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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Homemaking » Can I Go Upstairs???

Can I Go Upstairs???

 I want to share an observation I had recently at Homestead Hollow, a Heritage Arts and Crafts event held three times a year inSpringville,AL.  Our family literally moves in to a two story 1800’s cabin and cookhouse for three days.  We all do various and sundry things from spinning wool on spinning wheels to cooking over the hearth and churning butter.  We really just LIVE there in a mode of 150 years ago.  Thousands of people each day come through the cabin and get a glimpse of what life was once like.

 There are certain questions that have become so routine that I really just almost answer them before they are asked, but one question still amazes me after all these years – “Can we go upstairs?”  Now you might think this is an innocent question given that there is a set of stairs on the back wall of the cabin.  Even though the stairs are cordoned off and there are baskets and other obstacles placed on each of the lower steps, including a very large stoneware crock filled with about 50 pounds of sweet potatoes, right in front of the bottom step to make it obvious that this is not open to the public. 

 So why is this topic for an article, you might ask.  Well, I am a ponderer by nature and the Lord in His goodness teaches me things as I mill them about in my heart and mind.  Out of every 10 people that enter the cabin, I would say that at least half ask if they can go upstairs.  At one point I began to examine which people it was that asked.  Children (of course), men, women, husbands and wives, 20 somethings, 30 somethings, 40 somethings and occasionally a 50 something.  But never, never, never was it an older person.  You might say, well, they didn’t want to have to climb those stairs – perhaps, but they didn’t even ask WHAT was upstairs.  With VERY few exceptions the people who asked to go upstairs, would continue to ask what was up there and then as they walked out the back door would lean as far as possible to see what they could through the stair well opening. J

 I asked the Lord why they did this and what was He trying to teach me in it.  Natural curiosity – maybe – but it seemed to be almost a compelling force.  Now, I don’t want to overdramatize it, yet there was such a universal draw. . . . This is what the Lord showed me about it.

 Just by the nature of our being we are all curious – we all want to reach for the better (we think) things in life.  Very few people are naturally content with their situation in life and therefore the majority are always wanting to “go upstairs”.  But what I knew about “upstairs” was that it was a dim, dark, dusty, spiderweb filled room that was unsafe to be walked in.  The floor was not strong and one false step and a person could fall through easily – not only injuring themselves but also the people on the lower level. And to top it off I knew that there was absolutely NOTHING of value or interest up there.  A couple of Rubbermaid boxes right at the edge of the floor into which I put old newspapers for wrapping the dishes in the cubbard.  Everything of interest or value was right there in the room where the people were standing.

 I suppose this is what the Lord really pricked my heart about.  As soon as the folks entered the front door of the cabin their eyes searched and found stairs and that was it.  Nothing else in the room drew them like those stairs.  The room they were in was filled with antiques of every kind.  Spinning wheels, treadle sewing machine, quilts,  a cubbard full of antique china and serving pieces, a washstand covered with 100 year old shaving and grooming pieces.  Even an antique, monstrous pump organ which filled and entire corner of the room and yet, their eyes, their minds and shall I say it, their hearts, were drawn to what they could not have.

 Why are we as a people so drawn to what we do not have?  Why can we not find contentment and peace and joy in the things the Lord has given us where we are?  For years I have fought this unrealistic dream of moving to the mountains of Tennessee:  150 acres of farm land with our home right smack in the middle,  A year round creek for water and swimming in the hot summer, A spring house to keep my food cool and a community of like minded believers who could not only share the load but also where we could share their load as well. Oh how many hours in prayer have been spent on this?!  But now I see that I was asking the Lord – “Can I go upstairs, please!!!” 

 As a parent I hear requests from my children, “Can I do this? Can I go there? Can I have one of those?”  Now our girls are growing up and the requests are fewer and further between and not so childish anymore.  They are maturing and changing and their desires are different.  But there are still those things that I see them longing for out of sheer fleshly desire and I know in my heart that in their prayer time they are asking that same question, “Can I go upstairs”!! 

 What we must realize and really get a handle on is that there are certain desires that the Lord has placed in our hearts and then there are wants that we have that are purely based on the lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life.  We dream about these things and we desire them but why?  Why do we always want what we do not have and why do we always assume that there is something better somewhere else?  I believe the rampant debt problem in this nation is a clear sign of this. 

 When mothers must work outside the home because the father’s income cannot produce enough to support the family – I am not talking about needs I am talking about all the “wants” – when a family must leave their home for weeks every year because they cannot find peace and rest there – when every time you go to the store you come home with twice as much as you intended to buy because it all “looks so good” – you are falling into the trap that has been set for you and you are giving over to those lusts.  We must also look at our children.  Is the uncontrollable “need” for more “stuff” in your children being learned from what they see in their parents?  (I have to pull my own toes in on that one!!!)

Now I know that many who read this may become offended because they don’t see anything wrong with a little vacation or with buying a few extra things at the store.  You are right – there is absolutely nothing wrong with a vacation or with getting something you hadn’t intended on getting.  I am addressing something much bigger and more destructive.  I am addressing that gnawing need for more.  In some cases an almost uncontrollable need to have bigger, better, and more, more, more.  I admit that I have a “thing” for books.  I love books.  Not romance or fiction but How-To books. It is by far my biggest weakness in spending money.  But over the years the Lord has matured me to where I am more diligent about what I buy and when. 

 Before I forget, I want to mention those older folks who not only didn’t ask to go upstairs but also seemed to have no curiosity about what was up there.  Why?  What was it that made them so unconcerned?  When they came into the room they were completely engrossed in what was around them.  It was not uncommon for some older couples to stay in the cabin 20 minutes or more examining everything and then spending time just visiting with me and talking.  I believe that through the years of “going upstairs” in so many ways – searching for the “bigger and better” they have come to the place in their hearts and minds and spirits where they know that what the Lord has provided is sufficient – not only sufficient but actually better than those things that were pined for.

With age comes wisdom (we hope) and as we mature in life our want for more material things and experiences should begin to subside.

 Are we wanting to “go upstairs” because we think that there is going to be something so exciting and so much better than what we have where we are?  I pray that when our hearts cry out to “go upstairs” that it is Heaven that we are longing for.  I will be praying for you and I ask that you pray for me.  I want to be completely content with what God has provided in the material sense and experiential sense.  I don’t long for adventure – to see the world – to experience the adrenaline rush.  And to be completely honest I cannot find anywhere – ANYWHERE – in scripture where I am encouraged by God to seek those things.  When He encourages us to “seek those things which are above” he is not talking about earthly matters.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain.  I Timothy 6:6


Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.   Philippians 4:11-13


 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  1 John2:15-17


If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3: 1-2


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"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Filed under: Homemaking

One Response to "Can I Go Upstairs???"

  1. Marcie Tillett says:

    Hello Angelia,
    I very much enjoyed this article. I too long for a homestead in Tennessee, where I grew up. Unfortunately, I currently live in the middle of town in Owensboro, KY and have only a tiny front yard – no back yard. My dream is to have a small homestead to raise sheep and to sell the fleeces, yarns, and my home made soaps. I have faith though that God has me in town for a reason. It ‘s very interesting being plain in the middle of the city.

    Your website is a blessing for many people and is a beacon of light to me when I feel alone here in town.

    May God bless you and your family!
    Yours in Christ,

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