We lived in what is sometimes called a “starter” home for seventeen years. We never intended to stay that long. We were planning on two to three years; just a transition house….while we looked for something affordable and quaint out in the country. But just like that…nearly two decades had come and gone. With our four children plus other people occasionally living with us for weeks, months, or even years, we definitely kept it “cozy”!
A few years into the seventeen, while I was struggling with health issues after a serious auto accident, my husband added a four-season porch off the kitchen. However, it was never really just a porch. It was our “Upper Room” filled with sunlight and breeze. It was a place for me to be alone, pray and heal; where media devices weren’t allowed; where I could hear God apart from all the distractions of this world. Though we lived in a bustling suburb with neighbors all around and the constant rumble of traffic, the Upper Room gave the ambiance of rural life, and it was there that God brought physical healing and spiritual growth to me.
The Upper Room became a favorite place for others as well; the atmosphere catering to great conversation, laughter, fun, and fellowship! Thus, in addition to serving as my room for studying the Bible, worship, praise, prayer, and pouring my heart out on paper, laptop, or I-pad, it was the perfect area for family gatherings, women’s bible studies, corporate worship and praise, prayer meetings, holiday get-together’s, home school, dining room, playroom, and napping room too!
We were blessed in the Upper Room for nearly ten of the seventeen years we lived in our home. So when the time came to move on, as silly as it might sound, leaving the Upper Room behind was difficult for me. Naturally I “knew” it was just a room; God is present everywhere so I was in good hands. But God’s presence had been so tangible and His healing touch so concrete in the Upper Room, I didn’t want to leave it behind!
Over the weeks leading up to moving day as I packed our belongings including everything in the Upper Room, the memories, good and bad, echoed in my mind. I recalled being distraught at my inability to help my husband build the Upper Room because of physical pain. I reminisced about God’s peace that passes understanding was so tangible in the Upper Room. I thought about the intimacy created with God and others in the Upper Room; the healing and deliverance that happened in the Upper Room; the laughter and tears collected as family and friends gathered to enjoy each other and God in the Upper Room; the praise, worship, prayer, intercession, and teaching in the Upper Room; the celebrations and special times spent in the Upper Room! How could God top what happened there? How could I leave such a special place created for me? Would I ever have an Upper Room like it again?
On the morning of our closing, I went through each room one last time and the myriad of emotions along with flashes of memorable events was astounding. I welcomed them all…that is…until I reached the Upper Room. Suddenly I felt paralyzed; unable to go in. For just a split second, the sense of loss was overwhelming with tears welling in my eyes! I left the house without going into my Upper Room one last time; the same room I had walked into every morning for nearly a decade; the same room I experienced a splash of freshness every time I entered!
On the way to our closings I cried sweet, cleansing tears as I came to terms with the reality I would never see my Upper Room again, much less spend time there! I also smiled through my tears as a random thought occurred to me, “Consider it closed”. This was the Realty company motto I saw proudly displayed on correspondence for months now. How true these words rang in my spirit that morning, “Consider it closed”. With the door closing on Garner Avenue in Rosemount, I needed to consider it closed. BUT, just as quickly as that thought swooped into my brain, a second thought struck me; I needed to consider a new door opening on Guarani Street in Oak Grove, because in the next few hours, we would be signing papers saying we sold one house and bought another!
That’s what happens with most “closings” in life…they are accompanied by tears, smiles, and other emotions! For example, graduations whether from kindergarten, high school, college, or graduate school can bring tears because we’ll miss the people and activities but we also smile thinking of what’s ahead (not to mention we’re done studying). Jobs and careers close on us and we may cry if we’re fired or laid off and we may smile when promoted, but all are closings of something. Businesses and churches close! These closings can cause anger while people fight for the wrong thing or play the blame game. But these closings can also move people to reflect on where they’ve been and where they’re headed, perhaps a new and exciting direction, bringing gladness to the soul. One kind of closing can really undo most people…road closings! Talk about firing up all emotions on one cylinder! Finally we come to the final closing…death…when it feels the door to our loved ones is slammed shut forever! There’s always an abundance of tears shed when death closes in, AND, many smiles as we reminisce plus remind ourselves as believers we WILL see them again!
People say when God closes a door, He opens a window. Well, that’s not exactly biblical even though it certainly does make people feel better about their situations. But God is not into making people feel better! He IS into making people better, and the good feelings follow. God makes all things new and He has purpose in all things! Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Closings certainly serve a purpose! We are unlikely to perceive His purpose in them if we’re looking for “our” purpose in life! Stay tuned for the next blog when I share more about my Upper room, closings and His purpose!