“You will call your walls salvation, and your gates Praise….”


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Once upon a time {well…this month} we purchased a house. Now, purchasing real estate isn’t entirely new to us. We have own a lovely mobile home on a fantastic yard for several years. But, owning our own “it’s a house-house!” home, with stairs, and a basement, and a room to let the wildlings roam, that’s new.

Now this home, well no, this house, it’s a unique piece. From what we’ve heard from friends and passersbys and, um, several random and chatty anonymous folks throughout this town, this is quite the house. From what these tellers have told, this house has been the sight of all expressions of abuse, all forms of damage, all levels of fear and Evil. It has witnessed the heartache of sons, the enticement of Dragons, and lust of substances.

All accounts together: we have purchased a pit of despair.

Recently I received my first FaceBook message admonishing me to “pray through the house”. One message led to another, and then conversations with strangers in the street, and people in my yard, and onlookers in the store and….

“Wow!” thought I. That’s…bold.

I mean, one the one hand it was sweet that people were looking out for us. Yet, there was also something somewhat discomforting about the outpouring of information and the assumption of our approach to spiritual engagement. Was my new house that cloaked in darkness? Were the Titled Believers of the town that much more able to expel the spirits with their prayers and oils? Was the indwelling Present of Light within us so weak as to abandon me upon crossing the threshold?

Hmm.

I found my heart deeply troubled.

This was to be our new home. Of course I wanted it to be a place of Light and Life. I did not want to subject my children to Shadows or to expose myself to an unseen danger. At the same time, I was unsettled at the idea of drama and ceremony. In the home of my youth, I had been partaker to such gatherings: the prayers of the elders, the oil anointed onto the door frames, the hands upon my head, the collection and destruction of artifacts. Years later, in my own journey and ministry, I spent a day ascending a waterfall deep in the jungle of the unreached. We reached their High Place and called on our god and railed against their witches and trekked back down to our huts; muddied, divisive, and without a sign.

I prayed. I asked for insight. I discussed.

One Sister reminded that, “When you turn on the light in a dark room, that light overcomes darkness, not the other way around…”. I meditated on the fact of an indwelling Savior who is fully and always present and who dispels darkness simply by existence. I considered the promises that my God turns my darkness into Light, that He is the Light that shines into the darkness, that no darkness can overcome It, that He is the one who makes rough places smooth, who draws us into the Light, who is Life!

So, one week ago, we were given access to the house {it’s a special ‘early access before possession’}.We drove over there to take a good long look at the work ahead, to let the boys test the floors and stairs with a decent game of chase, and to invite the Light.

We didn’t beg of the heavens with raised voices. We kept to one shared language. We didn’t implore anyone else to join us.

We brought a round of bread. A bottle of wine. The Sunday cup. Scripture. The Green Book.

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We sat on the rough floor with curious boys.

We read:
“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.” {Book of Prayer}

We read from Isaiah 60:
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
“For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
“Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

“Lift up your eyes round about and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
“Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will [thrill and rejoice;

Violence will not be heard again in your land,
Nor devastation or destruction within your borders;
But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise
.
19 “No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the Lord for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory….”

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We confessed, read, prayed. We broke the bread and drank the wine. Then I asked the boys to be still and to listen to the reason for our gathering.
I explained to them  that before we began work or moving or planning, we wanted to ensure our hearts were right before our God and that we had, together, given this home to Him. We told them that this home was to be a place of safety; safety for us as a family, and safety for all who might come through her doors; guest or griever, saint or sinner. We told them that this house would be a place of generosity; open doors, bountiful shelves, extra beds. We reminded them this dwelling would be a place of Light and Joy.

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They giggled and squirmed and snacked on extra bread and snagged the empty goblet. They asked to play tag and tumbled off down the hall towards rooms where walls had witnessed darkness but where Light was now welcome.

