Kingdom Life

 Amy and I live our lives differently. I won't go into all of the ways that we do least not in this post, but I want to touch on an aspect that we believe is important for Christians to consider. We have been in the throws of finding a place to live. Grand Rapids housing is ridiculous and it makes me weep for the housing situation in the United States. It has been an uphill slog and at the time of writing, we still have nothing. It honestly appears on face value that we cannot afford to live in Grand Rapids. Let me explain.

Houses are going for about $250,000 and while you can find some lower, they would need extensive work and would not be livable for a family to move into. Apartments and houses for rent are about $1,500 a month with option of quite small to not very functional...again family of 6. Both of those options generally want 3x the income in order to apply. So we would have to be making $4,500+ a month and if I was making that much, we could afford a house. So this turned us towards manufactured homes in community parks. While they have their quirks and stigmas, some of them have done a nice job improving what it means to live in a mobile home community. They are also some what affordable...that is until you get into the details. Renting from them is on par with apartments and to buy is crazy because the interest rates are around 10%.

Now here is the kicker...we could functionally afford most of those options (not buying a traditional house, way too much). We don't make much, never have, but it is the way that we live our lives that makes the difference. We have been a single income family since 2016. Once we began having children, we knew that it was important to invest into our children. So Amy stopped working and we always found a way to live off from whatever I could make. We are diligent in our finances, we don't carry credit card debt, and we live below our means. We believe that money is meant to be a background function of our lives. Yet because of that, we do not "look good" on paper to people, even though when we look at our budget, we can afford things that would normally be out of our range.

I mentioned some of these before but we have major priorities in our lives that comes from living with a kingdom perspective. We believe that we are living in the Kingdom of God now and that we can begin to bring those principles into our lives and into this current reality. These principles are caring for family, not being so consumed with money that we spend more time working than being with family, that we can always live without "stuff", and that we give God the first portion of all that we make no matter what happens. These direct our lives in a way that we are careful about the things that we own, we don't buy on a whim, we look for ways to reuse or reduce our use of items. We even found how to have a cell phone bill of $144 per year for both of us together.

We have found that this creates a sort of paradox in this current situation. On paper, we look good for lenders except for one thing. Our credit is amazing, we have a clean history, but our income is just too low. And yet, if we could show a person our side and how we budget, we could prove how it would all be possible. That doesn't happen because the world functions on money. The world says that you need to work. The world says "spend, earn, gain" and these are all things that we have rejected as a family. So what do we do? We can continue on in our ways but face these difficulties or we could compromise our kingdom values to make it all work.

If you know us at all you know that we cannot compromise our values. God is the center of our lives and everything we do is to serve the Kingdom. If we were to sacrifice those values, how could we be faithful witnesses to the Kingdom of God? How can we share the good news about freedom from this world's craziness if we join in the craziness of this world? No we can't do that. We must hold true to the life that God has called us.

So what does this mean for our lives and trying to move. Not sure, other than that, we will always hold onto the values of the Kingdom we belong to. We will surrender to God's will and know that hardships will come because we are opposed to the rulers of this world. God will provide, it always happens. We will just trust that God will do what is necessary and maybe, just maybe, find a loan officer who will listen to who we are and not what our application says.