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.