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Creating a Blessed Place to Live and Love
By Pamela J. Bailey
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Format:ebook $9.99 $12.99 CAD
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Epigraph on p. 94 comes from Principles of P, by Annie Tyson Jett, copyright © 1998. (Self-published)
Copyright © 2006 by Pamela J. Bailey
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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First eBook Edition: September 2009
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This book is dedicated in loving memory to my father,
Lawrence Randolph Campbell, who told me that
I could do or be anything and assured me that the world
was bigger than my own neighborhood.
To my mother, Eunice Campbell, from whose well of wisdom
and strength I continue to dip and fill my cup.
To the families whose loved ones were lost and whose lives,
families, and homes were changed forever on
September 11, 2001.
Discovering My Sanctuary
It never ceases to amaze me how the smallest, sometimes seemingly insignificant, things can inspire the heart and create awe at the many wonders of God. That is exactly how this book and the philosophy that now drives my attitude and perception of home were conceived.
Many years ago, my husband and I made a bold and arduous decision to sell our newly built home located in a beautiful new development. We moved to an older, smaller home in a town nearly thirty miles away from the fast-paced metropolitan city where we were living. This decision was a difficult one, not only because it was our first home, but because I had been able to decorate the interior with beautiful and expensive things. Two major events then ensued to influence our decision to sell the house and move.
The first event was the demise of our small business. In addition to each of us having full-time careers, my husband and I owned and operated a service-oriented business. Because of budget cuts and overall tightening-of-the-belt by the companies we were servicing, we subsequently lost valuable contracts, which led to closing our business. The second and most important event, however, was the birth of our son, Braeden. We decided that it had become increasingly difficult to have valuable family time together because we, like millions of other families, were caught in the cycle of newer, bigger, better things at the expense of a fulfilling home life. We were forced to work harder and longer hours to support our lifestyle. Our commitment to our son and to one another became our motivation to sell our house and put more focus on our family.
After living in a small, cramped apartment for nearly a year, we finally purchased a nearly fifty-year-old ranch-style home in a quaint neighborhood very reminiscent of the town where I grew up. The older home had good bones, a beautiful established yard, and many interior features that I could appreciate. However, though I liked our newly purchased home, I remained unattached and uncommitted to it. It did not have many of the features that our first home possessed, such as three bathrooms and all new appliances. This house had only one bathroom, no dishwasher, and a stove that must have been original to the house. During the first nine months of living there, I couldn't even decide on a paint color for a single room. Then something simple and yet extraordinary happened.
My husband and I decided one weekend to thin out a natural area in our side yard so we could appreciate the magnolia trees, dogwoods, and ivy-covered pine trees that grew there. As I began to pull up weeds and cut back vines, I stumbled on a tiny woody object on the ground and lay down my tools so I could examine it more closely. It was an abandoned bird's nest that had fallen to the ground. But it was much more than that! Some little bird had taken tiny bits of nothingness and created, by sheer instinct, a refuge for her family. Holding that nest in my hand and viewing it with great scrutiny, I saw how the bird had skillfully and painstakingly woven straw, twigs, leaves, and a few small golden strands—probably remnants of holiday tinsel—together to create this exquisite home.
It was the place where she fed her family, encouraged them, and ultimately, taught them to soar. As I began to look more closely at the nest, I became awestruck, excited, ashamed, and inspired all at once. Were these not the same goals that I aspired to in creating a home for my family? Had Jesus not declared that as God cared for the fowls of the air, he would care for me also, only more? I recognized then that He had also supplied me with everything I needed to create my own refuge, my sanctuary. Instantly, I was humbled and grateful.
I thought (and, in some instances, rightfully so) that some family and friends would think less of me because my home appeared to be less than what they expected of me. But I quickly grasped that I was substituting my house for my own self-worth. I also realized that newer, bigger, and better had somehow translated in my mind to mean more successful, happier, and more important.
