Real Talk. I went from saying I'd never be a stay at home Mom (while dating Jeffrey) to being an obsessive homemaker (upon marrying Jeffrey). I had 2 months off work after we wed and spent all day every day putting together all the details of our new home. I spent hours organizing, tearing apart and reorganizing every pantry, closet, and drawer. There was not a possession, paper or piece of our material life I did not touch or find a location to keep. I fell in LOVE with putting together our apartment and our life. After many trips to Homegoods and Bed Bath and Beyond, we had made a perfect blue and green coastal chic oasis in the heart of West LA.
I loved everything about our ground floor triplex unit. I loved the cream walls that made it feel warm, the giant hearth and fireplace helped too. I loved the courtyard and the rose bushes and our pretty arched front deck. I loved our corner home and it was just that - the cornerstone of our marriage and our ministry. Our first missional community small group nights, our first Easter dinners, our first neighborhood brunches all took place in that beautiful open plan room. I am so grateful for that space because of the hundred or so people that came in and out of it over the 2.5 years we spent there.
There were gorgeous wooden floors scratched from moving the couch during Christmas video shoots. There were 8 broken glasses thanks to tilting over drying racks and hosting so many parties. We had squashed couch pillows that were bent out of shape from our friends laying on them every Sunday night. Oh, our first home, how you gave me so much pride and allowed me to stretch my hospitality wings. Oh, our first home, where I was convicted about how heavy the opinions of others weigh on me - was it clean enough? stylish enough? big enough? interesting enough? cozy enough? Was each candle, photo frame, and pen placed appropriately? I cared so much. I cared too much.
God revealed a lot to us in that house, the joy we experienced surrounded by the people we loved so much as well as heartaches we felt over the challenges of marriage, careers, and loss. As we packed our apartment, I realized just how much God had done in that space and in us over the years. In those weeks before moving I began to panic. I felt that if we left those rooms we would lose all those things God had done in us too. Call me crazy but as I swept the empty floors I sobbed. I begged God to keep us where we were. I didn't want to move. But God made it clear that we needed to.
Leaving your first home as a married couple is something no one ever really talks about and maybe for those people it was not that big of a deal. Well, it was for us. It meant change. It meant loss. But it also meant renewal. Just as God had brought conviction and peace in that house, he was calling us into deeper community and presence with Him by moving. For that we are grateful. Well, for all of it we are grateful.
Thank you Jesus for the memories, the loud movies, the tears and hard conversations. Thank you for the small closets and big windows. Thank you for the people who laid on our couches and told us their secrets and opened their hearts as we opened ours. Thank you for your good gifts of abundance, of pretty people and paintings and glassware and rugs. Thank you for the thousands of meals and moments and fights. Thank you for our stuffed guest book recalling all the things You were doing through and around us. Thank you for never leaving us homeless or as orphans.
Jesus, we cannot wait for all you have to show us in our new group of walls.
Whether you are happily in your house for decades to come, packing up, moving out or just getting sorted in a brand new space, count your blessings. Sit with your spouse and recount what God has done and is doing...even if it is painful. It is ok to cry and grieve. Grief is a mark of love and you should love your first home and feel love inside of it.
~ A ~