Monday, September 22, 2014

On Buying a House

So we bought a house in Spokane.  There are markedly pieces of this story missing.  I am struggling with writing about some of the most lovely parts of this story because I very much want them to be felt not just read and stored away.   The last months are nothing short of Gods very goodness stretching us and blessing us beyond our wildest dreams and writing them down here for you to read rather than inviting you into my living room to hear the very tales seems like I am selling them short. So please come over and sit and I will start from the beginning.
 photo IMG_6148_zps8e516e18.jpgIn true Jager fashion we found our house in two weeks time.  However the journey was not easy.  We felt challenged in what we "should" choose based on preconceived ideas and emotions versus what we now claim to be true in our lives. When we bought our first house nearly 10 years ago we searched for pretty yards, white picket fences, nice neighborhoods and the like.  We found all of that, added a dog and two kids and started what I thought was a fairytale and it really was in so many ways.  And so when we started looking this time we began looking for the same thing.  We wanted something that "made sense."  We wanted something that  I would ashamedly say would bring us pride and represented who we were. 

Maybe I should start off by telling you when we moved to Spokane 2 years ago we shopped for our house based on what we could afford and also fit our family as at the time we needed room for my grandma too.  So we ended up renting a nearly 5000sq ft house that overlooked the entire city.  It was beautiful but over time I began to resent that poor house.  I hated the  looks on peoples face when they came in the front door, I hated the attention it brought, I hated the ideas of our financial situation it gave to people.  And really us Jagers are not McMansion people.  We are people that value community, we like to be able to commune and love on people with our house.  I want you to feel like you can throw open our fridge and grab yourself a beer, spill milk in our living room without feeling shame and put your feet up on the coffee table.  And that house made that difficult. 

So the hunt began.  I knew I wanted at least 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  I wanted room for people to come and stay, but I wanted it to be comfortable and cozy too.  We saw all sorts of houses big, small and in the middle.  Fixer uppers, and finished and when we thought we found the house I came home and felt sick.  Although many of our motives were for good things, and very much not for own benefit I realized what I was searching for was not aligned with the newness we have adopted for our lives here in Spokane. I had failed to pray and really ask God to show us where he wanted us to be.  What i wanted was safety, in Christ we are safe.  What I wanted was home, in Jesus my home will never be here in this place.  What I wanted was pride, without giving Jesus every part of me I am nothing.  What I wanted was beauty, without Jesus my heart will not only be ugly but empty.  And so we prayed.  We prayed with humble hearts knowing that once we opened that door we would have no choice but to follow his leading.  Half longing to be free from our own desires but half afraid to see how he would answer.  And in time it was very clear where we were supposed to be in the Shadle neighborhood, where we would be close to those that we love.  In a place that we could truly love our neighbors and hopefully be light and love to them.

Here are some observations others have made as they have watched this take place.  Wow, this isn't anything I would have thought you would choose.  Did Brian lose his job?  Are you guys okay?  Why there, why Shadle?  And I will tell you these questions do not offend, but they comfort because they give me opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with those who are bold enough to ask.  The truth is I don't know and you are right, in the past we would have run from Shadle.  This makes me sad and has created a deep repentance in me, but it has also brought me joy that I have been delivered out of a sin that was very deep within me.  The sin and wanting to not only keep up with the Joneses but be them.  The thought that what I  need is to be comfortable not just content.  The idea that what I need to be me is to be surrounded by people who have the same values and desires as I do.  Well you know what I did that for the first decade of our marriage and it didn't work out the greatest.  It looked awesome but it didn't always feel awesome.  