I had forgotten that even though my first home had been beautifully furnished, none of those things were special or held any significant meaning for me. Frankly, I found them boring. For my husband and I, none of those possessions held any history or connection to our families in any way. I had not perused any quaint shops waiting patiently for the perfect piece that said "me," nor had I created any one piece that gave me a sense of accomplishment. Even the pictures and paintings on the walls were purchased more for color coordination rather than inspired pieces of artwork from a favored artist who spoke to my soul.
I began to examine how we were living in our new home. With limited space and another child on the way, were we using our home to the best of its function and ability? Had I made sure that I was creating a place where my family could be comfortable and constructing an environment that my children would cherish for the rest of their lives?
Home became for me, at that very instant, a place to create lifelong memories with my family. Later, with the addition of my second child, Brinn Elizabeth, it became birthday party central. I made a decision that our home—our nest—would be a place filled with love and laughter and people who wanted to share in our lives. Armed with greater appreciation and a deeper understanding of myself, I set out to create my very own blessed home.
As I share my story and these principles with you, I encourage you to look more deeply into your connection to your own home. Ten different interior designers can decorate the same space in ten different ways, but none of them have a real sense of who you are unless you truly know who you are. It doesn't matter at all whether you own or rent, whether you live in a palace, a tin-roofed cabin, a trailer, or a historically registered antebellum mansion; home is truly where the spirit rests and the heart resides, and it should be treated with the greatest respect, sincerity, and love.
Author's note: Some of the names and details of the stories about friends shared in this book have been changed in consideration of their privacy.
Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever.
1 Chronicles 17:27
A House or a Home?
How to Use This Book
If asked to define the words house and home, many people would say there is little difference between the two. The words are usually used interchangeably when people describe the place where they were raised as children, or the new condominium they have just purchased. However, distinct differences exist between a house and a true home.
A house, for instance, is a building, constructed of a variety of substances like brick and mortar, concrete blocks and stucco, wood and nails. Many similarities are consistent in all houses regardless of the building materials, location, or square footage of the house. For example, every house has a roof, windows, floors, and a front door. It can be a stand-alone dwelling surrounded by a yard and garden or an apartment within a building that contains hundreds of units. But, it is merely a piece of property that can be bought, sold, or inherited. A house is a house whether any one resides in it or not. It can be completely devoid of all life, no family and no furnishings, and still be a house. An aesthetically beautiful house can sometimes also give the false impression that it is the equivalent of a good home.
A home, however, is something much more. Unlike a house, whose value is usually determined by the neighborhood where it sits or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has, a home's intrinsic value is made up of the intangible things that cannot be determined by amenities. A home is a living, breathing entity that is created with and sustained by memories, family, gratitude, style, joy, respect, love, godliness, cleanliness, time, celebration, and appreciation. The list can go on and on. With godly wisdom and deliberate effort from a home's inhabitants, these amenities are obtainable by all who choose to acquire them. Ironically, they are all things that in terms of dollars and cents cost nothing.
Likewise, such things as fear, addiction, disrespect, ungodliness, abuse, infidelity, uncleanliness, and dishonesty can destroy a home and wreak havoc in the lives of the people who live there. Intentionally or not, a home is a reflection of the person or people who reside in it.
The Bible is a valuable tool for creating a spiritually beautiful atmosphere in your home. How we live in our homes is important to God, so much so, that Proverbs 3:33 tells us that the Lord curses the house of the wicked, but He blesses the homes of the just. Some of us have inherited a legacy of a blessed home, but far too many of us have pain and negative experiences interwoven in the fabric of our home experiences. Although we cannot rewrite the histories that many of us have lived within our past homes, we each have the ability to create beautiful, spiritual, and peaceful home environments of our own, beginning today.
It is important to examine your own home with an honest eye. Choose to look beyond the obvious—the material things that you possess or lack—to the substantive value of the choices you make about your living space. The following principles will help you evaluate your current living environment and consciously create a blessed space where you and your family can flourish. Use the Home Work exercises to help you see your home in a new light. Make your house a sanctuary by following the principles to create a loving and a more spiritual space for you and your family to enjoy. Be blessed!
