Thursday, May 31, 2007
The Mantle (part I)
It was hard leaving my old house before moving here. It was hard for a lot of reasons. But the thing that made it the most difficult was knowing how hard I had worked to make that home, my home. My home was an expression of who I was and who my family was. Every room was painted, every room was decorated, every room was a place where I had put my touch and made it my own. Jeremy and I worked hard to buy things for it and decorate it. When people came over, I was proud of it. At Christmas time, I enjoyed it the most. My gigantic Christmas tree, my touch of Christmas here and there, it was greatness. The thing that stood out to me the most when we first saw that house, was the mantle over the fireplace.

The mantle jumped out at me as soon as the realtor walked us through the home. It was strong, it had presence. There was something about it that just brought the family room together. Instantly I could see pictures of my kids sitting across the mantle, garland wrapped with Christmas lights at Christmas time and stockings hanging with my children's names. The mantle was a perfect representation of our family. The mantle set the tone for our entire house.

When we moved I was really struggling with leasing. I knew leasing was the only option due to our bankruptcy. Home ownership will not be in the picture for at least a couple of years. So even though our names are not on the deed to this house, I long to make this house feel like my home. The investor that built this home was excited to get us in here. He built it and it sat for six months before we came along. Thankfully, the property management company got approval for us to paint! So we have been here about two months now and I have not been able to find the time to get started on painting and I have been struggling big time with trying to get this home to feel like my own.

Before moving, I felt like my family was on a schedule. I was organized, my days were organized and I felt motivated. Since being here, understandably, I have struggled to get back on that track. Since I know I am going to paint, I have held off on hanging pictures. The walls are white and empty. Lately I have found myself feeling depressed or completely out of sorts here. So I asked a friend to pray for me and she said something that made perfect sense. "You know what it is Amanda? You need to paint, you need to decorate your home. When you have it all put together, you will feel put together and you will feel better. It will help you get a schedule." Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! It was a "GOD STOP" as Beth Moore describes in many of her Bible Studies. God used the words of a friend to tell me EXACTLY what I needed to do in order to feel like the heart of my home again.

This morning I walked downstairs and noticed the mantle in the center of our family room. There are no pictures of the kids, nothing up there that represents my family. The room isn't really functioning until I see a part of us there. Right now, the only thing I am able to notice is the emptiness. I long to make the mantle the center of my home. For I know that what I place on the mantle will cause the entire home to come together and flow like it's meant to.

There have been seasons in my life where I feel like something is missing. I can't put my finger on it, something just doesn't seem right. A few years back, Jeremy and I came to a place in our lives where everything seemed empty. We were both believers, Christ followers, but there was something that we were missing. Before I finish this thought, let me say this. Even when we make the decision to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have seasons in our life that bring about a crisis of belief. It's not so much a crisis of belief about Christ, but just life and circumstances. For us, we were questioning everything around us. Wherever we went, our minds and hearts were unsettled. I remember walking into church on Sundays and my mind felt like an out of tune radio station. There was nothing but static! My skin began to crawl. I cannot remember a time in my life where I felt as uncomfortable as I did then. Just thinking about it makes me anxious! One day after Jeremy and I got home from church, we decided to start praying about our circumstances. As we did, God began to show us that we had lost focus on what truly mattered in life. Instead of Christ being at the center of our family, He was no where to be found. Sure, we prayed, we still believed in Him but, our actions, our time, our energy was not centered around Him. It's interesting how you can be so busy going to church, bible studies and all the "Christian" things, yet miss the main point of it all.

Today I am at the place again. Not with my church, not with those around me but in my home. It's my home that I am finding I am most stressed, worried and afraid. Order is missing, discipline is missing, an atmosphere of thankfulness is missing. It's here that I feel my mind resembles an out of tune radio station. And again, I think of the empty mantle in my family room.

You see, Christ is my mantle. He is the one that envelops me and covers me. That is why I need to do everything possible to make sure He remains at the center of my life. When others come into my home, I want them to feel the power of the mantle. And that will show by the love and support they feel when they are here. It's not so much about focusing on how great my house is decorated or how good my house looks, but it's about me making this house, MY home. It's also symbolic for the person that I am. When my home is out of whack, so is everything else. As women, I think we all struggle with this and we all know how incredible it feels when everything is folded and put away! Instead of all the clothes on the couch or in my chair in the bedroom, it's put away. When Christ is my mantle, everything seems to flow. Everything is centered around it and I can't help but to exude peace and love to others.

Today my prayer is that I will be covered with a mantle of strength. I need strength to do the things necessary to get this house in order. If that means paint, I need strength to do it. Especially with three kids! Today my prayer is also to be covered with a mantle of peace. My spirit has been anxious but I long to be relaxed and finally feel like THIS is my home.

If you don't mind, i could really use your prayers. I need a boost! And part II to this post will come and there will be a new picture of a new mantle.

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  posted at 11:29 AM

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

You have my prayers! I completely understand what you are saying! I struggle with order in my home and feelings of anxiousness as well. I'm working very hard on that as we speak! I'm not working on getting everything in order because I have learned it never will all be in order. I'm working on a nice balance. Order and knowing when it is okay for something to be out of place.

I can't wait to see part II!

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Dee @ All the While said...

Girl, I am praying for you...and pray for me in the same areas!! I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my 3rd baby and am feeling the same - just out of sorts with most everything, tired, worn down and in need of order.

Can't wait to hear part II!

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

Lord, thank You for this precious lady, Amanda. Thank You for her heart desiring to have You as the center of her life. Hold her close to You and fill her to overflowing with Your love, peace, and joy. Bring Your order and balance in her home. To You be all glory! Thank You for how You care about every detail of our lives. In Jesus' precious name, Amen

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Tiffany said...


I pray that you'll sense the Lord's pacing in every area of your's a constant challenge to stay "tuned in" to His voice.

I know that even in these short days of summer, I've been going crazy (already) because my house is now a mess ALL DAY LONG and my Spirit feels the same!!!

But WHERE is my focus, huh?

I look forward to the progression of your mantles (both heart and home)...hoping mine will find some peace as well!

Love you,
Tiff :)

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Paula said...

You are so on. When there is order in the spiritual life, family and home, it brings much peace. You are still in a transitional period. Give your self and break. The comfort and peace of family order will come.

Love you girl.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Gina said...

With all the great things happening in your life and especially now in Jeremy's too, I just know that together your "home" will be together before you know it!
I was so proud of you tonight and be sure to give Jeremy that extra pat on the back for being a good and honest person.
We are so blessed to have you both in our lives. Love you!

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous kaufee said...

I pray that you can put your mark on your house and claim it as your home.... because even if your name isn't on it, Jesus' name is. He will fill it up just as before, but only better. He has His mark and decoration on your family and you need to let it flow into your home....on the walls, floors etc. We all experience an unrest when we feel unsettled. I am still not settled in my home but I have most of my stuff feels like home. Ask Him to fill up your home in a new way to help you feel settled. It works. I love you. I will pray for you. Love you.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks friends. WOW! That's all I can say!


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