The Family Masterpiece

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. ~ Proverbs 24:3-4

Library of congress great hall
Library of Congress Great Hall
Photo by Ralph D. Jones

As we walked through the back door down a nondescript hallway, I had no idea the visual feast I was about to partake. The hallway opened into one of the most beautiful rooms I have, and most likely ever will, see. It caught me so off-guard I literally gasped. How could I not have known about this amazing work of art right here in the heart of Washington, DC?

My daughter and I were on a field trip with her fifth grade class to our nation’s capitol: a rite of passage before they embarked on their middle school careers. Having never been to Washington, I jumped at the chance when asked to chaperone. I couldn’t wait to see all the famous monuments and buildings I had only gazed at on television or in photos. Everything we saw was pretty much what I expected, until the day our plans changed.

We were scheduled to tour the Supreme Court that particular morning. But upon arriving at the appointed time, we were told there must have been some confusion and weren’t allowed in. Much to our disappointment we were sent away. Someone pointed out The Library of Congress was just across the street and suggested we take that tour instead. Oh, brother, I moaned to myself, how exciting could that be? But it was cold outside so we decided to take the lesser of two evils.

library of congress visitors gallery
Library of Congress Visitors Gallery
Photo by Michael Dersin

Don’t get me wrong. I love books and reading much more than most people do. I even love going to our local library and bookstore to peruse the shelves for sometimes hours. If you don’t believe me, ask my kids. But this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime and we were going to a dusty old library.

As we filed in line to enter the building, all I could think of was getting inside, away from the frigid wind. I wasn’t the

least bit curious about what lay behind those walls–until I walked in.

We were greeted by a grand hall much more elaborate than any library I’d ever seen. The only thing I could remotely compare it to are pictures I’ve viewed of the castles in Europe. But it wasn’t stuffy or cold. It was awe inspiring. There were paintings, sculptures and architecture unlike any I had ever been exposed to. Inspiring quotes set next to scripture were written on the walls in all directions. I couldn’t begin to take it all in. I wanted to sit and gaze for hours, wishing I could memorize every detail. My heart almost burst by the vision of beauty surrounding me.

As we delved deeper into this elaborate building, all of my senses were awakened. We stayed in each room as long as possible, but the anticipation of what lay ahead kept us moving. We dared not miss anything.

Library of congress reading room
Library of Congress Main Reading Room
Photo by Michael Dersin

The climax of our tour was peering into the Main Reading Room. Finally, there were the books. That wasn’t what grabbed me, though. As I stared across eye level with the life size bronze figures standing on the balcony, I recognized some of the names. Most notably were Moses and St. Paul. There, in the heart of this library, were two of the most influential men in the Old and New Testament. The testimony of both influenced the building of our nation. Our founding fathers knew where to look for instruction and duty; the Holy Bible. It filled me with hope and pride knowing our government was not derived from the musings of man, but on the unquestionable Word of God.

As we turned to exit, I was inspired by the faithful artists, architects and builders who brought this magnificent building to fruition. Their work has become a great legacy for their families–and our nation’s children.

As we left the building I turned and looked at it with a fresh perspective. From the outside it looked statuesque and somewhat elegant, not unlike many other buildings in Washington. But now that I knew the hidden beauty behind those thick stone walls I could never again think of it as a dusty old library.

Many of our homes look similar on the outside, but do ours stand out as uncommon against the rest when others enter in? Not from outward décor, but from the inward beauty that comes from the sweet spirit of Jesus Christ being the centerpiece. Our homes become masterpieces when we decorate them with the love of Christ, hiding His Word in our hearts and teaching our kids the importance of godly wisdom. Just as our founding fathers built our nation on the virtues of God, our homes will have a firm foundation when we do the same.

In front of Washington Monument
In front of Washington Monument

Carol and Elise in Washington DC
Me and Elise in Washington DC

Have you ever experienced beauty that brought you straight to the throne of God?
I’d love to hear your story.

4 thoughts on “The Family Masterpiece”

  1. Encouraging post from disappointment to awe inspiring. It’s nice being reminded of our nation being founded on heroes of the Bible with visible statues incased in unexpected beauty. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Beautiful post, Carol. I know this may seem a bit cliche, but every time I crest a certain hill in Greer and see the mountain range, I feel like God is sitting right next to me, and He is. 🙂 Blessings!

    • It’s defintitely not cliche, Cathy. I believe God speaks to each of us in unique ways that only He knows will reveal His presence to us. Thanks for sharing!

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