This new year is off to a rip-roaring start! I am finally getting around to painting my kitchen, and does it ever feel great! The last time I painted, it was a few years after we moved here. We were getting new cabinets installed, and while the walls were bare, we painted a lovely raspberry shade on them. I am ready now for a nice neutral shade that will allow me to add color with window treatments and accessories as I please. I have always been a fan of painting my walls with color, but I am on a neutral kick right now because color is a commitment, and I want freedom! There are just too many beautiful color combinations to choose from, and I want to be able to switch with the seasons.
A Few Before Pictures- I had already taken down the curtains in the kitchen before it occurred to me to take a before pic, but they were the same as the ones pictured top left on my french doors in the adjoining dining room, which is also getting a matching paint job!
When we moved into this house 18 years ago, I thought it was temporary. We moved from a new home with our 3 year old and 5 month old boys so that I could reduce my hours at work and stay home with them until they were school-age. I thought that I would be here for about 5 years, and then I would be able to work full time again as an RN, and then would be the time to have the things I wanted, or thought I wanted, in life.
Then several funny things happened. The first one was that the house was in need of a lot more work than we first realized. Our attempt to lessen our mortgage was tempered by all the money we had to spend on home improvement. We became regulars in Lowe’s and Home Depot as we shopped for everything from a water heater to new flooring. I spent many, many baby nap times scraping wall paper, painting, and even applying waterproofing sealant to the basement that we quickly learned was prone to flooding. I could write an entire book on the adventures we had as the proud new owners of a money pit. Many times I realized I could have kept the new home I left behind for the cost of all the things that had to be corrected in the fixer-upper. But as I chose colors and replaced appliances, and labored the hours away, the house became mine in a way that a ready-made house never could. Ahhh, life lessons.
The second thing that happened was that we received another tiny blessing in our baby daughter born a couple of years later, and that pushed the timeline farther back with another 5 years to wait until little ones were all school bound. My heart was so full (and so were my days!) that I wasn’t as focused on that as I had once been…
Finally, I felt the Lord tugging on my heart once again. Another major change was in store for this mom who thought that she wanted all the trappings of the world’s definition of success. I actually cried and felt like a pouty child who has been asked to do something she would just really rather not do right now. How could I have known in the midst of my fear and trepidation that I would count homeschooling among the greatest of the blessings that my Father has given us?
We are still here after all these years because this is where God put us. I have no doubt that He was leading us, and the matter was settled in His divine plan. We did pray about the decision during that time, and both felt assured that it was the right thing to do. That didn’t stop me from doubting my ability to properly hear Him while I stood in 2 inches of sewage in my basement one fine December morning shortly after we got here, but a wonderful mom who became my homeschool mentor when I reached that chapter gently reminded me to never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light. Those words have carried me through a great many hours of dim light. I also have the following verses on my refrigerator printed on yellowing paper from our church’s newsletter shortly after we moved in:
Because God is good and He cares for us, He has allowed us to make this home a lovely place to raise our family, and we have good neighbors in a sweet town. In His wisdom, He took what felt like a sacrifice that we had to make and turned it into a blessing.
I can look back at the young couple we once were when we arrived here in this “temporary” house, and I smile as I remember that man makes his plans but God orders his steps- that’s Proverbs 16:9. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that He does. I’m glad He is leading me, because I love what He has done for us. This is home, not because of the structure that shelters us, but because of the family of five who grow and develop in love for Him and each other here.