Saturday Cartoons and a Ceiling Fan

Last Saturday I was typing this post while sitting in my family room. Here’s my story:

Today I’m remembering busy Saturdays when my day started with young ones rising early looking for food and cartoons. I grew up cleaning on Saturday mornings, and promised myself I wouldn’t deprive my kids of the Road Runner or Bugs Bunny like Mom did. My kids would get to cuddle on the couch with blankets, eat Pop Tarts and watch hours of cartoons like all my friends did growing up.

However, a couple of years after becoming a mom, “Saturday cleaning” somehow snuck into my heart and life. Homeschooling and full evenings serving the people in our church (my husband is a pastor) made Saturdays the perfect (and sometimes only!) time for weekly cleaning. Well, except once basketball seasons with weekly Saturday games often required adjusting our Friday school schedule to get chores done a day early.

The house doesn’t take long to clean anymore. Five of our seven are married with homes of their own to clean. My messy kid is in Law School at the University of Florida and only trashes his room when he’s home for the weekend. Our tidiest child is still at home and chips in to keep things clean.  Saturday chores don’t take very long anymore, unless the grandkids were over later in the week…so here I sit with vacuum lines on my carpets and the delicious smell of Pine Sol wafting through the house.

I used to look forward to these days. Now at times I find myself wishing music was blaring and I could hear kids yelling from room to room asking who used the Pledge last. This morning I almost looked for cartoons to watch.

I used to like change more than I do now. Getting something new for the house, finding a new favorite restaurant or trying a new dish on a holiday was fun. As I age, though, I’m finding myself clinging to the familiar.

I’ll tell you a secret. When we were meeting with our realtor last month about putting our house on the market I told him I didn’t want the ceiling fan in our bedroom to convey. He was understandably surprised. All the other ceiling fans could stay; just not the one over our bed. What I didn’t tell him is how much that ceiling fan helped me adjust to our current home when we moved from the one we lived in for our first decade in Florida.  Because the first thing I typically see in the morning is my three-paddle dark wood ceiling fan, it came with me to this house. Now it has to go with me to our new home in Lake Nona.

Seasons change. Children grow up and get married. Moves happen. Friends depart. Much of what changes in our lives is providentially out of our control. How kind of God to give the control of some things to us. The important thing is to make sure those things that should and must remain in His hands alone are free from the clutches of our sometimes nearsighted craving for autonomy.

Lord willing, my ceiling fan will soon be mounted above our bed in another house we’ll make our home. I’m glad that obeying God and moving to a new place (albeit only thirty minutes away) isn’t requiring that I leave all that’s familiar behind.

An old hymn I sang growing up said, “Where He leads me I will follow. I’ll go with Him all the way.”

With my ceiling fan.

P.S.  This post is the beginning of a series called, “When Obedience is Costly.” I hope you’ll join me.

Looking For a New Home

Benny and I are starting to look at houses in the area where Redeemer Church was planted early this year. While we live only about thirty minutes away, we want to be in the community to reach out, serve, build relationships and have people into our home.

The home I've come to love (it's not as big as it looks; the right side is a garage...smile.)

The home I’ve come to love (it’s not as big as it looks; the right side is a garage…smile.)

The problem is this: we just purchased the house we’re in less than 2 years ago.

It was quite the process. I wanted a yard that happened to have an older house on it. I’m one of those people that loves multi-year remodeling. I like having and managing projects, and making a home “mine” by doing things like knocking out walls to make the space more open and maintaining a wish list of household projects to save for. I love taking something old with character and turning into a cozy, warm place where family and friends feel welcomed. I also have eleven grandchildren and a lab for backyard romping.

Joey reading a book written by my grandchildren and illustrated by my daughter, Julia. A prized recent birthday gift.

My Benny wanted a pretty house that had a decent yard that wouldn’t take too long to mow. While he has graciously endured my “projects” over the years (including adding a cute little apartment onto our Virginia home for Mom) he hoped for a home where the walls would remain in their place and maintenance would be minimal.

When we first saw the home we are in I was unimpressed. It was too “nice.” And it was painted a perky peach color. I walked around inside trying to picture which walls could be removed but I couldn’t find any. In fact, the only thing I could see that needed to be changed involved paint. (Which, by the picture above, you can see was taken care of first thing!) After numerous visits to yards that happened to have houses on them we made a low offer on the pretty house and it was accepted.

Our family room was the first place Redeemer Church met.

Nearly two years later that house has become home. We’ve celebrated holidays and birthdays here. Because we didn’t have walls to remove our big family can actually all sit down to eat because there’s room to add several folding tables. We’ve laughed and prayed and worshiped and made memories in this house that I didn’t like or want. Now I love it. As I sit here in the family room typing there are tears brimming in my eyes.

Getting ready for granddaughter Amelia’s first birthday party.

Have you ever felt a little “tricked” by God? Have you made a decision or entered into a relationship or accepted a job that wouldn’t have been your preference simply because it seemed like the right thing to do? You see, Benny got the pretty house and I got the yard big enough for all eleven grandchildren and the dog — all for what we could afford! And I got to enjoy a few projects that included painting kitchen cabinets and lime sherbet colored walls and the peachy exterior.

Now I actually like the house and don’t want to move.

Family worship times in our family room are among my fondest memories.

In my mind I know God didn’t trick me into moving into a home I didn’t really like only to make me love it just in time to move again. When we purchased this home He knew that a year later providence would lead us to plant a new church, requiring us to leave.

His sovereign plan is always accompanied by His tender care. Remembering how He moved my heart to love this home is comforting. But what is helping me most today is reminding myself that no place will truly be home until He welcomes me to the place He is preparing for me. What my heart is longing for has not been nor will it ever be found in my lifetime.

I’m longing for a place I won’t find in Florida.

I was made for another place. A place from which I will never move. Never pack boxes. Never cry over leaving. Until then, my life is not my own. I must continue to prize His plans over my preferences and fight for joy in the midst of unwanted change. I’m struggling to fully embrace His will and am asking for strength to once again say, “Yes, Lord.” With a good attitude.

Backyard races with Papa.

His past faithfulness assures me of present and future grace. After nearly 20 years in the same Virginia house where our children were mostly raised (not counting those I spent there with my parents when I was younger) I have moved 3 times in the past 12 years. Each time we’ve made memories and I moved reluctantly.

Maybe there’s a yard in Lake Nona, Florida with a house on it just waiting for someone to knock down its walls. Or a pretty one that Benny will like as soon as we walk in. Maybe I’ll live there long enough to come to love it.

Mostly, I want to love God’s will — whatever that is. What joy to know that “soon and very soon” I’ll see the home He is preparing for me. I won’t care about where the walls are or the size of the yard. Anything He is planning for me will be perfect.

Benny and I will be out again soon looking for a new home…but the search is reminding me that it will once again only be a temporary one.

I’m smiling. Just knowing that makes me a little bit more okay above moving.