October 6, 2010

Dwelling Places

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  
Before the mountains were born 
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

There are a few verses scattered throughout Scripture that I have a tendency to revisit out of need on a somewhat regular basis.  The above is one of them: Psalm 90:1-2.  It seems to be my natural tendency to seek contentment in places, and especially places I am not currently in, thereby preventing the contentment I long for.  Three years ago I pined to live in the very apartment building I now reside in, with its cozy carpets, open floor plan and downtown convenience.  Three months ago I struggled to be happy here, longing instead for the charm of hardwood floors, the fancy formality of a separate dining room, and the peace and quiet of a north side neighborhood.  I knew we'd have to move from our income-based rental soon, as my recent loss of "student" status would put our montly payment through the roof.  For months I attempted planning our next move, scheduled at the end of this month, searching and searching for just the right place for us, expecting God to bring each of my desires to me on a silver platter (happily settled on a granite countertop).  It became so overwhelming that I realized, at the end of August, I had to stop.  So I did.  Beginning on September 1st, with utter reliance on the Spirit, I fasted from apartment-hunting, and it was hard.  Till it wasn't.  Seeking the "kingdom of God" over "all these things" - after a few weeks of starved discontentment - became my delight (Matthew 6:33).  I eventually traded in my anxiety over the future for an excitement about what God might do.  Our weekend away, in addition to a birthday excursion for E, also became a culmination of that unsure but excited season.

Sunday evening we came home to find a memo under our door, telling us that our rental rate beginning in November at our current apartment would be much lower than we expected it to be, as our income would still be low enough to achieve the lower rent without the help of my student status.  (Sometimes it pays to be poor!)  Surprised and unsure what to think, we prayed.  And surprised and unsure what to feel, we felt peace.

Then, Monday, when I thought it was time, that I'd learned to be happy in God rather than in things such as apartments, that I'd learned to trust Him to bring all those "things" I needed when I simply sought Him, I logged on to those tried and never true apartment hunting websites again.  I spent hours wearying myself once more over amenities and commute lengths and rental rates.  Exhausted, I finally realized with regret that maybe God had really answered all our prayers with that memo.  Maybe we were meant to stay.  And I realized... that really was best.  Downtown is sometimes wearying, but it's a perfect location for us to reach all our activities: E's job on the south side, my job and our church community on the north side.  With so many unkowns ahead of us in the next year, the lease flexability that comes with the low-income rate is perfect.  Now we'll have time to see where God is taking us before we have to take any steps forward on our own.

:: sigh of relief ::

And so I've come to learn once more... He really is our dwelling place.  No matter where I live or in what apartment I sleep, He will be faithful... from one end of eternity to the other.  As tempting as it is to be anxious, there's really no need.  He's totally got my back.  I know He'll have to remind me of that with Psalm 90 over and over and over again.  But I'm willing to sit through the reruns, because He knows even better than I do how badly I need them.

What about you?  Are there any Scriptures the Lord repeatedly puts before your eyes to draw you back to truth?  What are you learning?


  1. Wow! I'm so glad you guys have reached a decision. And your apartment, BTW, is ADORABLE and after seeing it Adam was like "maybe next time we move we should look for a place like that"--so there you have it. =)
    I just memorized Col 3:17 (?) which I think says "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of Christ Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Hope I got that right. It reminds me that throughout every season, whether I'm making copies in an office, washing dishes, talking to a friend, or making dinner, it should all be done for him and in him and through him!

  2. Thanks, Jenna! :) I think once we organize a bit, splash a little paint on the walls and rearrange the furniture a little, it'll look and feel good as new, which is all I could ask for right now. :) You're welcome to come over any time, you know! Since we don't need your help moving, how are you at painting? haha... Or apple pie baking, for that matter, as I have about 20 lbs. of apples lying around...

    And thank you for sharing that... those are such good words to be reminded of! Do you memorize verses on a regular basis? What's your method for learning them? I recently put a small chalk board up in the kitchen with the intention of putting up a new verse every week, to have my eyes constantly falling on and learning it. I've just kept up Mt. 6:33 for the past month, but I think it's time for something new!

  3. It is always good to see others learning some of the same things I have had to learn. ;-) It is not that misery likes company. No, it is more like being blessed with having learned those lessons makes me want others to be blessed, too!

    Being in my mid-50's, I have had to revisit those lessons a few times, too. It really does get easier each time, though. My walk with the Yahweh is deeper than it has ever been and yet still in much need of improvement. Someday...we will know as we are known and maybe then the lessons will stop. Or...maybe...there will be a whole new set of things to learn...wondrous and glorious things!

    I have just found your blog and look forward to getting to know you better. :-)