The girls and I read a story tonight at bedtime about how love is an action, and not just a few nice words. We read in the Bible about a lady named Dorcas who sewed clothes for those who were poor and homeless, and how she showed her love for Jesus and others by not only saying that she loved them, but by “doing” things that showed the fruit of her words. I am constantly teaching my children that JOY is found by loving J-esus, O-thers, and then Y-ou. That you win when you put others before yourself. That was all forgotten today when Trinity did not let McKenzie get out of the car first, or when McKenzie did not let Trin get in the car first. When it was time to shower, they both wanted to be first. I’m sure you parents reading understand these issues very well!
I have read story after story about how people have laid down their lives, whether literally or figuratively, to serve Jesus and others. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, I assume that most people are warmed by those true stories, believing there is “good” still in the world. I can relate. If you think about it, life contains a series of choices with varying consequences, another thing I am constantly teaching my kids. In that heroic moment, whether anyone witnessed it or not, a choice was made, and a cost came with it. For example, take a soldier who dove on a bomb saving his fellow men, but losing his life. How about when you give your husband the better piece of meat or desert, and lose the one you really wanted. It’s legit! No matter how big or small the act of love is, it matters. Even if no one else sees it or would value it, it matters to God.
My point. Today I am re-sorting through our families final belongings. I’m re-organizing, taking stock, putting similar categories together, and trying to stay on top of everything. Seems pretty normal, right? But it’s not, it’s so hard. It’s hard because we have already “lost” so much. It’s just “stuff,” right? Right, but stop for a moment and think about the sentimental things you own. For example, I have this cute plaque that was painted for me when I was born. Growing up, it was always on my wall in my room, and I counted it as one of my special belongings. I have a huge pile of “unknown,” as in, it is unknown what I am going to do with it. Which leads me to open up to you all on the reality of me and Darren’s choice to go tiny.
Most people I encounter get very excited when I tell them what we are doing. That or they question our sanity! They have seen Tiny House Nation, and similar types of shows, on TV and think it’s so cool! It is cool, but it is not all sparkling pretty with bows and whistles. It is crazy hard. Allow me to explain. Deciding to go tiny has all kinds of consequences.
Point 1: Loss of dreams, desires and ownership. 2,300 square feet gone and a better use of space in around a 300 square foot house means saying goodbye, or losing, a lot of things that you DO care about, not just the ones that don’t mean a whole lot, but the ones that do. It’s a choice. I lost my beautiful gym for training clients that I worked so hard to build. Darren lost a ton of his tools. The kids lost having their own bedroom and some of their toys. However, I firmly believe things are things, you can’t take it with you when you die, and we can live without most of them. Funny, because the other response I get from people is, “Oh, I could never do that, but it’s great that you are!” What can you live without? I’d say most of our “things” are very expendable. People, however, are not. That does not mean that it is easy to let go of those things you do care about. Ok, enough of point 1, but it’s WAY bigger and harder that it probably seems!
Point 2: Loss of security and consistency. Nothing really feels all that secure in our life right now, and because of that, it is hard to have a consistent set schedule, which also means that parenting littles is A LOT harder! It’s hard on everyone, and that affects relationships as much as we allow it to, sleep, stress level, and if you are like me who does not adapt very easily, it’s a pretty big sacrifice. Not to mention finances are a little crazy right now as we are balancing a lot between our build, homeschool, regular expenses, and unknown future ones. We will most likely need a car (or two) with 4 wheel drive, there are expenses such as prepping a spot to put our tiny houses, needing a place to store a few things that will not fit in the houses, but we want to keep. (i.e. different clothing sizes as the girls grow, and off season clothing, among some special things)
Point 3: Loss of close relationships. This can be applied in several ways. Our choices can cause conflict in some relationships. It also is hard to maintain relationships when you are so insanely busy getting ready to go tiny down to a million different details. Also, at this time, going tiny also means that we have to move out of city limits meaning that we lose convenience to stores, restaurants, ability to just jump in the car and go meet people somewhere, or get an item we are out of in our house. It is also one factor in our decision to homeschool, which means that friends are father away from town and it takes thinking and planning to get together with them. Many things we take for granted must now be thought out, prepped, and planned for.
Point 4: Loss of time. What I mean is that there are not enough hours in the day at this time to meet every need of every person. I am tired. I mean, really really tired! I know that in a short while, things will get more into a flow and become a new normal, but right now, there is so much to do, and it does not feel like there is enough time and energy to do it well! Side note: Tiny House Nation will be here in 12 days!!!
Point 5: Poor Piper gets less of our time and attention at the moment! I’m not sure she has the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that she will get to run all day in the country! Hang in there Piper girl! Soon you will be a very happy pup! In the meantime, I have to find creative ways to help her get her needs met too!
Point 6: Adaptability. At a moments notice, my best laid plans and schedule get changed, which I can’t exactly always prepare for. This means more eating out (yuck), stress to meet the changing needs and desires, and a whole ton of grace! This also means the kids schedules get messed up (eating and sleeping), and I get to learn how to manage the differences and attitudes that follow! For someone who does not like change and likes consistency, it is really hard learning how to be adaptable!
There are several areas affected by our choice to go tiny, but it all comes back to my previous statement: Most of our “things” are very expendable. People, however, are not. This morning I took the dog out and thought about my extremely close friend Lisa. She went to be with God in April this year. I lamented how I miss her and wish she was here to talk everything through and pray with. The thing is, there are SO many PEOPLE left here on earth that need encouragement, a friend, a listening ear, a helper, someone who actually cares. There are so many values I want our CHILDREN to learn, those that we didn’t have time or funds to teach them in our big house with a lot of “stuff” taking our time and holding us back. There are countless MINISTRIES that need help, and I want our children to learn what truly matters.
Life is not about stuff; it’s about people. I want the time, finances, and the ability to love others well, not just in word, but in ACTION! For a family of 6, this requires a TON of sacrifice from our former way of existing. It’s crazy how without even noticing it, you end up accumulating all kinds of stuff, and it takes time and finances to keep up having all those things. I don’t want to just admire those who sacrifice, but to DO it myself. To give up things that have no eternal value, and choose the harder path of detaching from the former, and actively taking giant steps to live my calling more fully. To find JOY in serving Jesus, others, and then myself last. I want to put others first, and to teach my children by being a living example to them. I want to SHOW them how to live, not just tell them or teach them principles.
Jesus said, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I fail at this daily, but may my life be used to glorify God and show love and joy lived out practically. May my children know who they are and be strong and confident in their faith and how that affects their choices. May my husband and I walk together hand in hand as we struggle through the many life changes we are making, but find new strength each day as we seek Jesus. May God go before us and prepare a way for us to live out our love for him and others, and bless it!
God bless you all!
Melody is a full time mother, CEO of the Mike household, NASM certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Beach Body Coach, Norwex Representative, Singer/Songwriter, Organizer, Jesus Lover, Wife, and well, you get the idea, a woman of many hats. Adventurous and creative, she loves spending time outdoors and encouraging others to be Lean, Clean, & Green.