a view from my window…

a view from my window…

I’m sitting in a place this morning where I’ve sat many times before over the past six years. I’m perched at my dining room table, looking out at the highway that runs in front of our home. The azalea bushes across the street greet me with their rich dressing of whites and pinks and corals—colors that will quickly fade in coming days. The rain is falling as cars are carrying their occupants to the busyness of a new day… this day… April 21, 2010. None of us—those who are on the road and those at home—can accurately forecast how this day is going to live itself out on the pages of history, but all of us have some expectations along those lines.

Mine are wrapped around the “big event” of the day. It may not seem like “big” to other people, but to me, it’s about as large as I want to live today. Tonight, I’ll be showing off the parsonage to the new clergy couple who will take up occupancy within these four walls come June. There’s not much “showing off” to do. The house is old, the rooms are small. To those accustomed to high class, this house wouldn’t make the cut. Still and yet, it has a beauty all its own… not because of its outward attractiveness but rather because of its inward pulse.

You see, my family has crammed a lot of living into these four walls over the past six years. To date, our time here has been the longest tenure of our ministerial lives. All four of our children consider this “home” and rightly so. Many personal milestones have been achieved while living here, too many to chronicle in this moment, too many emotions for me to personally deal with and still be able to finish this post in tact. Safe to say, the best part of this house hasn’t been its amenities; the selling point of this house has been the history that’s been written by its occupants over the past seventy-two months.

Family is what gives a house its character… its worthiness and its value. Could this one use some cosmetic work on the exterior? You bet, but you’d have a hard time improving on its interior. And that’s what I will tell the new clergy family tonight when they come to imagine their lives living here within these four walls… not to major on the “externals” but to realize that for every way it might fall short in their expectations, God has expected bigger. That he can take the simplest of dwellings and make it into something extraordinary. That being a “home” has less to do with the four walls that encase it and more to do with the inward pulse that exists within it. That this place has been a good place to grow a family and to mark the passage of time with “stone upon stone” of God’s faithfulness.

Like the Israelites who were crossing the Jordan River in order to possess the promise of Canaan, we’ve collected and gathered a gracious plenty of stones from the riverbed along the way so that in days to come, when our children and our grandchildren ask us regarding the story behind those stones, we can sacredly and reverently say,

We have crossed the Jordan on dry ground. For the Lord our God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God (paraphrase of Joshua 4:21-24).

The memories we’ve made in this place will serve as our stones of remembrance for years to come. None of the six of us can accurately forecast the eventual depth and witness of those stones, but we can all be sure that they matter. That the collective life we’ve lived here beneath this roof has shaped us, strengthened us, matured us, and furthered us along in the pilgrimage of faith. What’s been lived here writes as history for tomorrow, and that fact alone, my friends, should make the living of our todays (wherever that might be for you) a worthy investment of our hearts.

Home truly is where the heart lives, and mine has lived here for six years. My family and I are better for having pitched our tent upon this soil and for allowing it to penetrate its worthiness into our history. It’s a good perspective to hold as I move throughout my day and begin the imaginations of my heart regarding my next home. I haven’t seen it yet, but I can feel its worthiness sight-unseen. Why? Because I’m bringing my home with me as I go. I’m bringing my family, and they are enough to warrant a substantial increase in property value wherever they reside.

Would you pray for me that I will be able to do this thing? To relinquish my hold on this temporary dwelling into the hands of another? I want to do it graciously, humbly, and considerately. God has been very good to me; I want to release that blessing and goodness to this new family with no strings attached. I want to leave a piece of my heart here so that in days to come, perhaps in a season when they’ve got a few questions regarding the worthiness of their ministry time here, the inward pulse of my family’s witness will reverberate within these walls reminding them of just how good a life can live upon this soil.

Thanks, friends, for taking this journey with me. For being willing to entreat these soul-stirrings of mine and for allowing me to flesh out my “faith” while still living with my “elaine.” All of “this” would be so much harder if I didn’t have you to come alongside me and lend me your strength for the road ahead. May the presence of our Father and the “endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4) be the anchors that bring your heart hope this day. As always…

peace for the journey,

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Copyright © April 2010 – Elaine Olsen

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36 Responses to a view from my window…

  1. I've just recently been thinking about a house we had years ago, and what good times we had while living there. May your future home hold just as much joy.

  2. Dear Elaine, we will never forget this temporary dwelling either… it is where we met you for the first time. It is a remembrance stone for us, too. But I have to tell you… that I am looking forward to the Promised Land Journey with you.

    "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them." Joshua 1:6

    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

    Praying for you, dear one.

  3. I just did my eye makeup, and this morning I happened to try liner on the lower lashes as well… I shouldn't have bothered! My eyes are wet and it's a big mess… thanks to this blog Elaine!!

