Life Insights: Stewardship of Space
Recently, our family just went through a move from one house to another. Our situation is a little different than most in that there are two families under the same roof. Six years ago, after my father-in-law died and I learned that my mother-in-law preferred the warmth of south Texas, rather than the unpredictable weather of Indiana. So, I asked my son-in-law if he and my daughter would like to move into our lower level, provided I finished it off.
They were doing well financially and were not in need of any assistance. At the time, I was traveling quite a bit with the National Guard visiting all fifty state headquarters and the mobilization sites, as the National Guard provided 45% of the mobilization force. It seemed like good stewardship to have our daughter and son-in-law in our home when my wife spent so much time alone in my absence.
After thinking about the option for almost three months, he said, “Sure!” So, we finished off the lower level, which provided totally separate living quarters, including bedrooms, living areas, kitchens and entrances (the old home had a walkout lower level). They moved in and three children later, everyone appreciated the relationships, the spiritual accountability and the support to each other. The house provided plenty of space to store anything we weren’t using.
Recently we decided it was time to move into a different house. We were interested in having our whole extended family stay with us and our son-in-law and family decided they wanted to stay with us also. However, I didn’t realize how much could be stored in one house. I had not torn down a barn to build a bigger barn to store things (our Homeowner’s Association did not allow barns or sheds), as Jesus warned in a parable, “So he said,`I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.” (Luke 12:18) I had no barn, but the design allowed for room that I had not purposely planned.
There was mega-space built into the house that I did not believe existed. To me it was just a house. Fortunately, we have been trying to extract things over the previous couple years, so we were saved by several garage sales and Youth Rummage Sales at church. Yet I found out the size of the house when we moved. Just because you “can” store something, should you?
So we moved into a new home designed for a single family. That meant we’d only have one kitchen and one place to store things – the basement. Moving day came and went and we looked for the floor for several weeks.
The new house required several adjustments. The garage is barely big enough to fit the cars in, and my passenger has to wait until I pull out in order to get in. We needed to add kitchen cabinets, because what came with the house was less than half the size of “one” of the kitchens in the old house. There is no attic space to store anything above the house or the garage, which the old home had; everything had to go to the basement. But we love it just the way it is. It will help us continue to refine “what we really need to store.”
The first three weeks were like a rubrics cube trying to decide where and how to store things. We didn’t want to move something more than once, but if one thing was moved, that meant other things had to move. Trying to find realistic space for two families in one house takes thoughtfulness, planning and several attempts. Over the Memorial Day weekend, we could see the light down the tracks and we know it is not another train.
There are many books on what you should keep or what you should store. There are many people with great discernment. In all the process, I sure have learned how gracious and merciful the Lord is in all areas of life. I continue to learn how helpful family and friends are in time of need. For me, the key is fixing my eyes on Jesus, rather than the things of this world:
· Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
· 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:1-2)
My prayer for you is that you can learn the simple way from God’s Word, rather than the way I’ve had to learn freedom in Christ.