That Empty Home Waiting to Be Filled
Lets set the scene:
Creaky floors, and rattling shutters… a claw like shadow looming over the living room floor. You turn around quickly, eyes wide, gasping a breath of relief! The shadow is just a dried up branch on that giant tree in front of your house. A trick of the night’s bright moonlight.
Anyone else’s imagination run wild when they are home alone?
In general I am a fairly independent person, I don’t mind being alone, however at night it can be a different story. I seem to have watched too many Scooby-Doo cartoons growing up, because my imagination tends to.. lack of better words… get CRAZY at night! The first night after moving into our current condo, I came up with an elaborate escape plan, just incase something happens. I have since forgotten that escape plan … currently trying to come up with a new one.
It is not new to many, that the nature and specific season of my husband’s job currently takes him away from home often. We don’t have children yet, so there is a noticeable difference in noise level and atmosphere when he is home, compared to when I am alone. A side tangent. My husband is the kind of guy that has a quiet voice, but for some reason, God gifted him with a super loud boisterous laugh. Seriously.. his laugh can scare people. It does scare people. It scared a poor little grandma once.
I remembered when we first got married, I use to resent the times he would be gone at night. His presence gone was a constant awareness that I was alone. It was a constant tug that he wouldn’t be there physically if I needed him. It was a constant reminder that this arrangement was not what I had envisioned marriage for myself to be.
I am not gonna deny my shameless pity parties and nights spent twiddling my thumbs. In reality, of course I wasn’t truly alone. I had my family nearby, I had my church, and I had very supportive friends around me. So why was I practically drowning in pity for myself?
Well the simple answer is sin.
Now, before you start saying that I am minimizing my feelings or the feelings of other wives, I just want to clarify that I don’t think there is anything wrong with missing your husband or disliking loneliness. ( Dear Newlywed Wife Who Sleeps Alone at Night)
I am addressing the sin of allowing my feelings of sadness or loneliness to be so overwhelming that they demoted God out of His rightful place in my life. The sin of allowing myself to be paralyzed by these emotions and believing nothing, not even the hope I have in Christ can be of comfort. I am addressing the sin in myself when I saw the empty house I was living in as a bitter reminder of my husband “failing” to come home to meet my needs and God “ripping” me off of the marriage I envisioned for myself. It is the sin of me refusing to see the great resources the Lord has set before me in the form of having a home. A ministry space to be a good steward of.
The Lord indeed did construction in my heart and painted a new perspective in how I view my empty house. The house is not my own at all. It is a blessing from God to use it for His glory. To foster fellowship and practice hospitality. To be a place of comfort, both physically and emotionally, for all who walk through. He nailed in the truth that in my particular season, an empty home, surrendered to Him, could be a huge blessing to people around me, especially women. It could be filled with much laughter and Joy.
Three examples of how my empty home has been of use:
I. Undisturbed Space to Connect with Friends
I am constantly surrounded by younger and older women at my church and daily living. A comfortable quiet place is often coveted when women want to get together and just connect. I usually schedule hangouts at my place on days my husband will be gone. With no male presence in the home, my living room is often filled with much girly giggles to vulnerable uncensored deep sharings. It is a safe place to foster fellowship. A huge blessing is that I don’t ever have to feel bad for “kicking” Dr. J out for the night. Nowadays, he also sees him being gone as a way to help me indirectly do ministry. Him being gone gives me so many opportunities during this time in our lives to invest in others and use this home that we have as an avenue. A great plus is , free Wifi!
II. Lodging for a Female Friend
I have a friend who stays over at my place quite often. She currently lives further than the majority of our community, so it is helpful for her to be able to stay close to where she needs to be during certain weekends. Although we have two bedrooms, I myself know that my comfort level staying with just a girl friend vs. a girl friend and her husband,is different (Is it just me?). Being able to offer a comfortable space for my friend to stay has been really fun. Not only does it feel like college again, but it makes me glad that her staying at my home will enable her to have more energy to do what she needs to do for that weekend. She is also quite involved in our church, so I see her spending the nights at my place as a way God has allowed me to help her continue to be consistently involved and connected with our community.
III. A Space for Creativity and Fellowship
With just me in the house, theres plenty of space to go around. My girlfriends and I have had lots of cooking experiments, baking dates, sewing tutorials, homework club, and P-90X workout sessions all in my home. Finding a space to use for hobbies with a group of girls is often a pain. However, its great having a free space where you don’t need much approval or advance notice to book these hangouts.
This house that I have is really just a building. However, it is what I choose to do with it that makes it a home. A ministry space for glorify God. The empty home that I live in when my husband is away has never been about me. It is an empty home waiting to be filled with fellowship, hospitality, and ultimately opportunities to display His love.
Much Joy and Love,