Wow! It has been a long time since I have connected with you all! I spent a couple of weeks ensconced in my recliner with a blanket and a box of Kleenex, then I graduated to the couch and I am finally back to normal life duties... for the most part. It may be awhile before I can talk a lot or sing, but hopefully the inflammation and coughing will subside in the next few weeks! :)
I just wanted to stop in today and share a quote that I found in an old book by Grace Livingston Hill called "A Daily Rate". Written in 1900, the book tells about a young lady named Celia who is living in a boarding house in Philadelphia. The house is unkept, the food is miserable, and the conditions unpleasant. In the course of the story, Celia comes into an inheritance and decides to use it to become a "home missionary". She purchases the boarding house and asks her Aunt to come and join her. Their goal was to create a warm, clean and inviting place to live that would open the doors of ministry for them to share Christ with the boarders. As Aunt Hannah traveled to meet her niece she was praising the Lord that "He had given to her the privilege of brightening a place that had hitherto been dark."
He has given us the privilege of brightening a place that has hitherto been dark.
For some reason that really struck me. First the idea of it being a privilege. A gift. A sweet task and a way to be a "home missionary" - making my home a pleasant place to draw my family and others to the light of Christ.
Then I thought of the word "brightening". I have really struggled the past couple of years with the gloominess of my home. There are only a few hours a day when it is actually bright inside, and often it is oppressively dull and can easily trigger anxiety and depression. In the story they brightened the home in many ways. Perhaps it was by cleaning things until they sparkled, or by using fine china rather than a cracked dish, or by adding a dresser cover that had a bit of embroidery on it. Other times they built bookshelves, made a new couch cover or scattered some bright pillows. And sometimes the brightening was just a kind word, a friendly offer of help, or a song. It used to be when I would look at my home with the "Not perfecting, but brightening" idea from the Beautiful Life Management pages I would think of "just making it look a little better". But now that my home is basically in order, my thoughts turn to sewing and decluttering and having a sweet spirit. I want to transform my environment so it overflows with love and joy and peace.
The last part of the quote, "a place that has hitherto been dark" may not be as poignant to you as it is to me. If you have ever dealt with anxiety and depression you know that it can be hard to see that there is any other option than to be anxious and depressed. Anything can trigger it - even a dirty carpet or a pile of papers - when it is connected to a bad memory in your mind. So the idea that I can brighten a place that has "hitherto been dark" is wonderful to me. It doesn't discount the fact that there are bad memories. There is darkness. But it does remind me that Christ is the Light and He has given me the opportunity to spread His light, and the darkness can't stand up to it. This is the gift He has given me. Light overcomes darkness. I don't have to let those triggers control me. Each one just serves to show an area that needs to be brightened with the Light of Christ, and - wonder of wonders - He has chosen me to help brighten the path for others. What a blessing!
If you don't know where to begin in your Home Brightening, perhaps you'd enjoy taking the 28 Day Challenge or would benefit from the Beautiful Life Management System. Our free ebooklet, "Planning to be a Blessing" might be a help as well!