There was a white vinyl curtain hanging in the middle of the room, the kind that's made for a patio door at the beach house. It was creating a wall of sorts between the kitchen and the "bedroom", which was quite literally a bed in a room. I stood there thinking to myself, "I cannot make love in that room!"
The days were long I am sure. Of course I didn't know it then, sitting in the safety of my Mother's weary arms, but I know the weariness of Motherhood now. I see this picture with new eyes. I see all the dishes yet to be cleaned, the laundry to tackle and the work that seems to never end. I also see the rich heritage that can surround a simple table. Old farmhouse, pristine mansion, dirt floor, concrete walls. We gather around the table of our lives and we all leave something behind, we pass around more than food and salt and pepper. We pass on traditions and habits and in some cases, curses. We all live with something borrowed.
Our homes have formed us, in all the good, bad, beautiful, ugly ways. There is no denying that who we are today is largely because of the home we grew up in. We keep our homes in similar ways we witnessed a home being kept. Or perhaps we work very, very hard to ensure that our home is nothing like the home we grew up in. Some of us rejoice in the beauty of a childhood well-scripted, while others of us long to undo the tragedy that we came screaming into. Somewhere along the way, for better or for worse, we were given a future. A heritage and a future that we get to call our own. Our very own legacy.
And sometimes that scares me. What am I doing that may be enforcing a negative idea of "home" to my kids? Am I doing enough to show them that I love them, that home is a safe place, that they are valued and protected? Or am I messing them up? Am I just messing this whole parenting thing up? What from my past is hindering me, (known or unknown) in forming these little people that are beside me, with me, used-to-be-in-me? Home can be a place of safety or a prison. It has the potential to make us, to mold us, to break us. Home is full of people and so it's full of imperfections.
Living in a very conservative area of America sometimes lulls me to sleep in regards to the beauty of home. We may think that those around us live like we do; well-loved, well-fed and well-valued. And it's just not true. There is so much brokenness surrounding us, in our schools and churches and neighborhoods, not to mention in our own hearts. And we know this, we see it and feel it and wish it away. We scream about it and cry about it and cuss about it. All these pieces of humanity lying around our world. What do we do with all these broken pieces? All our broken pieces? It threatens to pull me under it's weight, the heavy burden of brokenness. I take things on that aren't meant for me to carry. I try to fix those problems that are around me, in me, falsely thinking that my fixing is the answer.
Then it gets reigned back in, He slows down my racing heart, my worried soul and He brings to mind again that He is the Fixer, the Mender, the Weightlifter. Yes, I am broken, we all are. Yes, we live surrounded by sin and shame and evil, but I don't have to be trapped inside my broken self forever. He came to set me free, perhaps not free of the memories, but free from the pain associated with those memories. Free to not pass on those things that have me bound. Free to long for a better future, for myself and for my children. Free. There is a place of wholeness that can become my reality, our reality. A reality so real that it changes our future.
And so Hope peeks her head out again from beneath the ashes of our lives. Hope calls us Home again. Maybe not back to the home we remember as a child, but Home to a place where Open Arms await, to shelter us and hold us, to love on us unconditionally. To make us re-born. Born all over again into a new family. Into His family. And when that happens, we are finally able to give the generations after us something worth borrowing from.
I'm not there yet and won't pretend to be. I feel like I often live life discontented, frustrated and simply longing for fulfillment away from my kitchen sink. I am not the woman I long to be, not yet anyway. Not the wife or Mother or friend or sister or daughter. I sometimes look nothing like this new family that I have been reborn into. His image is not my image. There's still so much of ME in ME. And that's ok if you feel like that too. It is in that place of longing where we find Him leading us. He is deeply invested into restoration, the restoration of our souls which sometimes leads into the restoration of relationships, (and sometimes it doesn't). But regardless, He will restore us.
"Come, let us go back to the LORD. He has hurt us, but He will heal us. He has wounded us, but He will bandage our wounds. In two days He will put new life in us; on the third day He will raise us up so that we may live in His presence and know Him. Let's try to learn about the Lord; He will come to us as surely as the dawn comes. He will come to us like rain, like the spring rain that waters the ground." (Hosea 6:1-3)
And so my Mother's dishes are done and the kitchen light dimmed at the end of another day, tired bodies sleep into refreshment, breakfast comes early and the day begins again. All day long there are things I'm borrowing without even knowing it. A few pink flowers placed in the center of that old table, (pictured above). The little things that made a house a home in the midst of a busy farm life. There is beauty at every table, sometimes it just seems hidden.
"Settle down, it'll all be clear, don't pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear, the trouble it might drag you down, if you get lost you can always be found, just know you’re not alone, cause I’m gonna make this place your home." (lyrics by Philip Phillips)
Hi there, I'm Janelle. 18 years ago I was footloose and fancy-free!
I was spending hours writing in my journals, picnicking and dreaming up my future. Surely I would be a flight attendant and dash all over the world, spending my weekends in exotic cities! I would learn several languages, host extravagant parties and with all my free time I would most certainly NOT date someone from my hometown, (especially not an ex-Amish man)!
Today, it often feels like I'm more of a FIGHT attendant, dashing all over town with our four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 8 months! Our weekends are spent in our little farmhouse where I'm attempting to learn several LOVE languages, (and trying to keep up with first grade vocabulary). The parties I host are mostly for the little people in my life, although I do always look for a good "excuse" to throw one, (a party, not a little person)! And as for that free time, I can only wish for more of it to spend beside my man who was born and raised in the ways of the Amish. A strong, faithful, hard-working, steady, kind man. He is the love of my life.
There's no where else I'd rather be then living in this small town with our little family,
(ok, ONE weekend in Paris wouldn't hurt anyone)! Heck, I'll settle for a trip to Target all by myself! This lady ain't hard to please!!
My days and nights are spent making this house a home, something that is very precious to me. Creating a space that is cozy and welcoming, lived-in and loved-on.
Welcome to Neighborlies, we hope you enjoy this flight!! And along with Frank, I say, "come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away!"
As an experienced event planner and previous wedding coordinator, Janelle has a talent for bringing the nostalgia and traditions of old to life (think high tea on the lawn under a gazebo). Her events and her writing style tap into the deepest layers of the soul - reflecting a longing for beauty, bounty and cozy living. Perhaps it’s her decade-long experience as a licensed massage therapist that gives her such a grasp on what touches the human spirit. Janelle’s words paint a picture of a life we all long for and more importantly, ways we can make it our own, knowing that home is truly where your story begins. She blogs over at Three Men and Their Ladies