Tag Archives | Purpose

Rethinking Home: Seeing with New Eyes

This is my 6th and final post in the Rethinking Home series.  You can find the rest of the series here.  Its been a fun series for me and I hope you have found some inspiration.  

I debated on titling this post “Pinterest: Friend or Frenemy”  Have you ever felt that way? We have access to so many beautiful and perfect images of homes out there that can in some ways inspire and move us to action in our own homes.  But so often (maybe more often?) they can lead us to comparison, discouragement, and flat out resentment of the homes we have.

Pinterest : Friend or Frenemy

Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Pinterest.  I use it all the time to find inspiration for myself and clients and I love when readers pin my images for their own inspiration!  But I’ve found the secret to using it as a tool and a friend rather than a frenemy.  In photographing my own home for this blog and for instagram I’ve learned those images are not as perfect as they seem.  There’s always some lighting tricks involved, and have you noticed they never have blinds?  There is sunlight pouring in.  You can’t see a neighbor through those windows for miles, so there’s no need for privacy.

There are also never any baby gates in sight, usually no cords anywhere either.  Everything is clean and well placed.  Even if there are toys or kitchen utensils out, it is styled to be that way.

Nothing is an accident.

I fluff my pillows when my husband does photo shoots in our house.  I style my kitchen and dining room.  I want the pictures we take to tell a story, to draw in whoever sees them.  For me it’s an art form. I want to accentuate the strengths of the room and downplay the negatives.  Cropping and photoshopping takes place.  There’s lighting involved.

But the rest of the house is often a wreck.  We take down blinds.  All of the practical stuff, like the roll of paper towels, the K-cup carousel, the baby monitor, the dirty laundry, it all gets piled up just outside of the frame of the picture.

This is behind the scenes from one of our most recent photo shoots.

This is behind the scenes from one of our most recent photo shoots.

A few weeks ago I shared some new pictures of my living room that we took.  I love those pictures and I got some great feedback on them.  Shortly after that we took some new dining room pictures too. I love doing those and it’s fun for me to see the rooms I’ve designed really shine in that way.  But in all reality, it doesn’t look like that on a day to day basis.  It has the potential to look similar to that- I’d have to rearrange the pillows, clean up a few things, open up the shades, etc, but even if I cleaned it all up and snapped a few pictures of it with my iPhone, it wouldn’t have the same effect.  There’s some camera and skill behind the lens that goes in to getting those beautiful photos.

Those photos are fun to have and to look at, but they are like glamour shots.

Living Room // The House of Figs

And now when I see all those pictures on Pinterest or in magazines, I know a little bit more of the story.  I know that it isn’t quite reality.  It’s not that they’re trying to trick us or trying to make us feel bad.  We have the choice to determine how we are going to let pictures and images affect us.  Are we going to be discouraged?  Depressed?  Or can we see with new eyes, realizing that nothing is exactly as it seems?  Can we appreciate the creativity, the details, the lighting, and accept it basically as a work of art frozen in time for that moment?  A glamor shot that can inspire us with its beauty and craftsmanship?

I’ve been on Pinterest a lot lately looking at gorgeous bathroom inspiration and I’ve noticed something about all these beautiful images.

Bathrooms on Pinterest

They whet our appetites and sometimes even stir in us a longing, a desire to fulfill something we think we are missing.  Do we think we’ll always have a happy family if we had a home that looked like that?  Do I think my bathroom would always be spotless if it was designed that way? Or that we could cook healthy and delicious meals if only we had a kitchen like that?   But these are just snapshots, just images.  Just like candy.  Or just appetizers, not the full meal.  Glamour shots aren’t the full picture.  They’re fun and pretty, they make us feel glamorous, but we can’t go around holding up feathered boas and only showing people the tops of our shoulders and talk with our lips in a glossy pout all the time.

We have to live our lives.  We want the full meal.  We want the abundant life.

