Chris and I are in the middle of a quite-extensive remodel project. It’s been an experience, to say the least. For over two months, all six members of our family have lived in 538 square feet of basement with no kitchen and one small bathroom. I could probably write a whole post on this alone, but let me try to move this blog into the direction I set out to begin with: a direction with less pee on the toilet seat and more inspiration… Home building.
For the first few years of our marriage, Chris and I were in the home-building business. I know it’s a far cry from ministry, but Chris owned a construction company, and I owned a home design company. We were a team and we both loved what we did. We spent many days (and evenings) making sure each house we set out to build was built well. I drew the plans to reach their maximum functionality, and Chris spent his days on jobsites making sure everything was built properly. Sometimes it was fun, and sometimes a messy, dirty, and ugly job. But every house got built, and you know what? Not a single one fell over. Why? Because we built the houses to a code.
Imagine if we set out to build those houses with no guidelines? What if we placed each board wherever we pleased? Some studs might be 6 inches apart, while others were 6 feet apart. What if we ran the gas lines wherever we felt like it, and wires hung loosely out of sockets? What if the shingles were haphazardly placed on the roof, and accidental gaps were left unpatched? I’ll tell you what would happen: A giant bonfire. That house would either blow over and become a pile of lumber, or it would catch fire and become a pile of ashes.
I think we can all agree in observance of our own lives and the lives of others around us, is that the families inside of each of those homes are the same way.
With no guidelines, there is chaos. With no care, there is neglect. With no communication between parent, child, or spouse, there is disorder and separation.
Proverbs 14:1 speaks directly into my life as a wife and a mother. I think of it often, and remind myself on days when I’m weary that I desperately want to be the wise woman who builds her house.
A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1
I have watched women who have truly built their homes – determinedly and faithfully; and I’ve watched with a broken heart as women rip theirs to the ground. Maybe it was an earth-shattering event like an affair; or maybe it was quiet, subtle, and slow – bitterness, control, or self-interest. But there is one thing we all know about homes that are torn down or are one nail-slip away from collapsing onto itself: they can be rebuilt. And that can start today.
What if we – my ever-failing self included – became women who thought intentionally about building up our homes? When I utter that comment to my husband: Did I build him up or tear him down? When I discipline my children: Did I correct and build their character or did I simply crush their spirit into submission? The way I spend my time: Did I build up my soul, mind, and heart, or did I end up feeling depleted and like I was running and getting nowhere?
What if we made the kind of sacrifices we would never regret? An extra hour of our undivided attention for our spouse, thirty minutes less of phone-surfing around our kids, biting our tongue when we want to let it loose, getting a babysitter to take one child at a time to do something special, or dedicating ourselves to working on our downfalls like impatience…This list can go on and on.
How I hope we will be a generation of women who build up our family and loved ones. May we see them and the potential within them as gifts from God. May our homes be designed to HIS code, raised in HIS grace, and built to last.