an expand myself, my mind, and to have my comfort zone challenged. Plus, it was an opportunity for me to understand gratitude & blessings. Much more than I ever did in the past.

    I’m sure you will make the best out of a not ideal situation but and find how fun it probably will be for your kids.

  10. says

    I know right now you are most definitely in panic mode! I cannot imagine how not knowing what the next couple of months hold and having children. This happened to my family when I was on high school as we were all so upset to be living in a 2 bedroom 1 bath with no central heat or air but honestly we had so much fun and have some of the best memories there!

  11. says

    On Erin. I sooooo know what you’re going through. Not exactly, of course, but close enough to want to hug you tight and thank you for these words today. I need this reminder as well and your words came at a perfect time.

    Huge hugs to you as you go through this next chapter/adventure!

  12. says

    Wow, I can imagine that right now you are feeling so stuck. No matter how thankfully you may be entering into your temporary living situation (with family is awesome!), it’s still got to be so hard to not have your own space in which to go through your daily routine, and schedule, and just be able to breathe enough. I know that when we stay with family, as fun as it is, it still isn’t home and it’s tough on both me and my toddler.

    Of course you know that what’s meant to be will be, and you will find your right home, but I think it’s okay to acknowledge that it’s a difficult process. I love the exercise that your Mom gave you. I need to use that more often myself. Best wishes!

    • says

      Ellen, thank you so much for sharing this. I am so sorry to hear about your situation. And yet, I love your attitude about asking God that you will view it as a gift. I am in a similar situation right now. My husband and I got married five months ago and his job fell through two days before the wedding…so we are still living in temporary housing with our parents…and he still hasn’t found a job yet. It is so hard at times, and yet, it has been a blessing in disguise in many ways as well. I wrote a post about “The Secret to Trusting God” which might be an encouragement to you…it’s a page back on my blog, so let me know if you want the direct link. Praying for you!

  13. says

    This is EXACTLY the post that I needed today. My house recently flooded (not completely – just enough to do some damage that will take about 2 months to fix), and I’ve been going through the same feelings as my things are packed away while we are living in temporary housing. “Thank you for what you’re going to show me and teach me”… perfect!

  14. Susy says

    Erin, I think one important thing to remember is to be thankful for choices. You made the choice to sell your home, you didn’t lose it in foreclosure like so many. You have the choice to stay with family, when many people live hundreds of miles away from their families. Be thankful that you can wait and make the choice to get the perfect home for you, when many are making the choice between their car or a hotel for the night. I’m not saying you aren’t thankful…I know you are…but I came to this realization when I was really upset about having to go back to work next week. While I don’t have the choice right now, I can choose good childcare, I get to work from home during the week, and I should be so grateful for having a job, when many are looking for one to care for their families. I think we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget we still have options, when others don’t. Good luck finding a home and enjoy your time with Todd’s grandmother! I lost my grandmother a few days before Will was born, and I would do anything to have him get to spend time with her!

  15. Amy says

    You’re not alone! And reading your postive outlook was just what I needed today. We sold our first home just over a month ago (after being on the market for 6 months). It was really hard to pack up boxes and clear rooms, knowing that we weren’t going to our next home…but instead, a temporary condo. And as cute as it is to hear my two year old say the “tempowawy house”, it’s been a tough experience. Like you, I was emotionally attached to our first home – it’s the first house we’d purchased after getting married, it’s where we brought our baby home to, it’s where we put blood, sweat and tears into updating and making it our own… But, now, it’s where the gal the bought it will get to do the same things. And I’m excited for her in that journey!

    After looking at several houses and not finding any that felt like us, we finally decided to build a home. It’s been stressful and we’ve had several road blocks, but I keep reminding myself it’s all in God’s timing. And, because maybe it’ll make you smile to know that you’re not alone, I thought I’d share a few of our “I’ll eventually laugh about this” moments…

    We had three showings scheduled starting at 9 am one morning. Around 10:30 the night before, we discovered our hot water heater had gone out…flooding the basement (thankfully, it happened then and not 2 days later when we would have been in FL on vacation). In the middle of summer, our 2-year-old A/C decided to stop working before our home inspection (thankfully the HVAC tech got it started 5 min before the inspector showed up). We had one sale fall through due to a low appraisal and had to re-list the house. Before the second inspection, our garage smelled as if something died in it. Sure enough, we found a dead mouse 2 days later. (thankfully I could run home and air it out just before they were scheduled to arrive!). And the fun hasn’t stopped since we moved out! The owner of the condo we’re living in and renting month-to-month has decided to sell… so now I’m dealing with showings all over again…and the potential for having to move yet again before our house is built. Aye!

