Tomorrow, we'll be putting our little yellow house up for sale.
I write that and the reality stings a bit, but the sadness is so quickly outweighed by relief that the hurt can't linger long. (First things first, we aren't leaving Raleigh - just moving across town.)
We've been making it work, the ministry salary + working-from-home salary + mortgage and string of home repairs that we can afford if we both work hard. But when we take a look at our schedules and acknowledge that I'm working during every nap time, every evening after Liam goes to bed, and we have very little family time that's not laden with guilt that I really should be working - we realize that something desperately needs to change. We knew this setup wasn't going to work forever, but didn't realize how quickly burnout would come. It has come.
The change we need to make is obvious: our house. As first time homebuyers, I think we had in our heads, "How much can we afford?" A few months into the experience as home owners, we're thinking: "How little can we spend so that we can really feel financially free?" When there are townhouses or other homes a little further out that are the same size and half the price, that means we'd be cutting our mortgage in half, which means I would potentially have to work much less, if at all. These other homes may be completely carpeted, have dated kitchens, or not 100% our taste - but the fact that we would be enjoying much more time together and not worrying about our house payment makes that all so worth it. (And we can always pull up carpet and paint kitchen cabinets.)
I actually love to work, as I've written plenty about before. Right now, though, I feel like a full-time worker and a full-time mom. With 8-10 hours of childcare per week, working 30+ hours requires a lot of sacrifice. I'm ready to be a full-time mom and a part-time worker. These years are short and so fleeting, and I don't want to spend them in guilt that I've put Liam in front of his third episode of Daniel Tiger so I can finish sewing an Etsy order before the post office closes.
So, clearly, this is a bold step. We're actually going to attempt to sell our house ourselves (without the help of a realtor), which is even bolder.
That's where you come in.
We covet your bold prayers.
Prayers for stamina in keeping our house clean (with a tornadic toddler around) and opening it for showings again and again. And prayers for energy to move yet again. This will be the fourth time we've moved within one year and it's just plain exhausting.
Prayers for wisdom in negotiating a contract.
Prayers that it will sell quickly and that the Lord will provide something else just as quickly. We're open to renting, but Raleigh is not cheap, and it looks like buying something else will actually be a less expensive option.
I feel most sad when I think about leaving our beloved neighbors. It feels so unnatural to have only been here 8 months when we all expected years.
Otherwise, though, I only feel relief. Relief that I'm not going to have to sit behind the sewing machine or the computer for literally hours a day in order to pay our bills. Relief that we might even have disposable income again. Brighter Day isn't going anywhere. I really do love it. I just don't love how much we've had to rely on its income and, in turn, how it's consumed too much of our lives.
This process is humbling and stretching and exhausting. But we pray that through it, we grow in faith, in wisdom, in character, and in empathy when we see others who are walking the same road.
Thanks for sitting beside us, on the edges of our seats, in anticipation for what our good God plans to do.