More Than a Couch

About a month ago, we bought a new couch. This was a huge, monumental, we’ve-been-talking-about-it-for-so-long-I-was-beginning-to-think-it-would-never-happen purchase for us. Most of the furniture we have collected throughout our married lives has been hand me downs, cheap finds, and has been well loved thoroughly abused by us. As a result, our home is this massive in-cohesive hodge podge. Not ideal for entertaining, not easy to keep looking nice, not what I’ve always wanted my “adult” home to look like. But ultimately, the shape of our couches really was the biggest problem, they had gone from “well used” to “gross don’t sit there” to “don’t even spend time in the living room” bad. We hadn’t had people over in ages, even the kids friends were banned most days because when one thing in my house is dirty or gross looking I tend to care less about the rest of it.

One morning we woke up to the usual couch covers on the floor in a heap next to washed laundry that was rifled through, and a pile “this big” of unidentifiable junk that just collects in my living room on a daily basis. I half wonder if it has legs and walks there on it’s own, because we hadn’t even been home the day before, how and when did my kids manage to destroy my house, again? But I digress. On this particular morning my husband looks at me and says, “want to go price furniture today?”

Say what? “Sure.” I answered, because it would get me out of the house.

I in no way expected we’d come home with a beautiful new sectional. We’d priced before, once with a tax refund in hand, were “this close” probably three times in the last 3 years but each time we decided it was just too big, too much, and that we should wait until the kids were older and would be able to take better care of it, until we would take better care of it. But we did! Well we didn’t actually take it home with us but it was being delivered the next day.

I’m pretty sure he’d lost his mind that weekend, because the next morning, he woke up and asked me if I was serious about wanting to paint the living room. “I’ve been serious about painting the living room since the day we moved in!” I said adamantly. I vehemently hated the drab off white yellowy wall color but we did the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen (many of which had to be stripped of wallpaper)  when we moved in so we decided to wait until….never six years later when my husband would go crazy for a weekend, to do the living area and hallway. So while we waited for the delivery men we were washing, taping, priming, and painting.

Crazy. I’m telling you he went crazy. My husband is super careful about money, we aren’t big spenders, and he isn’t spontaneous. He’s uber responsible. He hates it when I say this, he thinks I’m insulting him, but in truth it is one of the things that attracted me to him most when we were friends and started dating.  It makes him an amazing provider and endears me to him so. So now our living room is starting to come together, we have some frames on the way that will go up on the main wall behind my couch and I’ve picked up some pretty vases from the Salvation Army on the cheap that match my living room perfectly. The only thing we really need now, is a new area rug, well two actually, but the one we have now will work until my husband goes crazy again (which I’m hoping won’t take quite as long since the rugs I want are significantly less than my couch was).

So, you are probably wondering why I’m telling you this story about my new couch and the slow but steady progress we are finally taking in turning our hodge podge living space into something we can be proud of, stay with me there’s a reason, I promise.

As I walked though the room this morning picking up the junk that “it wasn’t me” left behind, I ran my hand along the surface of my couch, checking for crumbs, patted the cushions and made sure they were tucked in place, straightened the decorative pillows, and paused to check it over carefully.  It’s been about a month, and I still do this multiple times a day, I still say “Yes, you may eat that, but not on the couch” every time my kids ask for food. I still find myself craving time in the living room, sitting on the couch, after the kids are in bed, or when they are at school, and coming here first thing each morning for my quiet time with the Lord (now that our fall Bible study at church has started back up).

I love this new thing in my life and I’m careful to pay it extra care and attention, several times a day. I check in with it, so to speak, to make sure it’s in good shape, because this thing in our life, cost us a lot. It’s something that we desperately needed. It’s something that has improved my life in a great way. It’s something that brings me great comfort in all sorts of ways.  It’s something that I want to be a part of our lives for years to come.

All of these things are true, about our couch, but even more so about something else in my life too. My relationship with the Lord cost a lot. It’s something that I desperately needed. It’s improved my life in so many amazing ways. It’s something that brings me great comfort in all sorts of ways. It’s something I want to be a part of my life forever. But there is more, the Lord is most certainly the most important entity in my life, He is why I was created, how I was created, the one who created me, and instead of my having to pay anything to have Him in my life, He himself paid the cost. A cost I can’t even imagine, a selfless sacrifice, for my comfort and future in eternity.  He is a lot like my couch, only better, because He can go with me everywhere I go, be with me in every emotional place imaginable, and loves me back. His love is so much more complete than any love I have ever known, so much more than anything I can comprehend. Which brings to mind these verses we studied yesterday both in Sunday School and Evening Service, but didn’t really connect with me on either occasion, or so I thought:

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,

in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross[j]
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:15-20

So, the question that came to mind this morning as I brushed my fingers across the ribbed surface of my new couch, is how much more should I care for Him? The cost was greater, though it was not my own, I desperately need Him, He has vastly improved my life, brings me comfort in all circumstances, and will be in my life forever, but how much attention do I pay Him? Do I go through my days thinking about His role in my life, taking care to check in several times a day and touch base, read, pray, sing, ask for guidance? Or am I instead, taking our relationship for granted, going through the motions without real connection, using it to the point of abuse, as we did with our old furniture?

Unfortunately as of late, the answer is that later, my relationship with the Lord lately has been a lot like that old couch, an object in the room, taking up space, reminding me constantly of my shortcomings, begging for me to stop and take care of it, waiting patiently for me to realize (again, again, and again) that I need Him.  That’s not to say that the couch has become an idol in my life, there have been many that have popped up lately that I identified this morning  in my Bible study, but the couch isn’t one of them. I’m paying it the proper attention it needs in order to take good care of our purchase and make sure it remains in good shape for years to come. But the Lord has used it this morning as a metaphor for my relationship with Him, for the role He plays in my life, and the care I do or don’t pay to Him who is worthy.

I went to bed last night, ready for change, knowing that today would be a day of seeking Him, of professing my love for Him in mighty ways that go beyond the common understanding of worship, and actually cost me something, but I hadn’t really expected Him to meet me so profoundly right here, on my new couch. Pulling the scales from my eyes, and answering each of my confessions with one single metaphor that I can hang on to each time I walk into my home, each time I pick up one of my pretty pillows off of the floor, each time I brush the surface for crumbs or poof the cushions back into their rightful place. These menial tasks that I do several times a day can now serve as a call to worship in my life.

“Pray, seek, knock, sing, love me, as I have loved you.”

Well there it is friends, my heart laid bare, the whispers that weren’t so quiet today. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, where my couch will make a regular appearance as it is my favorite place to write, and though I haven’t been here in months, writing is still happening. More on that later.

About the Author

Andréa lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, three wonderful children, and the imaginary friends from for her current work in progress.

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