Day Nine: Praise for God’s Care, Matthew 6:26

We closed the door to our house in California for the last time on August 26. We couldn’t move into our new house in Arizona until September 21. In the meantime, we lived with my sister and brother-in-love. Our belongings stayed on the moving truck in Phoenix, 100 miles away. The temperature in Phoenix averaged 102º that month, so we boxed up whatever we nonperishable goods we had in the pantry and took it to the neighborhood food bank, a small way to show God’s care to others.

When we moved into our new house, I restocked my pantry with staples: olive oil, flour, tomatoes, chicken broth, oatmeal, and on and on. Once I carried the bags and bags of food into the house, I sorted it on the counters and then organized the pantry. Over the pantry door, Van mounted the word grace, because of the bounty behind the white door, just like everything in our home, comes from God’s care, His grace.

God's care

Standing in the pantry, deciding where each item belonged, I saw God’s care in tangible ways. I stopped and thanked God for His abundant gifts. Every time I open the pantry door and step inside to get a can of soup or tomatoes, potatoes or an onion, a box of muffin mix or a bag of chips, I stand on the verse we wrote on the foundation. A reminder that whether our pantry bursts at the seams or is empty, God provides every need. Continue reading “Day Nine: Praise for God’s Care, Matthew 6:26”

Day Eight: Choosing the Right Clothes, Colossians 3:12

One of my favorite things in our new home is the indoor laundry room. In my 40 years of marriage, I either went to the laundromat or the washer and dryer lived in the garage. Now my laundry area stays clean and I don’t battle the heat of summer or cold of winter. Van and I are retired, empty nesters now. We dirty far fewer clothes than we used to. However, keeping up with laundry still seems a never-ending task.

I enjoy the routine of doing laundry. Sorting the clothes into piles, moving the clean clothes from washer to dryer to laundry basket. The smell of clean clothes, fresh from the dryer often goes on my list of gifts for the day.

It’s easy for me to worry about my appearance. I like looking put together and fashionable. The OCD part of me needs everything to match. (A little secret?  I miss the days of changing handbags to match shoes.)

But when I read Paul’s words in Colossians, I realize the attitude of my heart, not my apparel, needs my attention.
Continue reading “Day Eight: Choosing the Right Clothes, Colossians 3:12”

Day Seven: Matthew 5:16, Let My Light Shine

As soon as the sun peeks out every morning, I open the curtains and let the light in. I love a light, sunny room. Whenever possible, I head outside to sit in the sunshine, feel the warmth on my shoulders and back. I love having the light shine in my home!

As soon as God formed the earth out of the darkness, He said,

“Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)

From the beginning, God knew His people needed light and provided it.

I make sure there are plenty of windows in any home I live in. Without light, I become melancholy and spend too much time looking inward. But light helps me look around and savor all God has for me each day. Continue reading “Day Seven: Matthew 5:16, Let My Light Shine”

Day One: Proverbs 16:9, The Lord Directs Our Steps

Planning Our Course, The Lord Directs Our Steps

“Before we go, let’s pray,” I said, and Van and I clasped hands. Lord, to us, this seems like the right thing to do. But we don’t want to run ahead of You. We have hopes and dreams about the new chapter of retirement. But we want our dreams to glorify You. As we look at homes, help us keep open minds and hearts. I claim Proverbs 16:9, Lord, In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps. We planned our course; direct our steps, God. Help us make wise decisions. Amen.

A year of talking, thinking, praying, and we agreed we would retire in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Leaving California meant huge change and lots of unknowns. Although Van was born in Phoenix, he moved to California when he was eight. In my sixty-two years, I never lived further than seventy miles from Los Angeles. All of my family, including our daughter, Erin, and three grandchildren, live in California.

I never dreamed I would leave the community where our friends, ministries, and church home were centered. Twelve years of unforeseen change and sorrow settled like a heavy dark cloud, and weariness seemed more and more part of my life. Van worried discontentment fueled my desire for change.

