Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thoughts on Home :: Releasing the Dark, Embracing the Light {part 1~the past}

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 091

A steeple, a church, a house that is no more and a glorious sunset.

This picture holds a thousand words and more.

The steeple is a fairly new and beautiful addition to this church.  I know because this church is the one that my family attended during all of my growing up years.  Before I went to college, it was the only church that I really knew for its ins and outs of living.

The left of the picture, where the bare trees are, is the space where the house we lived in as a family for 10 years used to be.  It is no more.  It was torn down earlier this year.

And the sunset, ah that sunset.  It is the gift of those years.  When things were hard and days stretched too close to hopeless for those we loved, my sisters and I would cross the driveway of the church and its front lawn to a slope on just the other side and we would sit and sing praises to God and marvel at the glory of Him and what He always paints.  Day in and day out.  Never ceasing.

And this whole mix represents a big chunk of ‘home’ for me.  The church, as any, it was not perfect and at times I was angry because of all of the turmoil that surrounded it in my family. 

My father felt obligated and ‘indebted’ because the church allowed us to live in this house for minimal rent after we left our farm just 2 miles down the road.  We were broke and in great debt and truly, it was this home or???

My mother was broken down just like the house and living in the church’s place, well, it was her last choice.  The situation {and the house} deteriorated over the years and my mom just stopped going to church.  More than being about the church, it was about a sadness, a cloud that covered my family, especially my parents, for some long dark years.

When we had to leave our farm, my father lost his life-long dream, my mother lost all of the blood, sweat & tears she had poured into helping him fulfill that dream and my four siblings and I {along with our parents} lost  this home where we all labored and loved to build our life together. 

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 047

We gained all of the outward signs of failure.  Debt. Sickness. Depression. and a Run-down house. We were each broken in so many ways.

For a while, I wore a pretty significant chip on my shoulder. A splintering wood block of shame and resentment and pride.  In my eyes, we were the poorest of all of my friends and classmates, but nobody knew. Our hard financial times were a secret to many and my parents were too proud to ask for help and too grief-ridden to know how to make any of this mess better.

I can say now, though, that it takes some work to remember these days, these years, this stretch of time filled with so much pain. 

How is that?

Because I’ve learned to let go of all of it.

I have released the hard and painful into the hands of He who writes my story.  My parents’ story.  My entire family’s story.  In relinquishing the rights to what was dark, I have received it all back in the form of light and new life.  There is not a thing that happens that cannot be redeemed.  I can say from deep places once given to shame and fear sunset, souderton parade, around the house 087that I believe this, oh yes, I do.

And so, what of home?  Just like in the picture it is not the broken down house that represents broken lives, encased and secret, that can be seen.  No.  That home is gone and with it, for me, all that will not last forever about that home.  About home itself.

Home is rather like what can be seen.  The steeple and the sunset.  It is in the steeple that exalts the cross and a Savior who absorbed the darkness of all time and now sits at the right hand of God on High.  The Glory is his because my story is His.  And the sunset, yes, the sunset.  For all of those years it sealed the days in promise.  Though there was great sadness He was daily painting the reminders of all that He gives, namely, His matchless Beauty, to heal the world.  to heal me. to draw me wholly to His bosom that allows me to see clearly what or who Home, enduring and sure, truly is.

{I’m rounding out 2011 with a weekly series:: Thoughts on Home.  Home was my word for 2011 and the choice was full of irony and searching.  I am sharing that story here along with the priceless lessons I have gained.  Go here to read the introduction to the series.}

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Thank You God of My Story ::

  • For the chance to remember
  • For the extra time here at ‘home’ to do that
  • For the hard, dark years
  • For the failures and all they brought
  • For a home, though broken down, it was a roof and over our heads
  • That it is no more and my mother is in her Perfect Home Forever
  • That You never, ever leave or forsake
  • For the sunset glory that was as beautiful a spot as I’ve ever had
  • For a steeple and its cross raised high to You
  • For these days and staying longer here…waiting and living
    • That in the waiting we have gotten to be with our two nephews and niece
    • For how I am ‘Mama Abby’ or ‘Mommy Abby’ or ‘Auntie Mommy’ because these are my twin’s kids
    • For how sweet niece loves that I sound like and remind so of her mama
    • For the chance their mommy and daddy have to be away together
    • For little O and his one-of-a-kind brain…so much fun and so many laughs!
    • For being mistaken SO many times for my twin at her son’s school and her church…it is still so funny…Smile
    • For singing Christmas carols together
    • For packing up 5 kids 6 and younger in a van…
    • For love, cousin love, and auntie/uncle love and just family love!
  • For getting closer to going {85%!} …for the waiting that is full of this season of Advent
  • For trusting You more and more…You will never disappoint
  • For lessons weaving deep and no time wasted
  • For the journey always leading to the BEST…coming, yet to come!!!




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