Music filled our home when I was growing up! And, lots of dancing was not uncommon either!! In fact, my parents are amazing dancers. They literally exude joy and command the attention of the room anytime they step out on the floor and do their thing!   When we were young, we would all sit and watch them as they’d do ‘The Soche’ and ‘The Whip’, mixed in with smiles and twirls galore! They would always have their eyes locked on each other as we clapped and cheered their every move! When the song ended, their embrace began. They always hugged at the end of a “performance”. It makes my heart warm reminiscing about it. Their love for each other has always been reflected in their love for dancing. And for my sister and me, it was contagious!! The next thing you know, we’d be jumping up to grasp some of that joy for ourselves by making a few dance moves of our own! But as you can imagine, once we joined in, the free styling was on! The beat usually changed to something current…and nothing stands out in my mind more than dancing as a family to the Commodores’ song, Brick House! I’m smiling as I write this. I still know the words:

“Awe, she’s a brick—-houssssse. She’s mighty mighty, just letting it all hang out!”

LOL….Ok, maybe those words aren’t the greatest lyrics of all time. But come on, that music just makes you want to move! And that we did! So many amazing memories of my childhood. I’m so thankful for the “house” my parents built. They are still such a great team. But it is not lost on me that my mom, hands down, set the temperature of our home. When tempers heated up, she dialed back the thermostat and made the room a more comfortable temperature for everyone. When emotions ran a little too cool, her warm hands and heart made everything so cozy that you’d never want to leave. Just ask my dad. My first year of college I came home EVERY WEEKEND because I was so homesick. And then I would cry and cry when I had to leave that Sunday evening. I know he must have been thinking: “I’ve paid good money for that dorm room. Go stay in it, girl!” (Ha! Ha!) Truthfully though, after all of these years, there is still nothing like walking into their home. It is filled with love and warmth. But it didn’t just happen by accident. That atmosphere has been built brick upon brick, choice upon choice. Every strategic move to leave a legacy of building and strengthening our family.

“The wise woman builds her house but with her own hands the foolish one tears it down.”

Proverbs 14:1

After all that talk of the Commodores, I thought we could do a little ‘old school’ digging into God’s Word together today. We will start with the definitions of the key words in the scripture above and see what the Bible teaches us about home building and the part each of us as women plays in that process.

Wise: having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting; exhibiting common sense; prudent; informed; sensitive; aware

Builds: to construct; to develop or give form according to a plan or process; create; to increase or strengthen by adding gradually to something

Her: show’s female possession

House: a building that functions as the primary shelter or location for something or someone; dwelling

Own: by one’s efforts; on behalf of oneself; without help; by oneself

Hands: used for grasping and holding; power and keeping are in them

Foolish: lacking or exhibiting a lack of good judgement or sense; unwise; ridiculous; absurd; weak-minded; lacking forethought or caution

Tear: to pull apart or into pieces by force; to cause to be pulled appart; to separate forcefully; to divide or disrupt

Down: from a higher to a lower position; move to or into a lower or inferior position or condition

Now that we have looked at these definitions, let’s plug these babies into the verse in place of the original word and let God speak to our hearts. That same verse we read earlier might just sound a little something like this:

The woman who has the ability to judge what is right and discern what is true—she is the one who has a chance to make a lasting mark on her family and the world around them. That woman exudes common sense. She’s prudent, informed, sensible and aware of the decisions she is making.

 This woman who is wise understands that a home filled with joy, love, laughter and respect doesn’t just happen. She must construct it. She must develop it and give form to it using a plan and a process. She has to tap into her best creativity. She also knows that it doesn’t happen overnight. So she gradually adds new disciplines to her building process over time—things that encourage and shape the process. Things that strengthen and increase the value of the goal she’s working to achieve.

 She understands that this precious building process is the foundation that all other successes are built on. She is grateful for support from her community. But she accepts that the family’s house—their dwelling place—the hub from which all learning begins—is hers. Not a “village’s”. Not a “church’s”. Not a “school’s”. It’s hers to develop and she owns that. She recognizes that she is building the primary shelter from which all the distractions of this world must filter through. And it’s her primary focus.

 She realizes her hands hold power and keeping in them. So she uses them to grasp and hold. Grasping moments to guide and opportunities to hold those who need her most. To build up and encourage those in that dwelling. This is her conscious choice because her wisdom has given her a window into the alternative scenario.

 She doesn’t want the results that come from folding those hands, being weak-minded and lacking forethought and sound judgement. That unwise woman actually—without help—tears down her own home. Her lack of planning leads to division and disruption. Furthermore, her lack of action begins to pull apart her primary dwelling— piece by piece. Each one at a time until she has allowed her home to move from a place of high position or priority to a low one. What used to be a haven for all takes an inferior position and condition.

 Wow. That little verse we originally read all of the sudden has A LOT to say. What questions should we, as women, be asking ourselves?

*Am I making wise choices?

 *Am I in The Bible enough to discern what is right and truth?

 *Am I using common sense or are my decisions and actions driven by letting emotions, political views, or excuses because of my past experiences drive my actions?

 *Are my words careless and thoughtless at times?

 *Am I aware, informed and sensitive in the decisions I’m making? Or decisions my kids are making?

 *Have I placed high expectations on others yet set a low bar for myself?

 *Am I planning for the success of my household? Or am I living in reaction mode?

 *Am I creatively adding new ideas and plans to my repertoire that encourage my family to be unified and healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually?

 *Am I trusting God through the process of building? Or am I placing to much pressure on myself for things to happen overnight?

 *Am I being lazy and expecting everyone else to do my job as a wife and mom?

 *Have I allowed my focus to shift from eternal life-giving impact to temporal and immediate gratification?

 *Am I taking full advantage of the moments I have to pour in and build up my family and friends?

 *Am I taking time to do things that bring joy and laughter to our family?

 *Am I choosing to create things and traditions that they will remember and pass on to their own family?

 *If I looked into the depths of my heart today, can I see places where I’m drowning, my family is drowning —and deep down I recognize that some of it is due to my own foolishness in not putting my priorities in the right order?

Please hear me when I say this: These questions are not meant to condemn us….but instead they are meant to redirect thoughts and actions that the enemy is using to hold us hostage and keep us from building the home that provides life and love and joy that sustains our family when the storms of life come knocking at the door. When the unwanted ‘wolves’ come to ‘blow our house down”, we want to be like the 3rd little pig who did the work! Who made the sacrifice of time and effort. Who was wise enough to see into the future and plan for the days ahead. The woman who loved so well because the wisdom of Christ was her blueprint for the building project at hand. The one who owned her position as foreman and set the pace for all of those depending on her to guide them. Let’s LEARN FROM THAT WOMAN and model a work ethic that’s worthy of another’s application into their own “jobs” one day.

So come on, girl. Don’t just be a brick house, step up and build one! Let’s get so sweaty in the process of this hard work that people can see us “shining” and “glistening” from a mile away! Let’s construct a home where love, laughter and respect for each other is the foundation that everything else in life builds on. And let’s not forget that it doesn’t “just happen”. So get up and lay the first brick. Then lay another one. And then encourage your friends to lay some at their home too. And while you are at it, pump up the music and “let it all hang out”!! Getting your groove on is good medicine for the soul…just ask my Momma:)

Sweet and precious Toni Myers, this one’s for you! Thanks for continuing to build FORTRESSES on our behalf and teaching others “your trade” along the way. You are truly the “shiniest of them all”!

And much love to all of you other “shiny HOME builders” that choose to reflect Christ each and every day! We are in this together!!

Stay Sweaty, little mommas!

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