(Guest Post by Dave and Mandy McNeely for Day 4 of Lent)
especially the kind involving two people, is a curious and sometimes
frustrating tri-blend of past, present, and future.
we married, we brought with us two different experiences of home. Mandy
comes from a family in which her parents are divorced, and Dave’s
parents are still happily married. Mandy is an only-child, and Dave is
the eldest of three, with two younger sisters. As you can imagine, these
differences, as well as many others, have shaped our expectations about
what “home is.”
the present, our sense of home is often defined and shaped by the many
little acts of tedium that create a family life - who will take out the
trash? who will do the dishes this time? who cooks? who mows the grass?
who wakes up with the kids in the middle of the night? and on an
on..becoming more holy in our search to find worth amid those small
tasks; joy in the labor of being home to one another.
we are equally in the gravitational pull of a future home whose quality
of life guides us forward, a home where the restless find rest, the
stranger finds a name, and the hurting find healing. With the stories
we carry, the small unnoticed acts we perform, and the various lives we
are learning to welcome in, we continue to crawl toward that blessed
by an idea she had seen on Pinterest (who isn’t, these days?), Mandy
posed the possibility of taking one of the walls in our living room and
creating an ever-changing work of art. We would use paint-pens to write
or draw what the word Home means to us, and to anyone else in our community.
than just name home, we wanted to create home. With that in mind, we
invited over three good friends who had been experiencing the confusion
and pain of their own troubled homes for a sleep-over. If nothing else,
we wanted them to know that their homes were more than just the houses
where they had experienced division, dissension, and doubt. That their
homes extended beyond blood into the deeper waters of baptism. That
they would always be a part of our family and they would always share a
home with us.
evening, in the midst of the lifelong work of homemaking, we began the
much less arduous journey of creating a testimony to the many senses of
home that are shaping our own. One by one, each hand added their own
domestically-existential signature, creating the kind of home that can
only be crafted through the diversity of penstrokes that grace our wall
and our lives even now.
wall has now become a reflection of the home we’ve made and the home
we’re still striving to make - graced by the fingerprints of so many
stories that are blending into a beautiful mosaic, the many colors
bleeding into one. Our home is full of mistakes that are embraced
rather than scorned, full of pretentiousness that has room to be laughed
at, and full of longings that we are living into together.
And it’s more than a wall; it’s a foundation.
Mandy and Dave McNeely live in
Jefferson City, TN, where they spend their days welcoming God's Kingdom
through their two beautiful boys, their teaching, their dancing (well,
her dancing), and their attempts to love the person in front of them at
any given moment.