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We lived in our former home for 13 years. It was the first home we purchased after we were married. It’s where we brought all 5 of our children home when they were born. We created memories there. Over those 13 years we did lots of remodeling and made a few changes that are just part of regular maintenance of having a home. 12401820_10208575814411606_7029093014462452477_o

But you know what made that house a home? It wasn’t the soft carpet, the granite countertops, or any of the decor. Our Cherry Hills home was home because we lived there and made it as welcoming as we could to anyone who entered. Over the years lots of teenagers passed thru our front door, played pool on our pool table and swam in our pool. (We are youth pastors after all!) As we had children and they grew and invited friends over, the door was opened to welcome even more guests. When I think back I recall several times when a teen would say, “I like it here. It’s so peaceful here.” What was it that made our home a place of peace?

Now that we have moved to a new home, I have taken lots of time to reflect on how to best make this house a home as well. Sure, there are lots of projects that need to happen before it will be as appealing to the eye as we would like; but that’s not really what we are after. We are after a home that is appealing to the hearts of our children and their friends and our friends. So while this house still has orange stained carpet, 4 different types of tile throughout, and as many different kinds of door knobs as there are doors, it thrills my heart that in the middle of the mess, my kids are already asking for sleepovers and playdates. In the middle of it all, our most favorite times are swimming in the pool as soon as Dad is off work and cuddling on the couch for a quick tv show and dessert before bed each night.

What do both homes have in common? The people that fill them. The prayers we pray together as we gather for meals. The scriptures we read together as a family. What makes a house a home? Psalm 127:1 reminds us that “Unless the Lord builds a house, they labor in vain who build it.” Our desire is that the Peace of God would fill the hearts of everyone who enters the gates to our property. We are reminded that it’s not our efforts in remodeling or cleaning or organizing; although, those things do help make a home more comfortable to the eye. But it is the presence of God that we invite to dwell in our hearts and lives that makes all the difference.