Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"By Wisdom a House is Built..."

See the framed print that sits at the top of the hutch in this picture? It's one of my treasured possessions, filling me with memories and reminders of my years as a mother. It's one of those special "things from my life" that I talked about in this post.

I bought the print at a Christian book store in 1989 when our family lived on the Oregon coast. At the time, Aimee was seven-years-old, Michelle was five, Aaron was four, and Melissa was two. If you could see the picture up close, you would immediately notice the distinct, "country-cute" style of the 1980's-- hearts and angels and ribbons in muted pastels.

The artwork might be dated, but never-the-less, the print has been in a highly visible place in our home since the day I bought it, and it always will be. Where it sits now, you can see it from all over our main living area-- from the living room, the open kitchen, the end of the kitchen counter where we often sit in the tall stools, and the corner of the room with the always-occupied green reading chair near the woodstove.

What's so special about the print? I bought it because of the verses featured on it:

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding
it is established; through knowledge its rooms
are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
~Proverbs 24:3, 4

When I saw it, I thought, "Those are some good words to build a house by, to raise a family by, to live by." I thought it would be nice to have the verses displayed in my home where I could be reminded of them often. There's another Proverb that says, "The wise woman builds her house." The verses on the framed print extend that thought, adding insight into how it is done.

The idea of a wise woman building her home with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge and filling its room with rare and beautiful treasures sounded like joyful living to me. It spoke to me of a home rich in a nurturing atmosphere of good things-- of love and warmth, affection and grace; of gratitude, prayer, and praise; of much conversation and laughter; of celebrations and traditions; of books and music; of many interests; of developing gifts and talents; of learning and knowing and creating; of caring, hospitality, and serving; of developing into the people God means for us to be.

Every day I prayed for God's grace, strength, and wisdom, and I tried to live intently, keeping the idea in mind that our real home atmosphere and my daily outlook and demeanor were going to have a huge impact on my children. They would remember it. They would be influenced by it. They would be profoundly shaped by it. And I certainly had my share of bad days-- oh, boy, let me tell you!-- but with kids you get a bunch of grace points for honestly, humbly, and cheerfully trying! :-)

I deeply wanted to be the kind of woman who would build her home well, and the old print that is now sitting at the top of my hutch was, and is, a perpetual visual reminder of that. Maybe it's something like the Israelites writing God's Word on the doorframes of their houses-- a daily reminder for me and a message to all who enter about what is very important in our home.

Now the kids are grown, and there is a growing population of grandchildren coming into the family. (Yippee-- the more the merrier!) The verses continue to apply in our home. They matter every day, offering a good guiding vision for making a home-- wherever that home is and however many people live there.