Learning not to let things bug me

In March of this year, we bought our new home. In the three months since we have moved in, we have had a pipe back up and almost flood our basement (that happened on day two of new home), our furnace completely shut down—as in inoperable—our roof leak, our basement leak, and now <<DRUMROLL PLEASE>> we have termites. Yep, you read that right. But, let me back up a little here.

I suppose a brief overview of our housing history may give you an even better perspective on our situation. Like many young couples do, Dan and I lived in an apartment when we first married. It had been my apartment as a single gal, and it suited us perfectly in our marital bliss. Then, we started to buy into the “you’re just throwing your money away if your renting” mentality that was floating around out there, and decided purchasing our first home was the way to go. In 2008, we found the perfect house for us in Clawson, MI. Oh man, it was so cute!  The four bedrooms, basement, totally redone inside, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances seduced us like the Starbucks Siren calls to unwitting coffee-drinkers everywhere. I would have done cartwheels—if I could do cartwheels—I was so happy. In 2009, God asked us to move to Peoria. We left our beautiful, new home in the hands of a renter. That’s when the market completely crashed, and Detroit and the surrounding suburbs were hit particularly hard. Banks were foreclosing on homes all over the place. “For Sale” signs littered front lawns like morning newspapers. We felt blessed to have found a renter. However, leaving our first home together as a married couple was a very emotionally taxing event for me. It took several years to detach from the emotional ties, and look at it as a business venture. I’m not sure I ever truly made the jump.

We then moved into my in-laws basement for 6 months. Though we were and are very thankful for their provision of a place to stay, living with one’s in-laws is not without its challenges. I think anytime adult children move back into their parent’s homes, it makes for an interesting situation. We had many opportunities to grow throughout those months. From there, we rented a property for the next 3 ½ years. It was never my favorite place to live. The best way to describe it is it just didn’t feel like me. There are homes you walk into, and it’s as if there’s a connection. The walls are right where they should be, the windows let in just the right amount of light, the yard beckons your name, and it’s, well, it’s home. The Hamilton House (as we came to call it) never felt that way to me. Its walls kind of rubbed me the wrong way. The few windows we had seemed strongly opposed to letting any light shine in. The yard was just HOT. No trees to shade me and my children. Nope, not home.

However, over the time we lived in the Hamilton House, we worked diligently to pay off debts, save money, and move towards selling our Clawson House. Last summer, after having to make major repairs and renovations due to the renter we had, the Clawson House sold thanks to Kevin Stewart and Jessica Zielke, of the Remax Team. Seriously, if you need a realtor and you live in Michigan, these two are the people you want. I was 400-months-pregnant—another way to say ABOUT TO POP—and neither I nor my husband could be in Michigan to oversee the renovations or really anything having to do with the house. Kevin headed everything up, and I felt extremely confident leaving things in his trustworthy hands. Bravo, Team Kevin! J

Anyway, with the Clawson House off our books, we were on the hunt for a new place to call home. Which brings us to our current situation. Has anyone seen the movie The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long? If you haven’t, come live with me for a week or two and you’ll have your own starring role. With all the things going wrong at our new abode, I have had times where I’ve been tempted to feel down. What kind of bad luck do we have? I mean, C’MON!! When will things let up, already?

I’ve been reading a book called Satisfy My Thirsty Soul: For I am Desperate for Your Presence by Linda Dillow. The author is a godly woman who has been in service to Jesus Christ for decades. She’s been a missionary, speaker and author. These roles have taken her all over the world, canvassing the globe for the Maker. But, she reveals that all this doing for Jesus still left her feeling empty in a way. Not truly connected with the Christ she had dedicated her life to serving. Like Martha of Luke 10 fame (whom I always liked so much), Dillow found herself “distracted with all her preparations” (verse 40). Mary (whom I always kind of felt like was a goody-two-shoes), was quietly sitting at Jesus’ feet, but poor Martha was running around making sure things were done. I mean, someone’s got to do the dishes, and feed the crowds and fill the wineskins, right? I so identify with Martha, and so does Dillow. In Satisfy the author reveals how her doing turned into a contented being and an intimate knowing of Christ, through a life of worship. Not just individual times or settings of worship, but a whole, entire life bent in worship to the King of Kings. Not just singing some songs on Sunday morning, but letting your life become a praise song to Him. “I want that,” (said in backwoods twang of the woman buying the bowls from Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite).

I found out this week that our God answers the prayer to live a life of worship really fast. And as I’m sure you’ve heard, he often gives us opportunities to exercise these types of requests. Enter termites. I’m at a place in my life truly, friends, I feel like I can’t handle too much more pressure. The rigors of living through my husband’s seminary and the weekly trips away to Moody’s campus, the summer requirements of his five-week military service (which leaves me by myself with 2 little ones), the demands of ministry life, my job at the school, the ups and downs of my Hashimoto’s Disease, and the regular pressures of being a mom have left me….weary. I’m very, very tired. And all I want most evenings is to crawl into bed in my safe, problem-free, structurally sound home. But, my home is not problem-free. In fact, I have little bugs feasting happily on it right now, as you read this. And, boy, did I want to pull a Martha! I wanted to get about the business of making things happen, get things done, get rid of these evil, little creatures! But, that’s what I’ve always done. And when I was given the news of termites, I believe I heard God ask me to respond in worship. To try something different. To “choose the good part, which shall not be taken away from [me],” Jesus says of Mary in Luke 10:42. So, with a few tears and a healthy dose of frustration, I bent my will to Him in worship. I told Him that even though I did not feel like it, I most certainly would be praising Him. And then I did just that. He then reminded me that this house is His house. The money we have is His money. He will do with this house as He pleases. And He will spend His money as He sees fit. Right now, He feels it best that we have termites and we spend money on purging our living quarters of them. I may feel it’s best we do not have termites, and I may feel it best to save money and/or to bless others with it. That makes sense to me. But to God, He believes what the Wilton house needs are bugs. So, alright then, Father. Bring ‘em. But…could you also get rid of ‘em? In the mean time, I will dedicate myself to learning how to worship, no matter what the circumstances, and learning how not to let things bug me so much (pun totally intended).