I really love Meredith’s house in Chincoteague.
When we drive up it feels like home. While there, I feel at home.
But, all I have to do is see my house here in Ohio and I know it isn’t the same.
Here is where we raised our children. Here is where we built our lives.
Here is where I plan my messes and mess up my plans.
Even in the dark on a daylight savings Sunday- here is where I am welcomed by everything and everyone I see.
Yesterday morning, Frank was checking the tires before we left- so I had my door opened as we sat in the driveway in Chincoteague. Suddenly, there was a loud THUMP!!!!!!, and a hawk and a small grackle that was clutched in the hawk’s talons went careening off of the window of my open door and rolled into the ivy bed next to the house. The hawk, slowly rolled to its feet, left the slowly dying bird on the ground and flew groggily to a tree next door and sat in the top branches making distressed and complaining noises.
Frank jumped up from the ground on the other side of the Jeep, and said, ” What was that?” I showed him the bird on the ground and pointed out the hawk, and he shook his head, and said, “That’s a bad omen, isn’t it?”
Then he went back to checking the tires and I sat there digesting his comment.
A bad omen? But we are believers in Jesus Christ- we don’t think of omens or portents – do we?
And, in that moment I prayed, “Lord, thank you for your assurances of love and care for your children. Thank you for raising us above the need to look for signs and …. ” But I didn’t get any further than that, because I realized that there is a part of me that does consider these pagan warnings to have some merit.
The Holy Spirit reminded me of the incident of the horseshoe.
You see, I had made a rule that no picture or decoration could come down from this house in Chincoteague until we had one to put up in its place. Our real estate agent had said that the house was “key ready” and could be rented just the way it was. I disagreed on many levels- it was dirty- it had been neglected- the “artwork” was atrocious up in the bedrooms… but I understood what she meant.
It was rentable in this condition, and if we started taking it apart before we had replacements, then it would be lacking. So, no pictures came down without a replacement- EXCEPT- in the master bedroom- there was a horseshoe hung over the outside door, a symbol of luck, placed with the opening up, so that the luck wouldn’t run out. I pointed this out to Meredith in January and she decided THAT was coming down. And so she took it down.
Hey, it’s her house! She doesn’t have to follow MY rules.
But the taking down of that symbol bothered me, subconsciously.
And when we went down this time, I took a coin- a military coin that Meredith gave me that had Ephesians 6 printed on it and depicted the armor of God on it.
I had it in my pocket, and I took it up to the third floor and placed it on the dresser, felt a small frisson of relief and forgot about it.
Until Frank picked it up and asked why I had brought it and what I was going to do with it there. I got immediately defensive. And started giving reasons-
-It’s Meredith’s house and Meredith’s coin.
-I had plans and don’t worry about why!
-I don’t know- I just did- OK?
Sitting in the car, with the word “omen” lingering in my mind, I realized that on some level, I had been considering these pagan warnings. And so, I prayed,”… thank you for opening my eyes to the truth. I want to believe only in You and in your power and control over the events of life that affect me. “
I was released from a notion that I hadn’t realized that I was following. I don’t throw salt over my shoulder or knock on wood or even believe consciously in luck- but somewhere I had given it credence. Until that moment in the car, I was unaware of the power it had over me- to the hindrance of prayer.
We drove off- I hadn’t thought this through enough to share it with Frank, yet. In fact, I woke up early this morning, at HOME, in my OWN bed, and I came face to face with the realization that there are still some really dark areas within myself that haven’t been rooted out into the light of Christ. Not only areas of secret sin, and unresigned pride- but places from my childhood belief system, dark closets I haven’t visited- where some bogeymen still live.
Yesterday’s prayer became this mornings as well-
“Thank you for revealing my secret thoughts- for purging my pagan soul- for claiming me as your own. And for setting me free from omens that could dog my trail. I believe, Lord, help Thou, my unbelief.
Because I’m only at home, Lord, with you.”