When we bought this house, it was a wild market. Houses were being bought and sold with Black Friday-type frenzy.
We’d spotted one house in a neighborhood we really liked the day its For Sale sign went up. We called our realtor immediately and scored the first showing, but before we could even get in to see it, the house got two above list-price offers and went under contract.
After months of looking, we decided to find a place to just park ourselves. Temporarily. We’d buy a nice house, wait for the market to settle down and then move into a house we really wanted.
We found our in-between house. Maybe it wasn’t my forever house but it did have things I really liked. I loved the dormer windows and rocking chair front porch. I loved the quaint sloped ceilings and niches in the kids’ bedrooms, the walk-in attic, the big yard and the neighborhood creek where my kids could fish and we could launch our kayaks.
We made some minor improvements like painting rooms and changing the flooring, but decided we wouldn’t be here long enough to justify any big renovations.
We pulled up some old garden beds and spruced up the landscaping. But we never started that hedge along the back fence or planted the fruit trees we’d talked about. Those were long-term projects and surely we’d move before we could reap their benefits.
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That was 10 years ago. We’re still in that house.
This in-between house has hosted more Christmases and birthdays than any other home we’ve lived in. It’s been the hub for a decade of schooling, book clubs, debate practices, cookouts, basketball games, neighborhood football, sleepovers, Easter egg hunts and first dates. I would never have predicted that so much life would come from this in-between house.
I’m feeling in-between right about now. Moved from a place I really loved and waiting for a place I really want to be.
It’s hard to put roots down someplace we think is temporary.
It would be so easy for me to coast through these years, waiting for the next chapter to begin.
But there is no in-between in God’s plan. This place is as much a part of God’s will for my life as the place I was and the place I will be a year or two or five years from now.
So often, looking ahead to what God has for us in the place we really want to be, we claim God’s word in Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.’”
Yes and amen. God gives a hope and a future, but God also gives a here and now.
Just before that verse in Jeremiah, it reads:
“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.’” Jeremiah 29:4-5
Don’t waste the in-between, God tells them. Don’t coast through those years, waiting for your real life to resume. Build. Plant. Reap.
That is my prayer. I don’t want to waste these years waiting for something else. I’ve learned something about the in-between place: it has beauty and joy and abundant life. I want to nourish this place, to dig down deep and reap every bit that God has for me right here.
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