Keeping Your Home - When You'd Rather Have a Different One

Keeping Your Home – When You’d Rather Have a Different One

I’ve always dreamed of living in the country. Always. I loved visiting my grandpa’s big farm every summer and building make-believe homes out of old wheels and pots and other rubbish lying around in his barn. I loved visiting my great-grandma’s farm and smelling the slightly-sour scent of warm milk and dung all mixed up in her barn after the cows had been milked.

I loved going to camp and hiking through the woods, reading my Bible on an old log, hearing the birds and squirrels, feeling the breeze on my face and smelling the mosquito repellent on my arm. I loved rounding up the horses early in the morning while everyone else slept and the dew sparkled on the tall grasses when the sun grew brighter and warmer.

We’ve looked at homes out in the country for almost five years now. I have to catch my breath when I go up into a bedroom and look out the window where all I can see for miles are rolling hills, trees, farm fields, and ponds.  My heart literally aches with longing.


But we always come home to our house in a typical American suburb.  A plain, brown two-story, situated on the corner of a street and a culdesac. I can see 11 homes from all sides of my house. Our nine kids share one sink, one toilet, and one shower. Because we don’t all fit in our eat-in kitchen, we split up to eat. We have no entry way, so we crowd into our eat-in kitchen when coming home and pile 22 shoes in a corner.

Instead of chickens and eggs we have two obnoxious cockatiels who provide us with nothing but noise. Instead of cows, we have hamsters. (Their poop IS a lot smaller, which is a real plus in my book.)  Instead of the peaceful sounds of crickets and tree frogs at night, we hear the buzz of traffic from the nearby freeway.

I don’t know if we will ever get to move. As time goes by, it appears more and more that we will stay put.  I’m pondering my attitude as I contemplate this reality.

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Depositphotos 3109766 XS

Discontentment is a SIN?

Discontentment is basically saying, “I don’t like what You’ve provided, God. I deserve better.”  Discontentment is rooted in ungratefulness. Think of how you feel when you provide good things for your children, and all they do is complain. It’s ugly, right?

It’s a victim mentality. I believe God wants us to come at this from a position of power and self-control.

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances. We carry the seeds of one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go.”  (Martha Washington in a letter to her friend, Mercy Warren)

The loveliness of our home is not dependent on how big it is, what kind of furniture it holds, or the art on the walls.  We have a beautiful, meaningful home – or not –  based on our disposition. We either foster a sweet, grateful, pleasant atmosphere, or we contribute to a petulant, whiny, self-centered atmosphere.

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal at every condition.”  Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Depositphotos 6156444 XS

Practical Ways to Practice Contentment in the Home God Gave You

  • Think from an eternal perspective.  Life is short. Eternity is long. God is writing an epic story, and you get to play a small role. Play it well, remembering that when your part is over, there will be a party in the Green Room.
  • Keep a running list of God’s gifts and graces in your life.  I can either dwell on how irritating it is to trip over each other at mealtime, or I can look at my sun room and revel in its…sunniness. There are a million wonderful things about the home we live in. And I’m going to lose sleep over the things that are a pain in the butt? The fact that I have a home is an undeserved grace of God. 
  • Remember that your living space is just empty space without love.  With love, any little corner of the world becomes a place pregnant with miracle and wonder.
  • Pray and look for little ways to bring beauty to your domain.  Even an arrangement of leaves and rocks in the center of a table can bring life and sweetness. God’s gifts are all around you for the taking. Open your spiritual eyes and receive them with humble gratitude.

What do you love about keeping the home God gave you?

Top photo by Dave Kliman 

Similar Posts


  1. I could have written the first part of this post. I’d say at least once a day, I look out to the cars sitting on the congested highway next to our home and to the multitude of houses in every other direction and I long for trees and nature sounds. I will continue to pray for an opportunity for change, but I will continue to be grateful for all the blessings that I have.

  2. Natalie,
    Isn’t it funny how two people can see things so differently? I LOVE your home! It is beautiful with many unique and beautiful touches. I felt peace the moment I walked in the first time. I love the smell of soap and the patter of little feet. You have done so many creative things to make your “suburban” home your own. All that to say that I have coveted where you live and God has spoken to me about being content with the house we live in, in yet another “American suburb” near by. We all struggle but looking to Him and seeing it from the perspective of many around the world helps too. As Americans we are RICH beyond most of the world. We need to keep that perspective. Thanks for your thoughtful piece.