    What a compelling view of 'home'… and how very true. And as to your new home… it's already a beautiful abode, as you rightly said… you are carrying your 'home' with you to your new one. How blessed is this family, to have a mom and wife who understands what is worthwhile.

    Love you, will continue to pray for all of it…


  4. Elaine…
    How poetically you have described the house which has sheltered your home for so many years. A new shelter awaits as God moves you on. As a real estate agent I am in the business of selling houses that soon become homes. I have seen a lot of tears shed as families move from the homes they have had for years, so I can understand the bittersweet nature of this path He has you on today. I am anxious to see where the Lord moves you and your family!

    Praying w/ you.

  5. Pressing on, we reach forward. Our hearts can get so torn with the emotions of it all. We are human, and being so, we cleave to what's familiar and our memories, especially where our family is concerned.

    But you are well-prepared. Even now, Elaine, your heart is letting go of God's last best and grasping His now best.

    I will keep you in prayer, dear friend. You know I know the complexities of pastoral moves. Better yet, He knows. and, your Abba Father cares and is with you with each step.

    Love you,


  6. Elaine, you have such a beautiful heart and a way with words. Change is hard! I struggle with it and yet I'm learning that nothing here on earth is permanent.

    The Lord has a plan for your lives in a new place. You and your family will be able to bless even more people with your presence and love for God.

    However, I understand the difficulty of leaving. As you may know, we recently moved from our dream home to a much smaller rental home. But home is where your family is and I know you will create a beautiful home where you move. It may not be fancy but it will be home because you are there creating new memories.

    May the Lord bless you Elaine!


  7. Oh friend, I have so been in your shoes more than once. The last move, two and a half years ago was the hardest. I was there eight years and it was the only home my kids really remembered.

    Looking back at the period in my life, I realize how much the Lord taught me and how He showered me with extra strength and grace.

    You are in my prayers as you pack up the memories and prepare yourself for a new adventure.

  8. I don't know why, but I'm all choked up reading this… maybe because we just made a big move less than a year ago and I know all the feelings you described. I will be praying for you on this huge day.

    sending you hugs and blessings…

  9. Elaine,
    Remember this day, these thoughts and this picture as you embrace what home really is. blessings in this next season of transition.

  10. You are right in saying you take your home with you. I'll be praying for you and your family in the transition.

  11. Elaine, we've moved 9 times since we've been married—unfortunately that means the only place I've considered 'home' is where I grew up—simply because of the 'length' of time spent there and probably because my parents owned our home—not so here—

    the place that we stayed the longest is where my sons consider 'home' simply because of more memories–milestones there—
    it is very hard – change comes with a void – but that void will soon be filled with new memories–new milestones…

    how blessed that new couple are—they will inherit a home blessed with a legacy of righteousness–what a precious gift you are leaving to them–

  12. What beautiful words, sweet friend. I know that your new home will be a wonderful dwelling place for the Olsens and for God. I can't wait to see His plans for you there.

    Just remember to close all closet doors! When I do that, all is well!If you open them, something may fall out and hit you/them on the head! Not a good impression to leave.

    Love you!

  13. yes, we will pray. it might be a lovely
    new shell for you to fill with your

    it is amazing how well God made our
    temporal selves able to adjust to new
    circumstances. i have no doubt that
    you will not only do just fine, but

  14. a view from my window.
    The timing of your words girl! Yesterday my house was shown and the realtor said they were talking about the view from my kitchen window. God told me just before my house went on the market He was going to use my house. I have been praying people feel the presence of God in my house. That's the most important part. God has another view for both of us Elaine. It's coming. I hope I can see it out of the clouds of my tears. Praying for you. B

  15. You have personally given me a gift…the gift of watching you my friend live your faith out…in a real…honest and God honoring way! Knowing that you are filled with the grace and love of our God and that will be what comes out of you today!

  16. All of the comments above beautifully express what I wanted to say.

    Know this…my heart beats with yours. We love you and Billy…we are with you and praying for you every step of the way.


  17. How well I understand how a home comes to represent more than the years lived within it's walls! What a blessing to have such a rich connection to the happenings there; happenings that will flourish in your memories for many long years to come.

    I've no doubt you'll be gracious in the passing on of this abode. I also know the abode to come will soon begin to fill with your tender touches, a "home" for the next season.

    Love you dearly, friend.


  18. Sending a hug and prayers your way as you go through another stage of letting go. I love how you say you are taking your home with you because your family will be with you. So true. Continued blessings, my friend!

  19. It is always difficult to leave a home you've enjoyed for a long time. I left my home in OK. City that I'd been in for 19 years. You are so right–it's not the 4 walls–it's the family and friends and memories that make it difficult to move on.
    You will begin making new memories in your new home. God bless you as you make this bittersweet transition.

