My Home

I’m starting this post on Father’s Day while the rest of my home is silent either with people taking naps or preparing for trips that are happening this week. Yes, my younger son is leaving on his last trip ever as a youth group member tomorrow. (today, actually) It got me started thinking on this, the ninetieth post in this series. (Y’all, I am only ten posts away from finishing.) And it got me started thinking about this city, the city that’s been my home for almost seven years. When we moved here, my older son was entering his freshman year of high school. I had a dream. I had a dream we would be able to spend both of my sons’ high school years in one place where they could build some roots. Because I didn’t have that when I was growing up. In fact, in my four years of high school, I went to three different high schools. As you might imagine, that was a hard thing for me.

God granted that wish and that prayer. In fact, it looks like we will be in the same city for most of their college years too. I am so grateful because we and they have put roots down, sturdy roots.

At the same though, I am fearful because we are coming close to the most amount of time we have ever spent in one city during our almost twenty-four years of marriage. Two years from this September will mark the most time we have ever spent in one city–nine years. It probably doesn’t seem like that long of a time to you, but it is an eternity to me. It makes me afraid of what I might lose if we had to move again–our roots. So many people I know here have more roots than I will ever have in one place, and it is not something I want to lose.

Now, by saying that, you might think that I would be sharing my home easily and without reservation. You would be wrong. Because of my fear, I am holding onto things more tightly and not living in the freedom I know I have. It’s the wrong thing to do, I know. I should be demonstrating the truth of Galatians 5:13 instead. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.” I should be releasing things to God instead of holding onto them so tightly they might lose their breath. It’s hard though. It’s a struggle to work through the mess of life especially when  you think you’re making these sacrifices by yourself.

But, I want to change. I want to release this burden off my heart so I can feel this freedom that God gives us. I want to be able to talk about my hurt and anguish as well as I can write about it. And I want to share my home without feeling inadequate about what I have and without feeling fear that I will lose it all through another move. It’s all a matter of trust, and it starts with trusting God with our biggest resource we have–our homes. Praying that all of us, me especially, would be willing to release our burdens to God so we can experience the tremendous blessings and freedom He wants to give us and so we can be brave in the sacrifices we make for Him!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

Generous With Our Homes

In the years of our marriage, we’ve done very little entertaining in our home for many reasons. First, many times our home wasn’t big enough. When we started homeschooling twelve years ago, we knew our homes would be small from then on. In fact, since then, we’ve lived in apartments and town homes with only one house thrown in during that time. It doesn’t bother us or our kids, but having people over tends to be more difficult the smaller a person’s home is. Second, we’ve felt self-conscious, or at least, I did. Because of the choices we had made about educating our kids, we didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t think people would like spending time with us because of it. And finally, we haven’t opened our home a lot because we tend to be introverts. We walk into our home and expect it to be a shelter from a world which has become dark. We want to be by ourselves until the next time we have to go out and be a part of the world again.

We’ve used these reasons for years only opening our home when our kids wanted to have people over or when I’ve wanted to invite special children over. (Children tend to not be as judgmental as adults are.) We’ve also found bigger spaces to have eighteenth birthday parties for our sons because we knew we wouldn’t have enough space to host all the people they wanted to invite.

But, God wants us to open our homes to others no matter how much we have, and I’m just now realizing this might be a good thing for me. When I was younger, people opened their homes to me. There was one family in particular, while I was in college, who have always made me feel like I was a part of their family. They are family to me, and I am family to them. I’ve always tried to pay that hospitality forward, but not as much in my home as I possibly could have. And I’ve realized that needs to change. The Bible verse the author used in today’s devotion and her words themselves particularly touched me. First, here is Hebrews 13:16 from the Message version of the Bible. “Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship–a different kind of “sacrifice”–that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.” I believe making that sacrifice will lessen the loneliness of the people I come in contact with and will in turn lessen my loneliness. The author of the devotion agrees. “But brave people recognize that they can use their home to love others with the love of Christ. Brave people are generous with their homes. Brave people share–even their sanctuaries–with others.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs)

So, will all that, my husband and I have been cleaning and re-organizing in preparation for the hospitality we want to begin. I’ve been walking towards the bravery required to make the invitations. God is giving me courage as I’m considering taking the first steps out of my comfort zone with regard to my home. Hopefully, we will be able to show God’s love to the people who enter our home like my friends did all those years ago with me and like God wants us to do today. Praying for all of us as we consider how God wants us to be generous with all the aspects of our lives!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

Four Years

It sneaked up on me this year. On this day four years ago, we drove into Birmingham. I didn’t imagine then when we drove down 280 at 7 PM that this place would become home and that I would meet people who would become family. People who are so dear to me that I can barely breathe when I think of how much they mean to me. We came here to take advantage of an employment opportunity for my husband and though he is no longer at that company, I am grateful we were able to move here for the opportunity.

Yes, this year has been a struggle. We have dealt with sad and happy occasions. First, the happiest one. My older son graduated from high school and started college. When we moved here, one of my utmost desires was that we could stay in one place for both of my children’s high school years. We’ve managed that for the older one. He has made lifelong friends and put down roots getting to know other people–teens and adults who love and care about him. I wasn’t able to stay in one place for my high school years, and I wanted to do that for both of my children.

We have also dealt with difficult situations. With unemployment. With sickness. With going from a household of four to a household of three. There have been many adjustments. Sometimes the rope I was holding onto would fray and almost fall apart, especially over the last couple of weeks.

But, I would not change a minute of it. These last four years have been precious to me for two reasons. The first is because of the church home, the family we have found. I have learned about truly being a part of a community and about being loved as part of that community. Yes, it is imperfect. It won’t be perfect until we all get to heaven. But, knowing even that kind of imperfect love has meant the world to me. The other reason, the most important reason is that God has come back to my heart and to my home, and I understand what grace truly means. So very grateful to my Lord and Savior!

God’s blessings on you all today!