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As I pull up to the first of two homes where I will be design consulting, I immediately notice the washed-out paint on the garage door. Oh, and that row of old yews has to go. Inside, that little sunroom is inviting. The homeowner and I decide on new carpet, a warm gray on the walls, and fresh new laminate counters—I respect that she is on a budget, so no granite. Best of all, she sews and thinks she can handle new roman blinds. I show her a website with loads of ideas that will save her some pennies. As I leave, she describes one more project that she saw on HGTV.

House appointment number two: Beautiful stone paver walkway, nicely groomed landscaping, and gorgeous (professionally created) planters! Don’t get jealous, Cheryl. You have all those great Pinterest pins that you can use to do that yourself. At a richly stained front door, the homeowner greets me. She is loaded with pins upon pins and has been watching HGTV for months before calling me. I think, If you have all that, why do you need me? But I soften when she tells about a planned addition; the homeowners host loads of people who stay with them when they return from mission trips. Shame on me. In a few hours we have added wonderful elements implementing her pins, ideabooks from Houzz, and the HGTV ideas she’s gathered.

I have always been interested in living spaces. The Bible includes hundreds of references to such spaces. “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness . . . He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms’” (Jer. 22:13-14). I read that more like, “I will build myself a great Parade of Homes house with five bedrooms and baths, large windows and sliding doors, shiplap, and greige paint.” Is that wrong? What’s so bad about creating and dreaming with digital tools? Or TV shows with ideas for wonderful spaces? But where do we stop? When is enough enough? 

The word “home” is mentioned 186 times in the Bible. Home is where we rest our weary heads, throw off our shoes, and hang out with the ones we love. It should hold within its walls security not just from thunderstorms but from the storms of life. Ruth Graham Bell said, “Make home a happy place they look forward to coming back to.” I think of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s comment: “If you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” Invest in beauty—the beauty of a home that has Christ in the open kitchen plan or the tiny galley kitchen.

We can’t deny that God gave some of us creativity we can’t suppress. So pull out those techy tools, stir up some beautiful colors of paint, or get that new countertop if the budget allows. But let Christ be the designer. Make sure your “mansion” is the one that Jesus talked about in John 14:2. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” First and foremost, Jesus needs to be the firm foundation that your house is built on.

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