That means real living, digging deep, making messes, having relationships, getting in arguments, making up.  Yeah, sometimes its a delicious home cooked meal, but then there’s the clean up afterward.  We put some music on, we have a dance party, but we’re tip toeing around the legos on the floor and there’s dishes in the sink but when we have grateful hearts and new eyes we don’t care.Legos :: Rethinking Home

When we can see those photos with new eyes, we can see our own homes with new eyes.  With gratitude for what exists- we can appreciate the artistry in our own homes and in the homes of others.  We can know that here and now is reality- this is what it means to really live in a home and give life to that beautiful picture: legos, dishes, dust bunnies and all.

Dirty Dishes :: Rethinking Home

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Rethinking Home: Points of Frustration

No home is perfect.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Did you build your own home?  Did you design it?  Can I please ask you if it is perfect and fulfills your every house-dream come true?  I just have this sneaking suspicion that the answer is going to be no.  I think homes are just like everything else- imperfect.  Though I do agree that some, due to ingenious design or beautiful decor may seem more perfect than others.  You know, the ones with the huge pantries or the outlets inside the bathroom drawers.  I knew someone with a house that had all of the bedrooms upstairs and so the laundry room was up there too.  Brilliant, right?  Seems like a simple thing but not to the mom who’s constantly dragging everyone’s laundry downstairs.  Whoever thought of that was a design genius.

Now maybe  you can’t reroute your laundry room to the upstairs (or maybe you can!), but maybe there’s something frustrating you over and over again that you could fix?  Maybe it just takes a little brainstorming, a little rethinking of your home, a little going outside the box?

Rethinking Home :: Points of Frustration

I recently listened to an interview with Gabrielle Blair, blogger at Design Mom (you can catch the interview here if you’re interested) and she was talking about this very thing.  She gave an example saying that if your bedroom is set up in a way that you’re waking up and stubbing your toe on a dresser every single morning, that just puts you in a bad mood.  Then you go out and see your kids and you’re already frustrated.  If this is happening every single day, why not move the dresser or get a new one?  Or if you’re yelling at your kids every morning because they can’t find the hairbrush.  Why not buy a few more to keep in different bathrooms in the house?  Spending maybe $15 to stop yelling at your kids every morning?  Sign me up!

She gave those examples to illustrate a bigger idea- that when you look for the repetitive triggers of frustration throughout your home and try to solve them, they can really help create this calm and well designed home that we’d all like to have.

So I’ve pinpointed a few of those “triggers” for me.  I’ve discovered that in our home and for me, the points of frustration have to do with a drop spot, dirty socks, and “smalls.”

  1.  The Drop Spot:  This one is huge.  Every home needs a drop spot in my opinion.  When you come in the door, you have things you need to drop- keys, backpacks, wallets.  A lot of times you need to deal with those things- like mail, homework, receipts, etc.  But sometimes you just don’t want to deal with those things yet, you just want a place to put them for a while so you can rest your weary self from the outside world and put your feet up for a while.  Here enters the drop spot!  This cute little back pack/purse/jacket spot is from my friend Julie’s house.  I love those hooks she hung up!  Below that is my foyer.  The baskets are for my kids shoes and the tray is for my man-keys, wallet, sunglasses- all corralled into one rectangular tray.  Hallelujah for the drop spot!Backpack drop spot :: The House of Figs
  2. The Drop Spot : The House of FigsDirty Socks:  We have a spot for shoes when my kids walk in.  But surely they couldn’t be expected to put their dirty socks all the way upstairs in their hampers?   Or maybe into the laundry room?  Its just a few steps away!!  The dirty socks on the couch, on the rug, sometimes even outside were driving me batty. And I was becoming that nagging mom- put away your dirty socks!  Finally, I came up with a solution. Why not use one of these little baskets for dirty laundry, too?  Okay, its a little unconventional to have a dirty basket in your foyer, but its hidden and oh so convenient.Rethinking Home : The House of Figs
  3. “Smalls”:  These are the little papers, crafts, legos, you know, the tiny things that have a place somewhere but not here and no one really wants to put them away right this minute.  Those small things don’t bother me so much when I have a place to temporarily keep them, so the tray in our foyer also pulls double duty during the day when not being used as the man drop spot.  In ideal world, my kids would grab their littles from this spot at the end of the day and return them to where they go, but that doesn’t always happen of course.  Things do pile up and we do a clean up sweep every once in a while, but just having a temporary place for them to stay helps in a big way.Corral the Smalls :: The House of Figs

