Heart Troubles

Why is it that some mornings I wake up feeling like I can conquer the world?  I can take on any task and give myself credit for at least trying even if I can’t complete it.  I can feel good about where I am in life.  And then a simple word from someone or an interaction can change everything and make me feel defeated.

Why is it that some mornings I feel like I’m defeated before I even get out of bed?

Why do I react to some people the way I do:  judging them and being critical?

Why do I let the need of some people to feel superior make me feel inferior?  Why can’t I accept that they need to be first, be right, be “in the know” and allow them that, without feeling like I have to compete?  Or that I don’t measure up?

Why do I so easily feel left out when I clearly have so much and so many who support and encourage me?

Why do I feel pangs of jealousy and envy over others’ triumphs?  I love these folks – why can’t my love be pure and rejoice in their victories?  I am ashamed when I consider all God has done for me and blessed me with.

Why do I let some people get under my skin and aggravate me?  Why am I not quick to recall that God loves them just as much as HE loves me.

Will I ever master these thoughts and feelings?  Will I always struggle this way?

I have been a believer for over forty years and I know the spirit of God resides in me.  Yet I still struggle with this heart trouble.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in within me.  Psalm 51:10

Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways.   Proverbs 23:26

Fourteen Feet

What would you do with fourteen feet?  Would you make a room of your house that dimension?  Would you build a wall that high?  Would you plant flowers there?  If the fourteen feet were homeless, would you give them a place to stay?  Let me back up a little.

A few months ago a member of our church staff decided to plant a new church in a different part of our city.   The church planting process would include him moving to that part of the city as well.  Before he, B, and his wife, K, could get their house listed in the real estate market, someone knocked on their door and offered to purchase their home for exactly what they were going to ask for it.  (Isn’t that just like God – showing off and all!)  Well B&K accepted the offer but had not had the chance to purchase another home yet.

One day while sitting in church it occurred to me that my entire second floor – four bedrooms and two bathrooms –  was now empty.  I thought about the idea of my surplus meeting their need.  Not long after, Andrew came home and in the midst of our conversation I told him my idea.  “I’ve been thinking the same thing,” he said.  We prayed about it overnight and talked more the next day.  In my analytical brain I made a mental list of all the pros and cons.  The only negative thing I could come up with was “occasional inconvenience”.  But I’ve never thought inconvenience was a reason to tell God “no”.  So we talked to our friends and the rest is, as they say, “history”.

B&K moved in about a month ago, and the days began to look much different than before.  Oh, did I mention they have five children?  Yep, 5 kids + 2 parents = 14 feet.  OK, so technically they’re not homeless, just temporarily houseless.  But my house sure is full again.  And lively!

Somebody asked me what it was like.  I said “nothing like the pitter-patter of little feet”.  Actually I said, “NOTHING LIKE THE PITTER-PATTER OF LITTLE FEET!”  Each day brings new experiences, memories of when my kids were small, and lots of surprises.  (Never underestimate the element of surprise when you wake up to find a naked three-year-old ready to go skinny-dipping in your pool.)  And the tooth fairy has even visited our house again – it’s been so long I didn’t know if she still knew where we lived.  I’m thinking The Great Pumpkin, Santa and the Easter Bunny will make surprise appearances this year too.

Over the years Michael and I had the privilege of sharing our house with lots of folks.  Some came for a few days, some for a season, some for a year or more.  There were couples, singles, college students and teenagers.  And now a whole family.  Of course this would have never worked if Michael were here.  He’d be trying to get these four boys to play hooky from school every day to go up to the farm with him.  And he’d be constantly buying candy bars to refill the snack-basket (even though we’d tell him not to give them too much sugar).  But I think he’d be pleased to have them here and he’d love all the shenanigans they get into.   And this might just be the last time we get to share our home with someone who needs a place to stay.

As for me, I’ve found the cure for boredom, loneliness and a too-quiet house – all in 14 feet.

Looking forward to more adventures with B&K.