Preface: Sometimes my thoughts don’t have continuity until a few paragraphs in. Please bear with me if today is one of those times.
Our homes are a product of our hearts. Very much like the overflow of our hearts is heard in the words we let escape, the overflow of our hearts toward others–especially toward our family–is felt in the atmosphere of our homes. When have you ever felt comfortable in the home of an unhappy family? Don’t you just feel a heaviness, or a claustrophobic need to crash through a window into the fresh, open air? The tension seeps through the walls into every room, every corner.
You can live in a well-tended, professionally decorated mansion & still feel crushed by the walls. Walls that hold you captive with the very people you should want to rush to for comfort, but instead you often seek escape from.
Any house can be a place of refuge if the hearts within it are for you, and yours for them. Any house can be a home if its inhabitants choose love over being right. Over evening the scores. Choose to love, every day, on purpose. Even on the days you’re hard to love.
There are certainly days I’m hard to love. But this three-year-old girl of mine–this beauty all dressed in pink & seeking magic in the stream of light that shines through between the curtains, illuminating specks of dust and turning them into sparkling fairy dust–she squishes my face with her little fingers, giggling “chubby cheeks.” She tells me she forgives me after a meltdown [mine and hers]. She climbs up into my big comfy red reading chair and hugs the sad away. She chooses to love me on the days I don’t feel deserving of that kind of dedication.
This family God’s gifted me with reminds me that my home is our home, and it is beautiful even when the floors can’t be seen through the dirty (and clean) laundry. It is exactly what we need because it guards us from the bitter outside bite, and I should do the same. I should shield my husband and my babies from the bitter selfishness that sometimes edges its way into my heart.
And I can start by finding gratitude in every place, every situation, every day.
What better day to reset my heart and begin anew with a spirit of thankfulness…than on Thanksgiving?
I encourage you to do the same. Take today as an opportunity to find reasons to be grateful. For your car that sometimes sputters or maybe needs a daily pep talk to get going, but it gets you to work and to your family’s for dinner. For the spouse you barely talk to, because even if you are at odds with each other you know they’d be there for you in an instant in illness, in heartache, in grieving; because the ring on their left hand–the one tied to the ring on your left hand–represents a promise to stick around and support you when you’ve lost the will to support yourself. For your babies young and old who drive you to the edge of your sanity, only to do something that reminds you that their love for you is as unconditional and tangible as earthly love can get.
In every hard place, there is a reason to be thankful, however small it may seem. Make it your mission to seek out that seed of gratitude and it will grow to overshadow the hard things.
It doesn’t make life easy. But it makes life GOOD.