Welcome Mat

Why We Let a Stranger Move in With Us

Life is funny sometimes. We have been trucking along crushing our student loan debt, and after 4 years we are within a month of finally being debt free! We have been looking forward to this moment for so long and worked so hard, giving up our weekends and some weeknights at 2nd and sometimes 3rd jobs.

It has been ridiculously hard, I’m not going to try to sugar coat it, but right now the hard work feels like nothing compared to the joy of a huge accomplishment and freedom in our finances. And now that we are in the home stretch, we just want it done. However, Jesus might be asking us to wait a little longer. Like I said, life is funny sometimes.

Last week, a friend of ours posted on Facebook that she knew a young college student who needed a place to live for a few weeks during the summer. The spring semester was ending, and he didn’t have housing set up once he moved out of the dorms.

Long story short, we offered to let him live with us for the next six weeks. We have a small three bedroom house with just us and our adorable dog, so we definitely have the space. I mean our spare bedrooms have a low ceiling clearance of about six and a half feet, but he won’t develop a hunchback or do any lasting damage to his posture if he has to duck a little bit to walk around upstairs. 🙂

Our Hesitations: Finding Reasons to Say No

We weren’t sold on this idea right away. We didn’t actually know this guy at all. We didn’t meet him until he got dropped off at our house with his stuff. It’s not often you can say, “nice to meet you” in the same sentence as, “let me show you to your room.” Unless of course you’re a bell hop. It just doesn’t seem like a normal thing to do, and we knew there could be a lot of risks involved.

Besides our new roommate being a complete stranger, we are so close to paying off our student loans. If we decided to bring an extra person into our house, it could definitely postpone our debt free celebration. There are bound to be extra expenses. We will need to buy extra food, which is probably the biggest expense, and all of our utilities will go up. Looks like the champagne might have to go back on ice for a few more weeks.

Why We Said Yes Instead

We didn’t have long to make a decision, only about 24 hours. In that short time, we talked about what it would look like to live with a stranger, but more importantly we prayed a lot. We asked Jesus what he wanted us to do, and prayed open handedly. We knew if we said yes, it would be hard and we might need to delay our goals a little bit. But saying yes to Jesus can lead to miraculous things.

A little background on our story, four years ago Jesus told Jenna to stop going out to eat and that we would be debt free in five years. At the time, that was a laughable idea, and I’m pretty sure we both actually laughed out loud. Now after only four years, we paid off close to $90,000 in debt and are only a couple thousand away from that goal.

We had to say yes to Jesus over and over again in that time, and he has blessed us incredibly. Again, it has been a hard journey, but we knew this could be another chance to be obedient and submit to Jesus and receive his blessings.

Paying it Forward

When Jenna was finishing up college, she needed a place to live for a few months. Her final semester of college was student teaching, and she chose to do part of it abroad in Belize. That meant eight weeks here in the states, and eight weeks overseas. Instead of signing a lease and paying rent the entire 16 weeks, someone offered to take her in for the eight weeks she would be in the states.

She lived basically rent free, minus a little help with food, and weekly family chores. It was an incredible blessing to her that she is incredibly grateful for, not only because it was a place to live in a time of need, but she still remains close to this amazing family.

I think it is Jesus’ sense of humor, but the woman that took Jenna in is the same woman trying to help out this young college student we decided to take in. I think that is a big reason Jenna almost immediately felt Jesus tell her yes when she prayed about it. It is a way for our family to continue a tradition of helping others in need, and in such a basic and practical way as putting a roof over his head.

Our Home is to be a Blessing to Others

Before we bought our house, we dreamed of what it would look like to be home owners. Of course we thought of all the fun projects that would make our house unique, and truly feel like home. But we also thought of our house as a blessing. It would be an incredible blessing to us and our future family, but we also dreamed it would be a blessing to others.

We envisioned our home to be a place of awesome community and to gather with friends, family, and yes, even strangers. This is our first chance to truly have our home be a blessing to someone in great need, all we needed to do was say yes. We did and our vision became a reality last week.

Wrapping it Up

Life is unexpected and not everything happens the way you plan it. We chose to say yes to Jesus, even though it’s inconvenient and runs counter to our plans. It is only a week into this new adventure, but it has been a good learning curve for all of us. Our house is living out it’s purpose and we are serving Jesus and His kingdom. I call that a win-win.

Let Me Know in the Comments

How has life and following Jesus gotten in the way of your plans? How has your life been a blessing to others?

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