A Story of Transformation
"If I were a house I’d be a little yellow house, with gables, a white spindled porch, cascading flower boxes, and candles in the windows. I’d be so inviting that if you were to pass by I would call out to you 'Come in, come in! Come sit down and share your heart.'"
I wrote those words in 1988 when I dreamed about what our dark brown, straight-across-flat-roofed ranch home might become. I even drew a sketch of what I imagined.
We had purchased our home in 1976, and at the time it stretched our budget. Little by little we completed small projects to make it our own. I guess you could say that our little house has undergone transformation "from the inside-out." We started with the little family room—extending the inner wall 4.5' into the garage, widening the doorway from the kitchen, switching the little corner fireplace to a larger one flanked by bookcases, and adding a large bay window to view the backyard. As our family grew to include three rambunctious boys and their easy going sister, our little house contained a lot of energy! Over the years it was enhanced on the inside—new colors, crown molding, paneled doors, replaced windows . . . until finally a big push was made visible from the street. In 1989 one bedroom was transformed into a bathroom and hallway leading to a large master bedroom, with two bedrooms underneath it. Multiplication happened as one small bedroom became three! After many years of inner work through little projects, some of the internal transformation was now visible so anyone walking by could see it; the dream of gables, a spindled porch, and flower boxes had become a reality. And it didn't stop there—over the years ideas also spilled out into the backyard, with a semi-circular brick patio encased by gardens to form an inviting outdoor room. Our home is yellow now, and yes, there are still candles in the windows!
My life lesson: Inner work eventually spills out!
Just like our little house, life is changed one step at a time—from the inside-out.
It starts with a thought. A vision, it you will. What might your life be like? Ask God to give you His desires for your heart. Take some time to imagine it. Write it down—dream a bit, and write down some details. Then entrust your dream to the Lord. Know that He will work to transform you from the inside-out, so at first you may not recognize that you are moving toward the future He has for you. But know that as you look to Him you will instinctively move forward, one step at a time. Along the way there will be course-corrections—as He grows your heart, some details will change.
I've learned from experience that the results are always much better than your original dream because God knows you better than you know yourself. For example, my original dream was to be a classroom teacher. It shifted to being an art teacher, and I started out that way, teaching art. My deep-down desire (I thought) was to teach art at the college level. He even allowed me to experience that for a season. (That's a story in itself!)
So originally I pictured myself in front of a traditional classroom. But God knew me so much better than I knew myself! He allowed me to experience the classroom and I enjoyed it. But He also whispered to my heart, calling me to expand my thinking.
I realized that at it's core, teaching is influence. God was calling me to shift; to expand my thinking. He was calling me to be an influencer even if I was not standing in front of a classroom. I also realized that my passion was actually much broader than art or teaching art. Once again God stretched my thinking and I realized my passion was actually design. I loved "putting the pieces together" when I created art. God opened my eyes to recognize His design everywhere! I become fascinated by the way He designed people, giving them unique gifts and strengths and passions and values. I realized my passion was actually more about design and influence —it grew beyond teaching art. I allowed God to shift my thinking and it began to change me from the inside-out.
Over the years I've continued dreaming and shifting my life as the Spirit leads. So far, it's been an amazing journey filled with challenges and joys along the way. I want to always be alert and stand ready to "shift my thinking" and direction as the Lord leads. And just like my little yellow house, I pray that I'll always be welcoming. I want my heart to cry out—"Come in, come in! Come sit down and share your heart.'"
More about my inside-out journey.