On moving in, finding grace and moving on (a letter for the new woman of my house)

Dear Future Woman of this house,

I don’t know your name, I keep forgetting to look every time I sign yet another official document.

Your realtor told me you fell in love with this place instantly. I hope this was partly because of the architecture and partly because you felt the warmth we’ve cultivated here.  I’ve been praying that this home would invite just the right family in to stay. People who would love doing life here as much as we have, who would appreciate the sunsets and gather around the table with hunger and gusto.

I know you’re planning on painting the red wall in the living room, I don’t blame you, I’ve being wanting to do it for a few years now. Red seemed like such a great idea five years back but color schemes have cooled down a lot. I was going to paint it a gray/aqua, just a suggestion because of course, it’s your house now. Or it will be in a few short weeks.

home truth

I know you’re excited and you probably want to get everything perfect as soon as humanly possible. You might, like I did, think that a beautiful home is one that’s pristinely clean and tastefully decorated all the time, but it’s not.  One thing that I’ve learned in my five years as a homeowner is that a home is always a work in progress and that the beauty is in the life contained within the house more than the artwork on the walls.

Just as we souls are never finished, neither is a home. There is always work to be done, make peace with this as soon as you can.

I’ve heard that you plan to bring babies home into these walls, this makes me smile broadly because this is a wonderful place to snuggle newborns.  I’ve walked through the white, leaded-glass door with two brand new lives, carrying in my heart all the excitement and fear that comes alongside motherhood.

I nursed new babies half asleep in a glider and walked trails into the carpet soothing their newborn needs.  We woke up in the middle of the night to their cries over and over again, we still do.  You’ll find the hallway layout is such that you don’t really need a monitor, but we installed one anyway and watched their every crib movement from only 12 feet and one wall away.

I learned about sacrifice and selflessness in this house and I suspect that you will too. The first years of marriage are hard and adjusting to marriage with kids doesn’t come naturally either. The living room has seen arguments and make-out sessions the likes of which you wouldn’t believe.

The kitchen walls were splattered with cookie dough one Christmas after a fight over using whole wheat flour in cookies (which I’ve learned isn’t worth the extra fiber.)  I sat in the car with wet socks stewing in anger but I never left home.

The driveway is a good place to cool down, but as soon as you can go back inside.  Always go back inside and keep working at loving well.

This home is a place for staying but it’s also a place to for going somewhere.  Every season will give way to a new one and lessons learned add up to progress and depth.  As you stay within these walls, you’ll move and change as a family in ways that you never imagined.  No home leaves you the same, who knows where this home may take you?

Oh and use the tub, use it frequently and often.  I’ll leave you tips on cleaning it and the shower as well.  I may as well pass it on and make your life a little easier, who wants to clean the bathroom any more than they have to?  Nobody, that’s who.

But mostly, If I could offer you one piece of advice, if these walls could whisper one word to you it would be this:  Grace sister, just grace.

Grace and deep breaths as you get everything settled and make it feel like home, your own brand new home.  Grace as you hang wedding pictures and order just the right curtains.  Grace as you tuck into bed exhausted and discouraged that you didn’t get it all done.  Tomorrow is another day, remember a home is never finished.

May new life come easily to you. May you find grace in your pregnancy and peace in your impatience to hold your new person.  Put your feet up and breathe deeply again in this season, love it as best you can.  Oh and remember:  Babies don’t care what color the walls are or how well-themed the nursery is, babies just want to eat, sleep and feel love.

Grace as you learn that you can’t get nearly as much done with children as you could before.  May your standards lower and may you make peace with it, may you learn to rethink your definition of a successful day.

Oh and when they start walking I recommend moving out the coffee table for a while to foster a safe space for toddling and exploration, trust me the cute coffee table books aren’t worth the banged up baby foreheads.

But really, it’s your house now, in a few short weeks I’ll turn in my keys and this place that seems like it’s been my home forever will become your future and my memory.  A bittersweet moving on for us and a joyful coming home for you.  

Grace. Shalom. Blessings.