Temporary Homes

Moving four times in two years is normal, right? That’s what people do? I’m just going to convince myself that it’s totally chill and that I shouldn’t be feeling like a complete and utter crazy woman.

From Blacksburg house to Blacksburg apartment to Roanoke duplex to Fairlawn house to Blacksburg townhouse, you’d think we have this packing up our lives thing down. We know the best moving truck companies, our packing days consist of the routine blaring of Pandora and lots of unhealthy stress eating and me crying constantly, and our families are saints. My dad declared in the last move that he will never move our double-reclining leather couch ever again. Or, if he had to, he’d saw it in half to lift it easier. (If anyone was wondering where I get my blunt honesty from, look no further.)

Our moves have ranged from 2 miles away to 40 miles away. We started in a 900 square foot apartment and dropped down to 800 in our duplex. Our current house is bigger, our next house will be even bigger, and we just keep accumulating stuff. We also are accumulating foster children, so that’s insane. August is a month that we’ve deemed “take-one-day-at-a-time-and-don’t-have-too-many-panic-attacks” month.

I’ve been marinating on these moves the past few days, and boy oh boy we are different people than we were when we first packed up 40 ABC Store liquor boxes two and a half years ago. We’ve gone from giddy newlyweds, to shambly unemployed post-grads, to defeated worriers, and to our present state–anxious and excited future foster parents. What a ride it’s been.

These homes represent stages of life to me. I can close my eyes and picture cooking our first meal as husband and wife together in our little apartment, and memories of tearful nights in our duplex cast a dark shadow on those years. Our current house will be hard to leave–we’ve made the best new friends, have filled our living room to its capacity with people, and have lit up the backyard with summer BBQs and bocce ball games. Hard times and fun times, but all good times.

If four moves can teach us one thing, I want it to be that physical houses are temporary.

I dreamed of moving straight into our perfect home after our wedding. Of filling the walls with pictures and painting hallways and renovating kitchens and building fences. It took just one move to remind me that these places we live are houses. They are four sided boxes of walls. They are teensy tiny apartments. They have a front door and a back door and a whole bunch of windows. Our stuff sits in them, but they are simply buildings.

They are temporary, but what happens inside of them holds eternal significance. 

Hard conversations full of “what-ifs” and “why-nots” and “how-much-longer” happen inside. Snuggles on that dang double-reclining couch as we argue over what show to watch on Netflix happen inside. Doubling the recipe last minute to accommodate spontaneous dinner guests, lighting pumpkin scented candles in September, leaving the bed unmade daily, squeezing in my yoga mat to tiny living spaces, laughing until midnight with better friends than we even knew were possible–all memories that simply happen inside.

Jen Hatmaker said, “Home should be a comfortable, safe place that restores what the world steals.”

These 4-walled buildings inhabit love and life and loss and learning. They serve as a place to house the memories that come with being two 20-somethings in the midst of figuring life out.

When we transplant Jen’s words onto heaven, the house of the Lord…the depth of restoration leaves me breathless. He will restore what the world has stolen.

Temporary houses make us long for our Forever Home. Can you even imagine the day when houses are no more and home is home? We’ll enter those pearly gates without a single ABC Liquor Store box, and we’ll never have to call UHaul again.

Today, I bask in that promise, as I wrap up yet another glass into yet another box.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4


The timeline of homes:

IMG_05411. The FriendZone. 2011-2013. Moved out of this house after the wedding.

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2. “Buckingham Palace.” May 2013-August 2013. Though short lived, this basement apartment had a pool, so it still ranks as our favorite home thus far.

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3. Roanoke. August 2013-December 2014. The excitement in his face was fake. We were so sad to leave Blacksburg that August, but I remember saying, “Let’s go outside and take a happy picture outside of this house. It’ll make us feel excited!” Note: fashion. Crocs and socks.

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4. Our current home in Fairlawn (only known for the Fairlawn Walmart, that we conveniently live directly across the street from). December 2014-August 2015. We live behind the waiters of the local Mexican restaurant and diagonally from a church. It’s weird, but we love it.

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5. Back to Blacksburg. August 2015-whenever we can save enough money to buy a house. You can tell from this picture that we are sick of smiling for “yay-new-house” pictures.

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