Giving Thanks for the Space You Call Your Home

The sound of rain hitting the tree tops and the clanging of the dryer spinning with rocks inside, thanks to my boy of course, break my concentration long enough to remind me of an important truth.

This is what I always wanted.  

A family of my own.  

And a safe-haven to dwell in together when the storms of life hit noisy and loud.

But if I was still living for my own dreams, I would have missed the reality of this blessing.

See, I’ve always wanted to own a home. And yet what I’ve wanted has not been a part of God’s plans. My husband is a boarding school teacher, and housing is a part of his package. In all our years together, we’ve lived in 7 different homes, from apartments to condos within a dorm to houses small and large. They are not all created equal, nor are the responsibilities that go with each one. And none of them have a white picket fence with an ocean view I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl!

How we live in the spaces we're given . . .

For the first ten years of living in this place, I wrestled with God over our housing situation. I was ungrateful. Plain and simple. And I was discontent with our circumstances, until one housing fiasco led to another and I had no choice but give it all up to the Lord.

“God, from this point forward I will thank you for the place you’ve given us to live in. No matter what. No matter where.”

God took me up on that prayer. Only a few weeks after surrendering to the Lord, we moved into a beautiful, large home rented by the School. I was overwhelmed by God’s provisions. Humbled and grateful for the way that house enabled us to have an extended family member live with us for my than six months, and meet a need in her life. However, God did not plan for us to stay there long term.

A year later, we had to move again, and settled into a smaller, condo-like home in a girls dorm. I loved the responsibilities, but it wasn’t an ideal long-term commitment. Two years later, we were packing boxes again.  In a bittersweet departure from dorm life, we moved into a what seemed like a reasonable size home for a family for four, only to find out a few months later that we were having twins. Our roomy home vanished into a world of baby gear and discontentment took over my soul. I set my eyes on the larger school homes, aptly named the battleships of the fleet, convinced that the larger space would make my life better.

In God’s perfect plan, we did not move into one of those larger homes. We had no choice but to stay put for another three years, before we moved into a house with more bedrooms — a grace place where our spiritually adopted daughter would have room to live with us. We thought this was the end of the line for our moves at the school, and then we were graciously offered the opportunity to move into a home with more common space — the house we now call our home. It’s not a perfect place. It’s not without it’s little issues. It’s required creativity and flexibility to make some parts of it work for us. But it’s a home we give thanks for, as much as we did for the last three — because it’s the place we get to live together as a family and serve those who God brings in through the back door.

I’ve learned through this journey that a house isn’t a home because you’ve paid the mortgage and call it your own.

It was in the squishy, uncomfortable home in which the twins were born that I truly learned how to give thanks for the home God gave us — then and now. The Lord changed my heart and perspective, opening my eyes to see that no earthly dwelling is meant to be our forever home.

It’s the relationships and interactions and experiences lived within the walls that define our home that matter more than the decor and accessories and square footage and taxes paid.

Whether it is small or large. Whether it is newly renovated or shabby but not chic. Whether it is beautifully decorated or filled with clutter. Whether it is rented, owned, or assigned.

It’s what we do within the spaces we’re given that matter most to God. {click to tweet}

A home on this earth is only meant to be a temporary dwelling . . . a space that most likely will cause us to groan with longing for something more.

Eternity.

Humbled and grateful,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

If you would like help in shifting your mindset about your home and space,
consider using this living intentionally resource and the benefits of life coaching.

Raising Thankful Lepers

thankfulness-concepts-2

The picture Jesus paints for us of the final days for planet Earth in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 is hardly cheery. In this passage He warned His disciples of looming famines, earthquakes, lawlessness, “wars and rumors of wars”, and even martyrdom. These are dramatic and catastrophic events. We refer to them as “signs of the times”; Jesus referred to them in words we moms can better relate to as “birth pangs” or in today’s language, contractions. Again, not a cheery picture, to be sure.

Jesus offers another less dramatic, but bitterly painful sign of His return: “the love of most will grow cold”. Given this particular “birth pang”, it seems the Day is fast approaching. We live in the land of cold hearts we observe in a myriad of painful expressions from “road rage” to murder.

Another way this has manifested itself is through ingratitude and an attitude of entitlement. Many children grow up believing everything is owed to them. They “deserve” a Facebook account, a cell phone, an iPad, a trip to Disney World, a car, a college education, etc. Many adults have also bought into this thinking. In fact, they are the ones peddling this attitude of ingratitude to the next generation. And this seems to be the logical conclusion: if we’re entitled to everything, we don’t have to be thankful for anything.

But those of us who are Christians know this just isn’t true. We aren’t owed anything, except God’s justice. The only thing we do deserve and are “entitled” to is hell itself. The fact is, we owe Christ everything. What we should marvel at is not that we don’t have what the girl next door has, but rather the fact that God has lavished His grace and love on us through the extravagant gift of His Son, Jesus.

Ingratitude is nothing new. Jesus confronted this negative attitude in Luke 17 where ten men afflicted with leprosy sought healing from Jesus and received it. After He sent them off to show the priests they’d been healed, only one returned to give thanks for this miraculous gift. Christ’s lesson was simple; be thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

So the task at hand is obvious: we need to teach our kids thankfulness. One meaningful way to do this is to teach them to write simple thank you notes expressing heartfelt thanks for gifts or acts of kindness. When our kids were young, we had them write these kinds of notes, usually the day after they’d received a gift. We made sure they mentioned the gift and the reason(s) why they were appreciative. We also made sure the notes were handwritten. It didn’t take long for this practice to become second nature and they continue it today even though they are in their teens and twenties.

It shouldn’t alarm us that our children aren’t naturally thankful; it’s part of our fallen nature. But we do them a favor when we work to diminish the effects of this destructive attitude in their lives. Let’s not let this sign of the times define our children. Let’s raise thankful lepers.

~Barb

Photo Credit: http://www.inspirationfalls.com/thankfulness-quotes/thankfulness-concepts-2/

Collecting Memories In Marriage

As the season of thankfulness surrounds us I thought of a good reminder that would be a blessing to our marriages:

Collect Memories… Not Things

So often our culture, society, social media, and every advertisement seen encourages, no bombards us with the idea that we need more.  The pressure to pleasure ourselves by satisfying our thirst for more is seemingly inescapable.  Self-centeredness wells up inside of us justifying why we need “that new thing” or when denied we throw a pity party.

I have given into these lies just like everyone else.  It is a very difficult battle to fight, causing strife in my heart from discontentment, leading to contention in my marriage.

However, there are so many meaningful experiences that will last in memory longer than the “things” I so desire.  My pursuit of things takes away from the time and energy I have to spend with my husband and my child.  My heart needs to change.

I want to collect more memories… not things.

Memories that will inspire joy in my heart, ignite passion for my family, and remind me that some of the smallest experiences in life have the greatest impact, such as:

- Breakfast with my husband on Saturday morning as we plan out an adventure for the day.

- Preparing for our son and praying for his future family.

- Walking in the coolness of the day enjoying the fellowship of my best friend with laughter.

- Waking up to my husband praying over me.

- Encouraging my husband with words of affirmation, reminding him that I respect him.

There are so many ways to collect memories in marriage that will last a lifetime.  Memories that will remind you of God’s goodness.  Memories that will unify family as you reminisce with your children.

So in this season of thankfulness, cheer and giving… what memories are you going to collect with your spouse?

- Jennifer Smith   www.unveiledwife.com

photocredit: @unveiledwife

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