A Mod Podge House ~ A Mod Podge Life
I live in a house that is considered by some to be super cute, but it is also an odd mod podge of rooms, held together with lath and plaster. The story goes that the man who originally built the house was a person who dealt in tin, and to that end there is a beautifully embossed tin ceiling in the kitchen. It is said that he put the house together with odds and ends from other construction projects, and that seems to be true. There is no door or doorknob that matches any other in this house. The house sits on the main thoroughfare leading to downtown in the capital city of Montana.
Four men, later called the “Four Georgians,” (although only one was actually from Georgia), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Georgians were just about to leave the area, pretty sure there was no gold left to discover. Between them, they decided to give it one “last chance,” and struck it big time. The main street running through downtown Helena and into a gulch in the mountains, is called, Last Chance Gulch. The first nuggets were pulled out of the gulch in 1864. My home was built alone on a block long patch of ground that was the original city dump some 22 years later.
The original home didn’t boast a kitchen, something we learned when we remodeled it. As the carpenter tore out walls down to the lath and plaster underbelly, we discovered a window in the wall behind the stove. At one point in the history of the house, a kitchen was added. The bathrooms were also obviously added later, and in some places, the wide molding around the doors and windows has been cut down to half on one side in order to but up against the wall it joins.
We have done many things to this house, having lived in it for almost 19 years. It is the longest amount of time I have ever lived in one place, not an easy thing for someone who loves change. I have fallen down the stairs and broken my neck and recovered from two brain surgeries in this house. I have also nursed my husband through a massive heart attack while we lived in this house. It has been home to three of our dogs, and I can’t look at the backyard without seeing each of them, all three sure the yard belonged to it alone. But one thing never changes. We have sensed God’s presence and protection through it all. We have come to believe, more than ever, that we are still here for reasons we sometimes do not understand. And that’s ok.
Like our house, our lives have at times seemed like a mod podge of disorganized trials and tribulations, patched together when there was no other way around it. But slowly, like the house, we’ve remodeled, we’ve transformed, we’ve grown. You can still see some cracks and sloping floors, …but but all in it’s still a beautiful little house. And life for us, has become all the more precious and beautiful, not in spite of, but because of the trials we’ve faced together and with God in our lives.
For a while, in my suffering, I couldn’t understand what I was still doing here on earth. I figured God was soon going to be taking me home. I actually longed for it. Like Paul, I thought, “For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21). The only reason I wished to remain here on earth was for my husband, children, and grandchildren. I wanted to keep them from the sorrow of an early goodbye. I had said goodbye to my own parents when I was a young adult, and I had felt like an orphan.
One night my grown daughter had a dream that turned that way of thinking on its head. She called the next morning to tell me about it. She dreamt that I was suffering and the Lord said to her, “I want to heal your mother but I want her to simplify her life.” When she told me about the dream, I knew exactly what it meant. I had been thinking that I needed to fully concentrate on rebuilding my health, but I was so busy “doing” that I wasn’t giving it the intention. I suffered from autoimmune diseases and the repercussions of the two brain surgeries. I had also had a total knee replacement and needed to concentrate on my physical therapy.
Suddenly, my thinking about my life and the helplessness I felt about my health began to change, and I knew I had do more than just sit around and wish I felt better.
When I look back on the trials we have faced since we moved into this house, I can’t help but make comparisons. Like the house, I have continued to change. I feel more love for others, more compassion, more peace and less fear. The older I get, the more changes I see. The Lord is pressing me, changing me, pushing me to become all I am meant to be. But I have to cooperate in the process too, just like I had to buy the paint, the flooring, and the better appliances. I have to gather the tools for my own health and wellbeing. Then I can trust Him to do the rest. To that end, I have been pouring the juice from fresh vegetable and fruits into my body on an almost hourly basis…because I have been really terrible at eating enough vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. I admit it. I became a sugar addict last Christmas and made a lot of promises to myself that never materialized. I didn’t think God cared about keeping me here and keeping me healthy. I thought I was “on my way out.” And I felt resigned. It wasn’t my fault that I broke my neck or had to have two brain surgeries. But I don’t have to die from heart disease or cancer due to a terrible lifestyle. I know this probably seems like no news to some, but maybe to others it’s a revelation. God wants us healthy. We have to cooperate with that. Food is medicine. I love my old kooky house. I have spent years fixing it up. I need to love myself just as much. A mod podge life? Maybe to me, maybe even to others, but not to God.
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. ~ Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV