Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Third Move's the Charm

Our sewer backed up.
The basement was flooded.
We couldn't get AC working while wading through four inches of standing sewer water.
Obviously, we have done nothing to the kitchen.
We moved back into Caleb's (Blake's brother) house.
That's three moves in three months.

I have been thinking about this week's post for four days. I almost decided I was going to skip it, and all blogging, indefinitely. Thanks to our family's screen fast, I was pretty sure I could get away with falling off this whole Fixer Upper blog train without bruising my ego too badly. For four days, I have wavered between blind optimism and weeping in the middle of making lunch.

We discovered that Blake has a tipping point, and that is two jobs, nursing school, and a fixer upper. As with most of us, there are seasons of life where whatever it is you're doing starts building up little things here and there that suddenly all roll into one another, and something gives. It wasn't really one thing, it was several little things at once that caused "home" to kind of crumble under our feet--or, literally, clog up and flood under our feet. Until we can start sloughing off some of the little things, the fixer upper is so many little and/or giant, overwhelming things that we needed to step back. Until we can catch our breath and clear our heads, we're going to stay at Caleb's house.

On one hand, this has been devastating for me. Sure, I was washing dishes in the bathtub and our main diet was one-pot-crock-pot meals, but I was making a home beautiful! I was learning to use a nail gun! I could patch a hole in a wall all by myself and make it look almost as good as Blake would! I was learning lessons through DIY-ing, and writing about it! I was sitting in the brand-new-carpeted bedroom with Addie reading more books in the past month than I have since graduating college! I was living like, the ultimate example of The Nesting Place, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" mantra. Sure, our house is half a construction zone, but we still decorated and made beautiful what was done and it was ours. We had a picturesque third birthday party for Addie at the park-let across the street! I don't want to live this weird pseudo-renter life!

On the other hand, this is the whole point of deciding "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Whether we stay here one month or for the whole summer, I have many more choices than just disappointment. There are many moments in the day where I feel sorry for myself and choose disappointment; but, I am fighting to choose moments of thankfulness. I choose to be thankful for the clean kitchen, flushing toilets and hot water, and AC. There are things I can do that can make it home wherever we are for however long we are there.

Making Not Home Feel Like Home
(Or Whatever in The World Is Happening)
In No Particular Order, Really

Step 1: Make special moments, big or small.

When we were houseparents, there were days when it felt like everyone was having a bad day. On those days, I made sure I had emergency special hot chocolate supplies on hand. Dump it all in the crock pot, and within two hours we could drown our sorrows in liquid joy. My philosophy is that calories don't count whenever your soul needs a pick-me-up (this philosophy has slowed my weight loss efforts, but sometimes you just have to cut your losses and make the right decision). It doesn't matter what the weather was like outside; this was special. And we drank out of pretty special cups. And I don't regret it for a second.

Step 2: Make it pretty.

It doesn't have to be much. It just has to feel like you're taken care of, and you can feel peace and ease when you sit down. For me, it was having my favorite family photo frame with my favorite reminder ("All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided"). Also, I wanted my Artifact Uprising albums, and my favorite candle. For Addie, it was her dress-up dresses. The fresh flowers were given to us by Rachel and Micah, as well as fresh baked consolation cookies, the night of our sudden move-in after midnight.

Step 3: Replace the things you miss with the things you have been longing to gain.

For example, I miss our room so much sometimes, but I have a kitchen to use now, so I went ahead and made several recipes that I have been aching to try as soon as our kitchen was finished. Also, Blake made time for us to get coffee together (even if he had to make a couple of quick calls), despite the fact that buying coffee may be a little superfluous at the moment.

Step 4: Capture each thought, and confirm or replace it with Scripture. 

The night of the move, I happened upon Hebrews 6:10, and repeated it in my head over and over for the first day to remind myself that when bad things happen, it doesn't mean you did something wrong. It might just mean something is falling apart because God is making something else fall into place. Since then, I have found not only verse 10, but 11-12 to be encouraging as well:

"God is not unjust; he will not forget the work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

So, whether you wake up to mouse poop and pee in the silverware drawer (again), or you're doing dishes in the bathtub, or your house is immaculate, or you love your job, or you hate your job, or you know how many bills you'll be able to pay this month, or whatever the circumstances going on, we have a choice. We can choose to work diligently and with integrity in whatever endeavors God has given us, whether the fuzzy feelings are there or not, and trust God to either give us those fuzzy feelings or change the circumstance. Or, we can give up. The latter, however, accomplishes little other than nursing our self pity. Truthfully, I am so completely done with the self-pity option.

If you're as emotionally invested in this whole Fixer Upper thing as I am by now, than would you please consider praying for our family? Right now, we are waiting again. While the circumstances are better than they have been, waiting is never fun. I have learned, though, that waiting is valuable. We rekindle intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Our trust and faith in God grows as we watch His faithfulness to us unfold. And something about waiting makes you a little braver, if you let it. Pray that we would be brave. Pray that we would trust God with our house, and more importantly, our home, wherever that is. And, while I can't say for sure what it will be about, you will hear from me soon.

To make a comfy bed out of the office couch, liberally apply: favorite quilt, favorite stuffed animals, and especially your best knitted friend, Cat.

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