Several months ago, my friend, Steph, went through a series on her blog wherein she chronicled the journey of her home. Steph is an interior decorator extraordinaire and she took us through the decorating progression of each room. And then she did this thing where she decided to just be totally grateful for her home - flaws and all. She wrote them down, one hundred things she was thankful for about her home.
If you know me, you know I am a list maker. After reading Ann Voskamp's wonderful book "One Thousand Gifts", I began keeping my own list of gifts. Each year, I get a new journal and on 52 pages I number 1-20. Every week I have a whole list of twenty lines staring at me and begging me to list all the good, all the grace, all the gifts. By the end of the year I have this wonderful collection of 1040 ways in which God has blessed me - 1040 ways in which I have seen Him. Some profound, some light-hearted, some simple, some deeply compelling. But they're there.
We'd already begun the house-building process when Steph wrote her post about her list. And it occurred to me that I didn't have a lot of time to do the same in this house we currently call home. Maybe I could start my own list...
I designed the floor plan for our new house. It involved hundreds of drafts of rough drawings and sketches. There are some things that we liked about this house (concepts) that I carried over to the new house. And of course there were many changes. It would be easy, in a way, to sit here and tell you about all the things that we wanted to change in the next home.
At least, it would have been easy.
In just a few days, I had a list of 100 Gifts that I had found right here in the walls surrounding me. It wasn't hard. I didn't rush it. I simply sat down and looked around and remembered. There were some hard times here. There were the two and a half years of heartache and longing for little ones. I can show you just where I curled up on the floor and cried when I knew we were losing our first baby. I am surprised to say that there is not a well-worn path through the carpeting where we paced with a colicky baby for hours on end. Even so, God has been so good to us here.
Let there be no mistake - this is not just a house. It is a home. There are scattered toys, unmade beds, dishes by the sink, blankets strewn about. We really do live here. We do life here.
There are many things we love about this house - many things that I took for granted until I wrote it down. And again, my list showed me that I had missed so much goodness until I had just taken the time to see.
I've read and reread my list so many times lately. As the new house takes shape more and more every day (which is fun), I find that I am content and at peace. I am not just itching to leave this place. I am not eager to pack up and say goodbye. In fact, the list may have made the goodbye process a little (or a lot) harder.
I brought three beautiful babies home here. We walked miles with them, danced together in the kitchen, chased them around the kitchen, yelled at them down the stairs, and scrubbed the carpet more times than we care to remember. We love to watch the cardinals and the blue jays flit through the hedges in our backyard. We have watched in silent rapture as the squirrels make their acrobatic leaps from our deck to the nearest tree branch - like flying trapeze artists. We've stared out the picture window in the living room and waved at loved ones coming or going (or at Daddy just shoveling the sidewalk or mowing the lawn). We've weathered sickness here and seen healing. There were first steps, first words, first days of school, first family pictures, first nights home from the hospital.
And soon there will be lasts. They will be hard, I am sure. But for now I am so thankful for this place where we have truly lived. Laughter and tears, sunshine and rain, sickness and health, good times and bad - He was in it all. More goodness than any list could ever contain.