I was reading Oprah's new home magazine, and the next thing I know, I'm crying so hard that I can't see the pages that I keep turning anyway. I don't know if he heard me from his desk in the living room, but Ken turned up at our bedroom door. I try to tell him what's wrong, but I can't speak. It's all hysterics, and it was only the gentle rock of his strong, steady arms and his warm whispers into my hair, "It's okay," that stabilized weary me. The longing was so BIG.
Now, I'm not incredibly materialistic. Something about the canopy bed covered in roses--an astounding, dreamy bed, that released the grief about my lack of home I keep so deep inside that most days I can pretend it's not even there.
I'm a renter. I've been here 9 months. Must have moved 10 times in 15 years. I can't afford it, but I like Ann Arbor. I'm afraid to say I love it. I wonder every month if this will be the last one before the notice to quit, and then the painful eviction and me dragging Ken and the 6 of our 7 kids that live here behind me, all the while spouting with my frozen smile how God will bless us, barely able to let the words escape my mouth. Nothing feels like home. It hasn't for more years than I can remember.
I want a house--a house of my very own, with art, and mix matched ceramic dishes that I've made with my own hands. I want tiles that Ken and I handpaint above the kitchen sink. I want walls that are anything but eggshell white. I want hard wood floors. I want dogs--a black lab I'll name Inky, and a brown one I'll name Cocoa, and maybe a cat. I want something stained glass, somewhere.
I don't pray for a house much. I try not to think about it, that is until an innocent perusal of a magazine makes me my own tower of babel. And in my spirit, so far deep that the only voice you hear there is God's, I hear, "How come you don't believe I'll give you a house?"
He really knows how to get to the heart of the matter. Even if that heart has been smashed in a billion pieces.
Me, who believes that Jesus cares about the small things--the hairs-of-my-head-count for the day, I can't believe I can ask for that one big thing I want so badly that it hurts.
And it's got to be about a whole lot more than a house. Is the Lover of my soul, merely emotionally involved with me? Is my Father God, my Abba, a poor provider? That sounds like a whole lot of men I know. That sounds like *my* father.
He asks again, "How come you don't believe I'll give you a house?" and I imagine me on my knees, praying in the dark into my own clapsed hands, asking for bread, feeling the miracle of a cold, hard stone emerge between my palms.
Jesus I know. Who is this Father God?
May He illuminate your dark places, and mine,too.