lessons from a white couch

There I was, vacuuming our white couch, again.

white couch
isn’t this adorable of a few of our nieces and nephews?! Check out little Rocky peeking up at the bottom of the pic!

Don’t get me wrong, I love our white couch and how it looks in our little house. God has literally answered prayers on this very couch. This is the couch that we sat on with our birth mom when she told us that she chose us to be the parents to her babies. On this couch we have laughed (hard) with dear friends of ours and cried with others. This is a place of comfort and gathering in our home. We love it.

Trust me, I have actually heard many opinions from many people about how crazy we are to have a white couch with a black dog and now twins coming. And this day, as I was reluctantly cleaning it yet again, I agreed with each of them for the first time. Until…..

it occurred to me, vacuum still in hand, that this white couch, and the fact that I have to clean it ALL THE TIME, is actually a blessing! (what?!) Before you think that I’ve totally lost it, let me explain.

We all have dirty couches! Whether we have pets, kids, or even just us cuddling and kicking our feet up, we’ve got junk. The difference with my white couch is that it’s visible! And because the junk is visible, I address it and take care of it.

As I realized this, it started to freak me out how little I cleaned our last couch! I would vacuum it, but only once a month or so or when we had special company coming over and yet, we had the same amount of junk on it,  it was hidden, and therefore ignored! Yuck right?! (Before you run off to clean your own couch, stick with me for the best part.)

Isn’t this the same in our own life? If we keep all of the junk, tough stuff, yucky parts of who we are in our flesh hidden, then we don’t have the opportunity to deal with it, or better yet, let God deal with it. But, if we become like white couches, revealing to our owner (God), ALL of us, even the deepest parts that are attached to guilt and shame, then, he can clean us up!

The amazing thing is that He is not afraid or appalled by our worst stuff. He is the master cleaner and restorer!

So who’s with me? Who is going to choose today to allow him into those deep, hairy, dirty crevices and let Him do His magic?

Note: IF you are thinking about purchasing a white couch, I do highly recommend this one! It is the Ektorp sofa from Ikea. It is inexpensive (for a couch!), comfortable, and the white is actually a washable cover so you can remove the covers from each cushion, and the entire base of the couch, and just throw it in your washing machine! I do vacuum it for weekly (sometimes daily) maintenance, and then wash it only when needed.

2nd note:  Look on Craigslist! We purchased this one for $300 (normally $1000) AND we are now friends with the sweet lady who sold it to us!

couch

defining “simple living”

For the past 2 years, the Lord has been whispering the word “simplify” in my ear, so much that I can’t ignore it. We de-cluttered, sold things, gave other things away, and then we went to Uganda. For 5 months, we lived off of the 14 items of clothing that we took with us, ate the same thing every week, and had few electronics, and we found it to be so freeing. Before we came home, we talked a lot about how we would want life to look back in the U.S. We knew that we wanted to live our day to day lives even more simply than before and talked about specific ways that we would do that.

I dreamed of an Anthropologie inspired home with white walls and neutral tones. Baskets, reclaimed wood, and live plants would take care of the décor in our little home and we would have space and room to breathe because there would be no clutter. Anything that would need to be added to our home would be either homemade or purchased second-hand.

To me, this picture that I had sketched in my head was a breath of fresh air.

But then, we moved into our little red house and started unpacking. It was like Christmas in June seeing all of our belongings that had been waiting for us for 6 months in storage while we were out of the country. Here is the thing that I quickly realized as I looked through everything we own… I like color! I love lime green, teal and mustard yellow. I’m drawn to the color mint and a deep magenta makes my heart smile. I love color.

So I had a choice. Get rid of all of our current, colorful textiles and décor in order to fit this natural motif that I had been dreaming of, or, just roll with what I’ve got! And friends, we are rolling! Now don’t get me wrong, I still am so inspired by people’s homes that are raw and muted but ours is just not turning out that way.

photo

My new path to simplicity is filled with much more grace and isn’t as rigid as where I was before. I’m learning. I’m learning that the simplicity that the Lord is calling me to isn’t defined by lack of color; in fact, He is the one who created me to love these bright colors! The simple life that He is leading me toward is more of a compilation of small, seemingly insignificant, daily decisions.

  • It is the decision to be content with what I have instead of buying new.
  • It is the laying the to-do list aside when there is an opportunity to connect with a friend.
  • It is the choice to get rid of things that are taking up space but aren’t being used.
  • It is trusting that He is going to take care of me, even if I don’t have 3 jobs!
  • It is taking a moment to breathe and process before responding.
  • It is letting things go.
  • It is living in gratitude.
  • It is living below my means.
  • It is taking a day of rest.
  • It is not grabbing everything that I love from a store.
  • It is inviting people into my home, no matter if it’s cleaned up or a mess.
  • It is taking the time to stop what I’m doing and giving Caleb long, drawn out hugs.
  • It is cleaning out my closet (someday!).
  • It is making time with Jesus my first priority every morning.
  • It is eating real, unprocessed food.
  • It is being ok with just enough, and not an abundance.
  • It is (much) less time on social media.
  • It is living on less to have more time.
  • It is relaxing at home instead of always needing to be entertained.
  • It is eating to live, not living to eat.
  • It is dropping perfection and accepting the real me.
  • It is forgiving.
  • It is knowing my limits and not trying to be superwoman.
  • It is choosing joy.

This is my list that has unfolded in front of me. It may be different for everyone, I’m not sure, but I’m learning more each day as the Lord reveals it to me. I fail….a lot, but there is grace…..grace and COLOR!