Gina Caswell Kelly
In July of 1979, Mike Kelly and Kristy and I moved into our newly purchased house. We were so proud. It needed some work, and over the years, Mike and I both did a lot of work around the house. Mike tore down walls and built walls. I painted, wallpapered, and textured. Mike tiled floors and redid showers. We worked in the yard until it was a showplace. He dug a pond in the backyard. He laid a brick sidewalk in the back. We planted trees. We planted flowers. We raised kids. We brought a little not quite two-year old girl into the house and then brought home a brand new baby boy soon after moving in. This is the house where three-year-old little Tatum made her way across the alley to wake me up on the couch to ask if she could play with my little girl, and a lifelong friendship, and a wonderful extra daughter for me, was born.
We laughed. We cried. We fought. We got over it. We had big family meals. We had little eat and run meals on the go. This was the house that a boy came to get Kristy for her first date. This was the house that Kyle asked, “How do I look?” as he left the house for his first date. This is the house that had a place for all the Christmas trees I eventually had. This was the house that offered warmth to kids of all kinds as our kids brought their friends home. Mike and I made the intentional decision that in our house, our kids’ friends would always see what a family should look like, because some of them did not have any idea. This house was usually always a little messy, and not up to Better Homes and Gardens standards, but as one kiddo told me one day, “At least your house is always fun!” I loved that.
This was the house where the kids talked me into jumping off the roof onto the trampoline. (Don’t try this if you are over 30.) This was the house where a young boy came to me one day to tell me his parents were divorcing and he did not know what to do. This is the house where a young girl sat in the backyard with me one day, and prayed to ask Jesus to live in her heart. This was the house that a sweet precious girl cried and told me she wished her mom could be there with her.
This was the house that all of us but Mike came home to on that day in July of 2000. This was the house where I learned that my daily grief really would one day end, and would be replaced with occasional tears and lots of smiles. This was the house where the Holy Spirit promised me He would always walk with me and my kids on this new journey. This was the house where I learned that I could be alone in my house and be okay. This was the house where I sat alone on my kitchen floor and cried on September 11, wondering what on earth was next.
This was the house where my mom and dad would eventually live. This was the house where we saw them decline as the years took their toll. This was the house where I held my daddy’s hand as he entered heaven. This was the house that held so many memories for so many years. Both good and bad.
But, it is just a house. All those things I listed above? Those were the things that made a home. And home, we will always carry with us. A new little family will move into that house and a new home will start. I will stand in that house and pray hard for the new family today. And pray that God will bless that house with love and grace, and that grace will be extended to each other as the family grows.
There is a verse in Psalm that says, “Unless God builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” This is always true. If God is not the God of your house, you will always have just that, a house. God is what makes it a home.
Are you living in a house and content with that? Bring God into your family and see what a difference having a home can make.
A house is a house, and that is all. It is the home built by God that makes the difference.