Where the heart is

In December, Wade and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. After sharing some celebratory cake and kisses, we closed on the purchase of our new home and began unloading the U-Haul. It wasn’t our first time to move, or our second, not even our third. No, this is our 30th change of address in a decade. 

While Wade was playing professional baseball, our number of relocations hardly compared to some other players and their families. Five years out of the game, packing up everything is less regular and definitely more involved. Our family has grown, as have our attachments to places and piles of “stuff.” At least now, all of the boxes are unpacked and we’re beginning to gain that coveted sense of home. New paint always helps.  

With so many nesting attempts, it’s fair to say I’ve attempted the majority of popular color trends. Since home is where the heart is, the place where we build relationships, make memories, and impact our children, I’ve been more than ready to tackle home improvements and create an extensive honey-do list. This new-to-us, old farmhouse has sat silent and uninhabited, and now she begs for her dark walls to be washed, the dust and dirt to be wiped away. 

I’ve painstakingly selected a color pallet of the perfect neutrals—warm, clean, and bright—and set out to with my angled paint brush and attack the corners and trim of the first wall. 

But old water damage.

Scrapes and scratches.

Dents and crumbly nail holes.

It’s amazing what being empty does to a place. Empty isn’t good for anything, especially the heart.

An empty home is an open door for the unwelcome—pests, mold, leaky pipes, or vandalism. Our hearts are even more vulnerable when they aren’t filled by the Holy Spirit. As I paint around the edges, details, and trim work, I notice further imperfections. Just like the hidden recesses of my heart, I could easily paint over real issues. Quick fixes or temporary band-aids work until the Big Bad Wolf or the storms of life come and blow it all down.

If our bodies are temples (and Holy Scripture says that they are), then we can’t neglect our spiritual house. Prayer, fasting, Bible study, almsgiving, participating in the sacraments, caring for widows and orphans, and thanking God for the sunrise, these are all ways to tend to our souls.

As my marriage drives me to devotion, so does my relationship with Jesus Christ. But in the flurry of New Year resolutions and the tendency to make ourselves a project, we must remember that God desires us to make an invitation of ourselves despite the status of our temples. Be they broken, busted, or bloated, welcome Jesus and the carpenter will undoubtedly fill it, fix it, and make love flourish. 

No matter how many times we move, and I hope we’re done with all that, I’m reminded that none of these houses are our forever home. If we allow the Lord, His amazing grace will cover us with the eternally perfect shade of snow white. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 

Happy New Year, friends.

*Photo Credit: Chelsie McElfresh

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at wordslikehoney.com.