It all started with a Memorial Day barbeque.
After years of renting, the couple who invited us had just bought their first house.
The day was part holiday celebration and part housewarming party all mixed into one.
When we walked in the door, i immediately had this amazing feeling. Warmth, connection, peace, family, God. All of those things seemed to envelop me before any words were even exchanged.
At that moment, It wasn’t even a prayer as much as a long-held secret wish that popped into my head: i wish my house felt like this.
For many years, my house had felt heavy, dark and filled with conflict. Home wasn’t a retreat. It was a battlefield. Intense parenting challenges that nearly crushed me. Marriage struggles. Chronic health issues — mine and my son’s. At one point, our house was nearly destroyed by a hurricane — while we were in it.
Home rarely felt like a place to flee to for solace. It often felt like a place to flee from for survival.
Although in many ways, the storm had calmed, the scars remained. Old memories often haunted me as i walked through my house.
Even beyond that i missed the warmth and character of the Midwest homes that i grew up in. Florida is the mecca of sterile, cookie-cutter houses. Our community, in particular, was only developed in the 1950’s so history and character are hard to come by.
And yet, my friend Marie’s house had it. It had that “feel” of rest and love that i so longed for.
words of life
Over these last few months, God was giving me a new view of who He is — overwhelmingly loving, incredibly sweet, amazingly personal. Not a Taskmaster, a loving Father.
He had been doing something new in my mind. Now i began to sense He wanted to do something new in my home.
And so the journey began. This journey of allowing God to breathe new life into my home.
i started going to a local consignment shop near my house and a few other home goods stores. Browsing, searching for … well, i wasn’t quite sure what. Just hoping to find something that would breathe a little life and light into my home. i began to ask God to show me how to do that and to open my eyes to what He wanted me to buy.
And miraculously, one-by-one He began to lead me to pieces that related exactly to the new truths He was teaching me. They would always fit the color scheme of my house and He’d show me the perfect place for them.
God is always fully spiritual and intensely practical. i found that He is the Ultimate Bargain Hunter — nearly every piece was either on sale or clearance.
Discounted words of priceless value. Priceless because they reflect the Father. He is the Word. And He is life.
1 John 1:1-2 says, “He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.”
a lengthy renovation
Over the years, i’ve watched countless episodes of miraculous home renovation shows — incredible transformations that occur within the space of just a few days.
After all, we are a society that craves — no, demands — instant gratification.
What i’m discovering is that ashes don’t turn into beauty overnight. You can’t “microwave” rebirth and restoration.
It takes time to make something new in us. It is a process.
This process He is beginning in me is so much more than about transforming my physical structure. He is transforming my mind and heart — assuring me of His love, promising me redemption, teaching me truths about Himself and about who i am.
After spending most of my life trying to please others, i struggled to even know what i liked. i began to discover what i was drawn to, what made my heart joyful. i’ve begun to discover those things that seem to fit with how God designed me and what He is teaching me.
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God is breathing new life into my home and putting back together the broken pieces of my heart. As He leads me to words of healing for my home, He is writing and embedding that new life into my mind and heart so i can face the world with an attitude of hope and joy.
Because His hope and joy is contagious. Our healing is never just about us.
He is so patient, working slowly and purposefully to one-by-one remove those brick barriers we’ve build around our hearts and slowly create something new in those dark, broken places in us.
We just have to open the door and let Him in. He’s always a gentlemen and waits for an invitation.
All these years, i didn’t need something to breathe life into my home, i needed Someone.
My “cookie-cutter” Florida home finally has the character i’ve longed for — His.