  3. I agree with Angie. What a great reminder to be thankful for the blessings we’ve been given. It doesn’t mean we can’t dream/hope/build for more but to realize the beautiful in what we already have.

  4. We have a farm and it’s so nice to have the boys go out with Papa and work with him. Our house leaves a lot to be desired though, but I am thankful for it (it’s taken effort). We’ve remodeled every room and it’s made me more sentimental about this poorman’s house because I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears (really, all 3!) into it. I’m thankful we own it all free and clear and do not have to make a house payment (perk of spouse being a 6 generation farmer). I’m thankful because our house is so old and a bit delapidated and that means, I don’t care if the kids run through the house and leave messes, when we host gatherings I’m not uptight about spills and mishaps, sand in the carpet doesn’t phase me, heck there is manure tracks right now in the kitchen (it happens daily and I usually clean it up every other day), etc. It’s not like it’s a 150,000 dollar house and I need to keep it tip-top shape. It’s lived in and I can live with that!

  5. Great blog post. I can so relate and most of the time it is easy to be content. Once in a while though….Thanks for sharing.

  6. thank you, this is something i struggle with daily. i have the place in the country i always dreamed of, but it turned out to be a rotting out single wide trailer on a piece of great land. i have to keep telling myself it’s all just a work in progress.

  7. I’m pretty sure this post was written just for me today. Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband and I purchased our current home right before we got married and didn’t think about the day when there would be more than just us living there. 🙂 We have 2 beautiful daughters now and while our home isn’t a shack by any means we seem to be outgrowing it daily. I need to focus more on being thankful that we have a home, thankful that we have our beautiful children, do things to make our home more of a home and not focus so much on if we will ever get to move to a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood.

  8. I so needed this. When we bought our home I thought it was incredible. But now, I too long to live in the country and to have high ceilings. I need contentment. This world is NOT my home.

  9. I also wanted to add that the part that spoke the most to me is that love and our attitudes is what makes a home beautiful. I think we have been sold a “bill of goods” – thinking that we need a Pottery Barn home in order to be truly making a haven for our family. Thanks again.

  10. This is a good reminder for all of us. Three years ago, our family sold a wonderful house in a great suburb and moved cross country looking for work. We moved our family of 5 into a 2br 1000sq ft apartment. Yes, it was crowded, but it was a home for nearly 2 years. I loved that I could clean it in less than 15 minutes and vacuum the entire place without moving the plug from outlet to outlet. I loved the location in the city, near parks (that I didn’t have to help maintain), shopping, libraries, etc. Then a year ago, the Lord blessed us with a house…exactly what we’d prayed for. We’d prayed for “Grannie’s house”–a home owned by an elderly person who hadn’t updated it, because we wanted to do the work, with a big backyard, away from the city and HOA’s, 3 or 4 bedrooms, and big enough rooms, without it being overwhelming. Someplace that my husband and I can stay in until we’re carried out. That is exactly what we found, along with wonderful neighbors, coyotes that howl at night, stars that light up the sky, birds singing in the morning. God is good.

  11. Thanks for this encouragement, Natalie. Fantastic post! What is really hitting me, especially as we travel, is that you’re so right about our attitude and the love and beauty that we bring to our domain… that’s what makes it a home. Whether we’re staying in a hotel room, an itty bitty apartment, or renting a house in a neighborhood, anywhere that our family goes on this trip can still be a home for us, regardless of all the things it does or doesn’t have. I have the choice to let these things drive me crazy or make me feel negative, or to choose gratitude for what we do have. I’m thankful for this opportunity to learn to be content in all manner of living situations, and hopefully I’ll allow the lessons to sink in deeply enough that when we return, I will be more willing to choose contentment and joy wherever we end up living at that time!

  12. This was so helpful to read. I live in an area (suburbs of DC) that is pretty much a competitive consumption haven. I often run into the mentality that you need to live in x neighborhood or drive y type of car to be accepted and in that type of atmosphere, it can be hard to be content and to remember that what we have comes from God and that we should be pleased with all He has given us. Being content with where I live and with what I have is an ongoing process but the more I learn, the more He shows me beauty in the everyday.

