Reclaimed Space

“I love how she designed this space,” squeals that owner of a house which has been redone on TV.  It is quite common place to hear people rave over how someone else has repurposed space in a home and rethought how it could look.  Somehow, if I have to makeover my own family room, it is not as glamorous as if an interior decorator did it.  I know some decorators who always dress with every color and piece perfectly donned.  Sure, they have a knack for knowing what colors and fabrics to place together.  I always feel a bit undone as I see what I am wearing in comparison, but after all, they have natural eyes for styles for the home and fashion.  I like fashion and strolling through home design sections of stores, but I feel a bit timid to commit to certain styles.

While strolling through Target last week with a friend, I spied a piece of abstract art with ocean colors on a tan canvas.  “Oh, I love these colors!” I shared, but followed up with these words, “I have trouble deciding if I will really like it when I get it home.  After returning numerous decorating items to the store, I have become reluctant to buy anything new for my home.”  I told the truth and she understood my misgivings.  It seems as if decorating my home space overwhelms me.

Thankfully, there are some Augmented Reality apps out there for example through Houzz and Ikea which I am learning to use to envision new furniture for my family’s den.  I am looking forward to building various designs with nuances of colors and styles then seeing them in my house and in my lighting with the help of the Augmented Reality apps. I could also call a designer and get extra help.  After all, we will soon need new light fixtures above our kitchen bar, a new couch in the adjacent family room, a new rug to balance the look, accent pillows, wall art, etc.  I have to consider my husband’s wishes because he wants to be able to stretch out on the carpet and take naps while watching a movie so the pile of the carpet needs to be comfy and not just pretty.  Even though I rarely get to sit on the couch in my home, I absolutely will have to try out, along with each member of my family, how sectional sofas feel once we sit in them at stores.  There are so many facets to redecorating our space.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about another kind of space.  I talk to my Father God but I would like to make a better effort to give Him time and space to really speak to me and fill my heart.  If I want to start my days off with hearing from Him, then I must make time and space early in the day.  I will start with the reading of the Psalms and Proverbs and see what God does with the space in my mind which will be devoted to Him.  The Word of God is designed to wash us and cleanse our thoughts while also guiding us into all truth:

Isaiah 55:10-11 English Standard Version 

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.


I love to sit on my bed and read His Word in the evening so I will continue to do this, but I am interested in repurposing my morning space so that He can have the right amount of time to help me.  I know that some of my friends exercise in the morning and process thoughts to prepare for each day.  In my case, I prefer to exercise later in the day.  I think that if I start the day with time set aside to pray and read God’s Word, then He will have the space He needs to guide me into truth and away from negative thoughts.  He is good to meet me where I am.

If the Ikea Place app will allow me to see the texture of furniture, how various shades of lighting look on the furniture and how big or small the furniture will look in my home’s space, then I know that God’s Word will do even more for me.  I hope to zoom in on specific verbs of how God worked in the lives of the Psalmists and then throughout the day, allow the Word of God to show me how it looks to live out a life that is totally trusting in God.  I know that God’s Word will reveal what is really in my heart, sort of like when I look at my old worn out couch, I see wear and tear.  I know that it needs to be replaced, but sometimes I just can’t decide what I want the next couch to resemble.  In the case of God’s Word, it will show me what I need to get into my mind to transform it into what God wants it to be.  I won’t have to guess and wonder what God will want because His Word will make it plain.

I appreciate how God’s Word washes me from the inside out and cleanses the wear and tear from my life.  He will be the one to repurpose events in my life that I might have thought of as bad and use His Word to help me see the event through His lens.  I just love how He keeps making me new.  I really want to spend more time with Him to allow the washing of the water of the Word to do its perfect work in me.

I am also astounded these days with the way that innovative thinkers reclaim wood such as old doors and use them in a way that they were not originally intended.  For example, this wooden swing was made from an old door!  Someone could have taken this door to an antique store not ever thinking that in someone else’s hands, it could be repurposed into something new and beautiful.  I think, sometimes, that I only have a certain number of hours in a day to get things done, but what if, I started thinking about them differently.  What if I gave some time that I had been designating for one thing and allowed God to repurpose it?  Perhaps I could feel a reshaping or that spending time with Him would allow Him to reclaim an area of my life.

Door Swing


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My Heart’s Door

Revelation 3:20:  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

“I went to your room, but you weren’t there.  As we were walking back to our class, I heard your voice in this class so I knew where you were!” exclaimed sweet James.  He and some friends had brought me a cupcake, one of many cupcakes that he had brought to share with his class and special teachers to him because it was his last day at my school.  I have taught him for the past four years and always look forward to seeing him.  His family had the opportunity to move to a different state with his dad’s job so this day held our last moments face to face.  I hugged him and told him that I would look forward to hearing from his mother about how their family would be doing in their new state.

I had to teach my Technology class with iPads in a Kindergarten class due to some online testing in the Computer Lab where I normally teach.  James knew my normal location so his words have continued to resonate with me when he said, “…I heard your voice in this class” meaning the Kindergarten class that I was in so he knew to bring the cupcake to a different place.  When you recognize the voice of the one you are looking for, you can walk toward that voice, arrive and talk to the person like James did to me.

His sweet words have caused me to think about the voices to which I have listened.  I know that Jesus tells us that He is standing at “the door” and is knocking.  I have to choose to listen for His voice and welcome Him into my life.  Sometimes other issues seem to also be knocking on my heart’s door which can clamor for my attention.  James knew I must be at school since I’m a teacher so he just kept listening as he passed by classrooms until he heard me.  Some of my life’s moments have caused me to walk to destinations that I had not originally planned to go, but even then, God kept knocking.

