I have been struggling with really feeling “at home” since we moved in November of 2016. Our last house was broken into in the middle of the night, while I was home alone last fall. It was one of the scariest things I have ever been through, and the road to recovery has been a long one. Soon after the break-in, we realized we would have to move. The man who was responsible lived just down the street from me, and he wasn’t arrested yet. I knew that I would never again feel safe anywhere near that house.
Finding a new place and moving wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was the sense of loss I felt. I loved our little townhouse, and in a moment, that house and my sense of safety were stripped away. We ended up finding a little house far enough away from the last one. It’s a sweet little 1930 craftsman bungalow with tons of charm. Right when we pulled up to the house for the first time, I knew this was the one we would move into.
As soon as we signed the paperwork, I headed off to Home Goods and Target to find some cute little touches to add to our new place. Since interior decorating is one of my favorite things, I busied myself with visualizing how I wanted this new place to look: drew up sketches, looked at color swatches, and pinned a lot of inspiration pictures. Since our new home has a whole basement, we decided to put our old living room furniture downstairs, so my husband could have the man cave he has always wanted. In return, I could decorate the upstairs however I liked. Michael is awesome about letting me exercise my creativity with decorating. He always just goes with the flow even if he isn’t sure where the flow is going.
I quickly got to work decorating and making our new place feel as homey as possible. I felt so at home in our last place, and I was so desperate to feel that again in this house. I found a new couch and a gorgeous, sapphire ottoman and pretty much built the room around those. I chose paint colors and beautiful decorative accents, and yet, something was still not clicking for me. I still didn’t feel at home.
Eventually, all the decorating was done, and we were settled. The drapes had been hung, the rugs laid down, the walls painted, and our house still didn’t feel like home. I decided this was because, despite my best efforts, this would always be the house that we had to move to due to traumatic circumstance. The place I had to go because my beloved townhouse was no longer safe. I found myself constantly dwelling on our old place. I would get to the point of tears because I was so heartbroken. Then I realized that I had never given myself a chance to grieve the loss of not only that house or the things that were stolen but my sense of safety. The thing that everyone should be able to feel in their home. I just buried myself in decorating and putting our new place together, so I wouldn’t have to address the searing pain I was feeling deep down. It was in this moment that I knew something had to change.
I was gently reminded of God’s promise to me that He would be my home, and I would always be able to find refuge in Him. Trying to feel at home by filling a place with things was never going to work. My home, my safe place, is in the heart of the God who never moves. My church has an incredible band called Vertical Church Band. There is a song that perfectly encompassed what God was trying to communicate with me “The Rock Won’t Move.” The first part of the song says, “When the ground beneath my feet gives way and I hear the sound of crashing waves, all my world is washing out to sea, I’m hidden safe in the God who never moves, holding fast to the promise of your truth, but you are holding tighter still to me.” Wow, what a reminder. EVERYTHING in this life is temporary and variable. Possessions, relationships, and even those self-assurances we all try to hang onto. All of it could be stripped away in a second. What are you left with when everything else gone?
I needed a change of focus. Rather than letting myself sink in the thick swamp of bitterness, I was in; I prayed for God to take me from that place and reshape my thinking. This change of heart was something I wasn’t capable of on my own. I could tell myself that I was going to change my mindset by changing my routines or just thinking more positively, but that is a band-aid. A true change of heart only happens when we align with the one who created it. Do you know the best part? I have the freedom to feel weak some days and to fall down because He is carrying me through. I’m not reliant on my own strength.
Almost overnight, I started to feel immense gratitude for the house we live in. Gratitude changes everything. I saw this place for what it was; The house God provided right we needed it the most. Just like that, bitterness and anger had left me. I now feel so at home in our new place, because I know were it to be taken away tomorrow, I would never be homeless.
I know that not everyone can necessarily relate to their house being broken into and having to move, but I think at some point everyone will have a time where they don’t feel at home. Maybe you just moved out of your parents for college. Or you are living on your own without a roommate for the first time, or you just moved to a new city and don’t know anyone. There is nothing wrong with decorating your space and making it feel cozy. Have fun with that process! Just always know that there is a safe place for you even when you don’t feel stable. You will always have a home.
You are loved,