You won’t find pictures of it while scrolling through Pinterest or perusing house and garden magazines at the grocery check-out. It’s not something you envision when you lay in bed at night decorating each well-thought-out room. You probably wouldn’t even think to mention it to your best friend.
It’s not pretty, or especially interesting, but it’s the most important part of your dream home. It’s the foundation.
When the footings are dug they must be straight and on solid ground. The concrete must be leveled. And the blocks laid on top of the concrete should be perfectly perpendicular, otherwise your house will end up at least a little cock-eyed. Even if you can’t see the unevenness with the naked eye, eventually the house will reveal the truth concerning the lack of integrity below.
The tell-tale signs of a lopsided foundation may show up in uneven door frames, sagging floor joists, or cracks in the walls. Some of this is expected due to the usual settling of a house. But when doors refuse to shut or floors droop ominously downward, the foundation needs to be addressed before it’s too costly to repair.
There’s an old home in our town that belonged to an elderly lady who recently passed away at the age of ninety-nine. She died in this house, the house she was born in. The only home she ever knew.
Proud of her beautiful old home, she was meticulous in making sure it was spotless and updated every so often. But even though the silver sparkles and the hardwoods gleam, the curvature of the floor in the center gives away the secrets of its foundation. Signs of strain are even more obvious on the second floor. The center hallway tilts heavily toward the staircase and the puckered plaster engraved across the walls leaves no doubt of the serious state of affairs under the house.
If only she’d put as much care into the foundation as she did the aesthetics of her home.
It reminds me of the care we need to take in laying the foundation of our spiritual homes. It’s easy to focus on the things we can see—how well our children look and perform, happy Facebook pictures with our spouse, maybe even sitting down to a family dinner often—but we need to look below the surface. Do our families know they have the solid foundation of unconditional love?
For most of my life I never understood the unquestionable love of our Heavenly Father. I viewed Him as a harsh taskmaster waiting for me to make a mistake so He could lash out with punishment. I didn’t have a secure foundation in my relationship with God. Guilt-ridden and exhausted, I couldn’t comprehend how much He loves me. Instead of falling into His grace, I strived daily to be the perfect mother, wife, housekeeper, friend, and church member. I could never measure up.
Slowly, through prayer and Bible study, I began to grasp the incredible love God has for me. Instead of laying the groundwork of good works, I began to invest in getting to know Him better. It paid off. I can now say I stand on the solid rock of Christ’s love for me, and my foundation has never been stronger.
I want my family to know that, even if they mess up, they’re still welcomed and loved in my home, just as the Father has demonstrated that love to me.
Some days it’s easier to build up my family than others. I wish I could say I always respond wisely and without judgement. I don’t. But through perseverance, now that my kids are young adults, I believe they feel secure in the love they’ve been shown and have a solid support of God’s love.
A home built only on the foundation of works, rules and discipline may look beautiful on the outside, but eventually the infrastructure will begin to show signs of deterioration. It most likely will be seen through sagging spirits and puckered attitudes toward one another. If not promptly addressed, the repair will be costly. But when we mix a heaping portion of love into the footings, we will build on the bedrock of integrity and truth, creating inviting homes that radiate God’s love.
Is your view of God’s love for you a true representation of the Bible’s teaching? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, inserting God’s name for the word ‘love’ or any reference to it. Allow the true definition of His love for you to take hold in your heart so that you can begin to build a stronger foundation of faith.
Are there obvious signs of strain in your home? How are they manifested in each family member? In yourself?
How would your family say you demonstrate your love to them? Is it by attending their ballgames? Or spending one-on-one time with them? Or maybe cooking their favorite dish? If you’re not sure, check out Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages. Knowing their love language will allow you to be more intentional in showing them how much you care.
Let’s build kingdom homes together!