Balancing my computer on one arm across the living room in an apron decorated with flour handprints I yell, “They’re here, come and see the photos of our new home,” power cord trailing, plug bouncing over the carpet.
My invitation is accepted with alacrity, voices from rooms like bird chatter wafting through open windows signaling the start of a new season. Less than a minute later we perch side-by-side on the couch scrolling through video clips and photos.
British friends toured the house that a church is generously providing for us as accommodation in London. We’re anxious to see it. We’ve shared what-if dinner conversations about furniture we might take but this provides a shot of realism on murmurings and practicalities. Shipping a crate of our belongings from Charleston to London is one of our next steps.
When Americans think of homes in England, this is generally what they envision.
Am I right?
In keeping with every other detail we’ve planned about this move up until this point, God is sobering us by pointing out our idealism.
As we anxiously scroll through big rooms with large picture windows on three floors of a lovely house, my brain snags on one shower, no dishwasher and the clothes drying on racks throughout the house. A dryer, it turns out, is a luxury not a staple.
If hope deferred makes the heart sick, then shattered idealism is grace, a warning that reasoning has become an idol and relationship with Christ no longer first place.
Prayer is our only preventative.
After dinner, football plays on the television and computer lays on my lap. I cue up Pinterest and land on an article about how to pick perfect paint colors. Soaking up each paragraph while dissecting every pretty picture, I learn the obvious — there isn’t a perfect paint color.
Am I the only one who is that gullible?
At the precise moment you say, “I surrender all for you Jesus,” paint and carpet becomes a hindrance to resolution.
If we assume contentment is about achieving a perfect life, God will eventually shatter your idealism. He will break into your assumptions about identity and your definitions of success because he is jealous for your affection and he longs for your allegiance.
Idealism is a mirage and Hope will never disappoint.
To respect the privacy of the current tenants who are in a heap of boxes in the house, I chose not to post photos. Stay tuned.
I won’t be sharing my posts on social networking channels daily because who wants to see that much of me, really? If you want to follow our adventure to London subscribe to the blog in the side bar and posts will slide quietly into you inbox. Start from the beginning of the series here.
Hugs! A friend said you just get used to it and that she purchased a small dryer – eventually 🙂 My Doctor Who streak is very jealous, but the mommy nurturer and homemaker and planner side are in freak out mode.
I vacillate between adventurous and control freak Tracey, you’re in good company.
You said so many things in this that I need to remember!! Shelly, God is using your journey to speak to my own. He is so good.
It seems we live parallel lives Kris much of the time. Different scenarios with the same messages. You are a good sojourner, thankful for you.
Wow, Shelly, how lovely!
Lovely to see you here Debra, thanks for letting me know you stopped by.
Gosh, Shelly, when American’s think of British houses, I thought that they pictured this: http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/ !!!!!!!
I am soooooooo happy for you! A house. A real h ouse! God is good, and you are getting closer. Oh rejoice that you don’t have a dishwasher. Truly. I didn’t have one for TWENTY-FOUR years, and I miss not having one now. That sink became my altar. When you hand-wash dishes, you have time to think, to pray, adn to listen to radio. It’s when I washed my dishes, that I would listen to Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy. ANd even the dishpan became one–a gateway to the joy of the Lord! I can’t wait to see your house and to learn its name. Love you. Praying.
Yes, this does feel like an important leap of steps toward getting there Lynn. Highclere Castle has way too many rooms to dust but then there are servants I guess. *wink* While my least favorite household chore is doing the dishes, I do often find my sink an altar as well. I do some of my best conversing with Jesus there about many things.
There you go: an altar!! And servants? Well, I guess we are it, huh? Servants of the Lord. =] So happy about that house, Shelly. I hope to visit you in it one day! =]
Yeah, since we moved into our “Hope Cottage” of sorts, we’ve been without a dishwasher and have only 1 full bathroom, too. It’s been over two years now. It’s not the worst thing– and in time we found the hidden gems.
Maybe your dryer situation can be remedied… All-in-one washer and dryer combinations are very popular in the UK (they call it a Washer-Dryer). They don’t need venting and are space-conscious. Here’s a peek.. maybe it’s a possibility. I HOPE. 🙂
How much do I love that you sent me a link for a washer-dryer Heather. A LOT. Thanks friend, your a good empathetic shoulder to lean on.
Dryers are relatively inexpensive. Just buy one, and sell it on before you leave, or give to the next occupant. Brits tend to think that dryers ruin clothes, so many of my friends don’t have one, but prefer to hang their clothes out to dry!! or use racks.
I use a dryer!
We don’t plan on leaving. Ever. I’m sure I’ll figure it all out Anita. Thanks for your input, it matters.
Shelly- I truly love you and the way your story makes much of Jesus. Keep on writing the gritty parts- I need to hear them.
Sometimes the gritty is just messy Lori. Glad it is speaking to you, sometimes I worry its too much. You know, I probably need to tell you that you often say things here in the comment box that become like answers to questions I have with myself. Thanks for being my friend. xxx
Moving house and home is quite a journey! Hope you enjoy the process no matter what and see many heavenly surprises along the way! – a fellow 31 Dayer 🙂
Katha, can you leave your blog address so I can find you? Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment. The surprises abound and many of them are changing me.
Sorry, forgot that! 🙂
So much commenting going back and forth so you never know what goes through and what doesn’t…Anyways, great to meet you! I also moved as a teenager and have a few friends in the London area (also TCKs and with experience on transition). If you want to connect or need help, let me know!
At long last, tangible progress. Pleased by this.
Lovely. It makes me excited for both our futures.
Praying for you all.
Do you have any news Celeste? We need to catch up.Thanks for your prayers, I have felt them.
Lovely, lovely! But I’m glad it’s your knees and not mine with THREE stories to manage. I remember that appliances in England are problematic. Not too many of them and they’re slow, compared to here. You will adjust, though I imagine you’ll have flashes of nostalgia for a dryer that fluffs things dry in 30 minutes. This is huge news, Shelly. So relieved with you that there is a direction in which to head now.
Me too Diana, so relieved things are finally coming together. We’re excited and expectant.
Shelly, I’m late to your series, but will for sure be reading! I survived three years in Geneva with no dishwasher or dryer, and a baby (who then became a 2-year-old). Honestly it was totally fine. I found dishwashing by hand to be a way to unwind and stay warm from the hot water on my hands.. And our clothes stayed in better shape and never got smaller, so I didn’t totally miss a dryer.. even now that we have one, we don’t dry our nice clothes, the hubby’s shirts, etc. It’s the central heating situation I think that you will find to be the biggest shock?? Houses are nowhere near as warm over here as they are in the US.
Shelly, this sentence goes into my quotables: “If we assume contentment is about achieving a perfect life, God will eventually shatter your idealism. He will break into your assumptions about identity and your definitions of success because he is jealous for your affection and he longs for your allegiance.” amen! amen! Happy for you and H . . . . God is always, always faithful and His delays and challenges prep our souls for the miraculous 🙂