The moment we walked into that house I knew it would be ours. In fact, as we crossed the threshold into the front door, my husband said to the realtor, “We’re going to buy this house. I’m telling you now.”
We were approaching our first anniversary with a laundry list of wants for our first home. In typical male-female fashion, his list included home warranties, a good interest rate and a newish air conditioner while mine was more cosmetic. Coming in at the top spot for me, however, was something very simple and unlikely, a dutch door. Every conversation we had about our future home, I would bring it up. And Jordan would sweetly remind me that doors are replaceable. We could have a dutch door in any house. We walked up the front steps of the third house we explored with our realtor. It was a little, yellow cottage near the lake here in Tennessee. It was cute, but I, obvs, needed to see inside. We crossed the threshold, and there she was. Guiding happy thoughts and cuteness from the living room to the sunroom was a dutch door. She was white with six glass panels on the top half that was propped open while the bottom was latched shut. I don’t know what started my obsession with dutch doors, but now that we own the house, it seems it’s here to stay.
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As a true Southern girl, I have lived, unfortunately, the majority of my life by the words of Miranda Lambert: “Gotta keep it together even when you fall apart.” An occasional accountability partner might shake the true me out for a brief moment, but then I hypothetically fix my make-up and carry about my way.
I realized I am very much like my dutch door. Adorable, but only half open. My home, who I am, and what fully happens behind the door isn’t always exposed. I live with the shield and comfort of a flimsy, wooden bottom half covering me. I want people to be able to peek in, but maybe not come in.
They might see my mess. They might see who I really am. Then, what would they think?
My heart has always been for people to know Jesus, fully and beautifully. But yet, I’m not willing to let them see my own life, fully. How is someone supposed to relate to others with half the door closed?
Hospitality is one of my love languages. I love to host. When I was in elementary school, I invited a group of girls to my house weekly to decorate cupcakes and make crafts. Each big-bowed head would walk to her seat that was perfectly organized with every ingredient, supply and snack they could possibly want. I have a problem cleaning my own stuff, but after I party, I’m overjoyed to clean.
Do you see the oxymoron here? I am a walking contradiction. I want people to come into my home, allow me to serve them, but I don’t want them to know me. Why would anyone want to come into that home?! Why would anyone want to build a relationship with someone that wasn’t being true?
As women, we like the door half closed. We want others to see our home – us and our families- when the cider is hot, the floors are vacuumed, homework is done, outfit is adorbs, etc. We want them to see who we’ve made ourselves to be — what we’ve trained ourselves to be.
We approach each other through the same lense that we see ourselves. I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, popular enough, funny enough … so why should she be? Why does she deserve it? Why can’t I have it?
And thus, the state of womanhood today is born. We lose heart in ourselves. We think that by wishing, wanting, provoking, gossiping, fixing and Pinteresting, we can bring something to ourselves, even if it means we steal it from each other, or even just close half the door.
I have lost heart, as many of you, in who I am. God created me with a passion and a purpose. And with a beauty that is the joy of bearing His image. I forget that everyday. I see myself the way I’m told I need to because of what other girls say, do and act. I started to believe the lie that others, or even myself, get to decide who I am, not the Lord.
I have this hope. A hope that we, women, can rally for revival. A revival of the nurturing, loving, joyful, hospitable creatures we were put on this Earth to be. There is a trove of untapped potential in all of us just waiting to break out. A treasure chest of individuals that were woven together in this story of life with unique qualities, beauties and joys no matter our circumstance or our mess.
I once asked some of the Godliest, most captivating women I know to write a letter to their teenaged self. All of them had a common thread: be unashamed of who you are. They weren’t afraid to be, well…themselves. They found the courage to be who they were created to be. None of them said it was easy or that they didn’t fall. But they all were women marked with a courageous heart to be themselves in a world full of girls comparing them to everyone else. They found peace and contentment in seeing their friends through the same view they saw themselves: unrepeatable and beautifully made with the door fully open.
We don’t get to do this life again. My hope is that the cry of our womanly hearts is to see ourselves as our Father sees us: an image-bearing princess to the Almighty King. We would find peace in the image we bear and the courage to live knowing we are each one of a kind. Maybe, just maybe, then we’d be able to spread joy like icing. Glopped, messy, but sweet and delicious. Maybe then, we could invite people into our homes with an understanding that life is a mess. Maybe then, we’d form relationships where the door could be fully opened.
My prayer for this series is to be an open door. Let’s sip sweet tea over authentic, open conversations of who we are, what’s going on in our lives, what relationships should and shouldn’t look like, how to honestly reach people, and truly be all that God has created us to be. So gather ‘round as we open the whole door and chat about relationships, families and our homes.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. -Jesus (John 16:33)