Sunday, April 02, 2006

Staring Down & Looking Up

We can see the floor of our bedroom.

For most folks that probably isn't that startling of an announcement, for Amy and me it's a first. Every last stick of furniture has been shoved, stored, stashed, or stuffed somewhere and except for some boxes of clutter that need to be organized we're about ready for the onslaught of the foundation repair teams.

We've been in this house more than ten years and it's been that long since the bedroom has been empty. Much of that time it's been in varying stages of disarray.

I've been convinced the floor has been there all along, but this moment is still somehow validating.

Monday morning, the jackhammers arrive to pummel the floor to pieces. Such is life.

Our new "roomies" plan to move in Tuesday. No, that wasn't an April fools joke. Amy and I have decided to open our home to another family we feel we can help by providing shelter. It will probably only be for a month or two, but right now they're in a tight squeeze and we've got the space.

The family consists of a young man - recently retired from a six year stint in the military that included a tour in Afghanistan - his wife and their 20 month old daughter. They ran into some hard times on the West Coast and decided they wanted to "get back to the Bible belt." It was a gamble they could scarcely afford either way. They left California with very little having sold much of what they had to make the trip. They'll be the latest to take over our empty bedrooms upstairs.

Those bedrooms have become our mission field.

Credit Erin...of Erin's Errands, Etc...(yes, that was a blatant plug) who was our first "boarder" although she's really more like family...except neater.

When the Gomez family moved in with us, only a week or two after Erin had moved out of our house, she suggested that perhaps this was God's plan for us.

We had talked on several occasions about our desire to do mission work, but circumstances really make that difficult at this point in our lives - Amy's health, our finances or lack thereof, etc. Erin, who's far too astute for her age (and organized too) zipped me an email saying, "Perhaps you will never 'go' elsewhere to serve, but being the light and love of Christ and 'home' in someone else's 'elsewhere'...that is also true service."

Those words meant a lot to us...and unlike our bedroom floor we seem to see validation in them almost every day.

Amy and I talked, prayed, and even at times argued over that concept...but there seems to be no denying that God is certainly making it possible for us to be someone else's elsewhere. Honestly, at times I feel He's being rather blunt about it. The fact this young family is willing to move in during the chaos of our foundation repairs is a strong testament to their need.

I've had several heartfelt conversations with this young Dad and he's not afraid to acknowledge his relief. Having a little breathing room can be a wonderful feeling...I know. At church Sunday, he was quietly thanking me again and I was doing my best to shrug it off again when we both started choking up. He said, "I can tell we're both blubber babies, I better walk it off..."

It wasn't that long ago when I was in almost exactly that same position except I was the one doing the thanking. I promised then that I would accept the extreme kindness we received only if the giver knew that I would not let his generosity end with me. I vowed we would pass it on whenever we were able to do so.

Amy and I are in a better place today than we've been for several years. It's still the same house...the walls have needs work. But Amy's health has stabilized, at least a few of our financial dragons are dead, and our faith in God and each other is still strong.

So we have be conduits and pass along God's grace.

Certainly there are many things that could be better, and we still have our mountains to climb...but our true foundation is sturdy.

Every once in a while it's nice to clear out all the clutter and remind ourselves of admiring the floor.