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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pleasant Places

Let not our longing slay our appetite for living. -Jim Elliot, in a letter to Elisabeth, his future fiancee.

I could stand in one place and pivot, setting my foot first in the bathroom, then the master bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the boy's room. It was tiny, our first home. Noises carried easily, the 1948 hardwood floors creaked and popped incessantly. The kitchen found me pivoting again, as I could turn from the oven to the countertop directly behind me without lifting my feet.

And yet, we hosted many people in our home! I could cook meals and clean up afterwards while friends sat at the little dining table directly across the counter; happily, I could still participate in conver- sation while I sudsed and rinsed. I found nooks for corner shelves to display my tea sets, accented by the cherry wallpaper I lovingly chose.

The steeply pitched roof was graced with icicle lights in winter, casting a cozy glow on the front door that we had stained dark walnut, a berry wreath adorning its' center. The back yard and aged trees were a delight to my husband, who often spent his time off mowing and pruning and feeding his special space. My boys learned to walk on that uneven lawn, Corban running from one end to the other when Daddy returned from his four-month semester in Texas. My husband will never forget the sight of his little arms pumping, feet pumping faster, as he raced across the grass shouting, "Daddy! Hi! Daddy! Hi!"

As I write this, I sit in an apartment that is larger than our first home. There is an actual hallway that defies my pivot test - I can no longer be in five places nearly at once! The kitchen is small, but I do have to lift my feet as I pull a steaming casserole from the oven and place it on the countertop behind me.

I can stack dishes neatly in an automatic dishwasher and be back to the conversation taking place in our spacious dining room before anyone notices I am missing.

But still, I have grieved and mourned lost time. Time for my husband to unwind from the ministry of a shepherd by ministering to the earth with his hands, planting trees and breathing deep the fresh air. Time for my boys to break from school and run wild outside, giving Mama a chance to breathe deep the quiet. But in my heart, I am reminded...

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:5-7)
It is a pleasant place, yes. Our history timeline graces the dining room wall for all to see, for learning continues even during meals. The same lantern that has followed us from house to house since the very first sits atop our table still, and lights my early mornings. This home is quickly cleaned, easily maintained, and keeps us close and cozy, just the way we like it.

And, even better, it has been assigned by the One who knows best. It is safety, security, and will always be so if I stay within the boundary lines. I may stretch and resist, but in my heart, He continues to instruct me... Feed, love, lead... It is a gentle reminder of the gravity of my role, as well as the simplicity of these lovely days.

Within the measure of His perfect portion.

You are always welcome at my little place - A Path Made Straight



Blogger nanashouse said...

I already left a comment on your blogspot. I am blessed by your writing. It draws me straight to Jesus.

October 29, 2007 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Joyful Days said...

Thank you for sharing this for I surely needed a reminder to be thankful for where I am at now.

Always in Him,


October 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a lovely post, bless you.

October 29, 2007 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger nanashouse said...

I can't post enough comments; keep on as long as you can. You have a gift we can all glean from.

October 30, 2007 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Beka said...

Such a beautiful and loving glimpse into the pleasant place that is your home, Elise. I just wish your home wasn't so far away from my home! :-)

And praise God for our secure lots, beautiful heritages, and most of all, for the Lord who counsels us! That psalm is one of my very favorites, ending with what just might be my favorite verse of all: Thou wilt show me the path of life, in Thy presence is fulness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

Love you sooo much and miss you! You are so often in my prayers... may our Father give you much grace and strength for these days, enabling you to run with patience and endurance.


October 30, 2007 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous GP said...

this is great... finding safety and comfort where G-d wants us to be... and leaning on the everlasting arms.

GP in Montana
off for a "girl's morning out and a short ride on TB mare, Picken guided by our G-d"

October 30, 2007 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Mama P said...

Found ya through Liza's Eyeview during her Starbuck's giveaway (which I will win!)

You can find me here at Blogspot or at my column for Babycenter:

It's easiest to find me by author (links on the right). I write under Andrea Frazer. Take care!

October 30, 2007 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...


This is like poetry. Beautiful relfection of peace in our lives.

October 30, 2007 at 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely reminder for us to accept where God has placed us.

Many Blessings!

October 30, 2007 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Joyce said...

What a pleasent look back. I am now remembering the first farm house we lived in. The rent was $20 a month and my husband worked it off in the spring by disking ground for the owner of the house. An the thought of God and boundries brings thoughts also.

October 30, 2007 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Maxine said...

Hi there, Sweetie. Oh, how I wish I could come see you, but alas, it's not to be. Someday, though, in Beulah land.
Thankful for the peace He's giving you.

October 30, 2007 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Great post, Elise!

October 30, 2007 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger The Small Scribbler said...


Even though our paths have not crossed they seem so similar. I am often homesick for our sunshine filled tiny apartment in The Pumpkin House (It was a bright orange house. It still makes me laugh to think about it.) 1 bedroom/3 kids.

My roots were suddenly torn from a place I loved a year ago and are still seeking fertile soil to sink deep into. But like you, I know this is good. This is God's plan. How can it be anything but what is best?

Once again, your words are gorgeous.


October 30, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I always love your word pictures, what a beautiful painting you've done today of sweet contentment. And not just unhappy acceptance, but choosing to thrive and delight in God's purposes right where you are, not knowing the future. I miss you my friend.
Love, Sarah

November 1, 2007 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

you paint an almost tangible picture with your words, elise. yes, our portion....

good reminder to savor what we have, despite longings...

November 4, 2007 at 4:29 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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