I woke up the day after Thanksgiving like someone was sitting on my chest. I felt heavy and burdened. Sure, it was probably the turkey and carb-overload, but regardless I was in a funk, and SUPER mad about it too because we were getting our tree that day! (The best day of the year for our family.)
I rolled out of bed, irritated at my socks, irritated at my shoes and kids and the fact that I was awake. I need coffee, I thought, so I pounded down the stairs to get some.
I took a sip. Nothing. Took another sip. Still nothing. Surprised by its inability to be the respite it usually was, I became even more annoyed.
Maybe some music will help…so I turned some on. Unfortunately my kids were being SO loud in the background I could hardly hear the words that were supposed to lift me up!
Ahhhhh! I huffed, eyes rolled back. Why is parenting so hard!
I grabbed my devotional and coffee and headed over to our new, oatmeal-colored, delicious looking couch and sat down, expectant, knowing God would turn all of this around. And that’s when my two-year old tottled over, pulled down on my right arm (the one holding the coffee), and spilled it. Everywhere.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I yelled.
My two-day old couch is ruined!! I sobbed. And why didn’t we get stain protection?!!!! Double sob.
I was furious. My emotions were completely hijacked and I didn’t know what to do…..so I went straight to the bathroom and locked myself inside (since a bowl of popcorn wasn’t nearby.)
On hands and knees, while everything lost control outside, I cried. And I mean, big UGLY Dawson’s Creek tears.
I just didn’t understand why something I had resisted buying in the first place would end up like this!!
Let me explain.
Three months prior I had sold ALL of our living room furniture on a whim, because, ya know, I’m an ENFJ and tend to be impulsive. (Pray for my husband.) It didn’t start out that way, of course. I had just wanted to get rid of our manky, nasty couch, but then it turned into selling our armoire…and then our coffee table…..and before I knew it, I had sold everything! Instead of feeling shell-shocked by my impulsion, I felt SO GOOD! So good, in fact, that I didn’t want to put anything back. So I didn’t…for months. (Here’s our barren “living room-turned-school house”.)
But then something unexpected happened. My “freedom” started to turn into discontentment.
“Why is our house so much work?!” I whined.
“We should just sell it all!”
“I don’t even like my job.”
And on and on.
The worst part was that I didn’t even know I was on the hamster wheel. I just kept spinning around on it, annoyed, until eventually, something deep down inside of me told me to pray about it (or was that my husband’s voice? Funny how he sounds a lot like my subconscious). So I did. And slooooowly my attitude shifted; slowly we started talking about buying a new couch, and slooooowly I came around to staying in MN (because that’s really what buying a couch meant for me: it meant staying here for good, which is something I have never wanted to do.
So flash forward to the current couch scene…
There I am, WEEPING on the bathroom floor, hearing Kevin Spacey yell, “IT’S JUST.A.COUCH!!!”
and I’m all like, “Yeah, exactly, Kevin. Why do I even care about this? It really IS just a couch! And I didn’t even wanna buy it in the first place!”
But then I felt this inaudible voice say, “Oh Jonna, it’s so much more than just a couch.”
I looked up, all blotchy face and watery eyes, as if God had spoken straight to my face, and it all made sense.
So I picked myself up, exhausted and emotionally strung out, and opened the door.
And there, waiting for me, was my family.
My husband was lovingly trying to fix everything with a Norwex microfiber cloth and Ecosense Stain Remover (which are AMAZING by the way!!), my two-year old was running around repeating, “I sorry mama, I so sorry,” and my two “bigs” walked straight over to me and wrapped themselves around my body, making me cry even more. And THAT was when I fully got it.
That dang couch really WAS more than its fabric and frame.
It was my family.
It was my roots.
It was me, choosing to stay and make memories and build community right where I was.
And since I had resisted doing that for so long, having that coffee spill everywhere felt like a slap in the face: “You don’t really want this,” the enemy whispered.
Oh but I do!
I want the couch in my new living room because that means I’m FINALLY building a home with intentionality and purpose! I’m creating a space for memories to be made.
And while I know that stuff doesn’t make a home, living one foot out doesn’t either. God was teaching me a big lesson about balance that day…
So in the end I have learned that whether we move abroad, or whether we stay in this drafty old Victorian house and spill coffee on our couch every day until we die, either option is fine with me, because BOTH scenarios include my family. And that’s the bottom line. THAT’S the piece that matters more than my zip code. And if I can focus on that? Well, then I believe God will open up the right doors at the right time and take care of the rest.
Funny how it took a couch to teach me that, huh? (And look, there it is in all its Christmas-glory … getting flanked out by our enormous tree. #alwaysthebridesmaid)
Oh, and you’re probably wondering what happened to that coffee stain, right? Well, I guess you’ll just have to come over and have a cup of coffee and see. 🙂
P.S. The AMAZING, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, B&W photos were taken by none other than THE Danica Donnelly! Make sure to check out her work. It will inspire your day. 🙂