An area where I still need some work:  Paperwork.  I tend to deal with mail pretty quickly as it comes in- throw out the junk and deal with what I need to deal with.  But school paperwork is another story.  It piles up and has been pretty hard for me to handle!  There’s just so much of it especially with having two in school this year!  I have this hanging in between our kitchen and breakfast nook that I use but truthfully, it rarely gets checked and cleaned out.

Paper Organization : The House of Figs

I end up just making a pile on the kitchen counter because that will motivate me to look at it, deal with it, and clean it up.  Anyone have any school paperwork solutions for me?  I’d love to hear!

And what are the spots in your home that trigger frustration for you?  How can you rethink your home to make it work for you?

As always, thanks so much for reading, hope you have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Halloween!

xoxo

Bethany

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Rethinking Home: Creating Space for Mornings

This is the first post in a new series I’m calling Rethinking Home.  My goal is to share different ways of making your home work for you and not the other way around.  I hope you will find both beauty and purpose in the weeks ahead…

Confession:  I am not a morning person.  I am not that mom who wakes up early before her kids and greets them with a smile on her face.  Another confession:  I am really trying hard to change this!  Last year, with only one in school, and that one being a boy child, he could wake me up with 30 minutes until that bus pulled up and we could be waltzing out the front door with time to spare.

This year is different.  I have two in school and one of them is my precious dear daughter who, bless her heart, takes after her strong-willed mother.  I’m guessing this is payback for all those struggles over hairstyles and outfits with my own mom back when I was a kid (sorry, mom!!) Thank the good Lord the 90’s era of big bangs is over so at least we’re not dealing with hairspray and curling irons, but I have come to learn I cannot roll out of bed at 7:15 and have my kids out the door at 7:45.  I also cannot do anything nicely with my opinionated daughter at that early hour when I have not even had time to drink my coffee or (ahem) put on a bra.

Walking to school

Here enters my need for an alarm clock.  There are admittedly a couple times a week when I keep hitting that snooze button, but when I actually get out of bed I’m able to put on said bra, change out of my colorful pajama pants for equally comfy but maybe a little more stylish black yoga pants, drink some coffee, and work on my bible study before I ever see my kids in the morning.

So to encourage myself to get up and get going, I need a little atmosphere.  I’m a beauty seeker.  I don’t want to wake up to last night’s dishes (which are sometimes still there).  I don’t want to wake up to a laundry pile or toys on the living room floor, you know what I mean?  It feels impossible at the end of a long day to take care of all of those things and get the house into order.

But it doesn’t feel as hard to carve out one little space and keep it sacred.

We’ve had this gray chair in our living room for a long time but I brought down the ottoman from the baby’s room (he’s two now).  I’ve started keeping this side table empty so I can rest my bible study things and my coffee there.  Creating this space cost me nothing but has made a huge difference in my morning.

Just knowing that this cozy and pretty spot is waiting for me invites me to sit, rest, read, & pray.

Ottoman :: The House of Figs

I read something that struck a chord with me several weeks ago on Instagram written by Ruth Chou Simons of @gracelaced. Ruth also blogs over at Gracelaced and has a beautiful shop full of original artwork.  She’s talking about husbands here, but I think its true for kids as well.  She said this:

“Who our spouse becomes in 20 years will be shaped significantly by the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make everyday in the words we say (or don’t say), in our touch (or lack of), and in acknowledging with our eyes: You are valuable for who you are not just what you do (or don’t do). From the same sky comes water that erodes in time or rain to a thirsty field of crops… let our words, touch, and eyes be thirst-quenching and not eroding. And reality check: it doesn’t come naturally… so let’s go to the Well that does not run dry… satisfy our hearts in You, first, Lord, that we might be a blessing to the ones who need us to be well watered women.”