So when you drive into our neighborhood you will be greeted by the sights of folks living life.  Some of them care about their yards, some don't.  If it is past 3pm you will probably see the two guys a couple of blocks down working on their go carts and taking Coors light breaks on their folding chairs in the front yard.  You won't be able to miss our neighbor across the street with his lime green race car that he parks in the yard to wash and dry.  There is a young couple that lives next door with a toddler and a dog whose bark is reminiscent of Cujo, there house belonged to her grandmother and they have a gate in their backyard to allow them access to their parents yard directly behind ours.  There is a man who walks his dog without any shoes  every morning.  And another that walks with a stick that I assume is meant for self defense but I haven't asked him yet so I don't know maybe he just likes the weight of it in his hand. A woman who walks with 3 young kids who seems nervous to return my hello but I am determined to continually show her love in that every time I see her.  And so far I have counted 11 people who have stopped to read the sign on our front door, I think half wondering if it is a declaration or an invitation (its both).  At first glance I can see the need for confusion from our friends and loved ones. But in my heart I know we are right where God wants us. I am humbled that I am loved enough to go forward with living here, and in the beginning I too was wary of what we had done.  But I can truly say that I know if I am honest of how this all transpired we have done nothing.  All honor and love and praise is to him who calls us His own.
 photo IMG_3464_zps3bf083ac.jpgSo what does life look like for the Jagers now that we are here? You may notice I did not mention the names of the folks above.  We are praying to change that.  We desire to not only know our neighbors but to have them in our home and in our lives. Praying that amongst our shortcomings Jesus would be able to be that much more strong as we move forward with pressing in.  That Jesus would be present and recognizable and not because of us or our own greatness but because of the love he has for us.  That we may live transparently and openly, realizing that none of us deserves a place to belong but in him we all have access to family.  And so we have made several pledges or commitments to put us in deeper contact.  Everything we do regularly...groceries, the gym, schools for the kids, and the like is done within 10 minutes of our front door and hopefully within the Shadle neighborhood, this is limiting in some ways but also so good for us to build community.  We meet with two other couples and their children once a week to support one another in one anothering.  Praying that God would use us to not only further the love of his kingdom but to support one another in life.  To pray with and for one another in the mundane and the unreal, to spur one another on amongst weakness in hopes of pointing each other to the cross so that it can become larger and more real.  We remind one another of the truth that Jesus is real and his sacrifice was large and we are simply here to bring His glory to light and to life.  And all of this folks sounds real good on paper but in all truth it is real hard.  That doesn't take away from its greatness though.  

I know you all want to know about the house and from my above description you are probably expecting the worst.  It is not a janky little house as I once called it.  My heart is continually changing as I seek more of Jesus.  What we bought is material it is simply a house but it also where we welcome people in to share the love that we have been so freely given.  It is a 1954 brick rambler.  In all actuality it is a u shape brick with a basement.  It has extra bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It is lovely and warm and Jesus has blessed it already with comfort even though I am completely content with all that he has given me thus far.  We have already started ripping down walls to make it more livable.  One of things we desired was to be able to welcome others in, to be able to give folks a soft place to land or a family to be adopted into, super ambiguous but we already have a girl that wants to move in in January while she does an internship here.  So in preparation for our first tenant we are adding on an extra bathroom to provide a bit more space for coexistence. And I would be lying to say I am not excited about all of this.  We have fireplaces and original hardwoods and a tiny little kitchen with appliances that are much to big but fit our needs quite well.  The backyard is dead and there are cosmos growing in the place of the grass that used to reign there. The front yard is shaded with the love of a giant oak that is inhabited by squirrels.  The grass in the front is green and lush, I love to mow it.  

We are happy and most pleased with all that has transpired.  I know I talk of much change in our hearts, and friends from the past years are quick to email me and remind me that the old us was loved and appreciated.  And so I must say that I have no condemnation for myself , I love myself more than I ever possibly could have but it is all by his grace that I have the ability to say those words. All I had or I did before was to simply earn my place in the kingdom to prove my goodness and worthiness for a place at the table.  And honestly it doesn't look much different from the outside.  Except that all that I have and all that I do is out of response for the forgiveness I myself have been given and we all have been offered.  I am free from shame and free to live. 

More to come on marriage, and friendship and mothering and love. It will continue to be real.

walk in love friends-