Favor From Heaven

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“Why do we love certain houses, and do they seem to love us? It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings.”
–T.T. Robsjohn-Gibbings

It was four years ago that we walked through an empty house measuring rooms, listening to the echo of our little ones’ voices as they raced from room to room playing games together. We dreamed, we planned, we strategized. And when we were done, we took our children and walked through every room together. And we prayed. We prayed over each room asking that God would be in this place, that His Spirit’s presence would prevail in our home.

The sweetness of my children once again overwhelmed me as I listened to them ask God for his blessings in our home. Dear Asher prayed in every single room,asking God for a house that would serve us well. The playroom has stars on the ceiling, and I can’t do justice to his tone of delight as he asked for those stars to brighten their hearts just like God has. There were the hidden smiles between B and I as we listened to him ask that no one would fall into the toilet. And Bear. His delight at finding the perfect spot in each room to pray, then asking God for good times. He’s all about those good times. And Bella. She just kept asking that we would be safe and sleep well.

Oh, to stand in that entryway with my family and pray for each person who would step into our home, to beg for His presence, for hearts to love each other well. It was beautiful.

But what is even more beautiful were these words left in a note to us by the sellers:

I…cherish the wonderful memories of our kids growing up there. If you are only half as blessed as we were, you will indeed be filled with happiness! Nevertheless, we have been praying for God’s richest blessings to fall upon you and favor from heaven, more than you can possibly contain.

Oh, my friends. We are so blessed. We are filled with happiness. We have known this favor from heaven…

We have had many feet step over the threshold of our front and back doors. My parents and siblings and in-laws on countless visits. College students galore have sat around our table for meals or on the porch swing for deep talks or in our den for Bible study or around the fire pit for laughter and sharing. We’ve worshipped together and had game nights together. We’ve had backyard barbecues and picnics and apple picking and gardening. We’ve opened our door to new friends and old, reunions and first time meetings. Coffee dates and lunch dates and play dates. Countless feet. Countless souls have entered our home.

But beyond that. So many of those feet, so many of those souls have been the feet of mercy and the heart of love. Hands bearing meals for months while I recovered from cancer. Hands on our shoulders and in ours in prayer. Hearts laid bare, weeping with us, listening to us. Friends cleaning for us, mowing for us, gardening for us, creating beautiful spaces for us when we could not. I can’t count the number of people who have sat beside me in our den and just sat with me, let me be real and spoke truth to me.

We have sat together, Brian and me, on our porch swing with a glass of wine and listened to our boys talk themselves to sleep in the window above us. Our family has snuggled in bed and had tickle wars. We’ve fought and we’ve learned forgiveness along the way. We’ve curled together to read good books and worshipped as a family in our little den around roaring fires. We’ve sheltered from storms and we’ve thrown open windows in revelry. We’ve struggled together. We’ve learned together. We’ve grown together. And we’re still struggling and growing and learning. Isn’t that the truth of this Christian life we live? Never expecting perfection, but always seeking to grow more in Him.

We’ve had celebrations. So many celebrations. Birthdays and holidays and “first” days and “last” days and baptisms and survivor days and “just because” days. Why not? Isn’t this life, this gift from God, full of reasons to celebrate?

Last night, we made burgers (our boys manned the grill with their dad, learning how to make a perfect burger). Bella set a beautiful table with glassware and nice plates (but we forgot to light the candles). I carved up cantaloupe and watermelon and cooked fresh corn on the cob. We sliced tomatoes from our garden and poured a glass of wine. And we celebrated and we thanked God for four years in this home. Four wonderful years. Not four perfect years, but four years of us, which kind of makes it perfect.

Oh, yes, we’ve had good times. We’ve been safe (although it hasn’t always felt like it) and slept well (though the monsters do wake us occasionally).

Yes, we have known this favor from heaven.

And so far, no one has fallen in the toilet!

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“And suddenly everything, absolutely everything, was there.”
(~Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine)

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