Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Story of a Home - It's Not Just a House

Seventy-four days ago, we left what we thought was going to be our forever home.  It was sudden and unexpected, and some days, I still feel like the wind that was knocked out of me hasn't returned.  For a while, I felt guilty that I was so upset about losing a material possession.  After all, doesn't the Bible teach us the difference about things that are earthly/worldly and those that are heavenly?  Haven't we learned that ultimately, these earthly treasures won't amount to anything?  So not only was I dealing with loss and grief but then added guilt as well.

Then one day a wise friend and counselor encouraged us.  He explained why it wasn't just a material possession, it was part of our story.  A few weeks later, in a completely different conversation with a different friend, we were encouraged the same way.  What does that even mean?

When James and I first started dating, he was in the process of buying a home.  He was 27 and unmarried and decided it was time to be a homeowner.  Eventually he decided to build, which happened during the time we were dating.  Wanting to check on the status of the home one evening after a date, we snuck into it (by climbing through a window).  Walking through the skeleton of the home, I imagined how cool it would be if he and I ended up married and had seen our home from the inside out.  And that's just what happened.

Just over a year after the home was finished, James and I were married.  After spending our honeymoon in Jamaica, we came back to "our" home for the first time.  Little did I know at the time but I was also pregnant with our first child.

In this home, I finished my Master's degree while being pregnant, working, and learning how to be a wife.  Over the next ten years, much more life happened.  I became pregnant seven (yes, seven!) times, giving birth to five babies and losing two in the womb.  Our kids had many of their firsts in that home.  They all learned to crawl, walk and talk there.  Several learned how to bike there.  Since we homeschool, even school happened in that home. We housed eight different families anywhere from two weeks to well over a year in our guest room or finished basement.  That doesn't even include short over night or week-long visits.  We learned the importance of taking care of our health with exercise, rest and nutrition as our health problems continued to mount.  We experienced the deaths of grandparents, friends, and other loved ones.  We saved money, worked extremely hard and with the help of others, climbed out of deep debt.  I nannied a few different children in our home, caring for them as I did my own.  After about six years, we finally began personalizing the home with paint and decor.  We had birthday parties, church gatherings, potlucks, post-funeral gatherings and even a wedding take place IN our home.  We met and became friends with many neighbors and their kids.  Seriously.  Our house became the happening place for the kids on the corner.  We had our first pets there (several fish, a dog and pill bugs).  James and I both worked numerous jobs inside and outside of the home.  Even this blog began almost ten years ago in that home.  James and I have probably had hundreds of counseling sessions with others in that home.  Lives were transformed there, and I don't say that lightly.  Friends, much life was lived in that home.

Physically, it may have been just a dwelling.  But it was so much more than that.  It had history.  It hosted tears, joys, sadness, broken as well as thriving marriages, people in hard places, learning experiences, new beginnings and now the unexpected and sudden final end.  Prior to that home, I'd never lived in any one place longer than four or five years.  I got to spend nine and one half there.  A piece of my heart will always remain with it.

As we continue the journey of deciding on the next home to host our story, I weep.  I weep for what was left behind but also because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.  I weep because I long to feel at home again and not in a constant state of transition.  I weep because it could be months before that happens and we only have one month remaining in our current temporary housing.  Do I trust the Lord has all of this in His control?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, yes.  And yet that doesn't mean it's easy.  I realize we have much to be grateful for and yet I acknowledge the hardship.  Pray us through will you?  Thanks for letting me be real today friends.

Until next time...

Take care,