What Kind of House Are You?

When my husband and I first got married, we moved into a rinky-dink duplex with caving walls. None of the doors closed due to the unstable foundation. The parking lot was covered in potholes and broken chunks of concrete. The ragged carpet was worn and stained after former tenants did who-knows-what. Even in the kitchen. (Yes, we had carpet in the kitchen.)

It was cheap. But cheap was all we could afford.

Almost one year after moving in, I gave birth to our first child. Joyously, we brought her back to the shack we called home.

And we were happy.

Around that same time, a couple moved in next door. We introduced ourselves and quickly got to know *Jim and *Deborah. Apparently, they had both just lost their jobs and needed an inexpensive place to live.

They also let us know that they smoked three packs a day. Each.

Before long, carbon monoxide and the overwhelming smell of tobacco leaked into our lives. At first we simply tried to avoid the “hot spots” by the kitchen sink and the downstairs bathroom. Or we’d mask it with a heavy dose of Lysol.

But our walls were like torn paper, and no matter what we did, Jim and Deborah always seemed to slip right through our cracks.

By the time my daughter was four months old, there was no escaping the smoke. It was everywhere. There was not one breath of fresh air.

And, as a mother who stayed at home all day with her newborn, that was a problem.

We had to get out.

So we fled immediately.


Three years (and another child) later, we put a down payment on our very first house. The walls are sturdy, the doors close, and the inside is filled with laughter instead of toxins.

Here, we can breathe.

We can be ourselves—enveloped in our own family bubble—free from the worries that something may sneak in and choke us. Free from the squirming discomfort of wanting to flee.

It’s delightful.

In a similar way, you are a house. A temple, in fact. And although you were not the Builder, you are the landlord—the one responsible for the upkeep.

If your foundation shifts, do you let outside influences leak through cracked walls? Or do you try to repair and secure the infrastructure?

If something breaks or needs to be maintained, do you tend to it or abandon the project?

Because, the truth is, you have a Tenant.

So do toxins fill your space? Or is your house a place where the Holy Spirit would delight to dwell?

*Names have been changed to protect anonymity.

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