    Saying prayers for you and your family! And can’t wait to see what your journey turns out to be 🙂

  16. Tiffanie says

    Thank of this awesome time your kiddos will get to spend with their great grandmother that they wouldn’t have!

  17. says

    Erin, we are in the same boat and your mom’s words were such an encouragement to me! We left our first home as a family last June and moved into a tiny rental house in our new city (when I had always assumed we’d be moving directly into our long-term, settling down house). As much as I can see how God has been clearly directing all of this for his good, it has been very hard for me to see my blessings through my selfish entitlements and assumptions. Some weeks it is easy to see the good adventure, but this week I have been having to choose contentment minute by minute! Thanks for the reminder to see this as an opportunity and not as a trial. I want to live my life to the fullest even in the temporary, rather than feeling like life is on hold until all of our material ducks are in a row!

  18. says

    It may not have been part of your plan, but how cool for your boys to spend time like this with their great grandmother!! That in itself sounds like a God-thing.

  19. says

    I haven’t even read your whole post yet but I wanted to tell you what a BLESSING it will be that you’re temporarily somewhere else. A HUGE blessing. I SO wish we’d been smart enough to do that when we moved to our new town. Eddie and I were engaged, planning a wedding, and house hunting and it felt like we’d looked at 1,000 houses and put offers on about 500 of those. It was SO tiring. When the last one fell through TWO DAYS before our wedding, I told him to just go back to one we’d liked earlier in the summer. We wound up really loving the area and the house itself, but it is NOT my dream home nor in my top 5 when we looked. Why didn’t we just RENT for six months while we got settled? I so wish we had. Choose to believe it’s a blessing in disguise.

    • says

      You are SO right, Lauren. We haven’t found the perfect thing where the people have accepted our offer. And we’re just not seeing anything at all that we love right now. We’ve promised that we wouldn’t “settle” for something because we want this move to be our last for a very long time. We’re thankful we can do something temporary and save money in the process. I’m still sad about saying goodbye to our house, but I know that this will all work out in the end. And my boys will have a great opportunity to spend every day with their great grandmother for the next few months.

  20. says

    Praying for you as you’re waiting to find the home that God has planned for your sweet family! Good luck with all the packing and transitioning. I know it will be a special time for you to be able to stay with Todd’s grandmother as you’re waiting!

  21. says

    I have been in your same shoes and know that God is using this to do major work on your life and your families’ life and although this seems inconvenient there is something waiting for you in the months to come that is amazing. (the only-God-could-make-something-this-amazing kind of amazing).
    Last Halloween we found out our second baby would be a girl, went to our closing to sell our old home, trick or treated and moved into my in-laws house the next day. In March Lizzy was born and we bought our house from the hospital. We tore that house down and re-built and moved in to our FOREVER home 3 weeks ago. When we sold the last house we had another house to buy–but anything and everything happened to close that door. I used to go to that house and pray in the driveway, cry, try to tell myself that it would all work out. God knew better. God always does. The night before we closed on this new house the house we wanted came available and could have been ours that day. We knew it wasn’t the house for us and now–11 months after this all started we are exactly where God wants us to be.

    I’ll pray that your experience is shorter and that God’s gifts to your through this process are well received and blessings to your family for years to come.

    In the meantime, remember that our grandparents have had toddlers once and have been in our shoes. I’m sure your house will find you. Ours did.

    Allison West

  22. says

    do you know what i would have told you if we’d met on friday? i would have told you that i’ve been asking God for years to give me a different story. just change it already. last week i began to understand that without that story i wouldn’t have right now. i won’t lie. some days i still want Him to change it. but i wouldn’t want to give back what He’s worked in my heart and how i’ve been able to connect with others because of it.

    i love your prayer of sweet surrender. praying for you, friend.

