A home that love built.

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I am sitting here this afternoon, taking a break from work. The sun is shining through a dirty window, and now that the TV is off, my soothing sounds background is filled with drilling and hammering and such.

Sam took the afternoon off to assist the construction duo downstairs as they work on the addition to the house. It will be a beautiful room, I just know. I know, because it is Sam’s dream, and he has beautiful dreams.

As the beautiful hearth room is constructed, the kitchen houses a washer and dryer right in the middle of the room. Muddy shoe prints all over the first floor are evidence of work being done inside and outside. In the afternoon sun, I can see all of the dust I did not see last night as I Orecked the floors. The entry and hallway is home to all the tools and supplies.

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Soothing sounds are really not that soothing, at least not in the daylight working hours.

*****

I spent last week attempting to help my over-achiever daughter as she adjusts to child #6. It was a week of sheer chaos and utter joy. I’ve laughed so much. I was exhausted nightly. I was in awe of my baby girl raising her family. Don’t misread though. There were moments of drilling and hammering in the making of beautiful. “Go get the spoon” is not an invitation to partake in a bowl of ice cream, mind you. It’s an invitation to what her husband calls, “motivation.”

“Do you need some motivation? Go get the spoon.”

There was a time not too long ago when I just dreamed that I might someday be a part of this home once again. You could say there was the part of the home-building that needed to be Orecked. But, if you think about it, every family has some dirt that hides in the evenings only to reveal itself fully in the reality of the light.

I was privileged to organize cabinets and drawers, play and create at the table, make snowman pancakes like my Mom used to do for her grandchildren, practice spelling with the two olders thanks to the help of Bananagrams, sit in the middle seat of the van with five littles oohing and ahhing at the Christmas light display, read stories before bedtime, pray with and for each little before kissing them goodnight with an “I love you” hug.

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I was honored to sit in church and listen to my baby girl sing once again, hear her laugh in the comfort of her home, watch her focus all of her attention through a camera lens as she captured first moments of a newborn’s existence, entertain a small group with grace and open arms, command a birthday party for three of the littles by filling her home with families and life-giving love, laughter, and fun. I was fortunate to hear her speak passionately about raising a family with God as the head of their home.

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I watched and shook my head knowingly as little #5, barely a year under her own belt, acted out against a younger baby who now commands Mama’s attention, as siblings argued and tattled on each other, as little #4 bit little #2 in the backseat of the van and many tears were shed. I observed difficult afternoons when little #2 and #3 were disobedient and refused to stay in their rooms for nap time. I smiled inside, more like a silent guffaw that caused me to turn my head and hide my delightful shock, when that hilarious little #4 stood in the kitchen playing by herself and said, “What the crap,” followed by a stern response from Mama. I ached for little #1 who seeks attention and love in the busy home but who mostly obeys when her help is needed with the younger littles even though it is an invitation for her “bossy” to come out and take over. I recognized the beginnings of competitiveness that will likely prevail among the children as they all seek to be better than the others in some way or another – a natural response of human nature.

I allowed tears to form when little #2 prayed for ME on our last tucking-in-to-bed, asking God to keep me safe on my journey back home, when sadness was on the face of little #1 as she told me goodbye, when I listened to my daughter sing one last time, when newest little #6 was dedicated to God on Sunday morning.

There was a time not too long ago when I just dreamed that I might someday be a part of this family once again.

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But love has a way of working in the building of a home. Because love is from God…and God has been at work.

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. – 1 John 4:7-10 CEB

*****

My other baby girl called me last night. She doesn’t often call and rarely if ever needs any advice or help. She’s my Miss Independent, my got-it-all-together-doing-just-fine child.

There was a time not too long ago when I just dreamed that I might someday be a part of her family once again.

She and her husband have two beautiful littles that I so adore and love. Their first little shares her middle name with my Mama, and their second little shares her middle name with me. I look at these two little girls every day in pictures and my heart aches with love and a missing of their sweet voices. My heart aches every day as I try to make my brain remember my daughter’s hearty laugh that warmed me all the way to the bottom of my toes.

Along with their two beautiful girls, my daughter and her husband have been foster parents to two older girls, and today, they officially become parents to the 13-year-old.

Today, in just a few more minutes actually, this family gains a daughter, and I gain a granddaughter. What a gift this family has been given. Tatum was meant to be.

My baby girl called me last night. She doesn’t often call and rarely if ever needs any advice or help. She’s my Miss Independent, my got-it-all-together-doing-just-fine child.

She wanted to ask me a question.

“How do you thin-slice your apples?”

This Mama heart could not be happier in that moment.

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*****

I am enjoying a piece of German chocolate cake as the sun finishes the afternoon shift. I cannot help but reflect on three hours in Oklahoma City on Sunday as I made my way back home from the long week of Ama duty.

Geri, Connie, and Chris, my January group from days past, met me at a restaurant to celebrate our January birthdays with a long overdue reunion and a cake made with love. (Thank you, Geri and Norma.)

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So much has happened in our lives in the years we haven’t been together at a table in the school cafeteria. Life-threatening illness, children in crisis, divorce, marriages, grandchildren, major life changes on the farm, heartbreak and heartache. You know. The drilling and hammering of life, the dirt in the corners and behind the doors. And muddy shoe prints. Lots of muddy shoe prints.

None of the dirt matters. It’s like we were all sitting in the cafeteria talking about the latest drama in the hallway again. All that happened, all that needed to be aired and confessed, all that needed to be shared and unloaded, was. And my three friends said it best:

Forgiveness. You are forgiven. You were forgiven a long time ago.

Nothing like a German chocolate cake and a little vacuuming.

This heart home is still in the building process. There’s likely to be more dirt, more remodeling, more tearing down of walls, more adding on new rooms, more drama. But this heart home has room to grow, because it is a home that love is building. And for that, I am very very grateful.

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