Prayer Corner- Collaboration with The Small Seed

Hello everyone, 

Some of you may have already read the truncated version of this post on Thank you for your loyal support!  Today I am going to share with you the full version of my contribution to the Small Seed's series "House of God".  It includes more details, pictures, before and afters, and a full source list of my new prayer corner...

I am SO excited to share a new project with you that I’ve been working on!!  Kim, the author of the blog The Small Seed, contacted me about contributing to her new series called “House of God”.   First, if you are not familiar with , definitely check it out!  It’s a great website full of real stories of faith, inspirational quotes, and a spot called the “daily dose”.  I follow @thesmallseed on Instagram and really enjoy their peaceful images, daily messages, and applicable quotes.  Every time I read one of their posts, it gives me great perspective.  I love it most because it’s not preachy or judgmental and it makes me sit back and think about what really matters in life. 

So when Kim contacted me about giving my insight into how I try to make my home a “house of God”, I was incredibly excited and felt SO honored because I LOVE everything that The Small Seed is about. 

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Marci and I started Lemons to Lovelys in September of last year, shortly after making the difficult decision to quit teaching and stay home with our new baby.  I’ve always liked to turn old furniture and home décor or “lemons”, as I like to call them, into lovely pieces for my home and for my friends!  I recently also went through a very trying time where I had to learn to turn a “lemon” of a situation into something “lovely”.  And that’s how I came up with the name for this blog.  Which brings me to what I want to share with you today…

Before starting my blog, I was a school teacher, PreK & Kindergarten in particular, for 6 years, the last year being the hardest!  (I will explain more in a minute) 

So basically until last year, I had been in school my whole life and didn’t know anything different. I went straight from highschool to  college and from college to teaching. Then, last year in 2014, school started in August, and for the first time since age 3, I didn’t. 

As I mentioned above, this was a very difficult decision to quit my job.  Half the reason being because I didn’t like the word “quit” and the other half was because I felt like I had little to no control over my decision emotionally and mentally.   My body was making the decision for me. 

     When it was time for me to resign (late winter-early spring of 2014) our first and only baby was a about a month old and I was feeling pretty rotten physically, and in need of a major inner ear surgery.  During my pregnancy, (around 20 weeks) I started having very bad vertigo where I felt like I was on a rough boat ride ALL the time.  The room would spin randomly in addition to having triggers like looking down and moving my head from left to right or too fast, which brought on more dizziness!  (Let me remind you that I was teaching PreK4 at  the time, and when you are responsible for a group of children who are 3 feet tall, you have no choice but to look down and move fast)  It got so bad, I had to go on disability from work because I could barely leave the house.  Driving was out of the question, and some days it was hard to even walk by myself without needing the furniture to grab on to.  
     It turned out that I had a spinal leak in my inner ear called a Perilymphatic Fistula that was causing my balance to be distorted and the only way to fix it was surgery!  Of course I couldn’t have surgery pregnant, so I had to play with the cards I had been dealt, in the best way that I could.  My life changed drastically for the next 4½ months.  The baby was healthy and growing fast (praise God) and my first priority was taking care of his health and my own. 

     Being forced to stay home in early October, just a few short months into the first semester of a new school year, and retreat from “normal life” brought on ALL KINDS of guilt, frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, anxiety, and so much more!  It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life, not only because I felt bad physically but mentally and emotionally I was a wreck!  I felt HORRIBLE for the students, parents, and administrators that I had let down by not being able to complete the school year, even though I knew it was not my fault.  I was consumed with frustration, anger, and confusion with my own body that was failing me in some ways but thriving in others.  I was a very anxious person to begin with so you can imagine how bad my anxiety had become!  And more than anything, I was flat out, scared to death!  A million questions raced through my mind every hour of the day…

“Will I make it through to the end of my pregnancy without going insane from being stuck in the house?”

“How am I going to accomplish the daily tasks that I use to be able to do so freely?” 
(laundry, cooking, dishes, bathing, driving, etc.)  

“Will I be able to care for my baby after he arrives?”

 “How is the stress of taking on so much going to affect my husband and our marriage?”

And the scariest one of all… 
“Will I ever feel normal again?????” 

