the yellow house project.

Have you ever encountered something that just seemed big?

No, like, really big.

Bigger than any one person.

Bigger than lots of people.

I’m talking GOD kind of big.

Words fail me now. And I’m not sure that even if I had the right ones, they could begin to encompass the way that I see some incredible things beginning to happen.

Do me a favor before you read any further? Watch the video below.

Apparently, for now, that video has gone. not sure what happened, but for now, check it out on their facebook page.

Now, meet Clay and Lindsey.

Aren’t they adorable? Isn’t she gorgeous? I kind of want to pinch their cheeks and adopt them. (I totally stole this photo of her facebook page and I hope she won’t hate me forever.) If you watched the video above, then you saw the blue house, which was kind of like the second volume edition installment of The Brown House. And in the Blue house, there were college guys living there. One of those college guys (the one in the red shirt at the bottom of the frame, was Clay.)

This is the Yellow House.

But let me rewind.

In the video above, Clay and Lindsey were already involved in this project. They began by helping with the smaller things: offering tutoring twice a week for the kids, at the blue house, and lots of children of all ages came over. They would tutor, color, and play with them. Clay also volunteered as the middle school basketball coach at a local school. One of the boys on the team, they called “Baby D.”

One day, in a seemingly small moment, Lindsey and Baby D were standing outside. Baby D suddenly said, “Miss Lindsey. You see that yellow house over there? I think you and Clay should stay there, Because I really like you and Coach Clay. And I don’t really want Y’all to leave.”

In the words of Lindsey, “It was something that really made me stop and think. Not to mention, cry.”

It’s funny how God speaks to us in those small moments.

She remembered looking at the house, thinking that it was a cute house, but that it wasn’t even up for sale. Clay and Lindsey were certainly in no place financially to buy it, and they weren’t even married yet.

Fast forward to 8 months later.

Of all things, the Yellow house went on the market.

Lindsey remembers Clay casually mentioning it one night. She responded with a “that’s cool.”

“I knew what he was getting at, but honestly I didn’t want to even start talking about it, because it was nice to me that we were involved there, but we didn’t have to live there. But something about it made me wrestle with the idea, and what Baby D told me so many months ago came back to haunt me. So I agreed to at least go look at the house.

What harm can that do, right?

Well, I didn’t just love it right away. It smelled bad, and it was cold and damp. Not a very homey feeling to me. So I started praying about it, and God kept pushing all the excuses I had to the side. After a few days, I could think of more reasons why we should buy the house than than why we shouldn’t. I was nervous about telling our parents.
But they honestly couldn’t have been more okay with it, and Clay and I COULDN’T have been more in shock. Both of our parents asked whether or not we would feel safe there, and for the most part, we do. We have really gotten to know these children and they are precious, (not to mention hilarious). So many of them don’t have someone to go to (most of them are living with grandparents or older siblings, and there are lots of single parent homes) if they need advice or help. I know that some of them have already seen a lot more hurt than me, and I learn so much from them. You can tell that all they want is attention and love. That’s really all Clay and I want to do, is try to be a good influence on them, and show them lots of love, and offer them a place to go if they need it.
They (the people there) are super nice. This neighborhood is not the most dangerous in Tuscaloosa, but there is a lot of poverty. Most people in west circle are nice and friendly, and are happy that we are taking an interest in us (especially the elderly). When we were looking at the house, one lady that lives down the street came and said that she was happy we were looking at the house, and she would love to be our neighbors!”

 

Everyone is on a different path in this world. But we are all called to honor God with our talents. With our belongings. With our homes. And what an amazing calling this one is. I realize not everyone can move into the poorer areas of a city of town. Not everyone can completely change their lifestyles, because many people are serving in so many different ways. But it certainly makes me personally stop and think, and question myself. Of the ways we, as a family, are using our own space to help others. In ways that I am personally letting God use my talents. In the ways that I am personally letting God use my home.

I feel like I’ve been grappling with this concept for some time now. In a way that reels me in at the core, chews me up, and spits me back out after I’ve struggled with it time and again.

Clay and Lindsey are doing something that is the opposite of what our society teaches us. No one is “supposed” to give up their middle class lifestyle and move into a poverty stricken neighborhood. Aren’t we all supposed to climb the ladder? And after we reach the top of one, move on to another?

I’m honored, and completely humbled that Clay and Lindsey have asked me to be a part of this process with them. They’re taking a hollowed out, abandoned shell of an old house, and making it new again. To allow it to serve its purpose in a community that desperately needs it. That desperately needs Him.