Husband and I remained sitting on the floor, considering the scope of the project ahead and feeling entirely at home, welcomed in our sanctuary, at ease in the rhythm of dust and worship.
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As I was unloading the van, I was saddened to find our Cup squashed. But then, I looked closer…. Because Love transforms. We are His workmanship, He is our home.

You are welcome in this place….
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Comments
6 Responses to ““You will call your walls salvation, and your gates Praise….””
  1. Lee-Ann says:

    Dea, love your stance to not partner with fear of what went on in your home, of what or who was driving that activity. At the name of Jesus darkness has to flee. Period. Light has indeed overcome darkness – this is true in the entire universe and certainly it is true in your home.

    Another important truth: Good paint is like love – it covers over a multitude of sins.

    I pass on the renovation-torch, dear friend. It was a short 12 years ago that we moved to Three Hills and were “the crazy people” who bought “that house?!?!”. Just this morning I was looking, with thankfulness, and these bright cheery rooms that have housed so much joy and laughter and dancing and worship – and tears and messy stuff of life…and one memorable mid-reno death threat. I am so thankful for the vision of what could be and the crazy ambition to pursue it. Crazy. Did I mention “crazy”?

    The phrase “lots-of-potential” takes on a whole meaning. You know that already. From this end, I encourage you that the process is SO much like pregnancy and childbirth!! The exhaustion, the creative energy, the dreaming and envisioning, the waiting, the progress (or lack thereof), and that awesome “I can’t believe I just did that..look at this! I am superwoman! I can do anything!”

    Maybe your new house needs a blessingway so we can fully celebrate the finished work. Is that translated Painting Party in this case?? I specialize in trim and reconstructive caulking. I had my own song, “Caulking Queen, young and sweet, only 23, oh yeah…she can caulk, she can paint…she is the caulking queen…” Did I mention “crazy”?

    • Marissa says:

      Oh, Lee-Ann, I love you (and the beauty of “that house” that has always welcomed me!) and can you please come visit us in Nova Scotia?? I have trim that needs painting;).

      And Dea, I loved this! So true. The Light driving out darkness and that Light within us. Amen. I too have lived in one of those houses that had seen so much destruction and disregard to the value of life. When we were selling it, the realtor was shocked by “what we had done.” Truth was, we hadn’t actually ‘done’ a whole lot but there was Light there.

      May your home, your family, and all who enter be blessed and changed by the life of Jesus.

  2. Sadie says:

    So good! Yes, our God is not looking for histrionics and drama, and only then will He drive out the darkness! You possess The spirit of our God within you, all of him, and that makes you an extremely powerful vessel in the spiritual realm. Sounds like you had a beautiful dedication time, full of hope and not fear.

  3. Melanie says:

    Oh dearest,

    This post is SO beautiful. Tears.

    The light dwells within you! John 8:12! I love that we are on the same page. This home will be a place of peace. Love you!

  4. Kmarie/Audrey says:

    I Love this and can not wait for my hubby to help on it. It will be a place of friendship and beauty. When we do things out of love and not fear we know there is truth. That is how I gauge any spiritual event…if it’s regarded in fear I approach with deep caution…good for you for doing that and realizing that!
    (and I don’t know if I am seeing right but those floors and the layout look amazing…I can just see loads of bookshelves stuffed and colour…Oh it is going to look spectacular!)

  5. Kristin says:

    I have come from homes that witnessed darkness and unspeakable acts… there were walls and floors that witnessed many sad and horrible things i had endured… but Just because those walls and floors housed acts of such things does not mean that light was not present. And even though the houses i came from housed broken spirits and souls did not mean that God was not present and caring. I know he was there, weeping with me and loving. Though there was darkness i know light was there with me. And i hope and pray that the people who now live in those homes that i lived in have filled those houses with love and good memories, but i don’t feel like my bad experiences have tainted those places. Maybe just another perspective for you…
    And like others have commented darkness has to flee in the presence.of light. It sounds like you will give the home a rebirth and fill it with life.

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