I honestly don’t know how to start this post eloquently or with some captivating sentence or story… I only know that Jake and I want to do the right thing with our money and resources because we’ve been given a great gift. In 2018, we purchased a house and hosted a college student from Columbia (for three months), and then following, we hosted a high school student from China (for nine months).
We went from an apartment with two people to a three-bedroom house with a kid.
There were a lot of challenges, stresses, conversations, crying… It was really really hard to go from being totally independent and caring about our future, to now having to care for someone else’s well-being—and knowing that that situation would be temporary.
There was stress in our marriage, stress in my day-to-day, stress that carried over into work, friendships… It don’t know how else to describe it but difficult and messy.
I knew God had us as his host family that year for a reason—He gave us the house because that’s what we wanted to do: bless others with all our resources.
But man, I thought I would see some hope or light at some point.
Fast forward to spring break, March 2019, and we now have 3 international students staying with us. Two students needed a temporary place to stay while their host families traveled.
No problem. It’s 10 days. We get paid for it all. I’ll be at work for most of it. It’s cool.
It wasn’t cool.
In my mind, being a guest meant you treated the property and items better than your own. It’s “Santa Claus is watch you” behavior, and you leave a fantastic impression.
That week, a bed frame and lightbulb were broken. The frame was ripped apart at the foot, and the glass was shattered.
The bed frame and lightbulb we purchased seven months ago, specifically for our international student, so he could stay with us.
When we called a “Family meeting” to talk about the frame, no one knew what happened or how it broke. No one admitted anything. No one apologized.
And I was furious.
Jake and I weren’t working 40+ hours a week for our property to be damaged. And we definitely weren’t working that hard to make sure someone else’s child, who was legally in our care, have a broken bed frame.
I felt so disrespected, hurt, and angered. Our guests were destroying furniture and then lying about it. We opened our home to these kids, and this was how we were treated.
We were able to fix the frame, and the other two students returned to their host families. We spoke to their families about what happened, so they were aware of the behavior, and moved on.
At least, they moved on with life, and I moved on with bitterness.
The summer came, and our student went back to China to be with his family.
We deep cleaned and inspected the bathroom and bedroom, and there were more issues that had been hidden. More disrespect, more hurt, more bitterness.
The summer was ending, and the school year was about to begin. Our student was going to return to stay with us, and I couldn’t have dreaded anything more.
In the craziness of airport logistics, soccer coaching, work, and life, Alexis Busetti asked if I would chat on her podcast about our giving story—literally the best story you could ever hear, and I promise, you’ll cry.
In the midst of recounting our story, how we were given such a great gift and how we wanted to give… How we intentionally purchased the house to give… How we wanted to become better stewards of all our resources because that’s ultimately what God wants…
That bed frame and lightbulb were never mine to begin with.
We purchased them, yes, but God gave us the money.
We are only called to be stewards of the resources, and we decided to use them for someone else.
It was as if I saw that golden calf melting in front of my eyes—I was just given something, decided to live a certain way, then quickly forgot it all because my feelings were hurt.
God was in that moment, showing me that I’m only a manager and not an owner. Yes, there was reason to be upset, but I shouldn’t have let it progress further than it did.
The bed frame was fixed, and the bulb was replaced. We had the resources to do that because God provided them.
Our student came back, and he’s currently living with us and will until June 2020. I’m constantly disciplining myself to think “This is not mine. It’s just a resource to be used for His glory.”The walls have scuff marks, the chairs are stained, the room smells terrible, and the floor hasn’t been vacuumed in months.
The difference from last year to this year is the word “The,” not “my.”
The (not my) walls have scuff marks. The (not my) chairs are stained. That (not my) room smells terrible. That (not my) floor hasn’t been vacummed.
I’ve had great freedom in realizing and resting in that fact: we don’t “own,” only manage.
We currently still have our international student living with us, and we will until the school year ends. We’re also facing different issues than broken items and cosmetic damage—but when those do happen, I quickly remind myself “It’s just a resource. A tool. It’s not mine. It’s ok.” The incident during spring break brought to light how I was controlling and possessive, and now, I can walk just a little lighter knowing I stewarded them for the right purpose.
Whenever you read this blog, say a prayer for all three of us that our marriage will continue to be a light, that Jake and I will both grow in our faith, and that our student will come to know the Lord.
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