It is hard to believe that last week we moved out of our beautiful home of 37 years. Ken and I lived the majority of our married life in this home in Baton Rouge. The love and memories shared there are a treasure that I will always hold in my heart.
Our purchase of property in South Carolina last July to be near to our children and grandchildren has totally turned our lives upside down during the last year. Little did I know when I started cleaning out the house during the pandemic that it would be for good. It has been an emotional, hard year of letting go, yet the Lord is leading us on a new journey and we are so excited to see what the future holds! Almost all of our earthly possessions are already awaiting us in storage in Greenville, SC and now we are saying our goodbyes and preparing for our final choir concerts here in Baton Rouge as we live in the gracious hospitality of family and friends.
Last January, after our last Christmas in our beloved home I began writing a reflection. I share it with you today for this has been a place of belonging, a haven where the beauty, love and grace of God have held and shaped us in the joys and storms of life.
Within these Walls
As I sit in the quiet of our home my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you Father for this home.
Within these walls You have sheltered our lives and held our laughter, our tears, our prayers, our hopes, and our dreams.
Within these walls You have shaped our lives and helped us to grow toward the vision of who You created us to be.
Within these walls we have studied your Word and learned to let You fill the emptiness within our souls and the deep longings of our hearts.
These walls have welcomed our new-born babies Maggie and Mary Elizabeth, who finally came after years of infertility. What a blessing and joy they have been in our lives! Here we have raised our children and known the wonder, love, and grace of beloved daughters. Here they developed into beautiful young women with tender hearts and gifts to share with the world in art and music. The pitter patter of their little feet has turned into the pitter patter of our precious grandchildren Evelyn and Audrey as Maggie married and birthed a family of her own with our beloved son-in-law Spencer.
Your doors have opened to new and old friends. The hearts and voices of hundreds have come to know these walls through the years as threads of friendship, faith and family have woven together the lives of so many. It has been a treasured journey where our faith has been strengthened, our hearts have known deep joy, and our souls have known the beauty of being well loved.
Within these walls we have feasted on the bounty of God’s provision and enjoyed the love of delicious Louisiana food. So many of our traditions have been built around the tables that have graced this home.
We have celebrated thirty- seven seasons of Christmas, Easter, countless birthday parties, tea parties, choir parties, dance parties, music and ministry, Bible studies, feasts and gatherings of family and friends through all our days here. They have been celebrations of deep joy, soul searching and praise.
These walls have provided a place of healing from illness, surgeries, cancer, and deep pain.
Here we have mourned the loss of loved ones and been comforted and encouraged by the power of prayer, deep friendships and the love of family.
These walls have sheltered us from years of violent hurricane winds and torrential rains of tropical storms and floods. Through the windows we have watched the tall trees bend sideways and even fall and the waters rise and yet by God’s grace, these walls have stood tall and protected us from harm and flood. They have given us comfort from the hot, humid Louisiana summers and damp cold winters.
That grand pianos in the living room have filled our hearts with music that has echoed down through the years. Here we have nurtured young musical talents and released the sounds of praise as people gathered and lifted their voices in celebration. Through the teaching of others, the Lord has taught us deep lessons about His character and faithfulness. Here we have learned humility, steadfastness and the power of God’s love and grace to transform us all.
Here we have learned how to serve others and use our gifts for His glory in ministry.
These walls have been graced with beautiful art, mostly the creations of our daughter Maggie and family photos that span the generations. The colors have changed through the decades, but always these walls have held family pieces and heirlooms passed down through the years, a testimony of the homes and hearts that held them before us.
My earthly father Sleepy McCarty built this home in 1983 out of his deep love and skill when we were just a young couple ready to start our own family and teach young musicians in the studios that he built for us. Within these walls our heavenly Father taught us how to build a marriage and home on the foundation of Jesus Christ and it has stood through the joys and the trials of our lives. It was a sacrifice and offering of love by my mother, Grace, and father and here we learned the hard lessons of deep commitment and abiding love that both sets of our parents lived out before us.
Within these walls we have witnessed great beauty emerge from deep pain and seen wounds heal. God has guided us to build foundations of faith and a haven of love. Here we have endured seasons of change and built futures of hope and always Christ has held us close.
As I have uncovered the many treasures held within these walls, some of the most precious have been boxes and drawers of letters saved since my childhood and throughout our dating years and marriage. Letters of love and deep friendship fill boxes I have saved through the years. Words of kindness reaching out to help celebrate birthdays and holidays, but also unexpected, simple notes of encouragement and gratefulness that people took the time to write. I have reread them all and saved so many and in the process the kindness and humble service of others have washed my feet all over again. They are a beautiful reminder of the lives and love cherished within these walls that will go with us wherever we live.
The gardens surrounding these walls have brought beauty and wonder into our lives and blooms into our home. As we have tended them, the Lord has tended our souls for we have learned to weed and prune not only the garden, but our hearts. In the caring for this garden, His creation has burst forth and graced us with colors and a reflection of His glory each season.
I sense that my heart will ache in the years ahead as I miss our life within these walls, but much more I will miss the blessings of the life and lives we cherished that gathered within them and for that I am forever grateful. Within these walls God has poured out the riches of His grace and deep love upon us. But new adventures await us as we build our new home and look forward to the new season that the Lord has for us in South Carolina. There are new memories to be made with love, laughter, and feasts to be savored. Because our Lord is always faithful, we can know peace, rest, and expectant hope that He will continue to pour out rich blessings in the years ahead as He has in the past through our family, friends, and ministry in Baton Rouge. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be closer to our children and family and invest in the lives of those precious grandchildren. We pray that the walls of our new home will be filled with the joy of dancing little girls in twirly dresses, celebrations, music and meaningful conversations with new and old friends as we explore the foothills and wonder of the Blue Ridge mountains.
My prayer is that the family the Lord has chosen to continue life in 931 Woodstone will build a life and legacy of His love, grace, and faithfulness within these walls for there is treasure to be found here and deep, abiding joy!
Blessed within these walls,
January and June 2021
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