I don’t remember how the Christmas dinner conversation turned to the topic of my housekeeping skills–or lately lack of. My daughter spooned a little more au jus on her prime rib, the first I ever prepared–and it was perfect, by the way.
“You know,” she said, “this house used to look amazing, and all my friends were jealous. Now… well, now it needs help. A lot of help. So… how long have you been stripping wallpaper in the bathroom, Mom?”
We all laughed.
Her words sealed the “one word” that had already found me.
If my mother-in-law had still been alive when we moved back to Michigan, she would have
counseled us not to insisted we not under any circumstances redeem this now-150-plus-year-old farmhouse and bring it back into the family. They’d modernized the place in the 60’s when they moved it back from the road–put in a full basement, ripped out all the ornate moldings, and carpeted the hardwood floors. But Mom couldn’t wait to finally flee to a new modular home on the south farm next to Big Creek. Because this house was just too much work to keep up. They sold it. And then we bought it back.
We’ve done some things in the last 25 years–painted, added back the wrapped porch, replaced the roof (twice), replaced the carpeting (twice) and refinished the unoriginal wood floors in the bedrooms–but it’s old, and it’s tired, and so am I. The tub is rusted. The kitchen cupboards are disintegrating. The basement ceiling is stained from leaks and chipmunk tinkle. And I still can’t find my Christmas cards.
I’ve let so much go and so much build up because of lack of time and money–and procrastination.
And today I’m mad. At me.
There’s an afghan somewhere in my dad’s basement that I made for my mom when I was still in high school. I remember how much she loved when I’d get into an argument with my then boyfriend, because I let my mad ignite my crochet hook to warp speed.
This year I’m going to let my mad motivate me, to ignite me–in a still way, of course–to warp speed. There may be projects we can’t financially undertake yet and projects we don’t dare undertake for fear of what’s hiding under them. And full restoration is impossible. But I’m going to strip the wallpaper once and for all. I’m going to buy paint–and use it–if I have to eat beans all year. I’m going to clear out the rest of the clutter, find my Christmas cards, and make this house a HOME again. A place where I don’t have to close doors and warn against tours.
I know this verse is out of context, but it rhema’d itself into my heart this morning.
“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” ~ Isaiah 32:18 (NIV)
It might mean fewer words see the light this year, but I want my people–my family and friends–to find themselves in a peaceful dwelling place when they come through my door. I want them to find themselves in an undisturbed place of rest–in a secure and hospitable home, a place that can be opened to company at a moment’s notice without panic, a place where quiet grace is served.
And while I’m working on the outside, I’m going to be cleaning up my inside–to create an undisturbed place of rest within where God and I can share a cup of tea without the cobwebs–where I can serve up quiet grace to myself.
My one word for 2015–HOME.
Have you chosen or will you choose a word to give your year focus?
In the stillness,
With many thanks to Traci for this graphic. Her inspirations are far from ordinary.