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  • Writer's pictureSharon

Home Sweet Home

I have been in my home for 30 years.

As a military dependent, I grew up living in base housing. The duplexes were ordinary, with stark white paper-thin walls and dull flooring. It was our possessions, the familiar, that made each of those uninviting houses a home.

I first became interested in decorating when I was in my early teens. I had outgrown my childhood decor and wanted to personalize my bedroom. I longed to color my world, specifically in shades of purple. When my friend and I were not talking about boys or Donny Osmond, we were sitting crosslegged on the sidewalk imagining our dream bedrooms. Mine? Soft lavender walls, a purple gingham-checked ruffled bedspread on a white French Provincial canopy bed, and white blowy curtains. I dog-eared the pages of the Sears’ Christmas catalog with my desired bedspread, but my parents didn’t take the hint. However, I was satisfied when my mother made me a simple purple gingham bedspread and curtains.

By the time I reached my mid-teens, my love for lavender faded. I saved my babysitting money and bought a mint green bedspread from the base exchange, which complemented the light gray bedroom furniture my parents had passed down to me. I learned the art of no-cost decorating: pillaging my mother’s linen closet for dresser scarves, embroidered pillowcases, and throw rugs. My room became my comfortable refuge. I daydreamed about one day having my own apartment, where I could decorate more than just my bedroom.

As a young adult, while still living at home, I eagerly bought grown-up things in preparation for the day I would move into an apartment. By the time I moved, I had a complete set of colorful matching Corelle dinnerware, glasses, and casserole dishes; coordinating bathroom accessories; and the perfect bedding ensemble. With our combined inherited-family furniture, my friend and I made our cold basement apartment warm and cozy. However, I soon longed for a place of my own, where I could decorate every room and paint the walls whatever color I wanted.

Shortly after I married, we bought a newly-built condo. I was ecstatic. Finally! I could decorate every inch of the space and make it feel like home! Over the next few years, we bought new furniture, painted, and re-wallpapered. While I was grateful to no longer be a renter, hearing the neighbors’ through the walls reminded me of apartment living; even more, it reminded me of base housing. I longed to live in an actual house; I longed to build a custom home where I could pick out everything! What I really longed for was the feeling of stability and longevity. I wanted to plant roots.

So we began to look for property.

“You need to look at the lot in my neighborhood,” an acquaintance at work told me. “It’s a cul-de-sac and we have block parties, cookouts, and progressive dinners. Everyone knows everyone. You’d feel safe when your husband is working nights.”

The lot was heavily wooded, with large oak trees. It was perfect. We bought the lot and hung a for-sale sign in the condo window. After almost a year without any interest from a buyer, we decided to go ahead and build and rent out the condo. With a floor plan in hand, we met with a builder. A few hours after we signed the contract to start construction, someone called and asked to look at our condo. Within a 24-hour period, we signed contracts to build a house and sell the condo. A record 72 days later, our house was completed. We moved in on October 31, 1992. I finally had a home to call my own!

Looking back, I can see the hand of God in providing this home. A little over a year after we moved into the house, my husband moved out; yet the Lord put me in a place where I felt safe living alone. In the early days after my divorce, on paper, there was no way I should have been able to pay the mortgage, but each month, God multiplied my little. Over the years, He provided promotions that provided the income for me to refinance the house in my name. Then, I satisfied the mortgage five years early. Twice, when it was nearing time to replace my roof, the Lord allowed a storm to cause ‘just-enough’ wind damage for insurance to cover the cost.

I have painted and decorated until my heart was content — and then repainted and redecorated. I’ve surrounded myself with vintage things that bring me pleasure. I find great joy in sitting on my back porch in the morning, listening to the birds while I have my quiet time with the Lord. I love watching the day fade into dusk and darkness fall, listening to the concert of night sounds.

I thank God for this the refuge and solace I have found within these walls.

I thank Him that my home is a gathering place of laughter and a place of a peaceful, quiet escape.

I thank God for the sense of stability and longevity I have found. I feel rooted.

I am thankful He has given me a home of my own.

I thank God my home, sweet home is built on the Solid Rock.

The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. ~ Matthew 7:25

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