Monday, October 4, 2010

Buildin' Up My House

“Where ya going, guys”? I asked. “And what’s with the sheets?”
My three youngest sons were about to bolt out the back door. They carried booty from the linen closet under their still-tan arms.
“We’re heading for the play set,” said eight-year-old Samuel. “To build a fort.”
“Yup,” said five-year-old Gabriel. He brushed blond bangs from his eyes. “We’re buildin’ up our house.”
“What about you, Zay?” I asked toddler Isaiah.
“Me too, Mom. Buildin’ up our house.”
I studied my young men. Their eyes were hopeful. “Okay, but just two sheets. And grab some clothespins from the garage.”
A slur of gratitude preceded the bang of the porch door.
I watched my boys from the window for a few minutes. They’d hustled to their wooden play set. But I was curious and wanted a better peek. So I took up residence on the a-frame swing that sits under our maple.
The boys planned to drape the sheets around the open-slat boards that comprise the top tier of their play structure. They wanted to enclose the square to create a private place. A secret place. They’d secured a rope and bucket for hoisting pirate treasure or animal crackers or juice boxes.
But they were enticed by adventure.
They couldn’t get the fort built.
“Hold this sheet while I clip,” Samuel said.
Gabe held the sheet for two seconds. “I’m taking the binoculars,” he said. “Someone needs to watch for enemies.” He whooshed down the yellow slide and began a combat-crawl through the grass.
“I’ll hold it,” said Isaiah. He grasped the edges with little fists.
But he held the sheet for only a minute when Samuel decided that they’d better gather wood for smoke signals. “Let’s go, Isaiah,” he said. “We’ll pick up sticks.”
After Gabe scoured the lawn for enemy boot prints, he returned to pull the flapping billows of sheet through the wooden slats. But he gave up and decided to swing.
At the end of the afternoon, the boys had some pretty good adventures, but the sheet lay in a twist in the grass and the house hadn’t been built. It was okay. They are boys and they’re full of fun and energy and imagination.
But a thought started rolling in my mind and by the time I’d pulled my sweater tight and walked from the backyard to the side porch, I had some strong convictions.
It’s my heart’s desire to build up a strong house. I want to raise men who love Jesus. Who choose the high path. Who will one day lead their own families and honor their wives and make a difference in their churches and communities and work places.
In my role as mom-to-men, it’s my job to build up my house. To make a home that’s fertile ground for learning. A home where God is central and His word guides our living. Where grace and love and truth trump culture and busy and things.
This takes time. And focus.
The challenge in my life is that there are so many good things. It’s easy to become distracted. My lures aren’t forging for firewood or tracking enemy soldiers – but they’re there. And today, as I’ve watched my boys, I recognize the need to pray for discernment. Where to put my time. Where to put my talents. Where to serve others and live in community and enjoy a sweet abundance of good things while still having the time, energy, and focus to do what God has called me to do first.
Buildin’ up my house.


  1. So glad you got your blog going Shawnelle! I absolutely love reading what you have to say;) xoxo

  2. Congratulations on your new blog! What a joy to be in touch with the daily happenings of those wonderful boys!

  3. I love the way you work the normal days events into a "life lesson" (as we call it in First Grade). Life lessons with God as the center.....are found each day in the simplest of things. I'm so happy, Shawnelle that YOU are the one to lead my nephews into life's battles with God as their protector and savior. Not to mention, Lonny can use those tools, also! :) Love ya, Aunt Mary