Friday, January 21, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Life Lessons Learned from A Labor of Love

Protecting Your House

A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” 
–Psalm 18:2 (ESV)

“We must protect this house!”

These are the words that are chanted by teams in unison. Sometimes on football fields, sometimes in summer camps, and sometimes in large groups that exist within various work environments. These are the very words I remembered when I made the decision to be a better steward of my God-given gifts.

I made the time to decorate one of the rooms in my home. It was a well-deserved, labor of love to that room. It took time. Moving furniture. Cleaning the room. Painting. Collecting the décor items. In total, it took a little over five months to plan and collect the items for the project, and a week to execute the vision.

In the beginning, I knew I wanted to give the room a new look so I could utilize that space for a specific purpose. I wanted the room to reflect the quality of work I desire to produce in that room. Additionally, I wanted the room to reflect the quality of life I envision – the life I want to create for myself. My decision to take action to decorate this room was made after the realization that for many years, this room went unused, untouched, and unnoticed. This room was neglected.

I had been given the gift of having a place to call home. Not simply a place to reside, but a place to be able to find security and refuge when things outside are too tumultuous. And here I was neglecting a part of the gift. I failed to protect the gift by not appreciating the home in its entirety. So, I used the opportunity to decorate this room in my home as a gift to my home, to the room, and to myself. I did so in efforts to be a better steward of the gift of the very thing I am able to call my own.

In the end, the tedious, tiring, labor of love is exactly what I envisioned some time ago. Sometimes I still sit in awe of the space I created for myself. The time and attention devoted to this space created a final product that surpassed my expectations even though it is exactly what I envisioned. But it all started with the act of giving attention to the part of the gift that was going unnoticed.

In the same way many of us utilize and care for each room in our homes, are we giving the same love and attention to the separate parts of the gift we were given that collectively help deepen our relationship with the Lord?

The home represents the security you find in Him. Your relationship with God is based on how you utilize each room within that home. It may be your room of service and how you show love and grace to others as a reflection of how He showed love and grace to you. Maybe it is your Word room where you seek His words in the scriptures to increase your spiritual gift that is the Word of Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8). Maybe it is your room of praise and worship where you sit in awe of his magnificent existence. Or maybe it is your prayer room where you simply take the opportunity to communicate with the Lord.

Be sure to pay attention to each room within your gift. Clean it. Purge the things that no longer serve a purpose to that gift. Use it. Take advantage of the opportunity to have it bestowed to you. And at the end of it all, be a good steward of the entire gift, not simply the rooms that make us comfortable. Don’t neglect a single room in your place of refuge. You must protect the home you find in Him. That home houses each individual gift that draws you closer to Him.

Let’s Pray: Lord, we thank You for a place to call home. Whether it is an apartment, a house, a condo, a mobile home, or even if we find ourselves in a transitional living situation, you always give us the opportunity to make a physical space into a home. We are thankful for the physical space where we reside. We are also thankful for the home of comfort we find in You! In You we seek shelter, security, and peace. Your unwavering love for us teaches us to be good stewards of the gifts you have given us. It also reminds us that in order to be a good steward of a gift, we have to use it. We won’t forget it. We won’t neglect it. We will protect it. We will love and nurture the gift just as you love and nurture us. We love You, and we thank You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more’. With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical Womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education. 

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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