When I was 12, I heard Jesus knocking at my heart’s door during a time of uncertainty which wedged between my childhood and teenager years.  My mother received a cancer diagnosis in January of 1983.  I distinctly remember the moment when I found out while standing in my bedroom holding my mother who had fallen on my shoulders in despair.  I grew up that day.

I walked into my house through our car port’s door after school as a carefree 12 year old but was told by my mother that she had gotten a test result back that showed a tumor in her kidney.  Before this moment, my mother had started having severe lower back pain and felt relief from the medicine in Tylenol.  At the time in the early 1980s, someone was putting cyanide into Tylenol so Tylenol was pulled from all store shelves for a long time.   Once she could no longer take it, she decided to go to the doctor to see why she was having the back pain.

My mother came into my bedroom, tears streaming down her face, and told me the news.  The doctor had called with test results that her pain was coming from a tumor in her kidney.  She was relieved to finally know the root of the pain problem, but now, there would be a new road to travel.  My father, mother and I went to the hospital for her to have more tests.  Waiting for results and not knowing what would happen for a while was so hard.  Finally, Dr. Peterson shared, “Her cancerous tumor is contained in her kidney so we will remove it.”

My father reached out and called all of our family friends and begged them to pray for mother before and after the surgery. He loved Jesus but this cancer caused him to pray fervently and ask for prayer for my mother.  His voice would crack and wobble as he sat at our kitchen bar revealing the details to various family friends on the phone.  I listened from down the hallway in my bedroom.  He was holding on to Jesus and wanting others to ask Jesus to help my mother.  I had trusted Jesus as my Savior and prayed before this time, but now, I needed His healing touch for my mother.  The doctor gave hope by telling us that one kidney could be removed but until it was done, I nervously waited and prayed.

While other pre teens were concerned about the trends of the early 80’s, I was experiencing God’s comfort that my mother would survive even through this ordeal. While mother was in the hospital, Gwen, our neighbor, brought us tiny ham biscuits with mustard and poppyseeds. Pound cake arrived from a church friend. Our small church family prayed for her and comforted us with their words and acts of service.  Many friends visited us at the hospital, brought flowers to bring cheer and would always pray for my mother at the end of their visit.

After her surgery, she recovered then went home within the week. With the help of doctors, nurses and the Holy Spirit of God, she got better.  She has a large scar to show where the kidney surgery took place.  In my soul, I never was the same. I didn’t have a scar, but I had a desire to honor my parents and listen to them and Jesus.  He had helped us through this difficult time so I knew that I needed Him.  The only way to do this was to keep listening to His voice through reading the Bible, listening to Bible teaching at church and by having personal devotions at home.  It was during this time that I started reading Guideposts devotion books that my mother had ordered which had a Bible verse and devotion for each day of the year.  I loved to read how God worked in the lives of others now that I had seen him work in our lives.

I am thankful that Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” I know that God needed my attention so he knocked on my heart’s door through my mother’s sickness. I already knew Jesus, but I began to hear his Word in a new way through Bible reading and through messages at church. It was as if messages were just for me and my heavy heart.

My mother was going to be okay so I learned to praise this God who had done so much for her, for me and for our family.  I learned to play hymns and choruses on piano and closely read each verse and chorus.  The Holy Spirit had inspired so many people to write songs that spoke of holding on to Jesus.  The Gaither song, “Because He Lives” and “There is a River” which our church choir sang offered so much hope in Jesus. I developed a love of praising God and really internalizing the message in the songs.  We didn’t just hold a hymnal and sing by rote but we sang and rejoiced over how God had helped and would continue to refresh us.  My mother returned to leading hymns at church during the music part of the church service.  When I heard her voice as she led the congregation in worship, I knew that she was singing as one with a true testimony of God’s goodness and grace.

Once I heard His voice, I loved to talk about God and discuss His word, like when you sit and enjoy a delicious meal.  I liked dining with Jesus better than the smorgasboard of the world. I felt that He wanted me to notice him not as just the Jesus that Sister Broach had taught me about at church as a child, but as the One whose voice meant everything. His Words comforted my mother, my father and me and helped us fellowship with others in ways that would not have been possible without this crisis.

We continued to lift my mother up and pray for no other cancer to be there and God has  answered our prayers with decades of her presence. Her tear stained face shared the awful news of the tumor in 1983, but she has also prayed over me, with me and for my family for close to 35 years since the surgery. I thank God that it was His will for her to live.  At times during my life, my mother has read to me Isaiah 43:2, a Scripture which has been a source of comfort to her as a result of her diagnosis and helps me to keep my trust in the Lord:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.

He loved me enough to knock at my heart’s door and continues to dine with me as I read His Word, as I do my life’s work as a teacher, wife and mother, as I pray and worship Him. Perhaps I wouldn’t have heard him as clearly without this crisis of my mother’s cancer. I heard His knock and His voice. I wanted to be with Him instead of being trapped by popularity and pain from unwise decisions that I saw my counterparts making as a teen.

It continues to be my choice if I open the door to Jesus. If I listen, I notice Him and hear Him. Even now, I know that He is knocking and speaking to each situation that I face. It is up to me to let Him into my concerns.  Just as I waited for answers when my mother had cancer and walked through the doors of my house and the hospital, God will always be standing and knocking on my heart’s door.  He wants to be there to comfort me and not leave me, but I have to open the door to Him, spend time in His presence and allow Him to restore, refresh and renew my mind.  His Holy Spirit draws me to Him, yet I have to respond to His knocking on my heart’s door. He stands waiting for me to look and listen for Him. His fellowship is everything to me.


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