For months now, I have watched eagerly as a friend has been building her house step by step. Of course the date she had planned to move in has been pushed up, but every project is being made just right. It is exciting that she has been able to pick out exactly what she wants with door facings, cabinetry, flooring and everything! I have marveled at her ingenuous ideas with special touches that make it a home and not just a house. It will meet her needs and fit her personality because she is able to have her say in how she wants it to be.
It is a blessing to have the options and choices we are afforded in certain endeavors. There were plenty of times when I was a single mom trying to makes ends meet, where I moved into a place that did not quite fit my personality or it was smaller than I liked and my boys would have to share a room, but our needs were always met – even if we felt it wasn’t ideal at the time.
As I am a couple of years from 50 I look back at those years and I watch my boys who are now grown men, going through the same growing pains as they choose where to make their home. We have to crawl before we can walk and when we are young we feel as though we can’t get somewhere fast enough.
My friend who is building her house is retired and this is her time to have her dream house. Others may be fortunate to build when they are young or move into their dream home before they turn 30 – I have a nephew who has been so fortunate; but for most of us there seems to be a hurry-up-and-wait process. There is a time in our lives when we find building our house takes many steps – not just one house, not our dream house, but the housing of our lives. The journey of becoming settled in our home.
Very few can be settled when they first start out. Even if they have the means, there still may be a move with their career taking them to other places or with additions to their family and having to move to a larger place.
As I think of building … of getting my house in order, I reflect on how far I have come over the years. The struggles, the triumphs, the joys, the losses… it all went together. The growing pains of my life as I pressed forward in my journey. The building up of my family, the changing of houses (or apartments) and making each place feel like home – yet each one was only temporary.
As my husband and I live in the house that seems perfect for us, there are a few rooms that go unused each day. Oh those years when I needed an extra room for my children and now I have rooms for them to visit and even rooms when I want to read and get off to myself. And now, we are about to buy a ranch with a house that we won’t even live in. We are thinking ahead for the days when we may not be able to climb stairs or when we are retired and needing to downsize, but we are also thinking of how we can best use it. Our mom’s may need it one day to live close by to us or our children may move into it and have an affordable place – there are so many options.
Buying the ranch gives me a business to have that I will enjoy. I love writing and that will always be a part of my life, but I have such a passion for horses and I am so thankful to have this opportunity at this time in my life. For the years I punched a clock and dealt with adversities to find what job was best suited for me, I don’t regret any place I have been or the things I had to do.
As God has led my path (and, as I strayed from it at times) each place I have been in my life was purposed. Either it was a blessing or a lesson for me or for someone in my path.
‘Building my house’ has taken years and I certainly am not through yet! Sure, Jason and I want to have many years to enjoy this house on the farm and the ranch and there will be many good things coming out of them, but when I talk about building my house I am talking spiritually.
How long have I waited for things to become settled? What did I need to acquire before things started coming together? Even if I find myself becoming settled – it is still temporary on the grand scale. This world is not my home.
Twenty years ago – maybe even ten – I did not have the insight I do now (or the patience). As individuals we all have different paths we take – even if we are on the same journey and, some paths take longer than others. It took the paths I have trod to bring the insight I have today which was needed in my journey.
Oh the years I worried about tomorrow or worried when I didn’t have control of something in my life. And then to ‘cross over’ to that place in my life when I would face adversity – yet have peace. Coming to that place where I knew I didn’t have to control a situation (and realizing how little control we have anyway) has been a long journey of learning to surrender.
When I was younger, I wanted to plan my life out. I was the annoying person who made lists or planned so far ahead that by the time I got there things had changed drastically and my plans were always having to change. When I was young that feeling would keep me restless and sometimes striving. I looked to what I could count on and how I could get all my ducks in a row. I wanted answers and to know the outcome before I would go. And then I realized the years of ‘striving’ for my house to be in the order I planned were in vain.
I realized how temporary each phase of my life really is – but, I also didn’t let that realization make me feel anxious. I surrendered.
As Christians we know we are to surrender our hearts and our will to the Lord… to take His yoke upon us and we learn that in the times we do this – it is so much easier, yet once again we would harness ourselves with heavier yokes thinking it was what we were supposed to do.
Do I feel I was stupid in my youth? Do I feel I made mistakes and do I regret choices I have made? I could choose to see it that way or I could choose to see the big picture and all the good that came out of my stupidity, my over planning, my striving… and see each and every by-path I had taken was needed as the ‘straight and narrow path’ gets narrower.
As I press forward to glory, towards the Kingdom that is forever – those by-paths that I thought were mistakes gave me ‘the supplies I would need’ and gave me the insight to help others who made detours.
What makes the journey easier is when we get to the place where we don’t see surrendering as defeat or failure. As the lightbulb goes off in our head – we just let go. We let go of our need for control because we have walked a long path (with many by-paths) and we have seen God’s hand in our lives.
No matter how smart or how much faith I had in my twenties full surrender is something I could not obtain until God was ready for me to. I could hear it and I could know it with my head and think I had surrendered… but it took years to know it with my heart – for that complete trust to take over.
I have witnessed God coming to my rescue many times when I worried about things and I would see Him come in like a hero (sometimes waiting until the very last minute like an action adventure movie where the characters jump away from an explosion just in the nick of time).
Now, when adversity strikes I already have peace about it. On the outside it may seem as if I don’t care or that I am aloof just because I don’t get all worked up or try to figure out what to do, but it is simply that my trust in the Lord is so great, my senses are heightened as I am closer when He speaks. I hear His voice and I know His voice. When He says it will be okay – I know that it will be okay. Whom shall I fear?
If calamity strikes, God knows it. He has already made the way. The ‘way’ might look to have many briars but He will sustain me and get me though and I trust it because I know He is already there. If I get cut or bruised – He provides healing. Sometimes scars and callouses are needed and now I see them as gifts right from the start – before I have the answers.
As I look to the future I can’t help but to be excited! As I watch my house being built in stages and take the time to make everything just right… it requires patience, mistakes, hindsight … and it is nothing I want to rush, but as God brings me along in the building of my house – I see it coming together so beautifully.