An instant bedroom make-over

This is the only spot in my house that always stays clean. Two chairs. Sentinels amongst the piles, silently proclaiming that there is something sacred in this home. And that it's not any surface or spot or place or thing.

It's people.

The view from the chairs is pretty depressing. Every morning (well, almost every morning) since a fateful day in January, my husband and I have sat in these chairs to read our devotions together. We read the Word, we share the Word, and we pray. And are largely able to ignore the mess that we see from our two chairs.

Why is it, that two chairs buried in laundry and unpacked suitcases can be such a magical haven? Why is the view from there somehow less depressing than the view elsewhere in our house? Is there some potion in the aged sometimes yellow-sometimes green of the velveteen of this chair that makes the messes that nearly engulf it disappear?

There is. It's the view. (not the mess and not the laundry and not the unpacked suitcases and spiderwebs.)

The view from these chairs is the place where our beloved sleeps. His beloved. My beloved.

His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. 
This is my beloved and this is my friend.
(Song of Solomon 5:16)

When our house was cleaner, and the laundry never piled up, and the meals were more on time, and more imaginative...that is how I defined myself as wife and mother. In terms of what I was able to accomplish. In terms of how good I was at being a wife and mom. I was a good cook. I kept things sanitary and clean. The laundry was never piled up in a mess of wrinkles. I ironed occasionally. The sheets were washed every week. The kids were bathed every other day. My husband came home to a wife in relatively clean clothes who tried her best to be flirty and fun. There was music on. Home-school was going like clock-work.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

I miss it, all the time.

But does it sound redeemed?

Who was accomplishing things around the Thul household in the picture I just painted you? God? Or Genevieve? Who was taking the credit? Whose ego was being massaged with compliments? Who felt like she had it all together?

I have wondered, at times, whether it would have fallen apart so drastically, if I'd been more humble. If I'd learned quicker how to integrate God and His glory into a life that was running smoothly. I cannot extricate cancer and suffering from my life any longer. I can't figure out if I would ever have arrived here without it.

If my house had never fallen apart, if the wheels hadn't come off the family bus this badly, marooning us in our messy home with stresses beyond what we imagined threatening to crack the very foundation of our marriage, we would not know this love.

I could have always assumed that Aaron loves me because I keep his house clean, his meals cooked, his needs satisfied, and his bed warm.

Now I know for sure that is not the way he loves me.

I know he loves me because he sees my soul, because God brought us together, because he has allowed 36 years of seeking God to shape him into an amazing man who looks past the little things and the big things that distract him from seeing deep inside me - the woman I want to be, perhaps the woman I will never even become.

Do you think the woman in Song of Solomon was really the most beautiful woman in the world?

Does Jesus love us because of our perfection, or our brokenness?

By allowing me to suffer a messy, disorganized home in the wake of cancer and encephalitis, God has allowed me to experience Christ-like love flowing from my husband. Love that loves anyway. Love that loves with service. Love that heals brokenness.  Redeeming love.

That is the potential in your marriage. The potential in your messy house. The potential in you as failure.

When you feel entirely alone, lost, broken, bruised, battered, useless, weak, imperfect, sinful, abandoned...don't forget to close your eyes and turn your face upward, toward the One who is always silently present. He will redeem it. He will renew it. He will use your situation to bless you far beyond what you can imagine or desire.
The best preparation you'll ever receive for your most agonizing trials will be when you are the only student in class. In the midst of you deepest difficulties, have you ever looked around and thought, Where is everybody? Sometimes God reserves the right to withhold others, to pull you aside with Him, so that you can experience what David did in I Samuel, "David found strength in the Lord his God." ~ Living Beyond Yourself online Bible study by Beth Moore

Linked to Ann's 2011 pre-Valentine's series on marriage at: