We are moving house in the next week and I have all the feelings. I mean ALL the FEELINGS. We’re moving from our lovely flat near everything in this beautiful city of ours back up to the suburbs, to a house with stairs, another bedroom, a garden and views of the downs. I think it’s a fair exchange, I think it’s the right thing to be doing. I think the extra space for the crazy boys will be good for them and us and I think it makes sense. My heart is having a harder time catching up with my head.
This is the flat we established life together in, we bought it at the end of our first year of marriage. That first year was awesome in many ways but, looking back, the most insecure year of our life together. We were working out how to relate to each other, how to live with stressful jobs and how to deal with big stuff in each others lives. We were trying to figure out communication and how to intertwine our lives together. It wasn’t an easy time.
Moving to our new flat was one of the first big decisions we made, a beautiful gift from God who provided us (through lovely friends and relations) the means to buy it. Here we would learn to walk together, we would experience more of love for each other, live through our stormiest days and bring two crazy boys into the world to pour out love upon.
It was a pretty weird flat when we first looked around it, husbandface took a lot of convincing that it wasn’t just a cat filled dump. Leaving aside the cat litter and damp laundry smells it was a fairly good shell and once we got in and did some painting it rapidly became ours. It was redeemed from it’s former state and we have placed our stamp firmly on it over the years.
I love this flat, I love the large living room that has housed so many good conversations with each other, with friends and with our small group from church. I love the balcony that has turned from a place to sit and read and drink wine into outdoor space to chuck children out into and breathe peace into their storms with the magic elixir of fresh air. I love our kitchen with it’s room for a table to sit at whilst we cook, with it’s chalk board proclaiming the week’s meals and it’s view of squirrels and seagulls scurrying outside. I love our massive bedroom and the many nights of lovely sleep our bed provided before the small people came along. I love our spare room, transformed into a beautiful study and then into a bedroom for son1. I love our bathroom, redone a few summers ago. I love the middle of our flat, a spacious hallway, home to a table for friends to sit and eat good food around and then transformed into a study space and buggy park.
I love that I brought son1 home to this place of safety, crying over the soft furnishings and books after 6 days in the bleakness of a hospital ward. I love that I gave birth to son2 here surrounded by fairy lights and familiarity.
I love that this flat is surrounded by trees in the middle of a city, I love that it’s a few minutes walk to the park, the local shops, the arts cinema, good pubs and more.
It’s been an amazing place to live for the last 4 and a half years. We’ve loved seeing God do stuff in our lives here and in the lives of friends that have come and hung out in this space with us. We know it has been a brilliant gift. It’s not perfect, there are many things I’m glad we don’t have to sort out now we are moving and the little niggly annoying things that need work no longer matter.
Weirdly we find ourselves facing another gift as we move to our new house. We are under no illusion, this is another gift from God to use for blessing others. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do in the new house, how he will encourage us and our friends, how we can provide a safe place of sanctuary for those who need peace on the road and how we can extend hospitality to those around us. I’m excited to see what will become of us, however daunted I feel about leaving the comfort of what we have at the moment. I am looking forward to watching my boys learn about gardens, navigate stairs, fill the space and grow.
The next few days are going to be a little crazy as we move to friends for a week and from Wednesday attempt to paint rooms and generally get the new house ready for me and two small boys to hang out in each day and not go crazy with desire to ditch the boys and sort the house out. If you fancy coming over with a paint brush we’d love to see you. If you fancy coming over just to hang out we’d also love to see you. As I said to our church this morning, it’s not just our house, it’s been given to us to be a blessing to others and we long for refreshing joy to be found for all who come into it.