the Gospel on my couch
It always comes back to the couch. When I think of the gospel, I think of that couch.
We'd bought it in our first few months of marriage, as we were building our "dream house", a tiny modular and modern townhouse that couldn't be further from what I consider our actual style today. The house and that furniture was so much like our life then - new, a little stiff and spiffed up, not comfortable or worn or understood. I remember feeling so confident about the soft "neutral" orange I picked for our bedroom. Orange is never neutral and in those days, neither was I. Nick and I were young, newly married, our heads filled with ideas of what we had to offer (you know, in conjunction with the Lord) the world. And we went to a store and bought all this angular furniture with clean lines and stainless steel accents, including the dark brown couch.
When we moved to Seattle, the couch and our idealistic beliefs about what lay ahead came with us. We were not as newly married, one baby in tow and one in my belly, with hearts longing to grow and be spoken into and hands ready to help and serve. We were going to be running a maternity home for pregnant teens, even though I wasn't far from a teenager myself and pregnant with our second already. The couch came with us to the home and the pregnant gals watched movies late at night on it. I wrote blogs on it in my spare time (there seemed to be so much of it then). I held baby Glory on that couch and then baby Benjamin. After a year and a half, as our hearts were straight up worn out and our time was up, we ventured to another area in the northwest and the couch came with us.
This is when we entered the really dark years. We'd sold everything we owned (including our bright futures and careers) when we took the job at the maternity home and wouldn't you know? The economy was taking a nose dive. Nick would spend some days in seminary and every other day he spent looking for jobs, looking for work, wherever he could find it. We had three kids under three and absolutely no money, no worldly hope. We'd search under the mats in the car for quarters to be able to buy enough bread, peanut butter, and eggs to feed ourselves and our kids. Somehow, by the grace of God and the mercy of community and our family, we were never evicted and our power was never turned off. We always had enough gas to get to church.
It wasn't just that were were poor, we were absolutely poor in spirit. Nick would come home from those days of looking for jobs and sit beside me on the couch. When he looked to his left, I know he didn't see the bride of his youth or anything near to the woman he married a few years back. I was fifty (sixty?) pounds heavier, I'd lost any resemblance to the confidence young gal that I used to be. Groups and crowds made me nervous, I cried all the time. Our babies overwhelmed me and I just had literally no vision or hope out of the season we were in. I was broken and poor, poor in spirit.
But we found the gospel on that couch. Because we sure didn't have cable or money to distract us. We didn't have the expectations of what we could be for one another to rely on. We only had the truth that on our own we were broken and together, we had the tiniest shred of belief that Jesus would be more. We'd spend hours upon hours on that couch, curled up together or fingers barely brushing one another, discussing the Good News and what it really meant for us. That though we were broken, God cared for the broken. That though we were poor, we were rich in Him. All on that modern sofa that represented all we had hoped in ourselves, our Father gave us hope in Him.
We eventually sold the sofa, for money we desperately needed, but we kept the gospel. And now, on great nights or awful nights or the ones in between - it means the world to me that I can look to the left and know - we've got Good News.