Its not in my nature to be nice in the mornings.  But when I am filled with His grace, then I can pour it out on the little people around me.

I don’t want to be grumpy and snap at my kids every morning just because I haven’t had my coffee yet or because I woke up already feeling behind.

I don’t need to have the whole house cleaned up.  I don’t need to have lunches already packed or be ready to serve a full breakfast.  I don’t need to have things perfect or have my entire life in order before my kids get up in the mornings.  Just in rethinking my home and creating this little place of grace for myself in the quiet darkness of the morning, I am welcoming an opportunity to be guided by the Holy Spirit.  And that is all that I need.

Rethinking Home

*A little note for all you moms with little ones who may or may not be sleeping through the night but who generally make life exhausting:  please don’t feel pressured by this!  After seven and a half years of motherhood I am just now in the place where waking up before my kids is starting to make sense for me (and it still doesn’t happen every day!!).  How you seek the Lord doesn’t have to look exactly how I’m doing it or how someone else is doing it.  It may be a cry to Him in the wee hours while you’re rocking your baby for the fifth time that night.  It may be two verses read during nap time before you close your eyes in sweet solitude as well.  We’re not all in the same season of life, but may we all turn to the Well that never runs dry.*

So how do you create space for your mornings?  Or how do you create space to fill yourself up with grace?  I’d love to hear or see!  Leave me a comment here or share a picture on Instagram and hashtag it #rethinkinghome!

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When Home Disappoints…

I was planning to write a post about creating a place for your family to come home to that is warm and welcoming.  It has to do with atmosphere and attitude and all of that.  It is something I strive for and desire, but I have to confess something.  Its something that I fail at. I don’t meant I fail at it because my house isn’t cozy enough or I don’t have pumpkin-scented candles burning and soft music playing every time my husband and kids come home. Can we all agree that those things are not the goal?

When Home Disappoints// The House of Figs

Its never perfection around here.

I fail at it because my heart is not in the right place.  My heart, the safe place for them to come home to, is not always a safe place for them.  I disappoint.  I’m tired, I get moody.  I’m slow to listen, quick to speak.  I snap at them for no reason.  Basically, I’m selfish.  I want to enjoy my cozy moment- the one with the candles, the blanket, the cup of coffee- and then these kids come running all over it with their dirty socks not in pairs and and their shoes on the carpet and their crumbs on the floor and I have to admit there are times that those are the only things I see.

Home is not always the safe space I want it to be.  And sometimes its because of me.

Did you know this rug used to be white?

Did you know this rug used to be white?

So I strive and I grasp for a little piece of comfort.  Make it cozy.  Let’s get some curtains, some more throw pillows.  A few more things from HomeGoods and Target.  Maybe a new rug? It will be perfect.  If I can just get this place cleaned up, my attitude will be better.  If I can just get organized, decorated, put-together, un-cluttered, I’ll be nicer, happier, a better mom, a better wife.  Anyone else? All too soon those purchases stack up into Goodwill and yard sale piles.  More proof of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations.

There’s much worse disappointment in the home too.  You know what I’m talking about because you’ve experienced it.  Maybe in the home you have now or in the one of your youth.  Death, divorce, illness, addiction, abandonment.

There’s no amount of cozy lamp-lit glow or combination of cute throw pillows that can heal those wounds.

Life married to a videographer- equipment takes residence in the foyer every weekend.

Oh, my kitchen’s not always clean?

When I look around, it seems like we all have this desire, this need and longing for a safe space to call home.  I went to a concert a few weeks ago with some friends and the opening act, Pentatonix, sang a song called On My Way Home.  Kelly Clarkson (who is amazingly talented, and seems so real and down to earth, by the way) sang a beautiful and heart wrenching song called Piece by Piece.  Its about how her husband is healing the brokenness inside her that her father created when he abandoned her at age 6.  As sweet and touching as that song was, my friend sitting beside me who experienced a similar abandonment looked over and said “I love that, but to me that song is about Jesus.”

