A House Can’t Mend a Soul (Lent, Day 18)

Eleven years ago today, I woke up in a different home than the night before.

The home was in the town I wanted to live in. It was even in the neighborhood I’d dreamed of living in a decade before.

As a young wife and a mom of two living in a tiny, two-bedroom apartment just trying to make ends meet, I used to ride down the very street where I now live and tell myself, This looks like home.

And now it is. But it didn’t fix what I thought it could.

Because a house can’t mend a soul.

There’s no place like home!


When I was a little girl, we left the only home I’d ever known and moved hundreds of miles away.

I was six years old, and I remember being very sad about leaving home and very anxious about the change.

A mere six months later, we moved again, out of a rental and into the home across the street from it. I lived there for almost nine years, until my parents divorced and my mom and dad moved to separate homes. From there, I moved a total of four more times before I ever graduated high school.

I tried with each place I lived to make myself at home. I wanted to reclaim the innocence (or is it ignorance?) of youth I felt in my childhood home.

But I never did.

Because a house can’t mend a soul.

My Childhood Home.


My husband and I got married young, which has some positives but also a whole lot of negatives, mostly in the financial department.

We were ignorant about a lot of things where money was concerned, but we were also just trying to survive the day-to-day life of two college-aged kids with two kids of their own. We used student loans to pay for a lot back then, and we moved multiple times when leases were up, summer arrived and we wanted to move in with our family so we wouldn’t have to pay rent.

Our first real house was a wonderful little home. It was brand spanking new, and we were two proud, albeit slightly naïve, people in our young twenties. We quickly realized that the neighborhood was awful and the property values were plummeting. So we sold the home after two years, barely breaking even.

The same year we sold our home we bought a new one in a nice golf course neighborhood that happened to be the same neighborhood my husband had grown up in. He was thrilled to live there, and buy his own golf cart, and join the country club. But what we didn’t know was that it was 2007, and the market was about to bottom the heck out. We’d bought at the top. You can imagine what happened when we went to sell it.

Here’s the thing. We didn’t have to sell our house. It was a good neighborhood, we had plenty of room even after having two more kids, it had a great backyard and we were relatively happy. In fact, by 2011, I was the happiest I’d been in years. I loved our little house, our big family, and our life.

The problem I felt in my soul was that we were living in an area surrounded by vestiges of my past.

There were awful memories associated with the area we lived in. Not only that, so much of the town had changed from the time of my husband’s childhood to the time we’d moved into that house. Even he felt like his home town just wasn’t home anymore.

I begged my husband to let us move again because, just like when we’d bought our first house and then our second, I thought moving would make me happy. I’d temporarily forgotten about how I’d always wished I’d lived right by my grandparents, as my kids were getting to do, or how I’d always hoped my children would live in just one home, like my husband had. And because my powers of persuasion are unusually good–and because he didn’t understand how hard it was to move–he agreed, so over a decade ago, we packed our bags and moved away from home.

But guess what? Moving didn’t solve my problems.

Because a house can’t mend a soul.

In fact, moving to a new place almost never fixes what was broken.

The House I Brought Two of My Four Babies Home to!

Wherever you go, there you are.

Moving to a new city will not magically make you happy.

Running sometimes feels like our best option, right? But it’s not.

I learned this the hard way. I really thought running away from my past would cure my unhappiness. I thought it would fix my dissatisfaction with life. I’ve run from lots of things in life: jobs, people, places, and I’m here to tell you, you can’t outrun a thing. You just can’t.

Whatever wasn’t working in my life, wasn’t working because of me. I was the problem. I needed to fix what was inside of me before I changed my circumstances. Only then did I find peace.

When I found peace, a remarkable thing happened: my soul healed.

And little by little, I began to make my new house a home.

Eleven years later, I’m living in the only place I’ve lived over a decade. It has seen many good and bad things happen in my family: victories and losses, celebrations and fights, life and death.

This home has changed in many ways. I no longer have to do my laundry outside. My son’s old childhood bedroom doesn’t look the same anymore since he’s taken his things to his new apartment.

Happy 11 Years!

Every little change is both good and bad, easy and hard…life and death.

I am constantly reminded that change teaches us to die.

God willing, we will remain in this home until we take our dying breath.

Because I’ve learned something:

A house can’t mend a soul. But a home can.

I know it’s tempting to want to move. We believe moving will fix the things in our life that are making us unhappy. But they won’t. Often times, they will only make things worse, because now on top of the move that didn’t make you happy, there’s a whole lot of regret. And in addition, once you’ve moved and your kids have gotten settled, they will likely never want to move again.

So what should you do instead?

Make the choice to find out your reason for wanting to move.

If your motives are pure or you have no choice about the move, okay, but if you’re moving to find happiness or fix something, please reconsider before it’s too late.

You might be leaving your only real chance to make a house a home.

See you soon,


1 thought on “A House Can’t Mend a Soul (Lent, Day 18)

  1. Pingback: To Figure Out What You Want, Figure Out Who You Are – Huqumma

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