Gratitude: Childhood Homes and God’s Faithfulness

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Me in front of my childhood home. Please excuse my tired face – a late night T-Swift concert and an early morning flight back to Boston don’t mix well!

For the past seven days, I’ve been trying to write this dang post.

So many thoughts have been swirling around in my mind, and I swear I’ve written multiple paragraphs just to erase them. I’ve gotten frustrated, I’ve gotten sad, and I’ve gotten super sentimental, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find my words and none of my thoughts seemed to fit together. (If you’re asking yourself why I put so much thought and energy into something I don’t get paid for, just don’t. I agree with you…and I don’t know why.)

A few days ago, I was driving home from school, and a song came over the radio. It was a song I had sang multiple times before, but for some reason, the words nearly moved me to tears. I turned up the radio, closed my eyes (don’t worry, at this point I was parked in the driveway), and sang at the top of my lungs.

“Christ alone; Cornerstone. Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love. Through the storm, He is Lord; Lord of all.”

Oh…it is so true.

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to my childhood home. Before walking out of its doors for the last time, I sat in “my” closet and reflected on my life. I thought about the day we moved in, and my first night in “my” bedroom. I remember waking up confused as to where I was, but then suddenly distracted by the need to find animal shapes within the texturing of the walls.

I was seven.

I thought about “my” neighbors. The ones we shared a fence with constantly saw my little-kid face peeking over in hopes of a conversation. The other neighbors, the ones on the right, basically adopted me as their own. They taught me how to drive in snow, helped me wrap Christmas presents, and allowed me to hang out at their place whenever I got bored. They spent holidays with us, and we did so with them.

I thought about my family. How I used to sleep in a sleeping bag on my big sister’s floor at night just so that I could be near her (or because I was scared or something). I idolized her when I was little. I thought about all of the backyard games I played with my dad, and all of the times I made cinnamon rolls in the kitchen with my grandma. I thought about shopping trips and concerts with my mom, and of course…I thought about all of the times I got in trouble and was forced to do manual labor. (I mean, I’m basically the reason why the house is still standing. Your welcome, dad!)

I thought about my friends. I thought about my life-long friend K-pomp and how we liked to play a little game called “NUR” in the hallways of the house. (My parents still don’t know what the game consists of, nor will they ever.) Whether it was building high school floats in the garage, planning high school pranks, staying up all night long for sleepovers, or organizing various clubs, the house seemed to stand for openness and friendship. In fact, sometimes it felt like a hotel. My sister’s friends were always living with us.

Lastly, I thought about my life.

In “my” closet there was a stack of journals dating back from middle school and continuing on through my post-college life. I flipped through them and found all sorts of interesting things such as song lyrics, fictional writings, poems, and, most importantly, pages and pages of contemplations regarding theology and the various circumstances I had walked through. It was fascinating.

There were times in my life when I doubted my ability to ever be “ok” again. There were times of extreme heartbreak, overwhelming confusion, inner chaos, and mind-blowing loss. There were also times of pure joy, utmost excitement, and abundant peace.

But through it all, God was faithful.

During the times of forgetting who I was in high school, He was there. During the bad breakup, He was there. During the loss, He was there. And He knew where I was, too. He knew I was confused and insecure. He knew I was sad, and He knew I was doubting. He knew I wanted anything but what it was that I was going through.

But, He didn’t take me out of those situations immediately.

Instead, He let me wrestle, He let me cry, He let mourn, and He let question Him. He let me come to him with nothing but my confusion and brokenness to offer.

And I’m thankful for it. For in Him, I found a God who is loving, forgiving, life-giving, and faithful. And without the hard moments, I’m not sure I would have ever known God or myself the way that I do today.

He is faithful. He has been working since the beginning of my life to bring me closer to Him – to allow me to fall deeper in love with who He is. Sometimes it has sucked. It has meant awkward conversations of confessing faults and asking for forgiveness. It has meant ending relationships that have been gut-wrenchingly hard to end. It has meant telling myself the truth and being honest with others when all I wanted to do was run and hide. It’s meant giving up some things that I thought I really wanted – and some things that I thought I needed.

But good gosh…I’m SO thankful.

Although I wish I didn’t have to learn some of the things I learned the way that I learned them – I still learned. And, today, I’m filled with gratitude over the fact that God loves me enough to teach me things.
For, a God who loves us is a God who loves us enough to not give us everything we think we need or everything we desperately want. A God who truly loves us is a God who gives us what’s best for us even if we get mad and go down fighting. I mean, if He didn’t love us, He simply wouldn’t care. He’d let us do whatever we want regardless of the consequences to ourselves or others. He wouldn’t work on our character or the innermost parts of our being. He’d let us become whoever we want to become, even if it wasn’t our best.

Life seems to be this ever-changing, always revolving, memory making thing. Some days it feels easy and smooth, where as other days it can feel like the Texas Giant. (If you’ve ever ridden it before, you know what I’m talking about…it’s brutal.) We can’t know all of the answers to why things happen the way they do, and sometimes things simply don’t make sense to us. Through it all, however, we can hold onto the fact that God knows. He knows where we are, and He knows what He’s doing.

He’s faithful. And He loves us.

Today, I’m 29.

My life is far from figured out, and I’m sure it will always have its hard moments. I might continue to struggle with things that I’ve struggled with for years, and I’m sure there will be times of confusion, but may this serve as a reminder to myself that God is faithful. He knows what’s up. He’s for me, and He loves me. He gives strength to the weak, life to the dead, and peace in the midst of the storm.

“And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat…And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was great calm…And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” – Mark 4:35-41

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