I get what she’s saying and she’s absolutely right.

Here on this earth: home, husbands, relationships, friendships- they are always going to disappoint. Always.

The coziest, most well-designed and beautiful home is still full of people who at some point disappoint each other and need forgiveness.

So where do you turn when home disappoints?  Where do you turn when you are the one who disappointed them all?  The emptiness left behind from all the disappointment, regret & unmet expectations- do they leave you hollow?  Or do you allow Him to fill you up with his grace?  The emptiness left behind leaves an opportunity and space for grace.  While it will never be filled by another trip to HomeGoods (or those new pair of shoes?), rest assured that none of this disappointment or this longing for fulfillment is in vain.

Its all pointing us to where we truly Belong, to the only One who can truly fulfill and who will never ultimately disappoint.

Hope

image source

Trials still come, pain still exists.  I make mistakes and rely on grace daily. But there is a hope beyond all of this for a home.  A home where I will be fully known and fully loved.  Where I will be able to fully love and fully enjoy those around me without this encumbering sin that so easily entangles.  A home where death and destruction, cancer and homelessness, addiction and hunger will no longer exist.

We will all just be home. 

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The Seasons of Home

I’ve been a wife for 11 years now and a mother for 7.  I know that’s not a lot compared to some, but even still, I feel like we have gone through several different seasons already.  While there are still many, many, more to come, I love reflecting back and seeing how the seasons have affected my home and my attitude towards it. We have three kids and our middle one just started Kindergarten.  So all of a sudden I find myself at home with just one little guy- and he takes a long nap in the afternoon!  Quite a change from the busy summer I had with three home all day!

The first season for me as a mom was with this little guy.  He was and is so easy going.  My days were quiet and simple.  Lots of playing on the floor with cars and trains.  Lots of Lightening McQueen and swinging on the back porch.

Nursery // The House of Figs

 Not long after came our second- a girl (they were two years apart) and I was thrown into a new season.  No more quiet; it definitely felt more like chaos. The house looked slightly like a daycare during the day. Breastfeeding and potty training were my life.  Oh yeah, and I didn’t sleep much.

Santa  This is us visiting Santa at our little tiny neighborhood library where we used to live. Both kids look thrilled, don’t they? As hard as that season was though, I look back at it so fondly now.

We moved to a new city and the kids got a little bigger, and a little more independent. A different season. You might recognize this kitchen?

Kitchen // The House of Figs

 Just as were adjusting to this new phase, along came baby number three and we decided I would homeschool our oldest.  I know that sounds crazy, but at that age, the baby was pretty laid back- plus he couldn’t go anywhere! He hung out with us in our schoolroom upstairs while I did lessons with my oldest.  My daughter played or colored or sometimes watched TV.  There were lots of Chickfila and park playdates with friends, lots of trips to the gym (I needed a break somehow!) and I’m not really sure how I did it, but I remember that year fondly as well.

Schoolroom // The House of Figs The next year my oldest started public school for first grade.  There’s a lot that went into our decision to stop homeschooling and I won’t go into all of that here.  Needless to say we prayed about it a lot and felt it was the right choice.  But what I will say is once again- new season.  I now had two at home.  I decided to do preschool at home with my daughter, which felt easier since I had done a year with my son already.  I hadn’t loved being isolated upstairs in the playroom and wanted us to be in the open downstairs, so we used the dining room for our lessons this time.  I found this old piece of a hutch in Round Top and we hung it on the wall for all of our supplies.  The dining room took on an art room/homeschool room feeling and a few days a week she and I would work on letters, numbers, and do some simple crafts.

Our House Dining Room Small_5 WM

Our House Dining Room Small_2 WM

Even the boys got into it.  And we still have this room set up like this, by the way!

artroom // The House of Figs

At this point, our upstairs schoolroom turned into more of a playroom and guest room (that’s a futon). We stuck their art on the wall like wallpaper and the other half of the room is full of toy storage.

