“This house has become a home, not just to me but to hundreds. It holds my heart. It holds so many lessons. It is a place where children can be children, where people can know that they are important and special and loved. It is a place where people accept Christ and learn about Him and grow in Him. It is my house. But mostly it is a house of the Lord.’ – Kisses from Katie
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After my freshman year, some of my closest friends and I decided to move into a little house right next to campus. We all agreed this house wasn’t going to be for us. It was going to be a haven, a safe place, for younger girls to get away to. A place where they could be people, where they could be silly, where they could be broken, a home away from home. We all agreed this house was for ministry and not for comfort, and that this house was to be a vessel for the Lord to use as He wanted.
We got to the house and it was in pieces, much like all of us. It looked pretty on the outside in an effort to get attention and approval, but when you unlocked the pretty but rigid door, you saw how it had been worn and torn. The house had been through a lot.
We got to work painting it blue and tan and all the girly colors we could think of, we stuck pretty paintings on the wall, and taped up scripture, we put up pictures and made it as aesthetically pleasing as we could, but even with all the decorative band aids, we all knew it was still a little broken.
It was special though, to see God use this house despite its cracks, despite the broken AC, and the doors that sometimes wouldn’t work right, despite the brokenness, God decided to use what we nicknamed the Gathering Place to bring people closer to Himself. We had bible studies in our house, we had times of encouragement and times of sorrow, times where we danced together and times where we leaned on each other. God saw the brokenness in the house the same way He saw the brokenness in us, a way to display His strength.
The next year, our landlord broke our lease the week of finals, and we desperately tried to find another home. And we did. And God used that home too. It felt scary to move somewhere new. I loved our old house, that we had nicknamed 205. I loved it even though it was broken, I loved it even though it was tiny, I loved it even though I didn’t have a wifi signal unless I was in the kitchen, and I felt scared moving into our new place. But the scary places are often where God wants us to be. And He made 40 a home too, He brought girls into that home the same way He did at 205 and He used it as a place to make His love known, to make His welcome felt, and to provide for needs.
I wish we could all be roomies forever, but seasons are beautiful even when they don’t last forever. People get married, people move away, and new seasons are beautiful even when they’re scary just like the new Gathering Place held beautiful memories even though moving in felt scary.
I’m so thankful for every laugh and every lesson, the way these homes have made life so much more joyful, and God is so good for letting me be a part of our special home.
We saw people meet Jesus in our houses even if the walls were falling apart in a similar fashion that our hearts do when life gets hard. I’m so joyfully expectant to see how He uses the Gathering Place this fall to show His love to us and to others.
We taped up some truth on the wall and before we knew it, we never wanted to leave. I love my sisters that have lived with me, I love my sisters that have come in and out of our home, I love 205, I love 40, and I love that God uses broken people and broken houses to bring people closer to Himself.