Two years ago, I was not in great place with this house. I was feeling the squeeze of 1200 square feet with a toddler on the move and an infant who was only getting bigger and more mobile by the month. The local housing market was in the depths of declining property values and we were having lots of conversations that sounded like this: "I'm so sorry Mrs. Armstrong, but unfortunately based on the type of loan you have, you fall into a small category of the population for which there are no programs or easy answers. There just isn't anything we can do at this point to help." Never what you want to hear from the mortgage people, right? It seemed we were navigating our way through a season of dead ends and closed doors, ever been there?
That spring I had picked up Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts" and I was working my way through it. I began really examining the heart of her journey, mostly by going through the scriptures she was referencing and spending a good deal of time reading about the Israelites and their exodus out of Egypt, into the deliverance that God had provided for them. I was struck by how quickly they went from slavery to freedom, in an unbelievably miraculous escape, and yet on the heals of what the Lord had done for them, they were quickly discontented. Frustrated. Obstinate. Ungrateful.
It's pretty easy to read that narrative and shake your head, wondering how they could question a God who had just sent 7 plagues to free them and had parted the Red Sea for them to pass through unharmed. What was wrong with them? As I read their story, I began to see how clearly their story and my story overlap. The same God who delivered them, has delivered me. His grace is evident in my life and I see His fingerprints everywhere, including in my home. But in a moment of frustration and/or denial, I was wondering where He was and if He'd left me too? I decided then to start looking at my home with different eyes. Instead of focusing on what we didn't have or what we wished we had, I began looking at all that we really did have. Everything that had been right under my nose but often out of sight...
So, I decided I'd make a list of my own. I certainly wasn't going to shoot for 1,000 things to be thankful for in this house, at the time I was thinking maybe I could come up with 10? But I decided to challenge my thinking and I began looking for 100 gifts in our home.
And now, two years later? I can still say that list has impacted my heart and mind in countless ways. I love the common ground I share with many others in similar situations, the humility this has woven in me about our home. I'm so far from done in that journey, there are still days I struggle and fight my way through the lies or the cycles of defeat. But God has worked something good in us through this and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
It blesses my heart today to read that last entry on the list, from two years ago, realizing that it's almost exactly the same as the theme I chose for this 31 day journey.
#100. A home that is God's provision for us, His grace poured out to see and feel and give thanks for. Today.
Yes, and amen...