This ending chapter

I heard the true story of a man who had a good life.  Things were going well for him, and he was happy.  But one day Jesus found him, and all of the moments that had brought him contentment no longer seemed to satisfy.  He didn't necessarily want Jesus, in fact the whole idea seemed to ruin the good thing he had going.  But his heart was being pursued by the one who truly loved him, and he was changed.  I have come to believe that once a life has been touched by the goodness of Christ, it cannot stay the same, and even if we never choose to follow after him he will always choose to love us.

I remember the day we moved in.  It was the middle of December, but the snow hadn't bothered to visit here in Cincinnati.  We spent the first night sleeping on the floor, and in the following days we managed to erect a Christmas tree in the empty dining room.  It was a lovely holiday in our new home that we built from the ground up, and not one of us cared that everything was out of place for it.

 It was the most beautiful house I had ever lived in, and it was mine.  I had felt in the days leading up to our move that I didn't deserve it.  It was too nice.  It was too expensive, and who was I to have something so wonderful?  In my whispers to God, I promised that I would not keep it if ever we found ourselves in a position that would take money away from our tithe to pay the mortgage.  He provided.  Always.  And we were able to return what belonged to him in the first place.

The moments lived out under the roof at Berger Court have been the sweetest of memories.  We brought our fourth child into her first home here, and I rocked her to sleep in the room next to mine.  The same room that welcomes morning sun, and allows the light of a full moon to visit.  I've offered countless prayers kneeling by the beds of my children nearly every night.  I would later sneak past the creak in the floor to watch them sleep, as I remembered how much I loved them.  We measured time on the walls as the marks grew higher with each passing year, and dated them all so we wouldn't forget how short they used to be.

There were birthday parties with too many people for the rooms that held them, but we couldn't leave anyone out because life is a big deal and we wanted to celebrate it with those we love.  I am so thankful for all of those days!  We have lived and we have loved and we have enjoyed these moments with their ups and downs here.

But every chapter of our lives must come to an end.  We don't always know how or when, but that's really an unnecessary detail if you consider it closely.  Sometimes we choose to end them, and sometimes the endings are chosen for us.  Either way, we must place our eyes forward to the future if ever we are to continue.

It was several years ago that Tim shared with me a thought that had come to him during one of his runs.  He told me that as he was keeping pace through our neighborhood, he felt like God was challenging him with this question, "Will you give up your house for me?"  It wasn't a demand.  It wasn't a request.  It was simply a question that I believe was the beginning of a pursuit for our hearts.  I didn't know what that meant at the time, and honestly I did not even want to consider it.  It was a question for him, not me, but I tucked it away into my memory, because I know how God can use these small asks to prepare us for bigger ones.

The sign in our front yard says SOLD, and I am gathering our life that has been collecting here for the past 8 years.  I can't pretend I'm not sad.  I am.  I loved this chapter that is coming to a close, and I will miss it!  It hurts to leave something you love, but I have found that I love someone more.  Jesus has changed my life, and messed up something that was going good for me.  I am no longer content with the days that I live, because if I want to know him more then I must let go of what I think I want so I can be given what he knows I need.  If that means I must sell my house to follow him, I will do that with tears in my eyes, joy in my heart and a peace that says grace will cover the rest.


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