this house

i know that buildings aren’t where the magic lies. i know that whatever joy, whatever healing, whatever love i’ve experienced here is due to the pursuit of my heavenly Father and not to some concrete characteristics of these walls, this roof, these rooms.

but, still, this house is very special to me.


when i moved to the west side in order to live and work at the boiler room, this house was where jenn and tony lived with their four kids. every week they invited me and the rest of the interns out of the holy chaos that was the boiler room house and into their dining room to share a meal, into the kitchen to do dishes and dance, then into the living room to sit and visit. they invited me in close to their family and began to show me by their doing many things about what a healthy, Christ-prioritizing family looks like and how it functions.

after living in Madison for a year, it was this house that i — overheated and emotional — came toafter my long, solitary drive home in adverse conditions. their children flung open the front door and invited me in, and jenn fed me green beans from the garden and her homemade pesto, and it tasted better to me than any meal i’d had in a very long time. it felt like coming home.

then they moved out of it, and kevin and marcy and their 4 kids moved in. and in this house they have undergone radical surrender to Jesus and have ridden the waves of joy and trial that come in its wake. when they had their 5th child (surprise!), he and hazel became friends and now every week hazel spends a morning in this house with marcy and landon, playing. when she walks by the house she reaches for it, and starts up the stairs. it has become a familiar and safe place.

and now, four and a half years after the first time i stepped into this house, we are buying it. we’ve been dreaming of doing this for months, and now the day is here. the purchase agreement is signed, the mortgage application complete, the arrangements with the smiths made, the dream solidified in peaceful joy in our hearts. so unless some insurmountable obstacle arises or Father directs us elsewhere, this house, God willing, is going to be our home. probably for quite some time.

in so many ways it feels so right. this is happening at about the same time that tim is taking over the oversight of the boiler room from tony, which means another layer of commitment to this neighborhood and this ministry. jenn and tony have moved out of the neighborhood now and also are moving into a new work (the planting of a school!), and we are moving into their first west side house as well as into the roles they previously held as the lead pastoral couple of the boiler room. so it’s symbolic in ways.

but i don’t even care about THAT so much as i do about the rich legacy of hospitality, surrender, worship, family, trust, obedience, and outreach that this house holds. it has a shalom over it, begun when jenn and tony bought, redeemed and started praying on its porch each evening, then continued when the smiths left all they had to follow jesus here and use it always to bless and envelop others in love. this house comes with a lot of GOOD baggage. you can’t put a price tag on that.

but aside from all that, there’s also more rooms (more guests! more housemates?, more children!), first floor laundry (every mother’s dream come true), a wood-burning stove (so cozy), a private fenced-in yard (for kids to safely frolic), and loads of sweet aesthetic details (lovingly chosen by jenn).

tentative closing date: mid march

moving-in date: sometime in may or june

can. not. wait.

thank you, Father, for this very good gift (i am still in a bit of disbelief that you would give it to us). we offer it back to you and ask that you would continue through us the kingdom-rich legacies it has carried up until now. fill it in the ways that will make your heart most glad and us most free. remind us that it is YOUR house, to be shared. give us the gift of your shalom over this place as we settle into it for the long haul.


6 thoughts on “this house

    • i can’t wait for you to visit, either, jess! knowing we’ll be more able to make room for your family (and the rest of the branches of the collier family tree) is one of the things that makes me most excited about living in this house. we want to host you!!

  1. Brooke, SO HAPPY for you! I know the feeling of coming home to a house rich in community legacy. God is good–blessings on this next season.

  2. Dearest Brooke, my mother heart is so very full knowing you will be there, continuing the legacy of hospitality that God by his good grace, began in that home seven years ago.
    I love how he works. Love you, too.

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