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Home vs. Heart Improvement: Keeping Families Strong

Home vs. Heart Improvement: Keeping Families Strong

I recently journeyed a bit late to church on a Sunday morning, but had no trouble finding parking. I was quite dismayed to find the parking lot so empty. The frustrating rain clouds from an already soggy spring were supposed to fade by noon, but they had obviously kept many families home from worship. I couldn’t help but feel discouraged, as I wanted to see more of my church family.

Following the morning service, I joined family for lunch and then stopped by the local home improvement store to remedy the outdated light bulbs that had blown that morning while attending to the hair and make-up. But as I drove into the lot, I quickly realized I had a problem. I couldn’t find a parking place!

Rain clouds had given way to the sun, and every family in my region had apparently decided that now was the time to load up on mulch, flowers, and tools. Each row before and behind me was full of cars, trucks, and vans, loading up with necessary spring essentials.  After a lap or two with my car, I pulled over to the side and stopped, realizing that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t make myself fight for an empty parking spot, nor could I justify throwing my energies into home improvement efforts when my heart seemed in need of greater attention.

The difference in parking lots on that Sunday startled me into deep reflection. My church, just like many other churches, represented a place of heart improvement; it was the place where we could lay our souls bare before the living God, seeking wisdom and insight through the teaching of the Word—something that all of us need as parents. But the brick and mortar store before me represented a very different type of improvement. It was a place for “home improvement.” And it seemed to be the more popular of the two.

On this Sunday, I, and all my neighbors, faced choices about two very different types of life improvement – superficial vs. genuine; temporary vs. eternal. And quite frankly, the superficial and temporary one seemed to grab the greater share of everyone’s attention.

Sadly, I think it’s fair to say our families wake up each morning faced with decisions about these sorts of improvements, with the temporary and worldly improvements often taking a greater hold. But worldly improvements can’t heal or provide hope to hurting, growing families. A little sheet rock, paint, or caulking can’t touch a family that is struggling to stay together or hurting from loss, trauma, or grief.

The health of our families matters significantly, so let’s think about making a commitment to God’s life-changing and eternally significant, heart improvements so our homes remain strong, compassionate, healthy, and faithful. But in order to do this, we need to agree to fill our church parking lot more often than our home improvement store lots. Don’t skip out on heart renovation time this week. Your family is counting on it.

By: Dr. Lori Brown is a southern educator and writer who enjoys inspiring families to find their fullness in Christ.

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