a story that began with a young, engaged couple walking through the process of building their first home. blissfully unaware of anything but the lives they were about to join together and the promise of what their future would hold. a time when paint colors and lighting, carpets and hardwoods were major decisions. things like dress fittings and floral arrangements, cake flavors and menu options were high on the priority list. and during the beginning of that story, our story, we visited the homesite day after day. watching the foundation being poured, the walls constructed, the roof being installed. sometimes weather would delay the process, but eventually the work continued and the piles of wood, brick, stone, and dirt began to take the shape of a house. our house. and just as those walls began to take the shape of a house, so our lives began to take the shape of a family.
if these walls could talk, they'd tell of how we first moved in and couldn't afford all of our furniture yet. how we borrowed a couch or two from our parents and were thankful our tailgating chairs came in so handy, but we had a nice tv so that helped. because, priorities. ;) they'd tell of how jeffrey and i would come home from work and binge watch our favorite shows, because what else do you do when you don't have kids? we'd eat in the living room and have our own little "tailgates" while watching back to back episodes of prison break or 24. and there was always a threat made from the one en route to the one who'd already made it home, "don't you dare watch that without me...."
these walls could tell of laughter and tears. sorrow and heartache. joy and thanksgiving. how we sat in the family room, on our borrowed couches, and told my parents that i had been pregnant, but i wasn't anymore. we cried tears of sadness over the baby that i miscarried and wondered how we'd move on. and yet, not six months later, these same walls surrounded us when we told my parents and brother and sister in law that we were pregnant again and having a baby girl. this time we cried tears of joy and thankfulness. these walls would tell of the time jeffrey felt our baby move for the first time. how we'd eat a bowl of ice cream after supper just to see and feel our baby kick and dance while we sat on our borrowed couches and watched our dvr'd shows.
if these walls could talk, they'd tell of first year fights... or rather discussions ;) ... that involved life or death decisions. things like where to put the christmas tree, how to fold the towels, and even who should choose which show we watched at night. all things that would obviously alter the course of our marriage. they'd tell of the ways we learned to compromise and to work together. they'd tell of the times we didn't always agree, but eventually made our way back to what mattered most.
if these walls could talk, i'd probably be embarrassed at the number of messes they'd be able to recount. they could tell of the applesauce stains on the carpet from a new walker who thought it would be fun to step on a "no spill" pouch. (false advertising if you ask me). they'd tell of the paint chips from "art museums" and sisters that didn't know tape could take paint off the walls. these walls could tell stories of potty accidents, sick babies, sticky fingers, and even some original artwork adorning them when momma wasn't looking.
if these walls could talk, they'd tell stories of the many performances they've seen. everything from dance-offs to ballet recitals. it's been years and years of revolving doors of talent competitions - and many a three-way tie. they'd tell of forts and castles being built. tea parties and fairy tale balls. and i'm sure these walls could sing just about any disney song ever written.
these walls could tell of long nights with new babies. and long nights with toddlers. and long nights with preschoolers. and.... just long nights in general. ;)
they could tell of all the firsts they've seen. all of those unforgettable moments that i wish i could freeze in my mind... our first night home together as husband and wife. our first nights home with all of our babies. first words. first steps. first days of school. first days of work. and these walls could tell of some bittersweet "last" moments.... the last time we brought a baby home to that house. the last christmas we celebrated there. the last days of school. last day of work. the last time we all sat down to eat supper together as a family. and i can't help but wonder, did i treasure every "last" as much as i did each "first"?
if these walls could talk, they'd be able to tell of some darker times. some not so happy moments of life that we wouldn't want to relive at any cost. times where survival seemed the only option. and yet... breath after breath, step after step - we made it through. these walls could tell of tears and prayers and grief beyond what we ever thought possible. they could tell stories of heartache and loss. disappointment and sorrow.
but i'm so thankful that if these walls could talk, they'd be able to tell stories of redemption and restoration. of the countless times i cried out to God and He answered my prayers. the times when my faith was hanging on by a thread, but my God showed up and our lives were changed. they'd tell stories of forgiveness and second chances. these walls could tell of how far The Lord has brought our family and the many ways that He always provided without fail.
if these walls could talk, i believe they'd tell of the similarities between their existence and the life of my family. these walls could tell of how they started out strong and blemish free, basically a blank canvas for life to fill. much like our lives when we were newly engaged and first married - starting out strong and ready to take on the world. but as time passed, our lives and those walls had cracks that begin to show. the handprints and sticky fingers covered the shiny white facade of perfection until we're left with something different than what we started with.
but i believe that if these walls could talk, they'd say that what we're left with is so much richer than what we started with. that the authenticity of each scratch, each scar, each mark is so much more valuable than a clean, unblemished wall. we can cover those blemishes, paint over the scratches, fill the holes, and smooth out the edges, but that doesn't change the fact that life happened. the experiences within these walls have changed us, moved us, challenged us, and marked us. yet here we are; still standing.
as we move on from our first home and eventually continue our family story in the midst of new walls, i pray that i'll always remember the lessons we learned during these first chapters. that i'll never forget the Lord's provisions for our family and the grace that abounded. i pray that no matter what, the walls of our home will never define us, but the love within them will.
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."