Although the word divorce has never been uttered between my husband and me in thirty years of marriage, there was a time I was afraid it might become part of our vocabulary.
With the exception of moving from our first home, a little trailer in the cow pasture, into an old home in town, my husband, John, has always been the one who decided when we needed to move. Even though we’ve only changed residences twice since, each time I hesitated to leave.
The first time he made the declaration I knew he was right. But I loved the little home we’d made our own through lots of elbow grease and as much money as we could afford. It was now the cute bungalow I’d envisioned. But since I was pregnant with our second child and our small abode had only two bedrooms, we didn’t know where we’d put the baby.
When John asked me to start drawing plans for a next home, I balked, but then gave in since I knew the move was inevitable.
Being pregnant while taking care of an obstinate toddler and packing up all of our belongings was stressful enough, but having my husband act as the general contractor of our new home brought the tension between us to a level we’d never experienced.
In order to save money John did as much work as he could himself, and I certainly appreciated that. However, between his working all day at his own business then working during his off hours at the new house, we rarely saw each other. I felt alone and weary with all of my responsibilities, which also included choosing every detail of what went into the house. He was exhausted and felt unappreciated for all of his efforts, too.
I remember one night during the construction we had an argument. John went to bed. My little daughter, Elise, was still awake as I sat in the darkness of the den crying uncontrollably. I’d never felt more hurt and alone in my entire life. I wondered if our marriage would survive the fallout from the arrival of a new baby and new house so close together.
Even though she was only two, Elise knew I was hurting. She climbed up in my lap and patted me while saying, “Wuv you, Mommy.” I’ll never forget that sweet moment when I just wanted someone to sympathize with me. God gave me hope through my sweet daughter.
We finally did make it to move-in day, three weeks after our son, Jacob, was born. It took a while for things to settle down between John and me, but eventually, through prayer and perseverance, we were back on solid ground.
Acting as the general contractor of a building project requires much time, commitment, organization and follow-through. Even though John and I were both familiar with the construction industry, being responsible for the day-to-day oversight of construction was excruciating.
It took both of us to carry out all of the work involved in the process and before it was over I wondered if the toll it took on our marriage was worth it.
Taking on everything needed to build godly homes in our own strength will drain us both physically and spiritually, even if we work together with our spouses. We need Someone we can look to who is more than capable for the daily oversight of our homes. Who better to act as the general contractor and manage who and what comes into our houses than God? Or to take on the overall responsibility of making our home into the place of comfort and joy we long for?
He’s great enough to do it. But we must surrender control of our families, our homes and ourselves to Him so that we can enjoy the peace and provision only He can bring. We don’t want to waste our time laboring in vain while He’s waiting for us to request access to His awesome power. He can take our dream home from a design on a blueprint to one that’s alive and thriving. After all, He did create every beautiful thing in existence. He can do the same for you and me.
• Take a few minutes each day to ask God how you can best meet your husband and children’s needs. He may surprise you by preparing you for something you’d never expect.
• Think about the people who come into your home on a regular basis. Do they build you and your family up? Or do they wear away the peace in your family?
• Evaluate the media that’s allowed into your home. Whether it’s through television, social media or video games, how can you make sure what’s coming in is edifying and unifying your family rather than causing it to fray?
• In what ways might you be “laboring in vain”, leaving God out of the building process? By putting more effort into your work rather than your home and family? Or striving so hard to keep your home perfectly clean and beautiful that no one enjoys being there? Ask God to help you let go of anything that may be keeping you, your husband and kids from experiencing real joy.
Let’s build kingdom homes together!