I had my Bible time on the floor this morning, sitting in between a mess of boxes and things that should have been in boxes. My coffee cup was chosen by default when I woke up, because all of our dishes had finally been packed and nothing could entice me enough to go searching for them.
Us Thomsons are moving again.
And the polite way to say it doesn’t do it justice – moving S U C K S.
Setting aside the chaos and work and expenses that go into tearing your home apart – the purge has been nice, we’ve gotten rid of a ton of junk. And really, there is a small part of moving I do like.
It’s the part when everything is done (or..almost done), and you can literally see the end of a season sitting in front of you. This has happened so many times in the past few years Lots of season during those college years. LOTS of transitions. Sometimes stuff is nostalgic and sad. Sometimes I can’t wait to get the heck out.
But really, the part I love the most is the excitement for whatever the next season will hold.
So much potential. So much, “God, what’s in store here? What are you going to do? What am I going to learn?”
That was the question this morning. I was reading in 1 Kings, finishing up the story of King Solomon. When I had left off, Solomon was doing great. He had finished building the temple, his own house, and having the Queen of Sheba visit. His heart was good with the Lord. And then this morning, things went south.
1 Kings 11:1 -2, “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharoah, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hitties; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall the come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon cleave unto these in love.”
Guess what happens.
Verse 4, “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God…”
When you’ve just read about how well someone was doing with the Lord, and then it drastically turns to this, is kind of hurts your heart a little bit. I was seriously sad for him. And slightly alarmed for me. So I instantly stopped reading and asked God, “Okay what are the things that will surely turn away my heart?”
But, you know how sometimes you ask God something and you know the answer before the words are even coming out of your mouth? That was this.
Josh and I are still unsure where the future will take us. We both like the thought of living somewhere warm and he’s tossing around different ideas of where he could go to get his doctorate. So when I say a HOME I don’t mean a literal house. We’ll be apartment hopping for at least the next year or two.
But I mean in the way I like everything just so. It’s what I put my time and energy into. I love everything clean. I like decorating. My favorite place to be is home, enjoying the little nest I’ve made for myself. My hypothesis is that it’s this thing that happens once you get married and are the only female in the house. It’s your palace. And your loyal subjects (Josh), are there to applaud your decorating skills and enjoy the smell of the candles you pick. If they throw towels on the floor they get exiled.
Anyway. Knowing that this is a threatening idol is nothing new to me.
Pause. how can you tell when something is an idol? Well, if it controls you. Your emotions. Your energy. Your decisions on where you spend your time and money. Any of the above. Basically, we as Christians are to live our lives in submission to God. He says, “Jump” and we say “How high?” So when something besides God has that type of power over us – it is without question an idol.
Resume. So things are tricky. Because when reading scripture it is very obvious that a wife taking care of her home is a GOOD THING. Catch 22, God. What am I supposed to do? Live here with this idol? Ignore the fact you called me to serve my husband by providing a clean and organized place to live?
I’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order, so I jumped from 1 Kings over to 2 Chronicles. I’m not going to lie, it did not start off as my favorite.
The reason is because I went back to Solomon building the temple. And that part of the Bible has a lot of detail. Picture your most long-winded friend telling you a story. I’m not kidding, we’re talking 2 Chronicles 3:9 where it lists how much the nails weighed.
But as I’m reading this, I’m seeing that Solomon put his heart and soul into this temple. He had a process. Certain tasks dedicated to others. Only the best decorations. Gold – everywhere.
And God showed me – see, Alonnah, now this type of “homemaking” isn’t bad.
It’s all in the motive.
I would say the last few years has been a long lesson of this. So many things I’ve strived for: a husband, an appearance I liked, a good job, a cute home, a healthy savings account – none of those were bad things. But often, the reason I was striving for them was.
Why for so long did I want to get married? Because I hated being single. Because I felt like I was missing out on the enjoyments of marriage. My reasoning was selfish. It wasn’t until God showed me that marriage is a representation of Christ and the church to a lost world that I realized this marriage thing was a way bigger deal than just my own personal agenda.
I can not say how thankful I am that he showed me this before Josh and I got married.
Because when you have in your mind that the agenda is for you – you end up disappointed. This world wasn’t made to glorify us and cater to our every need (though it’s easy to believe in modern day America). “And the world passeth away, and the lust therof…” 1 Corinthians 7:31b, “…for the fashion of this world passeth away.”
As C.S. Lewis once said, it is foolish to allow your happiness to depend on something you could lose.
So, as I paused from my reading, looked at the new transition around me, God gently gave me a new thing to strive for.
Instead of picturing myself enjoying a cozy home with sweet smelling candles and fresh blankets around every corner, He had me picture friends and family in our home, enjoying themselves. Relaxing. Laughing. Having good, intentional, needed conversation. “Hospitality” has been an area God has really laid on Josh’s heart these past few months, and we’ve talked about the burden to have a home more open to those around us.
God taught me this morning that this is what he wants homemaking to look like. Not a selfish service to myself so I can stay cooped up every night of the week to rejuvenate. But the ability to have an open door, and an enjoyable way to use the gift of homemaking to create an environment that refreshes and comforts others.
So, that’s my goal. I hope people walk through our next front door and leave differently. Through encouragement or the sharing of the gospel or however God will allow us to be used. Because, like marriage, and fitness, and finances, it’s not about pleasing ourselves. And when we realize that we can stop spinning our wheels to obtain things never originally meant to serve us.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; ” – Colossians 3:23