The word home brings with it a lot of things.
For some--it's a place of rescue, of healing, and of safety.
While for others--it's a place of brokenness, hurt, and despair.
Home can be a place of laughter, joy, and love.
But it can also be a place to be avoided.
Or, if you're like most people, it can mean all of those things and more.
The current home that I live in is here in Abilene. And to me--my home is beautiful.
However, there are a lot of things about my home that are not beautiful.
There are scratches and nicks on the walls where some of the paint is fading.
There is a hole in our living room window that all the heat escapes through in the winter.
We have had pest issues.
We cannot run the shower, dishwasher, and laundry machine all at the same time without suffering from an extreme decline in water pressure.
Sometimes the dishwasher leaks.
Sometimes the stove has issues.
Some of our floors are not level--showing that there is foundation issues.
Sometimes there is issues with the wiring and certain lights won't come on.
There are lots of stickers in our backyard.
When we first moved in, the locks didn't work properly on our doors.
Our bedroom doors squeak when being opened and closed.
And there is probably a lot of other things I could list off that is wrong about our house.
The point, however, is this: Our house is broken, but it's beautiful.
And the reason it's beautiful has nothing to do with the performance, apperance, or usefulness of the house. The reason our home is beautiful is because of the things that happen inside and around it.
In my home, we have laughed until we cried.
We have cooked together, shared meals with one another--joining in the gift of life.
There have been tears shed--not just small tears, but big, ugly cries.
There have been hands held.
And love given.
In my home, truth has been spoken.
Conversations that bring life have happened.
Prayers have been prayed crying out to the Father.
In my home, memories that will last a lifetime have been made.
Sacrafices have been given.
And apologies have been granted.
In my home, forgiveness has been offered.
Love has flowed over.
Grace has been extended.
Healing has occured.
Mistakes have been made.
Hugs have been never-ending.
There have been bonfires in the backyard.
There have been many game nights and movie nights.
And there have been many conversations in parked cars in the driveway filled with tears, prayers, and laughter.
But more than anything, my home has been filled with life and with love.
And it's all of these things that make our home beautiful, warm, and a place of safety.
And just like my house--that is broken, torn up, and not that beautiful in and of itself--you and I are broken people. But we are made absolutely beautiful by the One who dwells in and through us. We are the sanctuary in which Christ chooses to live.
He loves us.
And cherishes us.
And he makes our hearts His home.
His Spirit dwells inside of us.
So whenever He looks at us, He doesn't see the brokenness, ugliness, and hurting that we so often see. He sees us as beautiful sons and daughters.
You see, God wants to be with us.
But for some reason, we tell ourselves that He doesn't.
We convince ourselves that we can earn our own salvation.
So we work hard, give more--trying to earn God's love.
But our status before God has nothing to do with our performance.
It has nothing to do with looking good, succeeding, and being the best at everything.
None of those things will make God love us any more.
You see, Jesus--He wants to be with us.
In fact, He lives inside of us.
God with us--Immanuel.
We have been saved, so that He could be with us.
We have been rescued, so that He could be with us.
We have been redeemed, so that He could be with us.
Not because we have earned it.
Not because we perform well.
Not because we make a good appearance.
Jesus, Immanuel, the one living inside of us--it's Him that makes our brokenness beautiful.
He's the only one that can take our wicked hearts and use them for good in this world.
He makes beauty out of ashes.
And He is living in us.
Just like it's the people, memories, and experiences in my home that make it beautiful and a place of rescue--it's the sharing in life with Jesus that makes us beautiful.
It's the walking, praying, talking, working, singing, loving, doing, eating, driving, smiling, crying, hand holding, walking, running, sitting, sleeping, resting, moving with Christ Jesus in our very hearts that make us beautiful, worthy, adopted, co-heirs, children, delightful, precious, and beloved of God--made in his beautiful, perfect, flawless image.
It's the life with him, in us--that brings light, beauty, healing, redemption, and restoration.
And while on our own we may be broken--we have been made alive in Christ.
The very power of the ressurrection lives and dwells in our hearts.
Jesus doesn't see us as broken, undesirable, unable to fully function properly houses.
He sees us as his beautiful, beloved--as we walk hand in hand, step by step with Him.
My prayer is that we too, can see ourselves in this light, so that we can stop trying to earn our own salvation and start living life with the One who is here, Immanuel.