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Packed like sardines. Busting at the seams. Maximum capacity.
Whichever way you spin it, we’re full! Small house, big family means it can be crazy, chaotic, and… interesting? We may very well be packed like sardines, but we aim to be content in our sardine-ness.
Almost twenty years ago, when we bought this house, we assumed it to be a “starter house.” We had no idea that we would still be living in the same 1500 sq ft house eight kids later. We recently added on about 280 square feet, which gained us a bathroom, a bedroom, and a larger dining room. Whew!
There are times when it feels really tight. Truthfully, it can be downright frustrating with ten people, especially when eight of them stay home all day most days. And then the rainy days–oh, the rainy days!
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Call to Be Content
A few years ago I was very convicted about my constant desire for “bigger” and “more.” Certain scriptures kept coming back to me. Verses like…
1 Timothy 6:6-7–
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
How can you be content when you feel like you live in a sardine can?
I must confess, that I don’t always feel the peace that I felt that day on the swing when the conviction to be content hit me. And sometimes, I still want to start over.
But we are choosing (continuing to choose) to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t. When you live in a culture in which things are very important and label who you are, that’s tough.
Think back to your grandparents’ house, your great-grandparents’ house. Typically, houses were much smaller. Actually, 100 years ago, the average house size was 700 to 1,000 sq ft with one or two bedrooms and maybe a bathroom. (Chicago Tribune) Couple that with the fact that family sizes were typically larger, and you have a “sardine can.”
I remember my mom telling a story about how she and two of her sisters shared not only a bedroom, but one full-sized bed. The house did have three bedrooms (parent room, boy room, girls’ room), but it was small and didn’t have a bathroom for many years. And yet, she remembered fondly and enjoyed telling me how they were content in their tiny house.
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Bottom line: Focus on what you do have!
A Gentle Reminder
When I struggle with wanting more, I’m reminded through Scripture to be content in this cozy little house. I remember the warmth, the laughter, the comfort, and the love in these four walls. We brought all eight of our babies home to this little house, and right now, I want to enjoy those memories right here.
What about you? Where are you in your journey?
Listen, it’s okay if you have a big house, but it’s also okay if you have a tiny one. What matters is that you are content with where you are. I know that’s hard! If you are feeling uncertain about where you are in life, take a step back and try to be thankful for where you are.
Let us find joy by remembering God’s promises, remembering the blessings, remembering what we do have, and remembering where we’ve been.