"I hate my room."He said that a few weeks ago…and well, it is an ugly room, with its seventies wall paneling and broken blinds and carpet missing under his bed. A humidifier used to treat recurrent bouts of croup years ago left this room with a mildew smell, finally alleviated by pulling up the carpet under the bed.
It was my uncle who painted this house for us before we settled. “You never know what drywall problems lurk behind paneling. Since you have little ones running around and they need to get settled, I recommend we just paint over it for now."
A wise man.
But 10 days ago, for better or worse, we dove in and removed the paneling, wanting the boys to have a room they liked reasonably well. Not a room fit for a king, mind you--those rooms, I think, give kids a sense of entitlement. We ordered new blinds, sports-themed comforters, and we’re painting it pastel blue to match the lightest color in the comforters.
But, if dirt floors work for our Compassion kids, shouldn't cheesy paneling and broken blinds and missing carpet work for my sons?Oh, I wrestled with what to do.
They’d taken the Bible the Farmer had in his hand to give to the boy who could read — and these 3 boys in Minotiere who have never owned a book, who have never had a Bible of their own, they’d decided amongst themselves in this grand generous gesture — to split the Bible between the three of them, to tear the Bible down its bloody spine so each of them could carry a bit of the God-breathed home under his arm.
They were going to rip up a Bible so they all had a bit of God.
I’d looked into the Farmer’s eyes and shook my head: all three of those boys had decided that it was better for them all to have less, so they all had something, than for one to have everything and the rest have nothing.
And at home we’ve got a bathroom in the basement, 2 on the main floor and one off our bedroom, a garage, and 20 Bibles on how many shelves, and who is ready to have less so we all have something, or do we all want everything so most get nothing?
We’ve got all of God. Why not share the rest?
Of course, I read this after we started the money-pit home improvement project. Our friend Dean, who is out of work, is doing it for us with husband’s help. We’re paying him and he comes regularly but it’s slow going. Construction is an exact science. Who knew that as you fix one problem, you create another?
The previous owners expanded the closet and must have run out of money or motivation, because instead of making it right after the addition, they just paneled all the problems up.
And now my boys are still sleeping in the living room, after ten days, and we’re itching for normalcy.We’d likely have to do this before selling the house anyway, if that becomes necessary someday. And maybe this is God’s way of encouraging and providing for Dean, our Christian brother? He loves this kind of work with as much passion as my husband hates it.
We aren't in plenty and we don't normally buy anything new, but when there is a little money, I will always wrestle with the question of plenty, now that Compassion has opened my eyes.
I think that's God's intention, this wrestling? This constantly reevaluating where we're looking for fulfillment? With each thing we itch for, there's always the reality that things do not bring Life. A nicer room is good, but chasing after God? That's the best we can hope for this side of eternity. Everything else is just a mirage.
The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.
C. S. Lewis
Giving thanks today:
Dear Lord, thank you for these gifts and graces:
- Peter reading Psalms and Proverbs at the dinner table with expression and passion.
- Scripture helping me see straight.
- Another discipling tool for raising my boys written by Dennis Rainey of Family Life. I’m now reading Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood
Snopsis from christianbook.com
What's the most courageous thing you've ever done?It's Dennis Rainey's favorite question for men. Men face decisions in life that demand courage. Big or little, complex or straightforward, these choices-let's call them battles-matter a great deal. One courageous choice leads to another; tomorrow's integrity depends on today's bravery.
Author, speaker, and radio host Dennis Rainey tackles the call to living, breathing manhood head-on, offering a simple yet powerful vision for what it means to be a man who truly conquers, and truly wins. Using personal stories and biblical principles, Rainey identifies five stages of a man's journey through life and examines his responsibilities at each step. He calls men to step up to courageous manhood.
- A husband and friends to do life with.
- Precious children to spend my days with.
- A glorious God who has a plan for each of us, if we dare to be quiet and just listen.
What are you thankful for today?