Every single night when I put the girls down for bed and we say our prayers, I thank God for the roof over our heads and the food on our table.
The most basic of provisions. Food and shelter.
I do it to remind our girls, even at their young ages, that there are people in this world who don’t have somewhere to sleep that night and who don’t have food on their table. Maybe one day they will connect the dots and begin to ask the questions about how we can step into those stories.
But also, I do it as a check for my own heart. I do it to remind myself to actually be grateful for where we live.
Because our driveway is a parking lot off of two main streets in urban Denver. We park between the diagonal yellow lines and walk through the chain link fence to get to the backyard of a single family home on our church’s property. Our front door is actually a back door in this home. This home is a duplex of sorts, the church renovating the basement into an apartment for us to live in while Lane works there. So we park in the parking lot, enter through the backyard chain link fence, go to the back door which is really our front door, and go down the stairs into our 900 square foot basement home.
We live subterranean, friends.
Without much natural light.
Or much room for the girls to play without being right on top of us.
Or, for the love, a dishwasher.
And because this is so very far from the home I expected us to be living in when we are nearing our mid-30’s, figuring out career paths, and living as a family of 5, it can be difficult for me to be grateful about our home.
And so I thank God for it every single night.
Because I know how easy it is to become bitter. I know how easily my heart turns to resentment and discontent and longing for what I don’t have.
It’s all about the story we tell ourselves.
Because it’s all about how we see things.
Lane and I have been waiting with baited breath for word from the Army about if he got hired as a Chaplain, when he starts, where we’ll live.
And we’re starting to hear word and the pieces of our lives that we’ve been working on assembling for the past three years are finally beginning to fit together.
But we thought he’d be starting in October- it’s not going to be until January.
We thought he would be stationed in Colorado- odds are it’s going to be much farther away than that.
We thought some other things too… but it’s not exactly playing out how we thought it would.
And we will continue to live in our basement home for the remainder of the year until he begins in January.
And these are curveballs.
They feel a little uncomfortable.
Feeling the reality of life in the Army where so much continues to be unknown as they dictate your story feels a little risky, a little out of control.
But I think that there is something beautiful that happens right there.
Right where life meets the unknown, right where risk meets stepping out in faith, right where we need to fight for new vision, that is where God meets us if we let him.
Because here is what I have learned in our 18 months of transition, 9 months of living in our basement home, raising 3 little girls, and our future being completely unknown in the midst of it all (all because God told us to):
You find what you’re looking for.
I could see this delay in not starting Army Chaplaincy until January as a burden // or I can jump into it as our newest adventure.
I could look in the mirror and see the lingering pregnancy pounds as a source of insecurity // or I can see it as a badge of honor that my body grew this little life and rejoice in the purpose behind the pounds.
I could see the messy and small house and get annoyed and frazzled // or I can choose joy that life happens within these walls as healthy and imaginative kids play and create and explore.
I could look ahead to what life in the Army might entail and become anxious and fearful // or I can sit in peace and trust and hopeful anticipation of what we will encounter.
I could get frustrated with the unending requests of my children // or I can fight against the urge to see them as an interruption to my day and see them as the purpose to my days.
I can look around this house and get annoyed at how small it is or how it does not, for the love, even have a dishwasher // or I can thank God for the roof over our heads and the food on our table.
Because we see what we want to see.
And so I make the constant and deliberate choice to change my vision.
Transforming my heart.
Awakening myself to these days.
And opening my eyes just a little wider to see that there might just be another story going on.
So today, I am going to look for joy and adventure and gratitude and creativity and contentment and beauty.
And I have a feeling I’m going to find it.