Belo Horizonte, Brasil
The living room is huge; big enough we had our daughter’s wedding in it, with over 100 guests – unforgettable as some of those guests shot off LOUD fireworks from outside the house, and others brought their own drinks to doctor the punch we were serving. (We only learned about that later. Different culture and different mores. This was not considered rude: rather, almost as a game.)
Tears during the ceremony, laughter afterward, as our guests mingled and conversed. A mixture of languages spoken: Portuguese, English, Spanish – possibly more- representing several different countries.
Our flower decorations were primarily small trees we’d cut; (the forest was about 5 miles away.)
We wired them upright in strategic places throughout the living after placing their trunks in the sand that was in buckets. Then a few flowers were scattered throughout the room. It was simple and lovely.
The best decoration of all was the view from our verandah of the city below our mountain perch. The laughter and love that filled our home that night will never be forgotten.
(The next day, I spent the whole day with a table knife in one hand and Bombril under my bare foot, as I went over that whole expanse of parquet floor digging out rice from between the cracks and using the Bombril to clean the floor of the food that had dropped and was then walked on. Don’t have a party serving food and throwing rice over a parquet floor!)
Then, there was the night we invited the Ice Capades skaters and crew to our home for snacks and conversation. The show was closing unexpectedly, so that evening there were many tears and unanswered questions: but we were able to show them how much we loved them.
Bible studies, home church services – the varnished brick walls could tell many stories. However, tonight, all is quiet. Rare.
A few moments ago, my husband left to visit some friends of his, and my children are downstairs in their rooms. Tonight, as is too common, my husband, Carlos, said some words that cut my heart before he left. He wanted to let me know he preferred the company of his other friends to mine, and his words were very clear
I am now sitting at one end of the living room, where you will find my “refuge”.
This end of the living room is separated from the rest by a large “see through” fireplace; open on both sides so the warmth fills the whole room. I love to sit here with all the lights out, the flames from the fireplace keeping me company as I look out over the lights of the city, the expanse of star-studded sky, and talk with God.
I’m sitting on a rustic sofa, made of white boards with a piece of foam rubber covered with a deep turquoise piece of material. Simple. I lean against the varnished outer brick wall, my hands around my pulled-up knees, looking out over the city and watching the flames.
I give my tears to God and sit quietly, absorbing the music coming from our improvised sound system. The Gaither’s start singing “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all tears are gone. Because I know He holds tomorrow I can face uncertain days … because He lives …”
My heart becomes quiet as I sing the words with the Gaithers. I will always remember this moment when, without realizing it, the “my refuge” area of our living room is transformed into an altar before the Lord where I can praise Him. Not because everything is “right” – but, because He lives!
Can you remember moments when the Holy Spirit helped you build an altar of praise before God?
Please share, as we learn different ways altars are built.