You know the old saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”, I heard that often over 18 years as I awaited a fireplace in our great room. Eighteen (yes, 18) years ago, my husband built our home and we moved into a very unfinished home. My husband is a contractor by trade, so often our projects got put on the back burner while he worked on other’s projects. To his credit, he did great work as he finished projects in our home over the years and it was very livable and comfortable. But always, in the center of our great room was a gaping fireplace hole lined with drywall awaiting a fireplace.
Over the years I tried many ways to draw attention away from that hole – it held our Christmas tree, television, entertainment stand and it was used to hold children’s shows and even tap dancing – but it was still an unfinished hole in the middle of the room we lived in the most. I worked hard to accept and be thankful for our home, but there were many times that there were tears, embarrassment, frustration and even shame that there was a hole in our room.
One thing it did not do was to keep us from hosting others in our home. Hosting others in our home, is a joy to us. Over those 18 years, we have hosted hundreds of people (family, teenagers, missionaries, Bible Studies, dinner guest, business open houses and more) who came to share our lives. When someone would ask about the hole, I would often say the undone fireplace hole is like my life – in process.
This past year, my husband was able to install our long awaited fireplace. He got a wood burning fireplace that is able to heat our entire home. Not only is it functional, but it is beautiful and is now the centerpiece of our room. It has been a tremendous blessing to feel the warmth it provides and to decorate the mantel (although to be honest, the mantel is not completely done). Everyone who now visits, comments on the beauty of this focal point (and many discuss how it heats the house). Truly, all who came to our home savored the warmth and beauty of a fire in our treasured fireplace.
Our fireplace has another story to tell – tucked away in the mortar between the stones, you will find various coins if you look close enough. These coins tell our family’s story documenting birth and wedding years, countries visited on mission’s trips, an arrowhead from a grandparent’s farm, a heart stone saved for years and a bicentennial penny. What fun conversations we have shared about God’s faithfulness as people ask about the coins, The story of our family, the story of the long wait for a fireplace, the story of serving God.
God often has us wait for our empty holes to be filled and ultimately He is the only One who truly can fill them. When He has you waiting for a short time or 18 years – trust Him that when He does provide it will be warm, inviting and most of all satisfying.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14