“Home”, whatever that means

“Home” is a funny concept.

“Home” to me for years and years had been Momma and Daddy’s ranch on a basement with the big front window, big yard, and layout that I can walk with my eyes closed (except when Momma moves the furniture). “Home” was a permanent, immovable building that still houses my childhood memories.

I’ve been living in my small town for about… eight years now (wow). I came here for college, and spent those four years feeling like I was going “home” every time I passed a certain exit on the interstate on the way to Momma and Daddy’s. Even after I got married, this little town didn’t feel like “home”. It felt like a temporary place, because I was sure that we would move closer to my family before we had kids. (Definition of irony: in which Carla decides that she will move north before she has kids, and is now pregnant and just bought a house 1.5-2 hours away from her Mom and Dad’s house.) The first time it felt like I was coming “home” when we got back into out little town from visiting family was about a year ago, and I was taken by complete surprise.

We just finished buying a house. Which is one of the (many) reasons that I haven’t been here (in the online world) quite as much as I’d like. Packing up the apartment that we’ve been renting for almost four years threw off my introvert’s equilibrium so much, and actually moving into the new house and living among the boxes, granted, in a larger space, has been just as upsetting to my false sense of security in “home”. I gain a sense of security from having my environment in order. And there has been no order in my “home” environment for the past month. It’s not likely to return for some time.

Also, did you know that I’m having a baby? Have you moved when you were pregnant? I’m not very far along, but I’ve been slowed by the symptoms of my pregnancy. I’ve had to stop working every two hours to put my feet up. I haven’t been able to lift boxes. I haven’t been moving as quickly as I’m used to. I’ve gotten insanely hangry and have needed naps like a toddler. So the process of moving and now unpacking has been unsettling in a whole new way.

Our new house is beautiful. It’s big enough for us to grow into, it’s in a lovely neighborhood, and it feels like a little oasis with trees and grass outside of the windows instead of concrete and a few thousand neighbors.

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This is my backyard. *sigh* Isn't it #lovely?

A post shared by Carla Patton (@carlampatton) on

But it doesn’t have the feeling of “home” when I walk in the door yet. I know that feeling will come with time, but for now, I don’t have a “home” in the sense that I’ve known it for so many years. I have to think about my route to and from work. I have to remind myself of where I am when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

And instead of looking at God and saying “Thank You for this wonderful adventure!” my default has been “…”. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I get mad at God, and I ignore Him. Because I’m mad in a four-year-old way that my inner sense of “home” has been thrown off. I’m mad that I’m tired and that my possessions are all jumbled up and strewn all over a new house. I don’t feel comfortable, so it makes total sense for me to ignore Him and not seek my rest in Him. (Major sarcasm.) Foolish, foolish Carla. And have I rewritten this post a million times to make it look like I’m doing everything right and I’m just a victim of circumstances? Yup. But, I choose to share my mess with you. Because I don’t want to lie to you here. I don’t want to lie to myself or God either.

May you (I) find “home” in Christ. May you (I) find “home” with your family and church family. May you (I) find “home” with your spouse and loved ones. May you (I) find “home” in your chaos, and remember that God is the God of a brilliant mess, made brilliant because it’s been made in His image.

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Selfishly Clean

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. If you’re interested in catching up on the entire series, click here.

I’ve written about my obsession with a clean house on this blog. The struggle is real.

Talking with a group of women at my office a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I am no where near unique in my struggle. My friend said that she feels frantic when she gets home sometimes. She feels like her entire house will fall apart if she doesn’t clean it and clean it NOW. She feels like she can’t rest until the house if picked up.

And I feel the same way. I feel like I’m failing. I feel like if my house is messy, something is wrong with me. I feel like if my house is messy, I am not doing my duty as a wife. Or as a woman. Or just as myself. I love it when my house is clean.

But, when we were talking, we talked about what cleaning compulsively costs, and who it’s really benefiting. When I clean like a crazy women and I don’t really need to, I’m not doing it for my family. I’m not doing it for my husband. I’m doing it for myself. I’m doing it to make myself feel better. And Husband-Man gets neglected. No one talks to him, and he gets sad.

So, I have to put the broom down and wait for a while before the cleaning-monster comes out. I have to really think about who I’m cleaning for, and what will help my family the most. And most of the time, the best thing isn’t cleaning to make me feel better. It’s sitting on the couch and making fun of a horrible movie with Husband-Man.

Do you selfishly clean?