"Leaving Home" by Britney, After His Heart series
Welcome to the first official post in the After His Heart series! This is an event wrapped around the idea that we have all been created as unique women with a diversity of personalities, talents, stories and experiences and yet also created for fellowship and unity with one another. When we come together corporately to celebrate Jesus - and the fact that we love him and pursue him with our whole hearts, we finally strike that common chord living in all of us. Suddenly, what looks on the surface like a pretty motley crew can be transformed to look a little more like that One Body we are called to be.
I'm kicking off the series with words that have been sitting, stewing in my brain for weeks. Hopefully, through these words (and all the others on this blog!), you'll be able to see a little glimpse of the way God softens, speaks to and strengthens that core part of me. It will be different than what you hear from the other contributors... but also very much the same. :)
Much love and enjoy the series!,
A house is just an empty shell of a thing.
Just a bunch of beams and nails and plaster and wood. Maybe with a nice yard wrapped around it if you're lucky, which we were.
I was stretching down precariously from the top of the attic ladder, handing the Very Last Box down to my husband at the bottom. I breathed an exhausted/over-heated sigh of finality and looked around.
Reduced back to the empty shell of a thing that we had walked into just two years before. Back then it had been freshly scrubbed and swept and healed from the disaster the previous tenant had left when she broke her lease and disappeared, and the landlords hoped we would be different- that we might treat the house a little like our own home, which we did.
But we did more than just make it home, we made it holy.
We filled the attic with strings of Christmas lights and boxes of old photos and CDs and Mason jars. We polished the wood floors and laughed when the kids slipped at that one slippery spot every time. We hung that painting of Monument Valley that I found at Goodwill and bought because my husband used to fly tour planes over those huge rock pillars. I stuck peacock feathers in flower vases and baked countless loaves of bread and kissed my husband when he left for school in the morning and read bedtime stories at night and laid in the grass and kept chickens and shared meals and bible studies with friends.
God was so loved and glorified in that little house on the hill. It was Holy Ground for us. And now we were not only leaving it forever, but also needing to leave behind so many sentimental little things that just wouldn't fit in our future, small Seattle house.
I sat there in the stillness, feeling like an empty shell of a thing. The house looked sad and lonely and I felt sad and lonely, too. (On the surface, I prefer low-drama and steady, stable emotion. In the quiet parts of my heart, I'm an introspective mess.)
But there in the dusty attic, something inside of me rebelled. The schizophrenic part of Christianity is this: those moments when my heart and mind trail off into dangerous territory and the Holy Spirit speaks up. And they both want to be heard and I have to make a choice.
My sadness wanted to be felt, and needed to be felt, but it was louder so I had to let it go for a moment.
And then I remembered those beautiful things, the holy things, the fill-up-the-Empty things, and realized that we don't deliver them into a place and leave them behind when we go. We carry them with us.
We carry Holy with us wherever we are.
How simple and true and how easily I'd forgotten. We (God's people) are the bearers of his love and joy and presence and Holy lived in that home because we lived in that home. And Holy was about to travel west and sleep in KOAs and spend way too many hours in the car. Holy is a strange and foreign power inside of us- ready to fill up, light up, and wake up every empty, dark, dead place we ever enter.
So I snapped a picture and climbed down the attic ladder for the very last time, feeling more like an overflowing cup than an empty shell.
I picked up Annika, waiting for me at the bottom and feeling the sadness of leaving like a grown-up, and kissed her hard on the cheek. "We're going to be just fine, baby girl."
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