When My Non-Negotiables Get Negotiated

A few minutes ago Brenn snuggled up to me on the couch and whispered, “hey Momma, do you know that we never took a nap?” At 6:40 PM, I think that he was banking on the fact that this unfortunate situation couldn’t be rectified during the remaining hours of the day : )

Well, I suppose that he’s right. Today was a “do-nothing” sort of day. It’s been a busy week and to ease the pace of recovery, we binge watched HGTV and the FoodNetwork.  I find it a little disturbing how invested the boys get while watching shows (“Mama…he is going to lose a lot of money when he has to redo the plumbing in that kitchen. There are ALWAYS plumbing problems that make them go over budget.” “Mama, he should not knock down that wall, it is a bad idea.” “Mama….can you add goat cheese to YOUR macaroni and cheese next time?”) but it’s a fun way to waste an afternoon.

The issue of kitchens came up frequently during the HGTV shows. For a nation of people who cook far less than our ancestors, we seem to be obsessed with kitchens. Women protest that they could NEVER live in a house that didn’t have stainless steel appliances or granite countertops. And did you see those cabinets?!?!? Oh, the horror. (I laugh at them a little because I wonder if they realize that some woman back in the 70’s probably declared her undying disdain for a kitchen without a laminate counter top and an avocado green refrigerator.)

From my vantage point on the couch, I could see into my current kitchen. The comparison between these dream home kitchens and mine is noticeable. Let’s just say, there ain’t no granite or stainless steel. Or a gas range. Or counter space. Or double sink. Or a side-by-side refrigerator.

The funny thing is that Paul and I are at a stage in our lives when it would be reasonable for us to own a “nice” home. Nothing ostentatious, but certainly stainless steel worthy and granite countertops appropriate. Our current income would allow for these “luxuries.” It’s conceivable that we could be on House Hunters episode and I could be the wife who states that “no way, no how” would I live in a home with THIS kitchen.

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But I DO live with this kitchen. Yes, it’s about as big as our first apartment’s kitchen, the stove is finicky, the sink is small and there is very little cabinet space. But I make it work. I make it work because this is the home God had waiting for us. When we arrived in Dayton, the rental market was pretty slim and my price range limits were turning up few options near the base. Had I gotten hung up on kitchen amenities (or bathroom space – of which I have exactly zero) I would have worn myself out looking for something better and perhaps become bitter at the thought of settling for this house.

But living here has meant meeting a wonderful family across the street that God used to encourage us at just the right time last fall. Living here has meant being close to friends who have needed help quickly and we were just around the corner. Living here has meant that I’m a hop, skip and jump away from Paul’s job and can have him home for lunch some days. Living here means I’m close to a park 24/7 where I can go and meet other military spouses while my kids play (some of whom have given me excellent advice as I’ve settled into life in the Air Force.)

Now before you let guilt creep into your heart as you sneak a glance over at your gorgeous granite counter tops and gas range, I’m not saying that people who have nice kitchens are ungodly wretches who ought to spend some quality time repenting once they finish this blog post.  If God allowed you to find the house of your dreams and it was within your ability to buy, that’s a blessing and you should see it as such. If God had saved a beautiful rental home with a stunning kitchen for me, you bet I would have snapped it up! But he didn’t and so here I am.

Mostly, what I want to ask you is this; whenever you face a change in your life, are you willing to take your list of “non-negotiable, must-haves” to God and tell him that he is free to negotiate? Do you trust him to lead to you to the right thing, the best thing, even if that means giving up some of your preferences? How that plays out in your life will look different than mine. You might be searching for your 30 year home while I am looking for my 3 year home : ) You might have the luxury of time while other might have only 30 days. But whatever the circumstances, can you open your hands to God and let him lead you, regardless of your desires?

Anyway, I know that I’ve written about my house here before (my flooring here was one of the first ways that God showed his fatherly affection for me after moving and my kitchen sink has been a reminder to me about the hidden blessing of life) but it’s something that God continues to use in his quest to sanctify me more. In this case, he’s taught me that wants are fine, but priorities need to be biblical. I do wish that I had a bigger, nicer kitchen because I love to cook! It’s what I enjoy doing and I really, really, really think I’d enjoy it more if I just had a fewer kitchen upgrades. Nonetheless, I trust that God wants me here and I know that he will give me grace to be content where I am.

So to all of you who feel like you deserve something better, who feel the pangs of jealously whenever you see a gas range or farm house sink, take heart. Turn off HGTV and praise God. Be thankful that he loves you and is working in your life to make you more like Jesus by giving you a kitchen that forces you to grapple with personal sin on a regular basis : ) There’s nothing like an uneven burner to tempt a cook to grumble and complain, now is there? Just think of all the grace that could flow into my life as a result?! See, God is good : ) Still, I tell myself that someday, someday my heavenly mansion will have the kitchen of my dreams – where cook tops are enormous, food never burns, recipes always turn out amazing and I am surrounded by yards of beautiful countertops.

But until then, go bake some cookies in your tiny kitchen and hang in there : )

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