  23. says

    I’m so glad that not only did you write about this today, but that you’ve gotten such great encouragement from your readers. It’s so incredibly hard to be in the middle of uncertainty – especially for us type-a planners, not that I speak from experience (cough cough) – but I know we will be looking back on this shortly, saying “can you believe we didn’t see it all along? His plan! Plain as day!”

    Now, let’s start packing.

  24. says

    A lot of families go through the same transition. We were in between houses in my parents basement… What was supposed to be three months turned in to over a year. Sometimes it was crazy but we look back on those times fondly now. I’m sure Todd’s grandmother will love having y’all there!

  25. says

    God has already picked out the perfect house for you and your family. Sometimes we just need to trust and then hang on to see what He has planned for us. If I was in your shoes, I’d be very stressed out. Keep on remembering what’s important….you’re doing a good job!!

  26. says

    Hang in there and take faith in knowing God has the most perfect house waiting for you to find!! I’m trying to accept the whole God’s plan is bigger than mine too, its a tough one sometimes

  27. Melinda says

    We sold our house in 2004 when my boys were six months old and I was 34…They are now 8 and I am almost 43, and I never would have imagined that we would still be renting. It was a combination of circumstances…We wanted to rent for a while to see what we really wanted long-term, then the market crashed, and my real estate developer husband was almost taken down, and now we are still in recovery mode. I’m lucky that we live in an area where you can rent really great houses (a big second home and vacation rental market), but I have learned that “home” to my boys is wherever my husband and I are. This is our fourth rental house, and Thank God, our last one. I just get those Christmas decorations out in whatever house we are in. I’m an interior designer so that helps, too. I am not writing this to suggest that you take this course…Heavens, No! But, my advice is to look at it as an adventure. You seem to be quite talented with your house, so you can do what I do, and take it as a challenge to make a temporary space great. I think I’ve gotten another whole interior design education just in doing up my rental houses. Best of luck to you!!

  28. Kristy says

    Think of this as a blessing in disguise. We just recently had a similar situation. We began building our dream house, and unexpectedly our current house sold after only 8 days on the market. We (my husband and two boy and I) moved in with my grandmother and mom for four months until our new home was ready. While it was a little hectic at times I will always treasure those few months that we all got to spend together. My boys got some extra love and attention and I admit it was nice at times to have some extra hands to help out. Think of this as another one of those times you and your boys won’t get back 😉

  29. Tammie says

    This is happening for a reason. There is something very good that will become of this. It is always hard to see but it will happen. Keep hanging in there.

  30. says

    Hey, Erin! I’ve followed your bog for a little bit through my real life friend Whitney @ GlamLife Housewife. I’ve never left a comment, but couldn’t sit silent after reading this. This post really struck home with me. We actually lived in Charleston for nearly a year before being transferred back to Arkansas. I didn’t want to leave SC & I would go back in a heartbeat! But there is a bigger picture I can’t see. I have to hold on to that. The prayer your mom shared with you is perfect! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your time of transition the best you can. Who knows what awesome things God has in store for y’all!

  31. says

    Hey Erin – we just went through this same thing. Although our house sold faster than expected, I wasn’t originally planning to sell but my husband kind of talked me into it. Anyway, it was so hard because we put offers on 5 houses and looked at countless others before we found one. I too struggled with feeling spoiled for being upset that I couldn’t find a new house, but it was the same as you said. I love our first house and it was really hard to leave. I thought it would be easier to leave if I had a new place to call home. We had prayed all along that God would show us He was working in it, and He did just that. He had to break our independece and self-reliance to be able to find a house on our own. We had given up being able to find a house even for sale in our dream neighborhood, and leave it to God to do the seemingly impossible. He found us a home in our dream neighborhood and school district, way under what we would thought we had to pay, and allowed us to end up closing on the day we had to move out of our old house. It was beyond stressful and emotional. Of course, the house He gave us was a complete wreck and we are slowly renovating it ourself, which was not my plan, but again I know His plan is bigger and this is His plan (thanks for reminding me of that). I pray that He reveal His plan to you soon and show you your next home!!!

  32. says

    Again, another major God moment for me finding your blog today…we put our house up for sale two weeks ago and are awaiting anxiously showings and offers knowing that it could happen any day or take years. My biggest fear (even bigger than it not selling) is that it will and we will not be able to find another place to go for a while. Your journey with this has encouraged me today and reminded me that all will be well and Jesus will still be in control regardless of where we live.

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