I was ironing curtain fifteen, that is, the fifteenth curtain of about twenty-four that are to go in my new home. I was agonizing about the tornado my new home is, with painting walls, creating collages and repurposing projects. A friend encouraged me to let her see what the process is really like, not just the beautiful end result. That beautiful “Pinterest worthy” end result, while lovely, can be a little depressing for those of us who are still in the midst of the journey to a love filled home. So, next week we will talk collages and repurposed pig feeder lids. Today, I invite you into the jungle of my mind where we talk about how little old curtain fifteen changed my day…
I like ironing as much as any person out there, actually probably more than the average person, but ironing fifteen curtain panels really shouldn’t be legal; it can cause a person to start questioning all one’s choices in life. This, my friends, is what happened to me. In a new house in a new town after one year of unrest and moving, I was longing to create a home for our family to finally experience some peace and consistency. Curtain panel fifteen was reminding me how far I was from that place in our home, our relationships, our church and even our understanding of our new life in the suburbs. Some days, this is a great challenge that keeps pushing me to better myself and my family, and some days, it’s just exhausting. As curtain panel fifteen stared coldly back at me wrinkled and in waiting, I began to lose sight of my sanity. I would never be done with my house projects, I would never leave my home again and we were years from being settled completely as a family (sometimes I can be a bit extreme). Then, just as my mind began to tumble into the abyss of insanity, I was saved when I remembered two important words. Words I have forgotten recently, words that made a strong impression on me seven years ago.
Seven Years Ago… The beginning of Not Yet
I first heard those words when praying seven years ago as I sat rocking a cuddly blue eyed, red haired baby who didn’t care about my lists, just my love. Shiloh, my daughter, wasn’t even one. I was praying, longing, thinking about what I wanted with my life, what I thought God had placed on my heart to do. I felt confident about being called to be a mother (that ship had sailed, baby delivered and wrapped in my arms). I had other dreams, goals, and aspirations too though. I wanted to travel the world, teach people about Jesus, be creative, be free, and even becoming a vocational missionary was on the list. Obviously, they were pretty realistic goals to complete while holding my baby in a rocking chair (again, sometimes I can be a little extreme, it’s a blessing and a curse). Those weren’t the only goals tumbling around in my head. As a stay at home mom I also had small dreams like painting the dining room and getting the floors mopped. Big or little NONE of those other dreams were happening. NONE.
Instead of traveling, creating, cleaning, teaching and showing my love for Jesus on all continents, I sat, cuddled in a puddle of blankets and books on a tan leather rocking chair with my baby girl asleep in my arms. I rocked her and prayed and read and… well… stared at the work I wouldn’t be getting done that day while I thought about the other dreams I wouldn’t be fulfilling that day either. Now, of course, that cute little red haired, blue eyed dream come true in my arms wasn’t overlooked or forgotten. However, I still had a list and I simply couldn’t do it all. Some days I sat peacefully rocking and enjoying my beautiful life but other days I sat anxiously with my stomach in knots as I wondered how I would get all my dreams accomplished at 300 rocks an hour. As I sat and prayed I heard those two words for the first time:
I love those words, I hate those words. What do I do with a cup full of dreams piling up, forming and growing? What do I do with a drop of an idea beginning to form into something more if I can’t share it and pour it out? So I questioned and I prayed as I rocked and again I heard it:
The Spilled Cup
It’s safe to go ahead and imagine me screaming at this point (obviously quite silently as I did have a sleeping baby in my arms). Jesus is crazy (You know, Good, Untamed Crazy, King of the World Crazy Amazing…. But still Crazy). What kind of God puts these kind of amazing dreams on my heart and then let’s me just hold them? Those dreams were a lot like that perfect little red head resting on my chest. Beautiful, innocent, developing, ripe with potential but not ready yet. Not ready to leave the safety net of my arms. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t see it that way sitting in the chair that day. I had a full cup and I wanted to spill it out on anyone and any place I could as soon as possible. Have you ever spilled a full cup of water on someone when they don’t want it? Have you ever been spilled on? Let’s be real about it… it’s horrid. It’s extreme and wet and uncomfortable, it’s always ill-timed and let’s be honest, super awkward. Well, imagine doing that with your mouth or your ideas. I don’t have to imagine that, I’ve spilled the cup containing my dreams and ideas at the wrong time. I’ve pushed those desires out into the world while they were too young, fragile and undeveloped to stand. Not some of my best memories in life but some of the most educational.
The Steady Cup
So my question for myself for the last seven years since that day has been: How steady is my hand with the cup God has given me?* How steady is my hand when I hold those dreams in Not Yet. As I prepare myself for what is to come and live in what is today? I’ve learned to hold those dreams steadier. Keep them safe until they are ready for the world. Sometimes I still fail. I pour the cup at the wrong time, I kick the baby dream out of the nest and it flails about unable to fly. Sometimes I can scoop it back up to safety and other times the dream fades away and I wonder what could have been. All while I do this I am learning to have a steady hand with the cup God has given me. I’m learning to hold my dreams, little and big until they are fully grown and ripe for harvest.
Back to Present Day… And Curtain Fifteen
All these lessons learned seven years ago came flooding back to me as curtain fifteen lay draped over the ironing board. All my worries, concerns and fears about our family settling into our new life in our new home came back to mind. I breathed in a breath of peace and breathed out a breath of stress, fear and anxiety. Not Yet is okay, Not Yet is good, Not Yet is the journey that is life. I will hold my full cup of dreams for my family steady, and ease those dreams out as the time comes to fullness. I will let them be free when they are ready, when my family is ready. My little dreams, my tangible dreams in my home will come. My curtains will get hung, my walls will be covered with things that we love and my house will become our home. Maybe Not (quite) Yet. Maybe I’m missing a pillow or a wreath or a closet is holding the secret of a few boxes I never unpacked (the closet on the right by the front door in the foyer). I’m taking a deep breath and enjoying Not Yet because we aren’t quite ready for “Yet” as a family or a home. If we were, we would be there already.
Curtain fifteen is ironed and hanging perfectly from its assigned curtain rings and rod. Curtain Fifteen, for all its flaws has saved me from a spiral into the abyss of despair. After starting today, and many days this month and this year with anxiety and fear I sit peacefully and calmly as I reflect on those words I heard with a cuddly little giggling toddler in my arms seven years ago. Not Yet. So I balance the journey, the dreams growing bigger and filling up my cup. I hold them steady as I wait until it is time for them to be poured out in the right time and place in my life and the lives of those around me. I take deep breathes and remind myself to like the journey. I remind myself that most of my life is the journey and the Not Yet, but every so often I get a glimpse of what is to come, in my life, in my family’s life, in God’s great plan and some days even in heaven.
I hope that taking a peek into my home and life will give you a little more grace and peace for yourself as you sit in the pre-Pinterest look of Not Yet in your home and in your journey in life. Enjoy Not Yet today friends, it may just be the best part!
*Props go to my former Pastor Kevin Korver who first posed the question to me: “How steady is your hand with the cup God has given you?”
Below you can enjoy some of my Not Yet and Almost There! pictures from around my home.