Isaiah 41:10-Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   

THE ONLY WAY to get through this trying time was to PRAY.  It was literally my only option.  I went to bed praying, woke up praying, and prayed off and on allllll day in between. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

I asked God to help me get through this awful time with grace and strength, to help me learn whatever it was he was trying to teach me during this trial, to improve my faith and trust in him because I was MAJORLY struggling with this, and to just rid my body of whatever was causing the vertigo!!!  I just wanted it gone! I wanted and prayed for a miracle.  For God to heal my body like he healed the lepers back in the day, for real!

**sidenote-I feel guilty saying that this time of my life was “awful” or a “trial” because of the friends I have who are struggling to get pregnant and praying to experience carrying a child even if that means it is an “awful” experience.  Please know that I prayed for you during this time and continue to pray for you that God will bless with you with a baby.  And I know that he will!  Also, know that as awful as it was for me, I would go through what I went through 10 times over for you to have the baby that you so desire.  I really would! So as much it may sound like I am complaining, my feet are still firmly planted on the ground.  I know I am blessed and lucky to have a healthy baby.  I know my situation could have been much worse.**

John 14:13- And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 

I’ve always had trouble with this verse because it basically says as long as you pray for something you’ll get it, right?  Well there is also this one that says…

Proverbs 3:5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 

Well my vertigo never went away during the remainder of my pregnancy, but as a result of my incessant praying, I truly believe God humbled me, taught me valuable lessons via this experience, sent angels to watch over me both physically and spiritually, and changed my life forever.   I know he did!  It was because of the strength God gave me, I was able to persevere and deliver a beautiful, healthy baby at full term!  He may not have performed a miracle and healed me over night but that’s because he wasn’t finished with me.  He still had work to do.  I clung to this verse for months like a life vest on a sinking ship …

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

     Fast forward to after our child was born, my vertigo did slowly improve and I was able to drive short distances again and care for our child by myself after 3 weeks of help (Thank GOD for my In Laws & husband), but I was still experiencing dizziness, spinning, and the feeling that I was on a boat.  I was also still living somewhat of a restricted life in terms of activity and comfort.  The harsh reality was, I needed to have surgery to fix the spinal leak and it was going to be a 6 week recovery where I couldn’t lift the baby or participate in any strenuous activity.  This meant living with my in-laws for 4 weeks and having someone to come live in with us for the remaining 2 weeks to care for our then, 10 week old baby, during my recovery so that my husband could go to work. 

     I could go into great detail on what the recovery was like for a PLF repair of the inner ear but I will spare you.  Just know that it was very hard and took every ounce of strength, patience, faith, and love collectively from me, my husband, and my in-laws to get through it.  It was a bonding experience to say the least!  We grew closer together and learned what true selfless love is all about!  I am SO incredibly grateful for everyone who helped out during this time.  You know who you are. 

     Fast forward to today, I am about 90% healed and it feels SOOO good!  I can’t even describe to you the difference in my body from last year to this year.  Although I still have some dizziness when I do certain things, I can drive, I can walk, I can care for my child and our family with few restrictions.  The joy I feel from having my health and my “life” restored is indescribable. Not to mention, this healthy, adorable, one of a kind child I have to remind me of this victory every single day!

Philippians 4:4-Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again REJOICE!

     During my pregnancy I kept a prayer journal.  I couldn’t look down long enough to hand write full sentences so it’s more like a “prayer list journal” but it’s humbling to go back and compare my prayer requests then and now.  I find myself being WAAAAY more thankful and appreciative of the little things now, than before.  

     Looking back, as hard of a decision as it was to quit my job and stay home, it was a nice change.  Although I loved teaching and I miss the kids and their families dearly, not having the stress of getting my classroom ready for the year, preparing lesson plans, waking up at 5am, getting sick from all the germs, has been a nice reprieve!  So for that I am TRULY, TRULY thankful.  Thankful especially to my husband who works so incredibly hard to make it possible for me to stay home with our baby.  The time I have had with my son alone, at home, is priceless and something I will cherish FOREVER!  

Even though I was enjoying my time at home, I obviously couldn’t sit still without some kind of a job or project.  This is something I have always struggled with.  I’m the queen of “over doing it” as my husband says.  He often asks me at night, "do you ever stop?", when I’m suppose to be relaxing and unwinding from the day but instead I’m multitasking on some project. 

Psalm 46:10-“Be still and know that I am God.”

