We just moved into our third home … our third home this year. In a few weeks we’ll move again. To another temporary home. (Because our plans changed). We’ve been married almost twelve years, have lived in nine different places, and have never owned a home.
In one of our foreign apartments we had a bathroom tile that fell off the wall, shattering into dozens of pieces. The landlord came and gathered the broken pieces. I went to pass him the trashcan, when to my surprise, he began gluing every piece back onto the wall. He slapped some tape on top and called it good.
This level of craftsmanship describes a lot of the places we’ve lived. From permanently cloudy windows to rusty exposed pipes to broken elevators on the 18th floor to fake wood floors that burst clouds of dust with every step.
Having a Pintrest pretty home has never been my story.
It’d be easy for people who don’t live this lifestyle to assume that I’m the kind of person that doesn’t care about having nice curtains. I know some women whom I truly admire who ARE that kind of woman, they honestly aren’t concerned or interested in décor. I however am not one of those women. I do care. A lot.
When we moved into a five-month rental in the U.S. last fall, I was embarrassed to invite certain people over, knowing they’d see our brown marble carpet from the 1970s and the blue country wallpaper peeling off the wall.
I sigh with envy when I walk into friends’ picturesque homes. I have to ban myself from watching “Fixer Upper” because it made my struggle with contentment worse. I often wish I didn’t care about these things. Aren’t they frivolous, worldly things?
I can quote you the verses…
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matt 6:19-20a
“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age.” Mark 10:29-30a
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14
I know this. I’ve based my life direction and decisions off of these values. So why does my heart not follow? Why do I still desire beauty and comfort and a haven of a home here on this earth in this life that fits me and my tastes? I’ve gone down the road of feeling guilty for these desires and trying to squash them.
Guess what. It doesn’t work.
That’s because these desires are not wrong. Think about what we know about God:
He wanted the Israelites to have a place of their own, thus the Promised Land. He gave out a crazy number of detailed instructions for the temple, his earthly house. Why do we get a vivid description of the new heaven and new earth, complete with color descriptions and the most ornate building materials imaginable?
If God cares about these things, it’s not wrong for us to care, too. But what do we do with the longing? The desires not met?
One option is to become obsessed, to spend all our time and energy trying to force a beautiful home into existence, leaving a wake of blown budgets and frazzled discontent.
What does the other option look like? Practically, I think it looks like doing what we can with what we have, usually little by little. Spiritually and emotionally, I think it means making this realization:
Our longings will always be unmet, and that’s a good thing.
Betsy Childs Howards says, “When we wait faithfully with unmet longings, we become a powerful picture of the bride of Christ waiting for the day when he returns and God’s kingdom reigns.”
Let that soak in a moment.
If we have unfulfilled desires for a beautiful home, and we can sit faithfully with that longing, we are actually living out the gospel.
Here’s the thing about longings. Where one ends, the next one begins. Maybe one day I’ll get my beautiful house with its big windows and back porch and flower gardens. And you know what will happen when I get it? I’ll start longing for something else, probably for the old days of travel and exotic vacations and ministering on the “frontlines.”
All of you returnees know what I’m talking about, right?
Because we’re never satisfied. And we’re not meant to be. It’s C.S. Lewis’ famous quote:
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
So friends, let’s nest right where we are, with whatever version of “home” we have, delighting in the beauty we can find and create. But let’s not forget that all of it leaves us wanting more. We don’t have to squelch that longing. We have to learn to live with longing, always longing with a desire that will never be met… until we are home with Him.
What unlovely things have you lived with?
What has been your journey with desire for home and nesting? What has God shown you?
What nesting have you done in your home that brings you joy? We’d love to see them! Tag your Instagram images with #velvetashesnest. Or upload your images here in the comments. And Link up your blog posts.
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