Ten years ago this month, my husband, Chuck, and I moved into a house I never thought we would own. With a newly remodeled, spacious kitchen perfect for hosting our grown children, future spouses and grandchildren, I was thrilled. I’d never owned a dishwasher before or an ice maker, for that matter. To top it off, an alluring covered deck attached to the kitchen and bordered by woods called us away to a relaxing respite as we sipped lemonade in the summer or hot cider in the fall. Squirrels leaping from limb to limb or foraging in fallen leaves entertained us with playful antics. Beneath the deck a screened in alcove housed a hot tub bubbling with warmth and therapy for our aching muscles and frazzled nerves. Gas logs warmed us during family Christmas celebrations. With five bedrooms and two full baths we were able to house our missionary children in transit to the field.
Shortly after we moved to our new home, I was studying the book of Psalms during my quiet time with the Lord. One day, He led me to Psalm 27. My eyes and heart zeroed in on verses four and five: One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Beside those verses I wrote that while I loved the new house God had given me, my chief desire was to dwell in the house of the LORD, to behold his face, and meditate on His attributes. I shared this desire with my small group at church.
Two years later, Chuck felt prompted to pick up a desire he had been harboring for several years: real estate investing in order to fund our marriage seminars and mission trips. While not fully on the same page, I jumped on board to help him facilitate his desire, knowing that the effort was for a good cause.
After two years of real estate training, buying and selling, and bookkeeping, I was frazzled. At the beginning of 2006, God once again brought Psalm 27 to my mind and I purposed in my heart that enjoying Him would be the theme for my life in this new year. However, physical and emotional exhaustion clouded my spiritual desire and unleashed obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which led me into an anxiety-driven depression. Thankfully, God prompted me to seek out counseling and accountability to manage OCD and its powerful symptom of spiritual doubt. Counseling helped me realize that I was using my sinful dysfunction to hide from the painful reality of real estate rather than embrace the healthy hiding place I so desired—my Lord.
God continued to strip away what obstructed my view of Him. He used the economic downturn in 2007 to test my resolve to enjoy Him, even in the midst of unsold properties, looming foreclosure, and the potential of losing the home I loved. Yet, I experienced a peace I never thought I would.
Now in 2012, we still live in the house we purchased ten years ago, and only two investment properties remain, both of which are under a lease-to-own contract. God continues to draw my attention to Psalm 27, reminding me to relinquish my earthly home so that I might gain the priceless treasure of Christ--at home in my heart.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, conducts marriage seminars with her husband, Chuck. She is currently working on a gift book of cute kid quips and her fifth novel, Laughing with Lily. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com