Almost all of the walls are empty, free of mirrors and paintings and pictures. So many pictures packed away. The built-in bookshelves in the office? The ones that make that room my favorite in the whole house? Other than one shelf that holds the rest of the books I’d like to read in the next couple of weeks, they’re empty. Only a globe sits on the bookshelves in the living room–because how do you pack that anyway? Lots of my clothes are currently serving as the padding in between frames and glasses, winter shoes are in a box, and my dad keeps asking when he can come take the dining room table and pack it away in their house.
The house feels empty.
But, how can it? How can this place feel so empty? This is home. My home.
I specifically remember sitting on the spare bedroom bed in this house when my grandmother still lived here. I was in seventh grade. My parents were out of town to celebrate their anniversary. It was fall break, and our youth group was doing our version of Extreme Home Makeover at a house downtown. I can’t remember the details, but I was upset with my youth pastor about something. He told me to pray about it, and I did. That night, while sitting on that spare bedroom bed, I came across Colossians 3:13, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That verse hit me like a ton of bricks that night, and the Lord used that moment to soften my heart and give me the grace to forgive my youth pastor.
That happened in this house.
It was just the beginning. The beginning of four years of college that would come where I would live in this house. Where I would learn and grow.
Where I would watch one of my best friends (who was my roommate at the time) fall in love with the man whom she would marry a couple years later.
Where my small group girls would come over and crawl in my bed with me on Saturday nights. We’d laugh and cry and stay up way too late but somehow we’d manage to make it to church on time the next day.
Where I would come home after a summer in Australia to a house full of friends who were there to surprise me and welcome me back to Augusta.
Where I’d cook my first Thanksgiving turkey and cram twenty or so people–the same people who came every week for a Bible study that semester–into my dining room so we could have a Friendsgiving.
Where I would read hundreds of books, experiment with countless recipes found on Pinterest, write more lesson plans than I’d ever imagined writing, and put off ironing so many times that I realized that ironing is truly my least favorite chore.
Where I moved in on June 10, 2011, incredibly bitter and frustrated at God that I wasn’t getting to spend the summer at camp but in hot Augusta with a broken ankle to boot (pun intended). I never could’ve imagined all the sorrow, all the confusion, all the joy, all the changes that would come over these past four years.
This house may be empty (well, almost) now, but oh, the memories that are there to fill my heart from these past four years. I’ll cry when I drive away from this place later this month, not because of the emptiness of the house, but because of how good God has been in this place. How full I feel in the midst of all the empty.