  13. Dear Natalie ~ I *love* this post! You hit the nail on the head. And, those quotes? Martha Washington’s is a gem. I appreciate your thoughts and that you point us to the Truth…thank you. 🙂 Hmmm…you asked a question. I am thankful that the Lord did not strip this home from us when we were young and felt we deserved better! Oh, how thankful I am for that!! Our home is not too big, so I must keep on top of the stuff…it’s a constant battle. It’s in the middle of a relatively quiet street, which means the kids can play street hockey and ride bikes right in front of our home. Thank your for sharing your heart and encouraging mine! 🙂

    Blessings to you!

  14. Wow!! Thank you for the reminder that I should be grateful in any circumstance I am in, including my home! My heart longingly aches to be in the country as well! I know that if that is the Lord’s will for my life, that will happen in His perfect timing! In the meantime, I can work on making my house a home that glorifies God. Thank you, again!

  15. It’s amazing what happens when God is trying to reach us: I’ve had Philippians 4:11-13 show up twice just this week from different sources/people. And, I have grumbled recently about our 1 bedroom condo were renting for hopes of a house with a yard for our (someday soon) children to play in. BUT God wishes for me to be content (Philippians) and have put people into our lives recently who have told us how lucky were are to have the place we do. Contentment isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. And I do love how I can clean up our place to be ready for visitors in a small amount of time!

  16. Thank you! I have been feeling the exact same way about our house, especially that our backyard is so small and pretty much all concrete, with only a small patch of dirt where it turns out I can’t grow any grass or plants because it is shaded all day long. Plus, similar to yours, directly behind our wall, like 1 yard away, is a very busy six lane busy road and it is so noisy all day long. I am on outdoors person and want to be outdoors and send my kids outdoors, and have all of my doors and windows open when it is nice out (in Phoenix, this is our nice season), and eat dinner outside, etc, but since we’ve lived in this house since November, I can’t get over the bummer of a yard and the loud traffic. It feels like there is never any peace. I’ve had a complaining and discontented spirit and felt convicted, but not enough to really work hard on my attitude and it seems to have gotten worse in the last week or so. So this post was very timely and I really felt the Lord speaking to me. So I am doing all the things you listed and asking the Lord for help. And I am so appreciative that we have a house at all and I don’t have to go to work and I can spend the day playing puzzles with my kids, etc. Already my attitude is better and will be working on it each and every morning!

  17. I understand the “longing” you speak of. I long for a “cute” house. One that I will feel proud to have people over to & come home to every day. I don’t have that. But one thing I have reminded myself over & over again is that God IS preparing a place for me in heaven and I actually have faith to believe that everything I’ve longed for but didn’t receive in a home here on this earth, He is preparing for me & I will get to enjoy it for eternity! That is what I keep in my mind always!

    1. Thank you Lisa! I love what you said: “everything I’ve longed for but didn’t receive in a home here on this earth, He is preparing for me & I will get to enjoy it for eternity!”

  18. Thank you so much for the reminder…. I am not discontent with my house and where I live… but, there are other things that I struggle with discontentment. Thank you so much for your honesty…. and God Bless You!!! God will honor your sacrificial spirit!!!

  19. Great post. So easy to get distracted by the world. Thanks for the tips. 🙂 They will definitely help me keep things in perspective.

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is so easy to let the devil take root in our hearts and not be content with what God has blessed us with. Your post is a wonderful reminder on this, may all that read your article be encouraged. ~Alexis on behalf of everyone at A Moment with M.O.M.

  21. Natalie, thanks for sharing. I, too, long for a place in the country. God has not provided this place for us, either. I have prayed that He would take the desire away, if it is not something that He wants for me. I don’t see any way it can happen in our current situation. It would absolutely have to be through his miraculous provision. And I, too, have to guard my attitude. All too often it is, “God, please get me out of this horrible, busy, dirty, foul city.” Usually this comes after I have dealt with someone who rubs me the wrong way (for example, the man in the pickup who pulled alongside us last week and used his hand as a gun to shoot at us through his driver’s window, and then stepped out of his truck and “shot” five more times, with sound effects). It is hard for me to feel compassion for these lost people. But that is what I need to do. Often it is just traffic and late-night party noise and the scents that so easily float across the gangway from my neighbor’s kitchen window to our bedroom window. Your post spoke to me. We are blessed to have a roof over our heads. And even though six of us share one bathroom, we have indoor plumbing, unlike the families in the “colonia” where we built a house last year for a needy family. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Oh, but I forgot to mention…we DO have chickens. (Killed the rooster for soup last Christmas…neighbors were making comments about the noise.)

