Finding Yourself

Remodeling My Soul and Home

Its 2 AM and the burning to write drove me out of bed and into the kitchen.

I brewed myself a cup of tea, and curled up on the couch.

The other night , on my solo time at Barnes and Noble, I wanted to cry more then anything else and so I wept all the way up 10th Ave and drove myself to the Walmart parking lot because that has the best views in town of the Full Moon and the Highwoods.

What ever reason it is that my soul is stirring, I know I will sleep better and be more relaxed tomorrow if I write the words and give them wings.

We are doing this crazy thing. This thing that makes me wonder if we have lost our minds. This thing that my ego ( the perceiving, analytical, logical part of my mind) calls ‘out of my mind’.

We are sorting through our stuff, getting rid of tons of it, finishing up our house remodel, putting it up for sale, and living in a camper for the summer.

Let me back up. Seven years ago, in March, we moved across country to do Doctoring for our daughter who had a severe genetic disorder. Five years ago in January, we lost our only daughter. We moved nine times in the past 11 years of our married life. That’s a lot of change and disruption and well, MOVING. Priorities change when you move a lot. STUFF doesn’t look so beautiful or necessary anymore.

When we bought our first and current house, about 3 1/2 years ago, we never wanted to move again. But deep inside, we knew we might. The house was a foreclosure and needed a lot of TLC. It was a perfect house to flip. We put hours and hours of work into this place. We saved money. Very slowly, over the years, we’ve made significant transformations.

Resodding the back yard, reshingling the roof, remodeling the kitchen. Repainting basically every surface in the house and a lot outside more then once 😉 New flooring in our living space. It’s transforming into a sweet home.

Sometimes, I feel like the transformation is happening inside of me as well.

Three years ago, back in the initial stages of remodeling, I sat in the bedroom on the mattress that was laying right down on the floor,and cried my eyes out, with the realization that I was broken beyond words and that Jesus found me.

Like the woman at the well in the ancient days, He FOUND me….I didn’t find Him.

I had searched all my life for a deep identity. I felt like there was a missing key that would magically help me understand myself and life.

So gently, God has lead me along. Never giving up on me. Always taking me to a another scene. A new level in life as I am prepared for it.

I knew I was loved,forgiven, and God’s child, from a young age , but that day, I came to a deep, deep understanding. It was like scales fell off my eyes. The years of my searching and my reaching and grasping…every single bit of that desire was from HIM.

He was there.

All along, when I thought I was finding HIM,

HE was actually finding ME.

I didn’t have to worry anymore about saying or doing the perfect thing.

His finding me had nothing to do with logic (ego) or perfection.

It had everything to do with grace and believing and soul truth and BEING FOUND.

I could stop searching for that inner core that I always thought was missing. My brokenness and my weary heart that never got it right…it could REST because He found me.

From here on out, I have been on a whole new level of JOURNEY. I still ask the question, “Who am I? What is my purpose? What if I miss who I am suppose to be?”

I am learning slowly but steadily. I try new things. Just as our house took years to transform ( and technically, we could go on improving it ‘forever’) my heart and soul takes its own sweet time to grow and blossom.

I am finding that when I start listening to my soul instead of my brain, transformation happens. It’s been a long process. I’ve fallen flat on my face in the most uncomfortable, ungraceful ways, more times then I can count. I’ve misunderstood others and been misunderstood by them and goofed up and rambled off on rabbit trails and cried and laughed and worried.

There is never any level of perfection that I reach in life. I’m learning to be ok with that.

Life isn’t about perfection. It’s about always reaching forward. Opening to the next thing that shows up at your door. Listening closely to see if it’s for you. Trying something new.

Going after dreams is not as risky when you are open to learning all you can from the situation.

Like new coats of paint that totally don’t go with your intended color scheme, there is always room for change.

When my ego is in play, I’m logical and I look at facts and details and decide if it’s a good fit or not. That’s all good, but way too often, I listen to my ego instead of my heart or soul. I miss out on some of the best moments when I let fear and logic creep in and try to keep me ‘safe and perfect’.

I Watch for that deep inner tingle. That thrill of -THIS! This is something I could get into! This is the opportunity I’ve been handed.

When you feel a sensation of excitement and a deep stirring. When you wake up excited to work on your dream. Then you know you are following your soul truths.

Our ego can quickly write it off as ‘wishful thinking’. Snuff it out as an ‘ unrealistic dream’. Shame us into thinking we are NOBODY when we are actually a very real, very breathing, very valuable SOMEBODY.

It’s alarming how many dreams crash and burn before they even have a breathe.

Here’s a truth I’m learning though.

Every single dream you allow to breathe and burn in you, will lead you somewhere. Fear of following the wrong dream does not need to cripple your style or your dream.

One step leads to another.

If you are growing and changing and finding fulfillment and passion in life, it is not wasted.

So how does this play into the whole ‘sell your house and live small’ notion?

