The House That Built Me

In Personal Self Esteem, Uncategorized, Women's Issues on February 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Houses which have been condemned by the Board ...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

“…If  I could walk around I swear I’ll leave, won’t take  nothin but a memory of the house that built me.” So go the lyrics of country singer, Amanda Lambert’s  famous song.

According to the 2209 U.S. Census, poverty is on the increase in America. In 2009, 14.7 % of American households. 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 4 children struggled with hunger and food insecurities. The current economic situation has forced people who we might never have expected to have to deal with homelessness to live in shelters or seek public housing.

My friend, Amy,was moved by these statistics several years ago and although she lives in one of the most wealthy states in our nation, she decided to roll up her sleeves and personally invest in helping even one family at a time make their living conditions and overall survival better. She has delivered food, washing machines, toys and love to families in Rural Appalachia, a place so poverty stricken that few people in America can imagine calling “home.” Children there often only predictably eat when they are attending school. Homes are often run down trailers or make shift housing. However, in many of those less than perfect dwellings, families live in love and hope.

We might be moved by these statistics all over America and yet we are still wealthier than other countries in the world. We might understand that there is an increase in families who call a shelter, “home” or live in safe houses because they are victims of domestic violence and yet our understanding pales for truly imagining the despair of being displaced from a predictable life in a home where we don’t have to worry if today is the day someone will harm us, our children or even themselves. We might fear the places that look uncomfortable from the outside. But looks can be deceiving.

Expansive (and Expensive) Home

Image by mwhaling via Flickr

It is hard for many Americans to really sink our teeth into what it is like to live in circumstances that do not provide comfort, safety,  or even meet basic daily needs. We might prefer to turn our heads to the ugly truth and hope never to have to come across the depressing statistics or unfortunate faces.  It makes many of us feel guilty to enjoy homes in a pristine community with a playground for our children and a yard for our pets. But looks can be very deceiving.

There is sometimes an even bigger surprise  behind the houses some people can only ever dream about owning.  Many people have grown up in lovely homes with a long history of domestic abuse, neglect, or unspeakable behavior.  Some of the most beautiful homes have hidden the drug, alcohol or sexual abuse that lived within its walls.  Children might have had the best of everything except a parent who really had time free from his or her own agenda to really be involved with them. It is not just in low income, single parent homes where cheating, lying and stealing have been a fact of life. Theresa Flores lived in an upscale community in Detroit when she became the victim of domestic trafficking.  Looks can be deceiving.

A house or lack of one does not make anyone. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books lived as a single parent on welfare in Scotland, Oprah Winfrey was a single teenage mother living in abject poverty in rural Mississippi, and Shania Twain lived in homeless shelters in Canada. Yet, the children of Tiger Woods know a house of divorce and cheating and mansions full of  comfort did not spare the sad fates of Lindsey Lohan or Charlie Sheen.

Some of us have fabulous memories of a wonderful home with loving parents and others have had to come to grips with far fewer good times than bad while growing up in circumstances better forgotten than recalled. Yet, regardless of where or what we called home, we were built as the bible says, fearfully and wonderfully made. No bricks or mortar, no lack of heat or bed, no shameful acts or secrets can make us less so.

We can never really know what goes on behind the houses we pass by, but regardless, what memories we had, good or bad, wonderful or frightening, we are more than a house and what is within, we are a life and soul created for a better place. Our homes here are temporary but our legacies can live forever.

It is not what house but Whose house builds us and the Lord says He has already planned one with many rooms for us in a place more wonderful than we can imagine (John 14:1-4). Regardless of the house that built you, are you planning on living in one where nothing can compare?

365 Day 63

Image by pimpexposure via Flickr

Judge not what you see on the outside, although pain and suffering may exists in any circumstance, we often see what we want to see rather than what there really is and looks can be deceiving.(1 Samuel 16:7)

If you would like to learn more about Amy and her projects or help  in any way visit her at rampamerica.org

To learn more about Theresa and her incredible legacy today about her experiences visit gracehavenhouse

  1. “No one knows what goes on behind close doors”. Very powerful message! It is one thing to live in a house but it is a much better thing to live in a home where love, peace, safety, hope and God abides. All the posts on this blog are very powerful.

    • Together we are a force to be reckoned with, or maybe just a force but everyone has a “behind close doors” life and we hope we can speak to it.

  2. What an inspiring piece and very true. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Love this thought provoking post…

  4. Thanks for this post. It is so true…

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