Playroom // The House of Figs

Just this morning, we dropped off our oldest two in school.  The house is a lot quieter right now.  My day today has been so similar to what it was 7 years ago with that first little boy.  We had a playdate with some friends and then we came home and played with some cars on the floor.  I thought he might be sad to not have his brother and sister around but he seemed perfectly content (excited even) to get the toys all to himself.

Toys

I’ve got some extra time to myself in the afternoons now while he naps.  There are a few projects around the house that I’m planning to get to.  The first one involves some purging- getting rid of some of the excess and maybe trying to organize some things.  I want to go into that a little more but that will have to be a whole different blog post.

For now I just wanted to leave you with this.  What season are you in and does your home reflect that? Is your home working for you?  I’ve got bookshelves in my living room full of toys and kids books.  My home is not a show room.  Its never been in a magazine.  But yet beauty is important to me.  You knew that already if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time.  I’ve tried to strike a balance between beauty and purpose here.  Keeping my family in mind means that I design with our season of life in mind.  It works for us.  Its a balance of beauty and purpose for our family.

Thanks so much for reading!

Bethany

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Weekend Reading- Favorites from Around the Web

Happy Saturday!  We are quickly gearing up for the first day of school around here, but I thought I’d share some of my favorite links with you for your weekend reading.

I am LOVING this before and after post from Amber Interiors.  Here’s my favorite room in the house.  I love the white walls and bold rug.  That antique kilim is so cool and unique, but wouldn’t have been big enough for the space by itself.  The best solution is to layer it over a larger natural fiber rug.  I just love that look and really this whole house is so right up my alley!

Amber-Interiors-Before-and-After-Client-Double-Thumbs-up-Neustadt-28

Here’s another fun and colorful house for you.  My friend and I were recently comparing Pinterest boards- hers is FULL of color, and mine is quite neutral (surprise, surprise, ha!).  She described her style as boho-farmhouse and I just LOVE that description. I started doing a little searching and found this gem.  Click here to see the full tour. 

A-Farmhouse-with-a-Modern-Twist-14

Now, have I ever told you about my love for Lauren Liess?  She’s one of my favorite designers and her style is so unique and I feel like I can pick it out anywhere.  She and her husband are currently looking for a new home to move to and rennovate with their four children and they came across this amazing old fixer upper.  It ultimately is not going to work out for what they need but the way she describes it and the vision she has for it in this post is just inspiring!  You can see what this home was meant to be through her eyes.  I don’t think I would have the guts to take on a project like that, but there is something wonderful about bringing back to life something that was once thriving.  And how about that kids’ play castle with the working drawbridge?? My jaw dropped when I saw it.

Lauren Liess

 

Next on the list- I’ve got a gallery wall tutorial video in the works for my subscribers and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime though, I am planning and hanging my stairway gallery wall (see before pictures here) and looking for beautiful and meaningful art to use.  Have you see the Naptime Diaries shop?  Every print and canvas is just stunning.  I think this one is my favorite.

Naptime Diaries Print

Do you read The Nesting Place?  She’s one of my favorite bloggers and recently moved into an old fixer upper out in the country.  Here’s a look at her boys’ bathroom before & in progress and I am just loving how it is coming along.  That mirror, the sconces, the planked ceiling!  So great.

The Nester's Bathroom

Lastly, do you listen to podcasts?  I recently discovered Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast and it is so much fun!  Each week she interviews different women- her friends, authors, bloggers, small business owners- and they talk about everything. It ranges from deep things like spiritual things, motherhood, being a wife, a believer, etc to what they’re currently reading, watching on TV, favorite brand of lip gloss, pair of shoes, everything!  Its like a fun conversation with your closest girlfriends and I end up inspired and encouraged every time.  I listen to it while I’m driving, folding laundry, whatever.  Actually the other day while my littlest was napping, I cleaned out my entire closet while listening to her most recent episode, ha!  You’ve really got to check it out.  My favorite episodes so far are the ones with Emily Lex from Jones Design Company, Jen Hatmaker, and Susie Davis.

