By Rochelle Lloyd
988 square feet, that’s all I had. We had moved into our home with two little boys and an assurance that God had led us there. Of course, we weren’t going to stay there for more than 5 years as we knew our family would one day outgrow the 3-bedroom, one bath house. Still, for now, it was ours and we loved it. It had a big back yard that our little boys could go explore and I didn’t have to worry about where they were or the dangers they might face from more public places. They could just be little boys and I could be their mom—teaching and playing with them. We would enjoy the benefits of fruit trees, a garden, and space to grow mentally, physically, and in appreciation for the blessings we had been given.
It was now 13 years later and we were still in that same little house. By this time, we had grown from two little boys to five energetic children—4 boys and one girl right in the middle. We were bursting at the seams. The only privacy was in the bathroom and it never failed that someone needed to use it just when one person had stepped in. Storage, toys, clothes, and just personal space all became issues. (Thank heaven for a big back yard). To complicate matters, as our daughter was the only girl, and getting older, bunking in with her younger brothers needed to stop as well.
In an effort to help our situation my husband and I decided to move from the bigger bedroom into one of the smaller bedrooms and set up 2 sets of bunk beds for our 4 boys in the bigger room. It was tight but workable. Although our daughter now had her own room that didn’t solve the bathroom problem or the personal space issues for everyone else. Storage was also challenging. We didn’t really have an issue with junk being shoved under the kids’ beds because there was always our season’s canning under there. We found creative ways of storing only what needed to be stored for future use and got really good at scaling back. Sparks of insight came to help in our struggle but I was still at my wits end. I felt like I was constantly in a state of chaos.
Something had to change.
I looked at every angle. Should we build a second story? Should we convert the single car garage? Should we move? If so, where? Should we build out the side? We have a long yard so we could really have built a lodge. Should we raise our house and put in a basement? So many questions, and options, to consider. After weighing everything I had decided on converting the garage. After all, it was just a catch all for storage and whatever else we didn’t want to deal with at the time. I looked at it but nothing seemed to come together. I’d shelve it then pull it back out at a later date only to shelve it again. In the meantime, our housing situation was not improving.
One day my mother-in-law came to visit. Now to some that would be a time to run and hide, but I absolutely adore my mother-in-law. She is thoughtful and insightful plus she raised 7 kids by herself and she knew a little about tight spaces on a budget. I was, yet again, lamenting to her about our situation and trying to figure out what to do.
“Well, let’s sit down and consider the garage”.
“I’ve already looked at that about a dozen times and nothing seems to work out”.
“Well, let’s try again”.
So, perhaps a little reluctantly, we sat down to look at the possibility again. Nothing had changed in the dimensions or the needs, but in short order we had come up with a design that would work for our family. So what changed? I had. In that moment I had given space to entertain new ideas. I had put myself on a frequency to be inspired by Him and had given place to receive that inspiration. He was always sending it to me, I just needed to tune into what He had already prepared.
What were the results? Immediately we scheduled a time when our extended family could come help. In one weekend we transformed our single car garage into a bedroom for 2 of our boys and a pantry/storage area for the family. I may be in a little house but I had the pantry every woman wants. Life was still chaotic, but it was much more manageable. It would only be much later I would learn I had followed one of God’s laws for success.
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