I’m excited to say that Clay and Lindsey have graciously allowed me to (ever so weakly) share this journey with all of you. I’m beyond thrilled that I get to help them go through, room by room, and help design their new home. And I’ll be sharing it with you, room by room, as we go through this process. My ultimate goal is to be able to show you the finished product a few years down the road, as this newlywed couple continues on an incredible journey together.

I’ll be back later this week to share their living room with you via an inspiration board, along with some ideas I’ve got up my sleeves in helping them make this place their new home. But most importantly, keep all of the families in this community in your prayers. I know they would appreciate that, more than anything.

Because it’s bigger than any one person.

It’s a God kind of big.

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18 Responses to the yellow house project.

  1. I LOVE this. Totally and completely love it. I'm so thrilled for you Ashley and I know that God's going to use this couple and home in amazing ways!

  2. Suzanne says:

    what a humbling story. would love to follow this journey!

  3. Laura says:

    So cool! Thank u for sharing I an eager to see all the updates. What a blessing you all are. God gives us gifts and you are all using them to your full advantage. Yeah you! Xxx God bless laura

  4. Shaundra says:

    That is truly amazing. And how exciting that you get to be involved!!! I have thought a lot about how we use our home too. (well, when we have a home to share) Hospitality is so important to me, but I realize I only use this gift on people I love and feel safe with. I know there has to be more. I will be praying for them, and for you through this and maybe God will reveal more to me about how to use MY home as a tool to love those who need it most. Thanks, Ashley :)

  5. Kelli says:

    Seriously incredible. Really does make one think. Can't wait to see their home and what is done with that!

  6. Christy says:

    Wow… I needed that this morning. I wish you would list things that they will be needing for the house so that I can be on the lookout at local places in Greenville, AL. It would be an honor to contribute to their Yellow House. AND pretty please, keep it YELLOW!

  7. sarah stahl says:

    Wow! in the words of my little boy 'that's what I'm talking about'!! It seems that type of heart is so hard to find now a days and I am excited and refreshed to see that! Looking forward to see what happens in their lives and the lives of the people God puts them in contact with!

  8. Abbie says:

    OH my goodness….how awesome! Im so excited for you that you get to take part in something that is so Huge for the greatness and glory of God! I can't wait to see what you do with the house. Im so proud for you that God has given you talents that can bring him glory through this house.

  9. Bryanna says:

    What a beautiful statement of God's love in action form!

  10. kelly in middle georgia says:

    Man Ashley..you've got me crying over here. I have been struggling with these thoughts too lately. What a wonderful way to share your heart and talents. I read all the house blogs and then I go over to Emily at Chattingatthesky and read all the inspirational stuff, and I feel like all our house stuff is so trivial when compared to the life needs of so many around us…but this – the yellow house- this just takes all of it and meshes the beauty of the "house stuff" with the life needs and it is beautiful.
    Love it.
    Kelly

  11. ashley @ pure + lovely says:

    sweet Kelly. You just made my night…this post was easy to write, but hard all at the same time..and I bawled, myself. I love these people. I can't wait to see the incredible things they do for their Lord. ;) Thank you for your sweet heartfelt comment. Striving for the "meshing" in my own life, more and more every day.

  12. Nancy says:

    Wow, God bless all of you richly for the blessing you have become to so many. This was one of those 'oh' moments.

  13. Becca says:

    I LOVE this! My husband and I are doing the exact same thing (we are redoing a house in a poverty-stricken area of Atlanta – we run a mentoring program there) and I cant wait to see how you do their house! :-)

  14. Stefanie says:

    Would love to see the end result! God's Love comes in all forms, sizes, shapes and colors! I think it is just Amazing!! Blessings to them and all that they help!

  15. Jil says:

    I found you via Centsational Girl. What an awesome story and challenge. I'm looking forward to following the path of The Yellow House. Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. Katharine says:

    So you are going to be their blog voice? That is a lovely thing to do. I’m glad that their home wasn’t damaged in the tornado. My heart goes out to all of those that were hurt, lost a loved one or lost their homes.

  17. sharee says:

    Wow, this is so amazing. I totally understand your wrestling with what or how God wants you to use your life to bring Him glory…we need to write about these things more and maybe all help each other out in this area! Wouldn’t it be awesome if we started a revolution in the blog world that all had to do with giving up our lives for Him? THis series is certainly on it’s way to doing that…I will keep watching to see how it unfolds!

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