  22. Thanks for the encouragement. It’s where I am, minus 6 kids. 🙂 I’m trying to focus more on being thankful and making a home where we are at, but some days I definitely lose focus. Thanks for the reminder!

  23. This is a great post and serves as a good reminder to maintain a grateful heart. As I read your post, I can understand why you long for a different home. 🙂 I have a home that I love, but even I can get caught up in a spirit of discontent wishing for something different. We are very thankful for our home!

  24. I was right there learning this lesson a few years ago, too. Since, the Lord did allow us to move into a larger house and one that we are so thankful for. When our teeny two bedroom house couldn’t sell the first time we tried, I was so upset, and found myself thinking that the Lord owed us a larger home because of our service to Him. I cringe typing that out! God actually changed my thinking through reading the Little House series out loud to my children. I read about how hard pioneer life was, and I became thankful for all of the modern conveniences I had in my home instead of being upset about the inconveniences. It was a trial feeling trapped in such a tiny house with a growing family, but I am so thankful that God brought me through it! Contentment is such a valuable lesson. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

  25. This seriously spoke to me. It’s exactly where I’m at. I really need to refocus and put my eyes on what God sees as important.

  26. I’ve been gone all day, but just now have had a chance to read all your encouraging comments. Thank you for sharing little peeks into your own hearts. I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and since that time I’ve grown more ashamed of myself for not being grateful for what I have. It is so much more than I ever dreamed of having. I know it’s all relative. The Bible says that Jesus “knew what was in man.” And yet He loves us and has such patience for us. I purposed, after writing this post, to focus on all that God has given me, and I can honestly say that the strong desire to move has waned by about 75%. Just today, something came up that reminded me of moving – and the thought crossed my mind, “But why? I have everything I need here. Moving would be a serious pain in the rumpusdiddlyumpus!” And it would. : ) Anyway, I wanted to “check in” and thank you for your comments. I wish I had time to respond to each one of you. Many of you tugged at my heartstrings. I am praying that we will all experience the peace and joy of contentment – wherever God has placed us on this little earth.

  27. Thank you thank you for this posting. This is another one of the ways that God is correcting me for my spirit of unthankfulness and discontentment along with an expectation of “entitlement” from God. God is so very gracious to us and it’s so easy to forget that. The verse Mathew 6:33 comes to mind “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.”. Thank you so much for your practical suggestions for noticing God all around us and learning to be content with the simples things in life.

  28. I think this was written for me. We have been living with my in-laws for almost 10 months while we looked for a home and are now renovating it. We never planned on being here for more than a few weeks. I’ve been very irritable lately. Not wanting to even cook anymore because I hate the kitchen here. Your post said some things that made me say ouch, but I needed to hear them.

  29. I really appreciated this post. My family is actually in the process of selling/moving/upgrading but I still find it a challenge to be content with God’s timing and arrangement of circumstances on a daily basis. When I think about our situation with a “30000 foot perspective” I wonder how I could ever doubt God’s excellent and gracious provision, and yet it’s still a struggle sometimes. I’m grateful for sisters-in-Christ who encourage me in times like these with their own faithful testimony of his goodness.

  30. Similar situation, except in an apartment and not as many kids. I grew up on a farm on the side of a mountain and it’s a long way from here. There is a fine balance in being content and grateful for our blessings but yet hoping for more, because I believe God can have more in store for us but sometimes we have to dig it out. At least I hope there is a yard in my kids’ future!

  31. The Lord led me to read this. I too grew up in the country and always dreamed I woukd raise my girls there. At the time we purchased our home…we were not able to purchase our dream home, but a home we could afford with warranties and move in ready. I’ve since learned I can live like I’m in the country, but city setting. We have berry patches, fruit trees, a garden every year, etc. That you for your encouraging article!

  32. Your article brought me up short, pointing out how our discontentment is like telling God the blessings He’s given us are not good enough! And this covers way more than only our home! For you, you have 9 children and a home in the city. For me, we live in the country but have only 2 children. We all dearly love country life, but our two wwonderful daughters and I greatly desire a house full of children–a dream of mine since childhood. It is so easy to focus on all the children God hasn’t blessed us with, but that is discontent! So we all have things in our life that we can throw back to God and “want more.” So resting in Him and the beautiful blessings He has given is where I need to focus…back to that “attitude of gratitude!” 🙂 So thank you for a wonderful article! 🙂 Blessings (as we all count ours 🙂

  33. Awesome post! Thank you for speaking the truth in love and being so transparent about your own life. God wants your family’s witness in the city. He wants mine in the military community. Being thankful in all things takes a lifetime of spiritual lessons. Thank you again! My spirit so resonated with this.