Search my heart, O God, I pleaded. I want to please You and serve You. Show me the way. If I am discontent, forgive me. Fill me with Your peace and joy.

 Van and I prayed and talked and prayed some more, together and independently. Now we stood together, hands clasped, and asked God to direct our steps before we started searching for a new home.

Seeing How God Directs Our Steps

God answered that prayer over and over. We found a new house we liked and that fit our budget. Our home in California sold in less than a week, and the buyer agreed to a longer escrow, and let us rent the house back for a month. That way, I could finish my last year of teaching and our under-construction house would be closer to completion. Judy and David, my sister and brother-in-love, went above and beyond what we asked, sending pictures every, single day while we stayed in California. Then, they graciously opened their home for the month we needed before our house was ready.

During the construction of our new home, we visited several times. After one visit, I posted a picture of myself sitting on my front porch and on the fireplace while the house was being framed. A friend who saw those pictures on Facebook recommended we choose a favorite verse and write it on the threshold. “It will be covered with drywall and painted,” she said, “But you’ll always know it’s there.”

Both Van and I loved the idea. Again, we prayed about what verse to use. We each made a list. However, we couldn’t get to Prescott in time. We thought about writing on the drywall, but somehow, that didn’t seem right.

Inviting God into Our Home

Finally, we thought about writing directly on the foundation of the house. But the drywall dust prevented the marker from working. Van got a bottle of water and a towel. Kneeling on the foundation, he washed the cement. Now the writing could be seen clearly and easily.

As I watched Van prepare the floor, I realized God again directed our steps. We wrote on the foundation, and Christ is the foundation of our faith. Van and I want Him to be the foundation of our home. Jesus washes us so we stand whiter than snow before God. Washing the dirt and grime from the floor reminded us of Christ’s sacrifice, and that we must come before Him with clean hearts. In humility, we kneel before Him, with thanksgiving for His gift of love and mercy.

Our hearts’ desire is to make God the foundation of our new retirement life and our new home. Mark Batterson’s books, Draw the Circle and The Circle Maker, influenced us to pray throughout our home. We chose verses for each part of the house and prayed them. Every verse we chose became a prayer that God be glorified in this home He provided.

Now that we live in our new home, we continue to pray the verses, reminding us that our home belongs to God, and we want to use it for His glory.

Proverbs 16:9, In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps, was the first verse we wrote in our entryway. A reminder that every time we go through the front door, we are on a mission for God, whether going out into our community or staying at home. No decision should be made without looking to God and expecting Him to work in us and through us. We need to remember, the Lord directs our steps.

Directs

Prayer that God Directs Our Steps, Proverbs 16:9

Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness. That You know how to take my plans and desires and make them into something good. I ask You to direct my steps in everything I do in this home You provided. Let me not run too far ahead of You, but to listen for Your voice and obey You in all things. I ask for wisdom in every decision. Help me remember, this home is not mine, but Yours. Use it, use me, for Your glory. Amen.

JOIN ME IN PRAYING FOR YOUR HOME FOR 31 DAYS

Every day for the next thirty days, I will share one verse, where we wrote it in our home, and the prayer of our hearts. You can use these verses in your own home as you seek to make God the foundation of your home and life. Because our home was under construction, we could write directly on the foundation as a symbol, but there are many ways to make these verses part of your home:

  • Write them on the underside of a piece of furniture or inside a closet
  • Print the verses, frame them, and hang them where you can see them (free printable available on Day 31)
  • Keep a prayer calendar. Write the verse on the calendar, then every day pray the verse (free printable available on Day 31)
  • Keep a prayer journal. Write each verse on a different page of the journal. Every time you pray that verse, write the date. Also, write how you see God answering your prayers as you faithfully dedicate your home to Him.

However you choose to use these verses, I pray God blesses you as you seek to glorify Him in your home.

This is Day One of #write31days2017. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.

 

Introduction: 31 Days of Prayer for Your Home