It’s still dark at 6 a.m. here in the foothills of the Appalachians. My husband has left me a cup of tea on the counter ready to be sweetened. I open the wrong cabinet because this isn’t my kitchen and I don’t remember where we are keeping the honey. Also, where are the spoons? Finally, my tea is ready. I say hello to my husband and settle into my chair by the window. We try to give each other space in this small apartment to meet with the Lord alone. It’s not easy.
After a few minutes I remember to open the curtains so I can catch the sunrise. Then I remember that I’m living in a hollow (or holler) and I can’t actually see the sun until it’s over the top of the mountain across the road.
But the sky is getting lighter. It’s kind of a dark blue now.
I keep praying, reading, and listening for the baby to wake up. She often joins us early in the morning. I settle her in my chair too with a bowl of Cheerios and a cup of water. She giggles and talks to me and tries to feed me wet cereal.
Slowly our other five children wander in, bleary-eyed and still not used to living in these tight quarters. I could go on and on about our previous home. My dream home, in fact. How we had three living spaces. How we remodeled our kitchen to a modern farmhouse style. How we had a dedicated playroom, How we had an office. How all my homeschool materials were available at all times. How the wooden signs throughout our home inspired us. How we had acres to play in.
I could also tell you about how we obeyed God, how my husband resigned his job and we put most of our belongings in storage. How we sold our home and left to stay with family in Appalachia.
Because sometimes God asks us to do the hard thing that we might see the better thing.
More importantly, that someone else might see how Jesus is that better thing.
In the hard-pressed times can we sing a song into the darkness about God’s love and faithfulness and His eternal nature which secures all things for us? In my family we call this “mending the wood.” We want to show ourselves and the world that there is something better coming and something worth fighting for here in this broken world. We owe much to S.D. Smith’s Green Ember series for inspiring us to treat all of life as an opportunity to do so.
Today my mind turns toward mending our corner of the wood–the earth–this little place in Kentucky, in a kitchen that’s not laid out for cooking, around a table that hardly seats six, on beds that consist of sofa cushions, with no income. Is it even possible to mend the wood when my heart tends toward despair, or with a spouse whose dreams have been shattered, or when betrayal and rejection are not distant memories? What might that look like?
It looks like planting a spring garden to show us that there will be a garden that bears fruit forever, and we will harvest from it, feast on it and be satisfied.
It looks like watching for new wildlife and birds and the first flowers pushing up to remind us that the Father sees to their welfare. And how much more will he see to ours! There is a place for me, for you, where all our needs are met. And we will dwell in his house forever.
It looks like bright slipcovers and pillows and blankets to remind us that He is a God of beauty and peace. And one day all things will be made new!
It looks like family walks, movie nights, and read alouds because eternity is coming and we can slow down now. Our family culture is a small reflection of the fellowship and love the Trinity has known for eternity and that God has invited us into.
It looks like forgiveness even and especially when we don’t want to. This shows the world a place where being right is eclipsed by something far greater, a Kingdom coming where tears and pain are no more.
It looks like encouraging one another with the gospel – that Jesus knew loneliness, despair, and abandonment on my behalf that I might be welcomed with God forever.
It looks like repentance and faith. We confess that we try to set up our own kingdoms on earth, forgetful of the mighty work taken to redeem us to His. God has work for us to do, prepared for us and preparing us to reign with Him one day.
So we’ll go about our day always with the thought that this season and its light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory. This season is not wasted. Far from it. This season is our chance to be faithful to God’s call to mend the wood, to tell about His Kingdom – one head of lettuce, one family walk, one decorative pillow, one encouraging word at a time.