  34. Thank you! I needed this. We’re in a tiny little house that is just too small for us and we’re working on buying a new home since we are moving to another part of the state for my husband’s job, but house buying is proving much more difficult than expected. I am stressed and discouraged. I needed the reminder of what discontentment says to God and that I need a change in attitude.

  35. Thank you, I can relate to this post. I don’t live in a small house, but I long to be in the country and live a simple peaceful life. (Unlike the rest of my family who is SO into modern and technology)

  36. I’ve been where you are right a long time ago, but God finally gave me peace! Now, as I get older and more closer to retirment, I see the tables have turned and now feel the need to purge so we can move out! So, God will help me again as it overwhelms me in this cleaning, puging feeling that almost is too much for me, as there is so much! We don’t need all this afterall I’m not taking it with me to eternity! My parting words are enjoy the moment, it only comes one at a time!! Breath and rely on the Word for help!

  37. Thank you for this post! Very encouraging! I am too learning to be contend in NOT having a home at all. We do rent a nice house though, so I am (learning to be) thankful.

  38. Thank you so much for writing this. At this time our family of seven is living in family housing on a college campus. My husband is getting close to finishing with his degree, but boy am I ever longing for SPACE out in the country! Economically, I know in my heart that it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to purchase a home of our own. Praying for contentment and being thankful for a solid roof over my head is a continual goal of mine. Thank you for your encouragement, especially after watching HGTV a little too much!

  39. Wow, Natalie! You hit my issue on the head with this one! Thanks so much for sharing this; I especially appreciate the quotes and verse. I have spent my life searching for contentment in where we live, but God is revealing that it is only in Him that I will find it! I just started a blog post on Phillipians 4 and the Truth behind it. Ah, contentment….only in Christ! Blessings, Terry

  40. I will join in the chorus of “I really needed this!” My husband went back to school in February and had to take a HUGE pay cut to find a job that would give him the hours needed to get to school one night a week. We moved in with my dad and autistic adult brother and sister in their 1400 sq ft 4 bedroom house. We have two kids under two. We are all crammed into the master bedroom and I am three months pregnant with baby number three! This living situation was supposed to be temporary but its becoming more and more long term right now. I’ve been SOOOOO discontent without a home at all to take care of! I miss the 1000sq ft 2 bedroom apartment I gave birth to our second in. I’m struggling so much with what my role looks like now with nothing more than 300 sq ft to “make”. My frustration leads me to not even take care of what small space I do have.

    I love that we are pregnant with our third and about to celebrate 5 years of marriage, but I expected to at least have our own space with a growing number of children. When I read all the wonderful posts about keeping a home, somehow all I can focus on is all the things we don’t have and aren’t doing the way we want to. My dad leaves the TV on ALL day, there’s no kitchen table to have a family dinner around anymore, my dad is a Jehovah’s witness and doesn’t appreciate my worship music that gets me going in the morning. Its just a mess!

    So, I’ve really needed a “kick in the pants” to get off my pity party and go back to being a cheery wife instead of a discontent one. If nothing else, my husband will finish his degree in 2 years and we’ll have our own space again. Thank you so much for the encouragement 🙂

  41. We are a military family in military housing. It’s hard to see better layouts in our friends military homes and think “I wish I had been assigned this house instead of ours”. We are a family of 5, we have a 4 bedroom for which we are grateful, detached home, with a fenced yard.

    The fence has been in disarray for two years – the military keeps putting a bandaid on it – it SHOULD be fixed this year.. ill believe it when I see it.

    The deck is too small for our BBQ and a seating arrangement, we cant make major alterations like extending the deck. The yard is a hill/very uneven.

    The two hardest things in our home is 1 bathroom (especially as our oldest is in her teen years and is embarrassed if we use the toilet while she’s in the tub.; and the lack of a garage. We have a decent sized shed but my husband is an outdoor enthusiast – motorcycle, fourwheeler, trailer, etc.

    I always think you can find stuff you LOVE about a home, and stuff that doesnt work for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *