Last month I wrote a post for women on tearing down our own homes titled DIY Home Demo. As is typically the case when I open my mouth or squiggle a pen on a particular topic, I found myself especially challenged on the very points I had written about. So “arriving” is certainly not how I want to portray myself then or now, as I finish out the other half of this topic on building your house.
Instead let me tell you how it has gone this week as I have undertaken to live and write this post.
It’s real and not pretty.
I love Mondays. I set my intentions for the week, I cast my bread upon the waters (you know, like in Ecclesiastes) I plant little seeds on Monday and I am full of hopes, dreams, and prayers as the week sets out. But as the week wears on, I confess I can tend to live like God’s grace has all but run out.
Like for instance, when Wednesday comes in with a surprise ending as it did this past week. It had been a fine day and a good ride home. Getting the kids into bed was my single-minded goal. I was looking forward to hearing about my son’s basketball game and to seeing my husband when I got home.
I walk into the house to find my son home from his game looking a bit beat up and of course hungry, telling me he had a terrible game and he would rather not talk about it. Thinking I was done in the kitchen for the day, I figured I could at least feed him after a rough night. I pulled out the stuff to make two grilled cheese sandwiches. I got the little ones to bed but my four year old came down several times asking to be tucked in. “Yes…I will” I kept forgetting.
In the meantime my middle kids were sitting at the island stalling bedtime and discussing a class they no longer like. I expressed some of my thoughts contrary to theirs on the subject. My daughter took offense and got up to get ready for bed.
I wanted to say good night on good terms but she was in the bathroom, so instead I wrongly gave up and grabbed my kindle and climbed the stairs to my bedroom. Upon seeing my husband there, I was caught off guard by an unexpected and sharp disagreement that arose about something that happened earlier that day. Not what I was expecting.
When I finally got to bed I was upset and flummoxed by how the day took a dive so quickly and why it ended like this. Within less than one hour of being home, I was frustrated as I fell asleep in anger, and I never did sleep very deeply that night. Ignoring Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold”, I knew some demo work had been done. Sometimes the sin of many people in one home can collide at 10pm at night, but going to bed angry does not help.
What Am I Gonna Do About It?
In the morning when I woke, the first question I asked myself was:
“So what are you gonna do about it??? Are you going to withdraw? Keep getting angry? Allow outbursts from the kids? Keep an ongoing record of wrongs with your husband?” I could easily have kept going with this tearing down pattern. It is after all, what my flesh is prone to do. And yet none of those actions would equate to me building my house!
This is an honest confession of a wearying struggle and it only reminds me I cannot succeed at building my house on my own. I know what I am capable of doing on my own…I just spoke of it above. Instead I need to turn to Christ in each of these scenarios to help me build my house with wisdom and then take action to obey where he leads.
“By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.”
“The home fires don’t want to keep burning. A bad byproduct of sin (among many others) is constant entropy in the crannies of our lives we hold most dear.
Passion wants to fizzle in your marriage.
Communication wants to break down with your kids.
Intimacy wants to fade in your friendships.
The fridge wants to empty itself of home cooked meals and fresh veggies.
Your body wants to deteriorate…”
And ain’t that the truth? Even if we are, thankfully, not doing destructive damage in our homes, we find entropy eating away at and waiting to rob that which has already been built. Entropy is a term applied in physics, meaning: a gradual decline into disorder. But it can be applied to our homes as well.
Tearing down is all too easy: harmful attitudes, words, anger, and destruction are readily available if we yield to sin because order naturally wants to decline into disorder in this world.
But the question becomes: What are we gonna do about it???
Building The House
Building a house takes fortitude, right? It fights entropy in uplifting and corrective ways; realigning when things veer from level and plumb lines.
In order to build our house, we need to actively resist tearing it down AND proactively stir it up to love and good deeds. This will mean regularly realigning our own hearts and minds to God’s word first, confessing sin to one another, asking forgiveness, instructing children in the word and reminding them of the way they should go, administering discipline when needed. All of this requires purpose, intention, time, and energy against entropy. Undergirding all of that should be–most importantly– prayer that God would make something more of our efforts, and multiply the loaves and fish in our homes.
Continuing to quote that post from earlier, Erin writes:
“And so, especially as women, we are entrusted with the good work of stoking the fires as an act of resistance to sin’s destructive path.It is endless, thankless work to keep a home filled with warmth and well-being. Press into Jesus and Press on.”
And that is the answer to my question: What am I gonna do?
After praying about these specific matters and asking for prayer from Christian sisters,
I will pursue the conversations and invest the time and energy to bless my family and to fight entropy in my own heart and in our home…especially during this midwestern February. Asking God to build our house takes his wisdom. And he says when we lack, we need simply ask.
And when we fall down, we get up and keep going. The cool thing about God’s grace is that he doles it out fresh daily. It isn’t that I am apportioned on Monday but use it all up by Wednesday. Instead his word says that morning by morning he gives me the grace sufficient for that day and its troubles. May I trust him that even in the exhaustion of 10pm and all the way till bedtime, his grace is sufficient!