The Happy Hour

That’s it for now. Hope you have a great weekend!  Its going to be a bit of an emotional one for us- our daughter is starting Kindergarten on Monday!  Our oldest is in second grade so it feels a little bit easier this second time around, but I think I’m still in a bit of denial and its not going to hit me until Monday morning!!  Anyone else know what I mean???  Say a prayer for me if you think about it. 😉

Thanks for reading, Happy Saturday.

xoxo

Bethany

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Art and the Holy Spirit- Making Space for Creativity

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of FigsThis is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while now, needing to get out in words.  Do you know who was the first person in the bible to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  His name is recorded in the beginning of Exodus chapter 31.  Bezalel.  And quite simply, he was an artist. It says that he was filled “with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs…”  There were other artists, including Oholiab, also appointed and given this ability to make and create the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, and all the furnishings for the tent.  This also included creating the altar and the holy garments for Aaron, the priest.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

If you’re reading this I’m assuming its because you’re interested in home design.  Maybe you like to play around with decorating your own home and maybe you’re great at it. Maybe you come here for inspiration because you’re not sure what to do with your house but you’d like to do something.  Maybe you’ve found my “decorating with beauty and purpose” tagline interesting because you are a believer and you’ve felt the tension in the same way I have.  You love to enjoy beauty, but sometimes it feels a little selfish, it often costs money, and you wonder if it has a purpose.

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

Bezalel and Oholiab had Holy Spirit inspired artistic gifts.  But couldn’t the Tabernacle have been a simple tent?  It seems possibly a much better use of resources.  Why did it need to be ornate?  Why did a skilled craftsman need to be the one?  And yet, God chose them.  Bezalel made the ark out of acacia wood.  He made lampstands out of pure gold, extremely ornate, which you can read about in Exodus 37.  The curtains were made of “fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns with cherubim skillfully worked.”

Now I’m in no way comparing my limited skills in design to the inspired skills of Bezalel and Oholiab here!  Nor am I comparing my home to the Tabernacle of the Old Testament.  But I do feel a kinship to the passion they may have felt.  Its a thrilling thing to worship the Lord through your gifts, to serve him with your talents.  Even if those talents don’t feel quite so practical as preaching and teaching.  The bible shows us we can worship him through the arts!  Is the Lord himself not the ultimate Creator?  The ultimate artist? Are we not reflecting Him when we create? I’m still working through how that looks for me.  How do I use my love and passion for design and offer it up to Him?

Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I didn’t grow up knowing that I was an artistic person.  I’ve learned a lot of that from my husband.  He creates space for creativity.  I used to think that was a waste of his time.  What’s the point??  Its taken me years, but now I am seeing.  It can open our eyes, our hearts, and point us closer to God.  Creating a beautiful and meaningful space can be a form of worship.  Creativity and the Holy Spirit // The House of Figs

I want to leave you with this passage from Mark 14.  Do you remember when Mary Magdalene, who had been forgiven so much, took a jar of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet?  Then she wiped his feet with her hair.  The bible says the house was filled with the aroma of the fragrance of the perfume.  It was an extravagant gift. But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and give to the poor?” Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

This is what I think of when I think of giving myself fully to the Lord.  It means that it will not always be the “practical” thing from others’ perspectives.  Of course Jesus always cared for the poor and the marginalized; the least of these, and Mary Magdalene knew that she herself was one of these. Her response was one of of worship with abandon, beauty, and extravagance for her Lord.

So what is your “art?”  What does this look like for you?  I think for some of you, the connection between creativity and spirituality is so simple, you’ve been connecting them all your life, maybe because of your personality or the denomination you grew up in and I’d love to hear from you on this!  But are there others of you like me out there that have struggled with this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well!

Thanks so much for reading.

xoxo

Bethany

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