Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home

It has been quiet here in this space for many reasons. I haven't had words or photos to capture these past weeks, months. We accepted an offer on our house within days of my parents' moving into their home, Christmas followed weeks later, then sickness followed close on the heels of our move at the end of December, and we were laid low, so low. Now I hold my camera in my hands again and wonder at how to step back into this space, wonder at not only the gift of this new year but this new chapter, this new life. Just over a year ago I wrote the following words. Will you read them again and thank God with me for His faithfulness in directing our path? Oh, the photo in my header? It is the driveway I walked as a child and now my children walk, hand in hand with their grandparents and great-grandparents. To God be the glory...

Continuing our story of God's faithfulness, I hesitate. What if you, reader, don't see past me? I agonize that you might hear me shouting, "Look at me!" when I am begging you, "Look past me!" I write because I burn...because I know that this is not my story, but His. May I remind you, friend, that I am the girl that was least likely to ever leave my home? My journey across continents and oceans and back...home, well, that only points to Him. See His threads in this tapestry and the next chapter...

Once we realized that we were indeed headed to Africa and at least one more child was joining our family, we knew that we had to do something about our home. Home, sweet home, it has been. Its hundred years of history and river views and honeyed floors had been our dream home. But...our postage stamp yard wasn't keeping the soccer ball out of the neighbor's flowers, and we couldn't keep the boys out of the neighbors' trees, and I was dreaming of a garden that fit more than one gardener, and then...a friend offered us land. It was an incredible offer, and we began to dream as we trudged through the woods and wondered about sunlight and shadows and started drawing house plans. We hustled to ready our home to go on the market before we boarded the plane for Ethiopia, and we returned from Ethiopia to our dream house finalized on paper, each elevation carefully penciled by my father and waiting on his drafting table for our approval.

We have been home for four months, and I have yet to look through those finalized house plans.

I could not make decisions about flooring and bathroom hardware and light fixtures while holding in my arms the reminder of a continent that was so desperately needy. I wept...a lot in those first weeks home. I wondered how to do this new normal, how to live with what we had experienced in Ethiopia, what we had seen, heard. We knew that the house on paper was not our home, not His plan. But what was?

It happened slowly yet all at once, heart conversations with my family...and then my parents were sharing their desire to downsize from the 1,600 square foot home that they had built with hands and hearts over 25 years ago. My parents' hearts had been moved, and their lives changed so ours could change. We were standing in the home that had been mine in childhood, looking out over the porch where we had been married and suddenly realized this was it. We were going to live here.

We have some hurdles yet. Our house has yet to sell, but our evenings and weekends are filled with work on the 800 square foot cottage for my parents that will often be filled with grandchildren and will overlook the garden that we will plant together and harvest together. My children will learn to avoid that creaky board in what was once my room with stenciled hearts on the walls, and they will go to sleep in summer with a chorus of bullfrogs at the window. Their growing up years will be much like mine, but then, I realize I don't think they will be at all like mine. They are talking of African wells and hungry children and filling shoe boxes for those that don't know the Good News, and their passports, Lord willing, will have stamps in them much sooner in life than mine did.

By God's grace in this move, we will be able to give and serve in ways we have never been able to before... I am keenly aware of how this could sound, but will you hear the tremor in my voice, as I wonder at this gift? Can you hear both the awe and fear at the responsibility that will come with this new lifestyle? Financial freedom means that we will have new choices to make about how we live and how we give. We don't know exactly what these new days will hold, but I pray that you will see in His story, not mine, perhaps a different chapter for your story? Keep seeking, as He promises to be found.

(Reposted from October 2010)

5 comments:

Barb said...

Riann,
Perhaps God has given you a gift to write? Your words are so touching, so uplifting, so beautiful! Thanks for touching lives just from the writing you have done here. Your childrens' lives have been touched by your generous giving of your hearts, your parents lives have been touched by your homecoming, your church lives will continue to be touched by your family growing up there, your family and friends are no doubt touched by your unfailing courage, devotion to family and strength in God. I am touched by just knowing you and I pray God would continue to bless you and yours as he has already done! Welcome home! The desire of my heart is that my children might one day 'come home' too! Love and Blessings! Barb

mama said...

i've been waiting for this. welcome back to the neighborhood!

Mark and Sarah said...

I agree with Barb. I believe that God is going to use your new (old) home to inspire you to write so that we see past you, to what really matters. I am on pins and needles waiting to see how this new freedom God's given you will be paid forward into the lives of MANY who know not what is coming. Keep us involved in your story...it encourages our faith, dear friend.

Laura said...

I whole-heartedly agree with Sarah! Missed you, your words, your heart...

Ann said...

Welcome back! I was so happy to hear the updates! You must have sold days after our phone conversation--I can't wait to see what God has in store!