Seek God for Wisdom and Guidance
Today, I will call upon the Lord and I will seek the wisdom of God in the decisions I make concerning my home. L will create a blessed home.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.
Seeking the wisdom of God is the first and the most important decision one can make in creating a blessed home. Where will I live? Is it time to buy? Will this person make a good roommate for me? Should I live near family or move away from family? These important life-changing decisions should be done only after seeking direction from the Lord.
An enormous amount of creativity and skill goes into the design of a house. The architect, the builder, and the interior designer all work together to build a functional living space with skills and expertise they each have obtained through seeking a higher level of knowledge concerning home building.
We, too, have the ability to obtain a greater knowledge beyond that which we already possess. The Bible encourages us to "seek God in all our ways." God's wisdom, as we see throughout the book of Exodus, is infinitely more than book knowledge. This wisdom is referred to in the Scriptures as "wisdom of the heart." It means being inwardly moved or motivated to do and be your best while following the lead of the Lord.
God gave Moses detailed instructions about how to build and furnish the Sacred Tent and told him whom he should use among the people of Israel to do so. In Exodus 35:30, Moses told the children of Israel that the Lord had called Bezaleel by name and He had filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge to create special works for the house of God. The Lord gave Moses the knowledge to select every cup and vessel, design each praise garment, and select the jewels and every yard of fine linen used in the Sanctuary. The children of Israel performed the work as God had commanded it of Moses.
Wisdom of the heart transcends common knowledge. It allows us to create sacred environments that are beyond anything we could create on our own merit.
How can we apply this concept to our own sanctuaries? God will stir up our hearts and allow us to live excellently and in abundance within our own homes if we are willing to do the following:
Pray for guidance in our homes. Luke 18:1 says that we should always pray. It stands to reason that since we cannot be in church all the time because we work, raise families, and go about our daily lives, home plays an important role in our praise and prayer lives.
Listen and wait for instruction. Our flesh often causes us to act too quickly. We make decisions about staying put or leaving our homes because we are angry, hurt, or frustrated. We sometimes move into living situations that are not pleasing to God and are contrary to His word. It may be God's will that we seek another home, but His timing is impeccable. He may very well be setting you up to obtain great things, but if you move too quickly, you may miss God's intended blessing for you.
Be willing and obedient to the word of the Lord. Sometimes God chooses to bless us in radical ways. He will instruct us to move out of our comfort zones—perhaps a neighborhood where we grew up or the city where we have family close by. Genesis 12:1 shows us how God instructed Abram to get out of his country and away from his family to go to a place that God would show him. With this move to a new home, God promised Abram he would be blessed beyond measure. Acting on faith, Abram departed as the Lord had told him to do and as he journeyed along the way, he prayed and called upon the name of the Lord. Consequently, God gave Abram a home greater than Abram could see with the naked eye. Along with the land came the oath that it would belong to Abram and his seed forever.
Malachi and Gwen were faced with a similar decision to stay in a place where they were quite comfortable and complacent, or make a radical move to be obedient to the will of God. Malachi, a Philadelphia native, had worked in the ministry for many years faithfully assisting other pastors. Then one day God let Malachi know that it was time for him to pastor his own church. This new church would be located in North Carolina, away from the family and friends who would so easily support him in a new work. But, God wanted him out of his comfort zone.
Malachi sought God for wisdom through prayer and fasting. Then he put out a fleece before the Lord, asking Him for confirmation before he uprooted his wife and children from the city where they had lived their entire lives.
Malachi knew how important their home was to his wife. In the year that they owned their home, she had designed a warm and wonderful environment. She oversaw every detail—even directing the landscaping crew as they strategically placed every shrub and flower in their yard. Gwen knew her husband's history with God, so when Malachi confided to her God's plan for their lives, she trusted that whatever he was led to do would be the right decision for their family.
- On Sale
- Sep 26, 2009
- Page Count
- 176 pages
- Grand Central Publishing