While organizing my home office Sunday, I came to my last box that needed to be worked through and found a folded piece of old newspaper. It was an article from August 13, 1999, when my daughter, Samantha Lane Cronk, had her bedroom spotlighted for its decor. There she sat, pinching her little sundress with her tiny fingers, smiling up at the photographer because she … had a “bunny room!”
In my childhood days, I remember playing with dolls, Barbies, playing store, (back in the day it was “playing McRae’s“), and playing with furniture. I loved rearranging my bedroom furniture and even putting my mother’s books in alphabetical order of either author or title. But it was being raised to deep clean, live organized and make home lovely that I know “fanned into flame” the gifts of God in my own life.
So back to that 1999 article.
As a young homemaker, it was such fun hanging a 24″ wallpaper border of beautiful garden flowers all around my daughter’s room. Then, taking shades of blue, yellow and white, dabbing colors from the upper edge of the paper all the way up the wall to make a blue sky with white fluffy clouds. The furniture was hand painted by a local artist, Cherry Roundtree, that I bought at Mistletoe Market Place. Cherry’s signature style was to hand paint a bible verse on each piece of furniture. So, in Samantha’s room there were 2 verses that she was able to wake up to every morning. The dresser was actually an Ethan Allen hutch I had purchased from a friend and I painted it to co-ordinate with the pieces Mrs. Cherry had painted. The mini iron set of furniture became the place to meet with her family and friends for tea, but Mr. And Mrs. Bunny sat there every day simply to enjoy Samantha’s garden … or at least, that is what little Samantha would say.
But I guess I’m wanting to share this with you because …
God knew me as a little girl organizing my mother’s books and rearranging my own room.
God knew me as a 30 year old creating Samantha’s bunny room and yes, creating a sports room for Trace, too.
(all such sweet memories)
And God also knew in 2004, when Interior Inspirations was just getting started with friends hosting brunches so I could share my dream of helping them, too, would literally be shot out of a canon! I’m telling you, the I.I. business took off hard and strong! My calendar stayed full with appointments and by the time carpool came at 2:30, I had put in a full day INSIDE people’s homes and lives helping them purge, organize and redecorate! Loving it all!
But then …
God knew in 2006, (due to undesirable circumstances) His dreams & desires for my life would then be shot down by someone who believed it would never amount to anything. Regardless of the growth and support of local Christian entrepreneurs, it was simply dismissed as a hobby and not considered a real business.
God knew in 2008, when I sunk into a deep depression while living in a new city & state (facing more undesirable circumstances) that I had no dreams at all. Just got up – did my duties – and seemed to live a life that was very mechanical and robotic. Void of feelings other than those that made my world very dark and without direction. Lots of pain, hurt and … plenty of pretending.
God knew in 2010, my life would take a turn down a very dark road. The darkest, because it affected my children.
But then …
God knew in 2012 my life would take another turn – one that He has used to breathe new life into me and restore what the locusts had eaten! “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” Joel 2:25. A turn that continues to affect my children and affect them well!
God knew in 2014, Interior Inspirations would launch again but …. with my Rip! Rip loves people. He loves justice, honesty and hard work. Combine his skills and talents with his love for folks, with his dependability and his abilities — and you have a man who can inspire everyone in so many ways to be a man of God, a man of family, a man of friends, a man of hard work, worship, giving, and sacrifice!
God knew in 2016, He would move us here in MS doing HIS work in people’s lives and homes together.
So, there you have it. Every 2 years, significant life-markers took place. But this past Sunday, I open an old newspaper article and … I cry.
I cry because I have that flash back in time where I am standing with Samantha in her room again enjoying seeing her smile! A flash back that made all from 1999 – 2017 be seen in my mind as a collection of memories in just a matter of minutes! I cry because I see how what I “thought” would be, didn’t. And what I had “hoped for” wasn’t. But I happy cry, too, because of what I do realize and that is —
God knew in 1999 that in 2017 I would have an even greater understanding and passion for home than ever before! That I would have a deeper desire to help families BUILD HOME into the place God has always intended it to be. To build home with JESUS as the Chief Cornerstone.
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6
I happy-cry because I looked at that little girl and saw the face of someone who (I never could have known back then) would grow up to be such a strong and amazing young Christian lady!! I happy-cry because in that one moment of seeing His hand in 1999, I realized that every 2 years, God was with me. He never left. He was always in the good, the bad and the worse than bad days. He made that promise and made good on that promise time and time again. And I guess it just made me emotional to realize that to such a deeper level.
“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
But more than that — He was there, allowing experiences in my life so that “HOME” became more than the quality of drapes on your windows, more than the right placement of furniture and what color of fabrics you have on your beds. Home became more than a pretty table or a well decorated hutch. Home became the place I now understand to be what HE has created every human being to long for.
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens….at home with the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 5:1,8
He was there from 1999 to now… breaking, shaping and molding in me a heart of His own for home. And I sat there in my office cry-praising Him for it all!! I sat there in my office so happy to cry tears of GRATITUDE to my God for how He has kept me close to His heart even when I felt so far away. HE is a good good God and He loves us so much! And I can’t work and worship any other way now than with a huge heart of PRAISE to just how faithful and kind and amazing HE truly is! And the privilege of making a house more a “home SWEET home” for people is something I pray ONLY HE will accomplish through me! More than anything — and in the simplest things — I long for GOD to be glorified!
No matter your age – if you know the passions God has placed in you, the dreams HE has in HIS heart for you, the skills and abilities He has given you, then please … may I encourage you?
Go for it!! Go get busy doing what you love! Whatever it is inside of you that just brings you to life, pursue it. Study it. Enhance your skills. Learn all you can, but then … get goin’! Pray for God’s guidance and WALK…walk in the direction you believe He is leading. Doors will open if that is the right path, and they will shut if not. But bottom line…get goin’! If you are 28, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80…get goin’!!! God is honored when we stay the course! And when we don’t…He is right there enabling us through life’s difficulties and WILL bring us up and out of them STRONGER! He will…there is no abandonment with God, only FULFILLMENT!!
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
What is it that you would do if no one paid you? Go do it! And when road blocks come, and when you face (and you may be now) obstacles that are trying to discourage you like nobody’s business, look them in the face and declare:
“I must be about my Father’s business.” Luke 2:49
I’m getting this little newspaper article framed and will hang it in our home office. Interior Inspirations may have had a soft launch in 1999, but in 2017 God has other plans … and I’m going for it!!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13