I’m obsessed with HGTV lately. I watch it all the time, making mental notes of remodeling projects that strike my fancy and decorating schemes that catch my eye. I dream of building a new house that looks like an old one. I imagine cobblestone walkways leading to an arched wooden doorway, English Ivy trailing up and over the eaves, and iron lampposts lighting the way. Inside, I picture cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, Spanish tile floors with colorful rugs, granite countertops, a stone fireplace, lots of natural light and French Doors that open out on an expansive deck and sparkling pool. I want details: crown moldings and custom cabinetry, leaded glass and beveled mirrors. I want a grand space that feels intimate.
In our Sunday morning Ladies’ Class last week, we talked about finding intimacy with God. Mary found it sitting at the feet of Jesus. While Martha scurried around making sure the flowers were fresh and the napkins matched the dinnerware, Mary listened. While Martha sewed interesting accent buttons on her tab curtains and embroidered initials on the hand towels, Mary worshiped. While Martha went to great lengths to ensure her home was perfect for Jesus, Mary understood that it already was.
I am Martha. I want so badly for everything to be perfect before I sit down to enjoy my company. Before I invite God for dinner, I want to make sure I have spot-free glasses and plates that aren’t chipped. I’ll need to sweep the cobwebs from the corners and fill in the cracks in the bathroom walls. I should pick up the mail I dropped in the entry hall and stuff all the dirty laundry back in the hamper.
But God doesn’t want to come for dinner. He wants to come and live. He doesn’t need a vacation home or a weekend cottage. He doesn’t desire a grand home with cobblestone paths and granite countertops. He only desires my heart….complete with the ugly words I dropped in the entry hall and the secret sins piled in the corner. He is the Master Remodeler, and he wants to fill the cracks and level the foundation. He wants to make his space - my heart - warm and inviting. He wants to make it Home.
"Welcome to this heart of mine I've buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I've made inside of me Come decorate
Lord, open up the creaking door And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls And occupy the empty halls
Until the man I am has faded No more doors are barricaded
Take a seat, pull up a chair Forgive me for the disrepair
And the souvenirs from floor to ceiling Gathered on my search for meaning
Every closet's filled with clutter Messes yet to be discovered
I'm overwhelmed, I understand I can't make this place all that You can
I took the space that You placed in me Redecorated in shades of greed
And I made sure every door stayed locked Every window blocked, and still You knocked...
Come inside this heart of mine - It's not my own - Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it All Your own - Welcome home."
Welcome Home by Shaun Groves from Invitation to Eavesdrop, copyright 2000
Funny to look back on my dreams. Only two and a half years ago, I never EVER thought that so soon, I'd be living in my dream house. I don't have the granite countertops or the stone fireplace, or really ANY of what I described above, but somehow, the dream was found anyway, when this house became mine. I've made it home. I love it. We ALL love it.
And yet, I still struggle with the theme of this article. My heart. If you can picture your soul as being a home... with a kitchen, a family room, bedrooms.... which rooms do you allow God into? Which do you lock him out of?
Lately, I've been living in the attic of my soul. It's been dark and stifling. I heard the helicopters overhead, but they didn't see me. I glimpsed slices of blue sky through the cracks in the roof, but it was out of reach. Nothing could get in, and nothing could get out. It took someone who heard my cries.... someone who came with a pick axe, and then went and returned with a backhoe... to get me out. And even when there was a gaping hole in my roof, when the attic was filled with air and light, even then, I wasn't sure I wanted to be rescued. Intellectually, I knew it made me sense for me to climb out. Emotionally, I wasn't equipped. It took someone reaching in and HAULING me out of there. It took an amazing rescue. It took someone who loves me more than I love myself.
We forget that people hide in the attics of their soul. Get out your axe. Who's waiting for YOU to come?