Hope for your home

I was walking my dog in the neighborhood we had been renting. I stood at the top of a hill to catch my breath and looked up.

“God, if we are going to be able to buy a house here—you’re going to have to give it to us.”

I picked up my pace and turned the corner to find huge banners pointing in the direction of a beautiful canyon in South Park of San Diego. I followed the road to find my house tucked behind the trees behind a gate resting on the hill over-looking the city. For Sale: four-bedroom, four-bathroom, great room living space with high ceilings and plenty of room to entertain. This was my house. I ran home to grab my family. “You have to see what I found!” Immediately we all fell in love. The next day we placed an offer and then began the seventy-two hour wait.

The house was more than I could imagine. Three years prior I had started my own business as a health coach. The goal was to create income to provide as we began a new church in our city. The business had grown beyond margin and had become abundance beyond our expectations. It was enabling us to make an offer on this house.

“God, if that phone rings and we get the house, I will use this place for your glory.”

I was guaranteed to open it for every church gathering, community function and celebration I could imagine. And then the phone rang.

“You got the house!”

God gave us this house. And for the past three years it’s been doors wide open. We’ve welcomed friends and quite a few strangers. There have been parties and prayer nights, birthdays and good-byes. The doors have been wide open. But little did I know on March 13 they would close. This house in now our shelter, a safe place from the world’s storm. I had no idea a global pandemic would touch our doorstep. A surprise to me, but no surprise to God. I’ve never been more grateful for our home.

I don’t know the house you find yourself in today. I’m not sure what’s sheltering you from the storm. I do know that its size, its shape, its location and its sticker price matter less today than ever before. It doesn’t matter if you rent or you own or just borrowed a room in the back. What matters on this day is what’s inside—that’s home.

If your house has small rooms or big spaces, these days, all the walls seem to close in. Some days there is calm, some days there is chaos. And some days they are both crammed in before breakfast. Some days we wake up with hope of a new morning and half-way through we just want the day to end. We’re all confined. We’re all tightly fitting in. And the pressure is revealing some cracks.

So what’s the hope? How is the house God gave us a safe place? How is it a shelter from a storm that seems to be making its way in? Times like these are filled with obstacles. You’ve never had more time to spend with your spouse and less time to finish a sentence. You’ve never had more bathrooms to clean and less toilet paper to put in them. You’ve never washed more dishes or tried to understand why fourth grade multiplication no longer carries the one. We’re short on paper towels, hand sanitizer and tempers. But long on running our work from home while schooling our kids and making sure everyone washes their hands. We have fear of the economy, our marriages, our health and our kid’s education. So what is the hope for our home? Could these obstacles present opportunities? Could this be the hope for our home? Not the four walls sheltering us. But the treasures inside—that’s home.

•We have no place to go. There is no other people to see. What if this slow down is for the ones right in front of you?
•No restaurants are open. No rush to drive through. What if we sit toes around the table? Don’t let this moment pass you.

•We hear what we need each morning on the news, there is nothing more happening behind our screens. What if we put down the phone to start a conversation? The best information might come from a lingering conversation with the one who’s been lying right next to you in bed.

COVID19, a global pandemic that has us all in quarantine. A surprise to me, but no surprise to God. And I have never been more grateful for this home. Not for the walls holding up the outside. But for the pause in time I’ve been given with the people on the inside. To know them more and to reveal more of me. To create and dream and rest and play. To fight and cry and have nowhere to go but to work it out. To laugh and scream, knowing for sure the neighbors are home to hear it. To see the opportunity in all of these obstacles–this is the hope for your home.