A few years ago, my husband and I were captivated by the tiny house living that was popping up all over the world. We watched documentaries, hashed and rehashed the pros and cons. It sounded so intriguing. So freeing. At the time, we had our plates absolutely full, our schedules crammed even while trying hard to enjoy the small moments. We had bills to pay and more renovations to accomplish on this house before we wanted to sell it. At the same time, we helped our friends downsize their home. As much as it looked adventurous and fun, we knew it wasn’t for us at the moment.

Fast forward to a crazy busy summer last year, hours of work put into our businesses and house, a hard season in our marriage, and a hard season in our son’s lives.

We took a deep, straight up look at ourselves over the past months.

Here’s what I found was my personal truth when I dug deeper into my life. I was dying inside. Not because I wasn’t passionate and following a good path. But because I was starving myself of soul food. All the steps I took to get to where I was had lead me to this massive realization. As productive and together and wonderful as life was, my soul was shriveling up inside of me.

When you begin listening to the deeper part of you, instead of covering it up with work and volunteering and more obligations, you will be amazed at what you hear.

Now before you read further, you need to know something about me. I never learned to Say ‘No’. Being a ‘good person’ meant always putting everyone first at the expense of myself and even my family. Ouch.

So here’s what I did. I stopped volunteering. I would not have understood myself if I had seen this version of me a few years ago. Serving is good. Working hard is great. But this was my season in life where I had to say ‘No More’.

I needed to create space for Jesus to find me in a new way.

I had to take care of my own soul because if I didn’t, I would die a bit more every day and eventually, the skeleton of who I was meant to be would rattle in my own ears.

I stopped always being ‘ON’. I started doing little things just for me that spoke to my soul. Like artwork. Reading more. I got myself some Moleskin journals even if I thought they were extravagant. I started writing my story.

God had told me to write it over a year ago, and I had thought about it in my heart, but hadn’t really gotten the words on paper. Perhaps that year of self growth WAS writing my story. I was constantly thinking and analyzing and growing as a person.

One thing I knew. I had to put more time and action into actually creating the life I loved. The life that made me truly feel alive.

I started thinking about how I wanted my day to start when I woke up in the morning. The feelings I wanted to thread through my body and home. The way I wanted to end the evening.

Life is never perfect. Ever. But we can always make adjustments in life and allow space for the things we dream about to exist. Let’s be real. When you are up multiple times at night with a baby, you likely won’t have a perfect face in the morning, a pot of french press coffee brewing and a steaming cinnamon roll with Morning Vibes playing on you iPad.

But you CAN make small changes. You can wash your face and sip coffee while you watch a You Tube video with your kids because you’re still too groggy to string words together. You can choose to spend time on a soul filling project instead of having the bathroom mirrors polished.

Now returning to this whole downsizing thing…

Fast forward several more months. My husband and I had honest conversations. Some heated, some soft, some raw, some healing.

Change brings change. There was a stirring and a movement in both of us.

A busy winter and a crazy February with nearly record snow fall and relentless subzero weather let us both gasping for breath and warmth.

All the tiny thoughts that had been stirring our soul.

All the work we’ve put into listening to what really matters to us.

Coming to a better understanding of our priorities and the steps we can take to work toward them.

They all begin to collide and morph together.

We didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to sell our house and move into a camper. This was a step by step process that took years to come to.

Seasons came and went in our lives and right now, we realize that this ONE life we have will never change, unless we change it.

We are opening spaces for change to come. To Happen.

Our initial plan was to remodel, and Air BNB our house out while we lived in the camper. Honestly, though? That would mean being more busy, and we are trying to get off the treadmill.

The more work we put into our house, the more we realized we were wanting something else. We were wanting freedom. Freedom from our stuff. Freedom from trading one busy for another. Freedom from a mortgage payment. Freedom to work and then to shut off the work and to be fully present with our family, others and ourselves. Freedom to let go of excess. Freedom to live in contentment with less stuff and more of what makes life real and complete.

I am far from living my days out perfectly. I get frustrated at the chaos of this season in my house every day. There is still painting and finishing touches to do all over this place. There is sorting and boxing up and deciding what gets sold, what gets stored (what is truly valuable to us) and what gets taken to our camper home. There are two boys who need love and security and attention. There is the fact that our house may not sell immediately. There is the being ok with that. The plan that no matter what happens, we will be following our deep intuition that this is what we want to do at this season in our lives.

It’s not like we have arrived. This will simply lead us to another place in life ( whether geographically or just through self growth, I don’t know.) It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we are doing what we know deep in our hearts is best for us and our family right now.

When you are in the best place for YOU, you will be in the best place for those you love.

Not all our questions have to be answered right now. Not everything needs to make sense. We just need to take a step at a time. Embrace the moment , even when it’s uncomfortable, and know that it will lead us to the next thing. And the next thing.

And by the way, if you are looking for a great family home with the option of continuing the AirBNB in part of it, come chat with us….this may be the next ‘thing’ you are being led to 😉