Sunday, April 1, 2012

This old house...

This was a whirlwind adventure of a weekend with my daughter attending her senior prom. (That's why I haven't been blogging for the past week - I've been getting ready for prom!) Let's just say, proms sure have changed a LOT since I was in school! I survived and she looked absolutely beautiful. 

The evening began with a pre-prom meal at the home of one of the parents - and that's where this blog began. 

When we arrived, I was immediately taken aback with how beautiful their home is. Inside, I was even more impressed with this sweet family's gift of hospitality and decorating sense! To make matters worse - the mom could actually cook! Okay, I was definitely entertaining the envy monster now. Beautiful home, wonderful decor, sweet spirit, AND good food? Why don't I know how to do things like that? 

This morning, I was still thinking about all this and making peace with my own thoughts. I knew I didn't want to entertain the envy monster any longer. I simply don't look good in "envy green." Instead of wishing I had a new house, perhaps I needed to spend some time appreciating the one I have.

This house isn't fancy and doesn't really stand out in a crowd. It's not one of those old homes filled with "character" - it's simply a house that has survived a lot of years, and even a few storms. It was built by one family who raised their children here until they had all moved away and built homes of their own...and it has been our home for over 10 years.

I thought back to when we first prayed to find this house. I remember the kids and I put the lyrics to "Big House" on our fridge and started to pray for our future home. It would be a "big, big house, with lots and lots of room; with a big, big table and lots and lots of food; a big, big yard where we could play football"...and that is just what God provided. How could I not love what God provided? This is His house.

It started to hit me - I needed to take a little better care of that which God has provided. I am guilty of thinking, "Oh, it's old...I can't make it look like those other houses so why try?" Instead, I need to focus on taking care of what I have. For me, that means I need to begin with getting rid of some of the clutter that so easily builds up. "Stuff" just seems to come in uninvited...okay, sometimes I bring it in. At any rate, all that extra stuff makes it frustrating simply trying to live! 

Uh oh....I sense a parallel coming into play. These ideas don't simply apply to my house - they apply to ME as well. It's easy to get caught up in looking at the younger, more beautiful "models" out there and get entirely dis-satisfied with the "house" God gave me! Maybe I need to get rid of the clutter there as well and then taking care of it will be easier and more fulfilling. There's probably a lot of junk that I've let pile up both physically and mentally and life will just be easier if I'll just let it go.

I don't want to look around and think it just doesn't matter since my house is "old." So what if it doesn't stand out in a crowd or seem unique. I want to develop the character that lies within and bring its beauty to light. I want to see with new eyes that see possibility instead of age.

Hospitality - okay, I'm severely challenged here. I like to open all the windows and let in lots of light...but I'm afraid to let people in. I know I'll do something wrong or things won't be perfect and I'll be embarrassed and I'll think it would have been better if I'd just never let anyone in to begin with. I want it to be perfect before I allow others to see inside. I guess anyone can see the parallels in that one.

Then there's the decorating part. Okay, I'm clueless here. Everyone has their gifts, and I have to admit that cooking and decorating are not mine. I like to look at pictures and cooking shows, but I haven't quite figured out how to put it all together. My mom and dad were hard-working, wonderful people...but decorating wasn't something they learned growing up in the Depression. It's kind of difficult to decorate when you're just trying to survive. So, maybe I need to ask for help elsewhere. I can go to those who I've seen display these gifts and ask them where to start! I don't have to go this journey alone...that's why, as one friend said it, God doesn't save us alone. 

So how about it, friends? Anyone out there want to share their advice with someone who is completely clueless about where to start? How about sharing your ideas on how we can bring out the beauty in "this old house." I think I'm ready to stop looking at what others have and start appreciating what is right in front of me.

Psalm 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house,
   the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
   the guards stand watch in vain.

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