It's Friday...the renewed house hunt has been going on all week, and we are a bit frustrated to say the least. But you know what is so encouraging? A choir of amens in the comment section on my last post. Because lately I've really been thinking about what a home is...and apparently you all agree. I'll give you a little peek into my journal from last week by way of illustration...
It's 4:28 a.m. and I'm up praying...and as I was staring out our big picture window at the beautiful sheep fields God blessed me with eight and a half years ago, and crying because of how much I'm going to miss this place, I had a revelation.
It's not the sheep I'm going to miss when we move next month. It's not the wide open fields and the skyline of tress, or the big old red barn and silo that we stare at in the distance. It's not those hundred stars I can see at night, nights like these when my heart is so heavy I can't sleep because my chest is literally aching from sadness.
One little word, and yet it's causing so much turmoil in my heart, that I've woken up almost every night since Sam told me we had to move with this awful feeling. And the only relief I can find when sleep is elusive - as always - is to come out here to my safe, comfortable, familiar living room, where I can stare out my window at all that I love, and pour my heart out to God.
This window has been my meeting place with Him through so many sleepless nights, I've lost count.
I remember the very first week we moved here, coming here to cry and pray, when markers for Down syndrome showed up on an ultrasound. We went in to see our baby at a routine 20 week check-up just days before leaving our old house...several days later, right in the middle of unpacking everything, I got the news that there was a problem with the results, and that I needed a follow-up sonogram 8 weeks later. Eight long, prayer-filled weeks of coming out to this beautiful view and asking God to protect my baby's heart and give me peace about whatever the future held. And two months later, when that follow-up visit showed a perfectly formed heart with no echogenic foci, (that turned out to be just that- "bright spots" on the heart), staring out that same window and thanking God for my perfect and healthy baby.
Relief with that pregnancy was short lived, because two months later I woke up one morning to blood and a frantic trip to the hospital- it was too early for our little boy to be born, so I was given medicine to stop contractions and put on strict bed rest for a week. Those seven days seemed so much longer than a week to me, and whoever named it bed rest, probably never tried it themselves...because night time as well as day time provided very little rest for an emotional and pregnant mama, fearful for the life of her baby. And once again I found myself staring out the window, although this time it was my giant bedroom windows that provided a perfect view of the fields and moonlight I had come to love. Prayer is what brought me through that trial, and when Noah Stephen made his glorious entry into this world on a rainy day in May, the heavens literally parted for our boy : "The sun is shining, Patti!" were the words of one of my very best friends as she looked out the hospital window just seconds after Noah was born. "God is smiling too," I thought, as I cried and thanked Him for the blessing and miracle of life.
Six years later another ultrasound brought mixed results as well on our tenth baby, only this time I added more to my prayer list: words like atrioventricular canal defect, hyperechogenic bowel, dilated renal pelvis and shortened femurs became common vernacular for me and God. And more often than not, this space beneath the window was my meeting place with Him, the only refuge I could find for those tear-filled 3 a.m. moments. One thing about life's curveballs is they can either drive you closer to God or push you further away, and I determined that those moments were going to serve a better purpose. Maybe I couldn't control the future, or change my baby's genetic makeup, but I could certainly "cast my burdens on Him" because truly He does care for me. Those times of crying before the Lord, hours spent under the old familiar window, while Sam and the children slept, are precious memories to me now. And when Lily arrived 17 weeks later, we thanked God for another perfect and beautiful baby. And we learned that words like Down syndrome didn't have to be a fearful thing at all.
Last month my 3 a.m. prayer sessions were renewed again...I found myself cursing that modern window into the future, the dark silent screen in the doctor's office that showed a tiny embryo, minus a beating heart. Long weeks of waiting and praying for a miracle brought me to my familiar routine...nights under the window once again had me staring out at a moonlit field, begging God to breathe life where there was none. A month later, when my body finally acknowledged the loss, grief came in waves at night, threatening to overwhelm. I don't know how a tiny unborn baby can nestle itself in my heart so deeply, but it can and did. Four times of going through that loss have brought me to the same conclusion: dreams for a baby's future are hard to let die. But prayer and time and grace can carry the hurting heart through to the other side of grief, and although I still feel the ache of what-should-have-been, I know my treasures await me in Heaven...the ultimate home.
Which brings me to my time beneath the window, and my revelation that what I'm really going to be missing next month is home. Because eight years is a long time to turn a house into a home, and I'm realizing that has very little to do with floor plans or neighborhoods or even big picture windows, and everything to do with the ones I love. It's a place where memories are made, a place where babies are born and babies die, a place where my children grow up and my husband and I learn to lean on each other and lean on God, a place where there is laughter and tears alike, and mixed in with it all is the grace of God.
And I can take that anywhere.
And maybe I can't see that right now- because I'm clinging so desperately to what I know and love right here. But I'm going to trust that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He's going with us wherever we move to. I can find Him when I seek for Him with all my heart, big picture windows under the moonlight or not. And Sam and our children - from Jason all the way down to Lily - that's what home is to me.
Some of my favorite comments from the last post (and I loved every single one of them!):
Honestly...I love our house but home is where ever the 5 of us are together. The kids even call hotels "home" when we are traveling. The only requirement is us :-)
Laurie said...Home is where I feel safe and loved. It is a place that I can truly feel comfortable and rest. It is a place to gather. It is our "nest".
April Vernon said...
I LOVE the picture of your sleeping beauty.
And in the words of one of my favorite hymns... "Anywhere is home, let come and go what may; Anywhere I roam, He keeps me all the way; So for His dear sake, my cross I'll meekly bear; Anywhere is home, if Christ my Lord, is there."
The winner of the Welcome Home bar from Scentsy, selected by random.org is
Kelly Marin said...
Home is where my family is:) Ive always wanted to try scentsy
Kelly, shoot me your address in an email and I'll put that sweet smelling bar in the mail to you stat!
And just because I know her Grammi is missing her terribly, here's a sweet little video of the Lilybird singing. In case you can't interpret, her "lalalalalala" means this: I love you, Mama, I love you, Jackson, I love my baby doll and I love Grammi too !!! (I speak toddler-ease, don't you??)
p.s. Allison, this post is for you. oxox