I had just dropped Samantha off at her youth group swimming party and then stopped at Goodwill to leave some donations. There, propped against the outside wall with the other donations, was a beautifully curved white iron twin bed frame, the kind that were ordinary at the turn of the last century. I got out of the car and asked the attendant how much the bed frame was, knowing that I shouldn't even be tempting myself. (Money's tight.) He told me that it couldn't be sold until it is priced and on the floor, but that he guessed it would be between 14.99 and 19.99 and should be on the floor in thirty minutes. I thanked him for the information, left my donation and went home, struggling not to pull into Safeway and get some cash all the way.
You see, I LOVE old furnishings. Well, I love just about anything old if its got good bones. I have an unusual eclectic mix of traditional, cottage, some Victorian, and even a slightly-cluttered-traditional-slash-Pottery-Barn-ish air in my home. (It's the living room that has the Pottery Barn take going on in bits and pieces, since we "had" to buy a contemporary sofa and own a Scandia entertainment unit and I'm attempting to make everything work while still expressing my own style!) Seeing an old iron bed going for comparative pennies makes my mouth water. Do I have a place for it right now? No. Will I have a place for it someday? Maybe. Do I have a place to store it? Well, yes, this house came with a three-car-garage. However, we moved a three-bedroom-house-full, an attic-full, and a storage-unit-full of possessions to this three-bedroom home. We've never managed to have the blowout garage sale that would clear out most of the garage for a workshop area for Hubby, a dance-floor area for Samantha and a project area for me. In other words, bringing home a bed which will then be homeless in our garage (or more clutter, in other words) would make Hubby very unhappy.
Actually, this bed is only the latest in my series of small desires that often flare up, demanding notice and insisting quite loudly that I stop being sensible and just go and "buy it!". During the past week, I've resisted cocktail shrimp and ice cream on sale (not to be eaten together!), a vintage-y hanging planter I saw at my favorite consignment store as I drove past, a picture frame and lamp at Goodwill when I was specifically looking for shirts and shorts for Samantha, and a set of sheer curtains advertised in a JCPenney ad. Each time, I've had to invoke the "Do I need this or just want it?" question and then urge myself to move on.
I KNOW, with every atom of my being, that God will provide EXACTLY WHAT I NEED. Sometimes he even provides what I simply desire - that thing desired for its loveliness or usefulness or even newness. What I don't know, is WHEN he will provide it. That's where trust in him has been growing me. I say "growing me" on purpose. Yes, trust in him is growing "in" me, but God is growing me, stretching me, watching me as I firmly push down those "I want" impulses and send the wish to him. He asks only that I wait and trust. At 49 years old, I find that my willingness to be obedient to him is becoming easier and sweeter.
Because he's there. Constant. Watching over me. Loving me. Holding me up. And utterly filling my heart. What iron bed or antique mirror or transferware plate can do that?
I love to be surrounded by the little things, the "things" that I've lovingly gathered to fill my home. I also know that home isn't made up of the things in it, but the people who live there and the love they have for each other. But the truest truth I know is that the empty place in each of our hearts that we are born with, the one hollowed out there by our Creator that can only be truly filled by him, waits for him to be invited in and can never be filled by the pursuit and ownership of mere things.
Finally, I'm human. I still want the bed! But, I'll let him decide when the time is right for this desire. And I'll go to sleep tonight knowing that I said "no" to the "gimmes" again, and that the desire that I feel for the old white iron bed will fade over the coming days.