Icons, Idols, and Kitchen Cockroaches

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Since Joseph and I got married in January 2017, we’ve moved in and out of four different homes.

I swear we pay our rent on time.

We moved into a small, one bedroom apartment after our wedding. Then, we lived in a great duplex for a while. We just moved out of a home we were renting from friends, and now almost every. last. box. is unpacked in our brand new house that we bought this summer.

I’ve looked forward to this house for years. I’ve dreamed of the day when we could break down the moving boxes and throw them in recycling, instead of hauling them from place to place, knowing that we’d need to repack in a year.

I loved thinking about what colors we would paint our front room, dining room, and bedrooms. Putting down roots in Kansas City became more and more attractive each time I wrapped up our breakables up in saran wrap and put them gently in the U-Haul.

Oh, the plans I had for this house we bought. My mantel decorating skills were going to make Joanna Gaines proud. Our walls were going to be decorated with the work of local artists, and I was finally going to get back into baking in our brand new kitchen.

But as we began the moving process last weekend, I realized that I had created an idol out of this home, now our very own. I put this entire season of life as a home-owner on a pedestal.

Don’t worry, it didn’t take long for this house to come crashing off its high pedestal and into reality.

Toilets needed fixing.

Walls needed a coat of paint. Then they needed another coat of paint. And then another coat of paint after getting the wrong shade of blue for the second coat.

The yard needed weeding. And mowing. And cleaning.

The family of cockroaches living in our stove needed an eviction notice, ASAP.

We needed to buy and hang curtains, shampoo and vacuum carpets, and re-assemble IKEA furniture.

The to-do list of house improvements is never-ending. Little reality after little reality started piling up the moment we walked into the door of this new home.

But this house isn’t the only thing that I’ve idolized in life.

When I was single, I created an idol out of any potential romantic relationship.

When I was dating, I created an idol out of engagement and that season of preparation.

When I was engaged, I created an idol out of marriage.

Then, when marriage came, I created an idol out of growing our family.

Relationships, families, and homes aren’t bad things in and of themselves. But they’re meant to be icons, not idols. They’re meant to point us back to the Creator of our hearts, not block our view of him.

So today, I’m asking for the grace to see the Lord at work in this new season of home-owning. To find him in the little moments, like coffee and prayer time on the front porch with baby Maeve, or relaxing with Joseph on our new couch after a long day of hard work.

I’m letting go of this impossible perfect house I’ve idolized and embracing the gloriously messy house we’re actually living in.

Except the cockroaches. They’re not getting a hug from me anytime soon.