March 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! It is a lovely day here in sunny and mild, Phoenix. The air temperature is cool, but the skies are clear. The day looks to be another perfect spring day!

I was up early this morning because I had to drive my son over to school. He is off on a trip to Las Vegas for the school’s music program. As I was driving back home, I marveled at the beauty of the spring mix. I noticed that all of the blooming plants are setting flowers, and as I was driving back to my home, the colors were profuse and gorgeous. I couldn’t help but remember that it was spring when I first became impressed by Phoenix. I remember thinking that there was no place quite as beautiful as Phoenix in the spring.

Phoenix in the Springtime!

Funny, how that is, I mean. The memories come flooding back, triggered by some small event. I remember visiting my then in-laws and thinking that the home communities where they lived where especially lovely. The housing developments had all of these beautiful displays of flowers at each entrance by the road. As I drove by them, I thought to myself, “If only ‘I could’ live here someday.” Little did I know then that I would find myself planted in Phoenix. Yet, I never lived in one of those high-end developments. I never imagined it was even possible. In truth, after I moved to Phoenix, for a short while, anyway, we did live in a lovely town home community in North Scottsdale. Afterward, we rented a home in a very nice part of mid-Scottsdale. Later, we bought our first and only home in North Phoenix. But as we settled into this place, we ended up in neighborhoods that were what I call, “mixed” housing. Some of the homes on our street were well-cared for and tended regularly. Other homes had broken down cars and trash in the yard. It was a mixture, and then come summer when the weeds get out of control, the homes that didn’t have care, started to look abandoned and lost.

In fact, our home often looked that way when we couldn’t afford to have someone come and take care of the weeds. I hated this aspect of my life. I hated the fact that on the inside, my little home was comfortable and warm. On the outside, however, it simply looked tired and in need of care. My ex didn’t make regular money so we lived from feast to famine, and the last thing to be cared for was our home. I always felt embarrassed to have people to visit because our home looked so poor. I tried to keep it up nice, and I often decorated, painted, and tried to be as creative as possible to cover the fact that we were “dirt poor.” The worst part was that my ex-husband ran his business from our home office so people would naturally come by. I never was comfortable having people in the house — simply because I thought our home showed itself so poorly. Sigh!

Gracious Living

Now, though, I am in this very different place. Since my divorce, I have lived in a lovely town home complex in North Phoenix (on the border of North Scottsdale), and I am presently in a very nice home right around the corner from where my parents lived for 15 years. I am in this good place, a safe place, and my home is clean and well-cared for, so much so, that there is never an issue when people drop in. My home always shows well.
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9 NLT)
This is important to me. I guess it is how I was raised. My Mom always cared for our home so that anyone was welcome to pop in. She kept a clean home, and it was always presentable for visitors. This is so important to me. It is an issue of pride, for sure; but really, it is more about hospitality. It is about caring for a home and making it warm and comfortable for visitors. I feel called especially to be hospitable, and I think this is a biblical mandate for all Christ followers. We are to open our homes and entertain people, to share our lives, and to fellowship with them. It is important that we have a hospitable attitude, one that is welcoming, and to do that, we must first be willing to be used in this way.

I have come a long way from the place where I was ashamed to have people visit my home. Now, I welcome them, and I long to be a hostess and to share my life with others. Granted, I don’t want to be a hotel or B & B, but I think being open to hosting is a good thing, in general. I need my private space, my downtime, but I also see value in allowing the Lord to use my home as He has need. I am open to being a gracious hostess, to entertaining strangers, and to keeping an open door policy whenever possible.

However, until that can be, I have to focus on my life now. I live in this home with my parents and my son. We certainly can entertain, and we have many times in the past. My parents really aren’t able to entertain anymore. It is too hard for my Mom to have guests in now. In time, though, I will own my own home, and that means that I will be able to host people as the Lord leads, guides, and provides. Until then, I wait patiently for Him to provide for me. As I see it now, I need to earn a little more income to cover my expenses. I need to set aside money for a down payment. I need to find a home that will suit His needs. I need to purchase that home. It is all in process as of now, so I wait on His timing. He knows what He is doing. For me, I am ready and I am willing. The rest, as they say, is up to Him. God be praised — my outcome — my future is up to Him!

WOW! What a great thought — I mean — I don’t have to think about my future, worry about it, or even be concerned about it because the Lord is the One who is responsible for the outcome. He makes the plan, and He brings the plan to completion. I can rest in His decision, in His choice, in His provision. I don’t have to fret or become anxious about it. He has me so well-covered.

In thinking about the Lord’s plan for my life, I realize that much of what I have today has been the fulfillment of desires in my heart. For example, just this morning as I was driving home and looking at the flowers, I thought about how I wanted to move here, how when I first came to Phoenix, it was the flowers that attracted me to the area. Now, after almost 20 years in the desert, I realize that I have become accustomed to seeing them. I have also become very accustomed to seeing the desert brown, and that means, while we do have trees, we just don’t have trees like they do in VA. Sigh!

In all, I am content to remain here. I mean, given the choice, Phoenix is not that bad of a place. It is a good place, in many regards, and I have been able to carve a small life here in the desert. Now, I am at this transition time, where I feel like I am about to get off this train, to finally settle at my destination. It is funny to think that for all my desire to go —> I may just end up settling here. I feel like the movement, the forward momentum wasn’t so much about relocating as it was about getting moving forward in the Lord’s will for my life. Now that I have completed my degree, my higher education, and I have a good career path in front of me, I feel like the Lord might be saying to me, “Stay awhile, enjoy the scenery.” No matter what, I will do as He says. I will do the work He provides, and that means that I will live where He chooses for me to live. He has this all figured out, and I rest now as I consider the future and the plans He has for me.

In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I am thanking the Lord for His gracious provision and His goodness toward me today. I feel confident that I am right where I belong, and in this way, I am doing the work He has provided for me to do. In all things, I am good. I am so very good.

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