Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home,
For there the heart can rest.
Henry Van Dyke
Recently, during a conversation with my daughter, she reminded me that we had lived in our current home for 13 years, nearly all of her life. We moved into this house when she was just a baby and our two boys were 5 and 11 years old. That started me thinking about what a great house it had been for us and how God is such a genius at orchestrating our lives for our own growth and spiritual development and, ultimately, for His glorification.
You see, over the years, this house ( built in 1983), has at times been a source of aggravation for us. As it is an older home, there are quite a few things that have gone wrong and needed repair. And, we have periodically fallen into a state of discontent, wanting to move to a pristine, new home with a manicured lawn in a neatly organized, lovely neighborhood.
However, the truth is, God led us to the perfect house for us at that time in our lives. I remember talking to my Dad, a realtor, when we were thinking about purchasing this home. He said, " If you want a home that will be a great place to raise your children, then this is a great home." He was right.
Our house is safe, sturdy and warm. It has protected us against the wind, rain, and even hurricanes! As we have traveled to other places around the world and have seen people in countries like Guatemala who have so little, we have developed an appreciation for how wealthy we really are here in America. While on the trip we watched a woman weep as our team built a 10x10 metal shed-type home for she and her children. It was life-changing for her...it meant shelter and safety and ultimately, hope. Our home is a mansion in the eyes of many people in depressed areas around the world. We are grateful.
Our house is comfortable and kid-friendly. I can't count how many times liquids and goo have been spilled, splashed, squirted and smeared on our furniture and walls. Or how many times sandy, wet, feet have trampled across the carpet after coming back from a morning at the lake. Not to mention the myriad of items that have been broken by flying balls tossed across the room. That's life with kids...and it's been fun and full...and relatively stress-free, thanks to our less-than-new carpets, furniture and house. Through our experiences in this house, we have learned that people are more important than things!
Our house is spacious. It is a two story house with quite a bit of square footage and a nice flowing floor plan. This has afforded us many opportunities to have people in our home...for fellowship, Bible studies and overnight stays. God knew that hospitality is something that is very important to me...as a matter of fact, it is important to him, as well. So he gave me a home where I could exercise that gift.
And, lastly, our house is imperfect. It has doors that stick, paint that has faded, and windows that threaten to slam down when I want them to stay in place and let in the cool, fall air. And...it's "curb appeal" is somewhat less than appealing, as my father the realtor would have said. But that imperfection has kept us humble...and busy! It also brings to mind the way our heavenly father loves us in spite of our own issues and imperfections. He uses imperfect people like us to do his work in the world.
I am so thankful that God led us to this house 13 years ago. He knew it was a place where our young family could grow and learn and thrive. Living and loving in this home has humbled us, grown our patience and solidified our priorities. Someday he may move us on to that pristine new home with the manicured lawn and the perfect paint job...who knows? But, this home will always be special to us, as God chose it for us, at just the right time, to fulfill his purposes for us individually and as a family.
God is so good...all the time!
"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." Psalm 127:1