  20. Hi Sweet Sister!

    I completely understand about the moving transition…when you've made a "home", it's can be challenging to bid it farewell and move into the next one. I'll be praying for your peace and comfort as you go through this transition and that you'll settle and get cozy in the new one quickly!

    Love you!


  21. You will grow even more in this new planting (I wish it was in Missouri though). Keep your perspective as you have written. Look for the new joy that awaits you.

    I so would like to be called away right now…continue to pray for my family friend.

    Believing Go~Pamela

  22. Praying for you as you say goodbye to a special place. May you love the strengths of the ministry situation you are in…you and I live very different ones. I can see the value of where you are. May your perspective be God's and your heart be filled with the "faith" you blogged about last year. Love to you!

    PS There is very good news on my mom in laws cancer…if she hasn't already emailed you!

  23. Elaine,

    Amen. I feel all the emotions you have written here because just like you…come July, my family will be wrapping up and living the home which we have invested in…and had pitch our tents for the last five years. And yes…this is the only home, my husband and I know…we moved in here when we got married…and our daughter was born here. So…as I pray for you…please do pray for us as well.

    You are a constant encouragement to us all. God bless you.


  24. Hey Mrs. Elaine:) I am praying for you. It is a good mentality to have about passing on your house to those who will make memories in it too:) You are right, where you are heading will have plenty of good memories too:) Love ya Mrs. Elaine:)


  25. Hey Elaine I had to change my blog address to keep from getting some unwanted comments, i can e-mail you my new blog address.


  26. God will be with you wherever you go in your next chapter of life. And how nice to have the memories of life well-lived in that home for awhile. Prayer and blessings!

  27. Enchantingly poetic! I love the truths you have so eloquently penned here–truth that I needed to hear. I live in a small one bedroom home with a loft. With two small children. Right now, my daughter's (2 1/2 years old) bedroom is in the dining room. My son, still under one year, is in our bedroom. We are planning to add on; however, with my being laid off of work just a month ago, it will be delayed until further notice. Through it all though, I know my God is with us. And in this tiny house, our love and God's provision makes our dwelling place a home I wouldn't trade for an upscale house in the suburbs any day of the week!

    Prayers and blessings as you continue your faith walk. May God continually wrap His loving arms around you and whisper sweet words into the depths of your spirit.


  28. I have lived in the same house that my husband and I built when I was only 18 years old. That was 37 years ago. I cannot fathom having to give up your dwelling where you raised your precious family.

    Your post was so honest and pure in your motives and intentions of the heart! I will pray for you right now – even a day late and a dollar short. God knows your heart and He will lead you in His paths for the next season of life! He is faithful in all His ways!

    He has an obsession to be trusted!

    Love you sweet friend, Stephanie

  29. Elaine, I have total faith that you WILL "do" this thing with grace….more than you even expect or need! Great post today! Our house is very old and not at ALL up-to-date by most people standards! We only have ONE bathroom! Can you believe it? ha And yet, I love it because here our family has LIVED for the past 34 years! 🙂

    Love you sister!
    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  30. May the memories of this house bring you joy and may the confident expectation of your eternal home to come bring you peace and hope! May the Lord grant you strength as you step out in faith to follow Him in willing obedience…

  31. I could cry for you as I read this as I have been through the leaving of a home of memories and even though we take them and the people with us, there are some that cling still to that original place. I smile when I think of how perfectly you will show the home to the next family and pass on to them the joy you had there. Am praying with you through this.

  32. Oh Elaine, I have been so preoccupied these past couple of weeks with so many things, I have not taken the opportunity to stop by and visit so many of my favorite blogging friends. I have missed so much that is going on in your life these past couple of weeks. I knew that you had a birthday because I saw it on facebook. I think I remembered to wish you a happy birthday. If not, I hope it was the best one yet. I have a birthday coming up in a couple of days too.

    Anyways, since that post, your life has been heading quickly into a new path that God has prepared for you. How exciting and fun!! I am sure that it has also been a little unnerving, change always is. But exciting, non the less. I am praying for you and your family that God will guard your hearts and keep your mind saturated in Truth. I am not going to be missing too many other posts you have coming up, I am so excited to hear how the Lord leads your heart in this transition in your life. For some reason, I just keep smiling as I type this, I feel like you are coming to our church to be our pastors. 🙂 That would be so cool! But anyways, what a blessing the people of Fayetteville, NC are about to experience. Hope you had a wonderful weekend,


  33. After 8 years, we too are in the process of releasing our home … so filled with memories. Before this home, the longest we'd ever lived in one place was 3 years. Yes … this has been "HOME" to all 12 of our children. It is the only home that all of our children have lived in.

    Oh. So. Hard.

    By the way … I grew up living in church parsonages, so your blog is bringing back memories.

    Laurel 🙂

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