I’ve always had a passion for houses. From cozy little cottages to grandiose estates, houses have intrigued and inspired me. As a nine-year-old I remember trying to put the puzzle pieces of a home’s floor plan together in my head.
“Why does that wall jut out in that particular spot? What’s behind there?” I’d ask my young self.
Spaces, details, and the design behind the beauty piqued my interest. I was always trying to take it all in, wondering how I could apply it to my own designs.
When I was in middle school I remember my parents taking our family to Charleston, South Carolina. I was awestruck. The charm and beauty of a city filled to the brim with history, my second love, overwhelmed me. Typical single homes featured sweeping side porches, or piazzas, looking into tall windows adorned with detailed trim and flanked by hinged shutters. Visions of antebellum women behind the porch’s false front door privately enjoying afternoon tea captivated my imagination.
My love of architecture deepened.
In high school I’d lie in bed at night excitedly piecing together my future dream home. I envisioned a traditional design accentuated by a wide front porch, complete with swing, and long windows looking into beautiful, welcoming rooms.
Eventually I graduated with an associate’s degree in architectural engineering and have enjoyed drawing and designing house plans for over thirty years.
Fifteen years ago my husband and I built our dream home. Here is where you’d expect me to say, “They lived happily ever after.” And we have, mostly. But once we moved in and I realized we finally had what we’d been saving for, it seemed almost… empty. Sure, I loved our home and its design. Loved the land we built on, my husband’s family farm. But my home did not complete me.
Because that’s how God designed it to be.
I enjoyed decorating and filling our new house with beloved family pieces and photos of special memories. But, in order to make our new house a true dream home for our family, I needed to understand that “through knowledge [a house’s] rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures,” (Proverbs 24:4). The Bible’s not necessarily talking about precious family jewels here. It’s describing kingdom homes—homes that honor God.
Over the last few years I’ve become intrigued by wise women of the Bible—especially those who are in the business of building up homes. These scripture passages, along with a Bible study I’m currently leading and discipleship classes I’ve been attending, have brought into focus some traits of wise women and how to apply them to our spiritual and home life.
It’s easy to say we must be wise, not foolish, in order to build a strong and godly home, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to apply biblical solutions to practical, everyday situations. A wise woman wants her home to be a place that’s welcoming to all, full of love and understanding. A place where she encourages others through her words and actions. A place she enjoys her family and they enjoy her. These are the traits of kingdom homes.
So, where do we start?
It must begin with us.
“But as for you, teach the things which are in agreement with sound doctrine [which produces men and women of good character whose lifestyle identifies them as true Christians]…
Older women…are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good, so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children, to be sensible, pure, makers of the home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” ~ Titus 2:1, 3-5 (AMP)
The Bible clearly points out the quality materials we must use in order to build godly homes.
* Build our lives on sound doctrine (teaching).
* Be reverent (respectful of others) in our behavior.
* Don’t be malicious gossips.
* Don’t be addicted to alcohol.
* Tenderly love our husbands and children.
* Be sensible and pure.
* Make our homes places that honor God.
* Be good-natured.
* Be subject to our husbands. (Don’t worry, ladies, this isn’t about being a doormat.)
After reading this list one overall question stands out in my mind: When others think of me, aside from what I do for a living, what will they think of? How will I be remembered, especially by my family members?
I hope others would identify me as a true Christian, as stated in the verses above. I’m almost afraid to ask. But, as I ponder these attributes I realize I definitely have a few things to work on.
We should also note that Titus 2 addresses the traits of older as well as younger women. None of us is off the hook. And just because we’re older doesn’t necessarily mean we’re wiser. These are things we all must be intentional about prioritizing in our lives.
In order to prevent us from becoming the foolish woman who tears her house down, we need to ask ourselves these questions:
• Does my lifestyle identify me as a true Christian?
• When I read the list above, am I convicted about a particular attribute?
• Does my family consider our home a place that welcomes them and makes them feel loved?
Let’s work together to build kingdom homes!