My aunt gave me a book when I was a Senior in college that I will cherish forever.  It’s called “Be Still” and it’s in the form of a photo album.  In it are beautiful pictures of different landscapes and outdoor shots of time literally standing still.  I know it sounds like a book about nothing, but it kind of is and I find it to be totally inspiring.  So I pull it out every once in a while when I need to hit the "pause" button.

Just recently, I decided to finish/decorate the last empty corner of our home and create a “prayer corner” as a place to sit and be still.  Even though I have labeled it as my “prayer corner", it is not necessarily just a place to pray.  I intend to use it as a place to sit and be STILL, to reflect on how far I have come and how much I have to be thankful for.  In this space I will keep my favorite “go-to” books including my Bible, and my 2 favorites “The Power of a Praying Wife” and “The Power of a Praying Parent”. 

Here is a Before picture of the space...

 This corner is in our master bedroom next to the dresser I just painted.  If you missed that project you can read about it here.

And here is a picture of my finished "Prayer Corner"...

Rectangular White frames-Target 
Small Square white frames-Michael's
lamp shade-old wicker shade from my MIL painted with French Linen by ASCP
chair- made by Angeline Guido Designs.  
(use to be winged back dining chair from Goodwill) Read about this makeover project here
painted with French Linen by ASCP & Silver Liquid Leaf from Hobby Lobby
silver frame-TJMAXX
silver mint julep cup-Gordon's Home Decor
Kneeler-Patina Interiors Consignment store
wrapping paper around books-Hobby Lobby
Rosary-materials from Hobby Lobby, hand painted by me with French Linen by ASCP & Silver Liquid Leaf from Hobby Lobby

And here are a few detail shots of the space...

The easiest way to bring serenity and peace into a space, in my opinion, is through flowers and light.  By flowers I do not mean expensive flowers from a florist or even a grocery store.  I feel that when I’m decorating, just having something LIVE in a vase brings more life to a space.  My husband and son (he’s a toddler now) love to pick flowers for me outside.  Every chance they get, they pick a flower from the gardenia bush or the magnolia tree in our front yard and put it in a glass of water for me.  Even when our son was sick recently and we had to bring him to the doctor, he picked me a flower from the wooded area behind the pediatrician's office parking lot and ran to me with a 102.8 fever holding a crepe myrtle and a hyacinth stem, SO eager to give to me! 

I purposely picked a bright purple hydrangea from my friend’s yard for this space to add a pop of color and some positive energy among the gray, white, and black theme.    

These are my favorite books I mentioned above wrapped in black and white striped wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby.   

This is my prayer "kneeler".  I found it at Patina Interiors consignment store and painted it with ASCP in French Linen. See picture below for more details...

Although I am not Catholic, I taught at a Catholic school and really learned a lot about the Catholic faith.  I am open to learning about and being excepting of the practices of others who share the same faith in God so I made this rosary myself.  I have been seeing the most beautiful custom rosary beads around town in various boutiques but they are SO expensive!!! So I decided to make one myself.  I plan to do a separate DIY post on this project in particular later on.   

I LOVE the Serenity Prayer and need to read it as a reminder OFTEN so I hung this plaque from the floor lamp next to my chair.  It will be a good reminder every time I turn the light on and off.

And that's my new prayer corner!  

     I truly believe that prayer is extremely important when building a “house of God” because without prayer, plans fail.  I love the phrase "we tell God our plans and he laughs".  We can plan every hour of our day and every weekend of a month, "penciling in" our calendar with "important" events, but all of these dates are subject to change if these plans are not in accordance with God's will.  
                                        I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis!  

I had MAJOR plans for when I was pregnant and a pretty good blueprint of what I wanted my pregnancy to look like.  God sure got a good giggle out of that one.  

Proverbs 15:22- Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

Well that's it for today.  
I hope you are able to find and/or enjoy a place in your home where you can be still and reflect.  Whether it's through prayer, reading, or journaling, I hope that this space will be a place where his presence is felt, his peace emanates, and that it is also a place of refuge from whatever trials you may face.    I hope you feel like this space is truly a room in the "House of God". 

I leave you with a verse that my Grammy had framed in her house as I was growing up...

John 14:2 My Father's House has many rooms, if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Remember, when life hands you lemons, turn them into something lovely!

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