A Spacious Place

Photo by A J Leon, Creative Commons licence

 

We took the job without having seen the house that came with it. It was the right church, with the right people, and we sensed God drawing us there.
 
At the time, we were living in a large curate’s house, and I was convinced that any other house would be inferior. But we took the job anyway, because how can you possibly make a ministry or vocational decision based on the house?
 
I loudly declared that I didn’t mind having a less good house to live in because those things didn’t matter. This was somewhat embarrassing when I actually moved in and discovered quite how beautiful and big our new house was.
 
***
 
The ceilings are so high they have picture railings, and the windows are plentiful and large; the rooms are roomy. Light bounces off the walls. We have a garden with springy grass and an apple tree which reminds us of seasons and harvest and just how important a good crop is to most farmers in the world.
 
I didn’t think the bricks and mortar, land, light, space, was important. But as soon as we moved into that house I wound up housebound with severe M.E.
 
Being housebound is hard, no matter where you are. But as prisons go, this has been a beautiful one, and a place of refuge. I have what Virginia Woolf would describe as ‘a room of one’s own’ – somewhere to create art without having to live in noisy, damp, dark or cramped conditions.
 
As a teenager, I used to think that Christians who cared about the kind of home they lived in or where they lived were shallow materialists. Surely the Lord is our dwelling place, and we should be happy wherever we are?
 
Evangelical theology often follows Ancient Greek thought in emphasising spiritual matters as more important than body, space, land. But the Old Testament emphasises these things, and describes God as someone who wanted a good house to dwell in – just look at the chapters spent on describing how the temple should be built.
 
God, dwelling with people, shared their desire for something more permanent, safe and beautiful than just a tent in the wilderness. We have a God-given longing for a ‘spacious place’.
 
I’m not glad that I’m housebound. But to be bound to this house, in particular, was an unforeseen blessing. Today I receive my house, for as long as I dwell in it, as a gift from God.

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.” – Psalm 118: 5, NIVUK

 
Over to you:

  • Can you relate with longing for a ’spacious place’? What does a ‘spacious place’ mean for you and your situation?
  • How important is your physical home to you?
  • How do you process that theologically?

 
Linking up with the folk at Five Minute Friday. This was my best five – ahem, seven – minutes on Place. 

 

We have a God-given longing for a ‘spacious place’. Click To Tweet

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27 Responses to A Spacious Place

  1. Katha 12th August, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    You’re right, we sometimes overlook our homes because it’s seen as materialistic. And yes, I guess we can overdo it and worry too much about these wordly things. When I was looking for an apartment last year I said to God what I want because I believe that my apartment is also a place for ministry – where people can come gather at my table and meet the Lord in that. So yes, I did have a few standards for my new place and it was worth it! I am amazed at the encounters that happened here already!
    Visiting from FMF.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

      I’m so glad that you were able to ask God for what you needed and you got that apartment which can be a place for ministry. Praying for blessings on you and your home today!

  2. Nancy Wallace 12th August, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    I’m thankful for a comfortable home in a beautiful area. For me a home is both a place of retreat when needed but also a place of hospitality. For the latter i think the physical aspects of ‘home’ do matter for the sake of providing a welcome to others. It does not need to be luxurious, but simple, clean enough and with touches of beauty even if that is only a single wild flower in a vase.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

      There are so many people who have that gift of hospitality, and can turn their homes into the place where everyone just wants to hang out. I suspect you are one of those wonderful people. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Donna Matthews 12th August, 2017 at 12:27 am #

    I didn’t know what M.E. was and had to google – what a terrible ailment 🙁

    I so admire your attitude and reliance on God – AND – I’ve been struggling on a personal level “how much” God orchestrates as opposed to letting life play out in free will, and I can’t help but believe, in this case, that He placed you in THAT home for THIS time. Thank you for sharing – #54 at FMF.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to Google M.E. – much appreciated. Yes – I also struggle with reconciling in an abstract sense how much God orchestrates and plans. My friend once said, ‘God is not a micro-manager’, and I think she may well be right. But thank you for believing with me that he has placed me in this house for this time. Great to meet you!

  4. Tammy Mashburn 12th August, 2017 at 12:17 am #

    “Being housebound is hard, no matter where you are. But as prisons go, this has been a beautiful one, and a place of refuge. I have what Virginia Woolf would describe as ‘a room of one’s own’ – somewhere to create art without having to live in noisy, damp, dark or cramped conditions.” So beautiful, and my how I can relate! Sending prayers and hugs your way. When I see your IG feed from your room, I think of you, whisper a prayer.
    XO
    Tammy

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

      You are such a love-filled person! Thank you for this, and for your prayers. I know you know how this feels. Sending love and prayers your way today

  5. Rebecka 11th August, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Oh, yes. Amen. Beautiful!
    I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been to have a flat with a big living room with large windows during my housebound days.
    Now that I can get out more, the words ‘spacious place’ makes me think more about my heart and my thoughts than my physical surroundings. I thinks I make the place I allow myself to inhabit a whole lot smaller than God means it to be. Sometimes when I talk to my mother about my life and fears and worries (mostly about doing/being/choosing what’s wrong) she quotes a pastor who once said “God didn’t give us a knife-edge to balance on, but an area to wander within.”* I pray that I can open up my heart to that beautiful, spacious area and live my life in there.

    *Poorly translated, but I hope you get the gist.

  6. Rebecka 11th August, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

    Oh, yes. Amen. Beautiful!
    I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been to have a flat with a big living room with large windows during my housebound days.
    Now that I can get out more, the words ‘spacious place’ mekes me think more about my heart and my thoughts than my physical surroundings. I thinks I make the place I allow myself to inhabit a whole lot smaller than God means it to be. Sometimes when I talk to my mother about my life and fears and worries (mostly about doing/being/choosing what’s wrong) she quotes a pastor who once said “God didn’t give us a knife-edge to balance on, but an area to wander within.”* I pray that I can open up my heart to that beautiful, spacious area and live my life in there.

    *Poorly translated, but I hope you get the gist.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

      Yes to the large windows! I’m like a moth, drawn to the light 🙂
      And WOW. This is so helpful, to hear of how it applies to heart-things. I think so many people who’ve recovered, even somewhat, from chronic illness, struggle with anxiety afterwards. Because – I guess – you know the worst can happen, because it did. I absolutely love your Mum’s comment – that speaks to my heart, too. Thanks for the wisdom, my friend!

      • Rebecka 21st August, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

        Gah, the typos! Never post a comment after 10 pm 😉

  7. Tammy 11th August, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    Tanya,
    how lovely. I am so sorry for your limitations on leaving the house, but am delighted in your perspective that you are sharing here.
    And, I think that God can give us beautiful things without us feeling guilty, just as long as they don’t become more important to us than Him. Rejoice in a home that is a spacious place, because there is room to host and share that space with others.
    You have truly added to the conversation this week, and I’m glad to have another friend across the pond!
    Love,
    Tammy
    (#53 this week)

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

      Hi Tammy! Thanks so much for visiting via FMF this week, and for encouraging me to receive good gifts from God. xx

  8. Lesley 11th August, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi Tanya- thanks for visiting my blog through FMF. I enjoyed reading your post. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with illness but I’m glad God has provided you with such a beautiful place to live. It’s good to connect with you and to find another FMF blogger in the UK- I’m in Scotland but I lived in Devon for 2 years.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Waving hi from Devon! Great to hear of another UK person in FMF – there’s so many Americans, it’s nice to balance it out a bit!

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