When I was a little girl, I dreamt of a house with a white picket fence. Isn’t that what every little girl dreams of? A place of shelter and safety, where love abounds and children run freely, while laughter fills the air?
My husband and I had been married for three years when God made a way for us to purchase our first house. We brought our 2 year old daughter in and she freely roamed the hallways, claiming the swing set as her own, and her laughter filled the air. There was no white picket fence, but there was a sense of safety and security as God’s presence was evident.
Over a span of 16 years, our now four children would bowl down the long hallway, have picnics on the back lawn and take shade in the large green tree in the front yard. We were sheltered, secured and loved beyond measure as His love abounded in our home. We were grateful to have this gift, and thankful that we would be able to give it back to our children as a dwelling place when our time on this earth came to an end.
But due to a long series of events, and a long season of unemployment for my carpenter husband, we were forced to sell our beautiful home in order to avoid foreclosure. We struggled to understand why. We had prayed, sought counsel and even felt God’s peace, yet the door was never opened for us to continue to walk through this blessing. This season had come to an end. All we could do now was throw our hands up and surrender it back to Him.
When one goes from owning a home for so long to renting, you fight the lie of “not good enough” and “failure” every day. God did provide for our family a large four bedroom home to rent. We wanted to be grateful. We wanted our hearts to overflow with thanksgiving. But deep inside, I felt as if something inside of me had died.
How do you pick up 16 years of your life and place it in boxes and move it to another place? How does one leave the customized and personalized dwelling that took years of dreaming and planning and move into a home that is not your own, surrounded by people you do not know and no hope of building a white picket fence. Our hearts were broken, our dreams shattered. For nearly two years I battled depression as I struggled to accept this as God’s plan for our family. I longed for the dwelling place that He had provided. I longed to listen to my children sliding in stocking feet down the long hallway. I never asked for a house with stairs and a dirt backyard. This was not in my plan. I wanted flowers, and green grass and a swing set for my grandchildren. I wanted my custom built kitchen and master bedroom, with rooms enough for all.
“Yield, My child.”
It took two years and nearly everything within me to stop and repent and ask God to forgive me for my ungrateful heart. God promised that He would go with us wherever we went. His dwelling place is not made up of buildings or walls, but He takes up residence in the spaces of our hearts that we yield to Him.
I don’t need a white picket fence to keep me safe and secure. I am held securely in His love, ever abiding under the shadow of His wings.