It’s Not About the House

Well, this happened a few weeks ago.


First grade. Sniff, sniff.


And then this happened.

Fact: They will still let you buy farms even when your hair is really, really greasy.

Fact: They will still let you buy farms even when your hair is really, really greasy. (And your pictures are really, really blurry.)

Which equals this:

Moving day. More sniff, sniff. Man, I loved that house.

Moving day. More sniff, sniff.  (Also, I had no idea we were so junky. I blame Josh Hall.)

And add in Toothless here, who has been quite sick and uncharacteristically cranky:


I tried to capture his foul mood on camera so you would feel terribly sorry for me and bring me some chocolate or take me out for coffee or something, but I couldn’t get him to stop grinning. Stinker.

So that’s where I’ve been, in case you were wondering.


But we got it.

We got the farm. We prayed and you prayed (thank you!) and it’s ours.

The lane curving up to the house with the tangle of overgrown bushes and the steep hill ending at the river and the tumbledown shop and the wonky wood floors and the ancient fireplaces and that big ugly septic tank are all ours.


Let the renovations begin.


Not so very long ago, before the farm was officially ours, we were uncertain whether the wood floors that run throughout the old house were real. Our hope was to eventually re-stain them a nice, deep brown. You know, so they would be both beautiful and able to hide most shades of crayon and vomit.  

I was lamenting to Josh how life would just almost not be worth living if we weren’t able to stain them dark. We would have to suffer under that current floor color for the rest of our existence there. I was just a little distressed about it.

But Josh—the guy who once considered a melted block of Velveeta cheese mixed with a can of refried beans to be a suitable dinner option—has grown wiser in his old age.

His answer to my whining about the floors:

“Hannah, we have to remember, this is not going to be our dream house. This house is going to be a training ground for our kids.”

And he didn’t say the following because he’s nicer than that, but the meaning was implied:

Deal with it, darling. Floor color is irrelevant when it’s not about the house. 


I’m forcing myself to keep that mind as this project begins. Since we have to remodel anyway, the temptation to seek Pinterest-level perfection is great. Just slap down a few thousand more Benjamins and this place could be amazing. And, geez, what’s so wrong with living in our dream house anyway?

Nothing, probably. Unless that’s not what the Lord has called you to do.

We’ve prayed for six years for this place. We’ve promised God that if he gave it to us we would use it for his glory, not our own. We’ve vowed that we would do our best to raise our children and any other children he gives us to know and honor him above themselves.

It’s a lot of responsibility, yes, and not one we can do without his daily work of grace in our lives, but we believe it’s what he wants for our family.

His glory, not ours.

His kingdom, not ours.

His plans, not ours.

His house, not ours.


I salivate when the Pottery Barn catalog arrives in the mail. Obviously, I’m going to struggle with this.

I’ll need the accountability of friends and a solid daily dose of the Word to keep my eyes on the mission—training our kids to the glory of God—and away from the temptation—living in the fanciest, the biggest, the “dream house.”

I’ll need Jesus just as much on the farm (if not more) than I’ve needed him every day before. Because Jesus knows me. If it’s not the wood floors, then it will be something else. (Like that septic tank. Even Pinterest is clueless on what to do about that sucker.) 

I’ll need Jesus (and Josh) gently reminding me that this is not about the paint color, or the floors or the bushes or the never-ending projects. This farm is about God’s kingdom and the primary role he’s given Josh and I for the foreseeable future. Namely, these guys:

We had a "Goodbye House" party to help us all say farewell. As part of my grieving process, I ate most of the cookie.

We had a “Goodbye House” party to help us all say farewell. As part of my grieving process, I ate most of the cookie.

I’d appreciate your prayers. Because it’s not about the house.  

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Proverbs 127:1 


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  1. Taryn Souders said:

    Great post,Hannah! Sounds like Josh is a good sounding board for you. And vomit comes in many colors, so just work with what you have (or what your kids ate and then spewed) . . . whichever is easier!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Good point about the vomit, Taryn. Way to look on the bright side. 🙂


  2. Be-Ann Walker said:

    Another great post! I learned many years ago (thru the Holy Spirit) that I needed to TOSS those catalogs in the TRASH CAN!!! They were Satan’s tool, to “come and seek to destroy” the peace and contentment that God promises us! 🙂 I still TOSS them in the recycle bin without looking at them today!! LOL


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      You’re right, Be-Ann! There’s absolutely no reason to even look at them…except that they’re so beautiful! 😉


  3. Karen said:

    Amen, Be-Ann! You took the words right out of my mouth! File 13 with all of them!:) And you’re right, Hannah, it’s not about the house or the floors or the walls. It’s what happens inside…just like with us. 🙂 SOOOO EXCITED to be your neighbors!!!!!


  4. Rebecca Barlow Jordan said:

    Great post, Hannah! So happy for you and your new home. May the Lord continue to shine brightly through all of you!!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Rebecca!


  5. Lindsey said:

    Oh, Hannah, friend…what a challenge. We’ve been living in our “3 years and flip it” house for 10 years. I hate it. I love it. It’s where my kids were born and are being raised. But oh, how I want something a little bigger, a little safer, a little more dream house. But, not about the house. About the people in it. Amen.

    You know what else helps? A getaway. Like to a writer’s conference. With your friend 🙂


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Yes! Definitely! A writer’s conference is very much in the plans for next spring. Do you know where you’re headed? Let’s coordinate. 🙂


  6. Laura said:

    Hannah, it is so encouraging to see your perspective on these things. From the “what if God doesn’t say yes” stress to the “now the real work begins because God said yes” stress–your focus on the eternal perspective of things is such a great reminder. We are not here to build our own little kingdom, but to be a part of building God’s kingdom. Thanks for that reminder!
    …and I’m with Be-Ann and Karen on the magazines. They are full of good ideas, but you have to work hard to keep the “discontentment monster” in check!
    I’m so excited to see what adventures (and child-training opportunities) await you in your new home! I’m sure they will be plentiful–and I imagine they may be the makings of a great book!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Thank you, Laura. I suspect the child-training (and marriage-testing) opportunities will be abundant. I suspect it will be a sanctifying experience all-around. Thankful I have you to pray me through it, friend. 🙂


  7. Danae Wheeler said:

    Such a great reminder as we step into the same process (we’re still looking at this time, but part of our process may be major renovations so were always discussing this!). We are pretty budget conscious (mostly hubs) but it is still hard to rein back on the Pinterest-worthy looks and wanting to have everything perfect. But also knowing that the kids are still at that stage that they will ruin every nice thing before we can enjoy it, that helps me be realistic. Lol!


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