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Insiders and Outsiders

In fashion, one day you're in, the next, you're out. -Heidi Klum

I am putting on my theology hat for this post- but don't worry, it will end in pretty decor. (Side Note: Does anyone else think it is weird that God has me in seminary and decorating houses?) Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites found themselves at various times either being insiders or outsiders. I mean, even starting back in the garden with Adam and Eve- one day they're in, and the next, they're out. (Kind of like fashion - See Project Runway.)

Although always firm in God's unchanging love, their situation caused them, at times, to be on the outside of society. The most significant time was when the north was forced out of their home by the Assyrians (722 BCE) and then the south by the Babylonians (597 BCE). Traditionally we read these accounts as a consequence of their repeated disobedience to God. Let me tell you- they messed up and messed up and messed up. God poured mercy and grace over them- but just as any parent knows sometimes a little shock and awe changes behavior. So the Lord allowed the exile.

Lately, I have been thinking about the actual exiled person. It is easy for me to ignore the individual experience and dehumanize them as just a far-off historical group. But real humans- men, women, and children were traumatically forced to move from their home to face starvation, plagues, and death. One aspect of the exile I find fascinating is when only a small contingency of Israelites returned home when the Persians permitted them to leave. What caused the remaining people to stay? Some scholars assume the new generation assimilated to their new cullture and simply wanted to stay. Others wonder if fear kept them in Babylon. Think about it- their home, Jerusalem, where they once felt protected and secure now reminds them of suffering. Perhaps, it no longer is a place of security but instead destruction and instability causing them to prefer to remain an outsider.

For me, it reminds me to keep my eyes open to the outsiders among us. There are those displaced from their homes, whether physically, spiritually, or emotionally in our communities. God instructs the Israelites in Deuteronomy 10:18 to care for the stranger among them and love them as He does. For me, I am trying to break free from my comfort zone and invite different people into my life not just people like me. In other words, not just seek out new people who make me feel like I belong. But, rather seek outsiders who long to be asked in.

Also, it causes me to reflect on how I want my home to feel for my returning adult children- just two weeks ago we cleared out my son's room to make space for a new guest bedroom. I am thrilled to paint his brown room and have a welcoming space for guests; nevertheless, I want him always to have a place where he feels safe, secure, and at home.

Which leads me to a fun project- Don and Becky Lee found themselves in the same position. They were ready to update their kid's rooms to provide space for their many guests. They live a life wide open both with their hearts and their home. They wanted the capacity to be home for strangers while providing space for their youngest daughter still living there this summer. I set out to design two bedrooms which offered space for travelers to rest as well as their daughter to feel the security of home when she returned.

The colors reflected each girl and their well-loved teen-aged rooms. We painted the pink one SW accessible beige which is a warm classic neutral and paired it with a beautiful teal accent color.

This mirror found at Wayfair opens the room and reflects the crisp white bedding found at HomeGoods The bedding has delicate teal embroidery for the border.

Both the bed and rug were found on Wayfair. We tore out the old carpet and replaced it with a beautiful vinyl wood flooring-see images below.

The blue room we painted SW Dorian Grey. It is warm with just a slight undertone of purple. We spray painted the bed black and used navy blue as the accent color. This room will be their daughter's this summe,r so we added some special touches.

We made a gallery wall using some of her vintage music collection and added this special corner for her to read or play guitar. We included a desk area for her writing and used reclaimed wood shelves to mix in the rustic elements she loves.

We used this beautiful rug from Wayfair to pull all the elements together. This room will easily transition to a guest bedroom in the fall and will continue to be a space that welcomes in all the outsiders.

Thanks for reading! DM @springandthyme with questions!



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