Day 5: You are His Dwelling Place // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 5 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
What feels like home to you? For me, home is my little apartment with my gazillions of houseplants, my two bunny friends, and all my scented candles (I might have a little bit of a problem). I love to spend time on my home and fill it with decor I made myself, vintage glass bottles I hunt down at flea markets, and paintings my boyfriend and I have done together. I love walking to the farmer’s market when it’s nice out, and that you can see a little bit of the river from the window if you are sitting in the right place in my living room. This is home.
Want to hear something crazy? You feel like home to God. He looks at you and there is nowhere else He’d rather be. He makes His home in you and me when He could choose to live anywhere. So what does it mean to be a dwelling place for God when we feel like we have a bunch of junk sitting around the place?
Recently I’ve been going through the book of Ephesians. One of the things I like to do sometimes when I read the Bible on my own is to just go verse by verse through a single book, spending as much time on any section as I want or feel led. Sometimes I might read a whole chapter during one sitting, sometimes it might be a deep dive into one single verse. I am almost always blessed like crazy through this method. I study in other ways as well, but there is something about sitting with a small section of Scripture and just doing the next thing in front of me, just the next line, not debating about which section or what topic or what study I want to do, that God uses to speak into my soul right where I’m at. It’s always as if He knew I was going to read these exact words right when I get there, and tucks encouragement or conviction right in there just for me, just when I need it.
As I was choosing a book of the Bible to read this time and asking God to direct me so that I could hear what He wanted to say to me, I felt a nudge toward Ephesians. I looked up the meaning of Ephesus, the city the Ephesians lived in, in Greek to find that it means “desirable.” If you know me at all, you probably know that I have long struggled with my worth and value for most of my life. And here was God, saying He wanted me to read the letter written to the city called Desirable.
At first, I thought He was telling me, “Here is an instruction manual if you want to be desirable and useful to Me and My Kingdom.” But when I started reading, my heart broke open. He met me in Ephesians and revealed to me that all this time I have been walking with Him, I have had a distorted view. I have been scared that underneath all of the mercy and grace and tenderness that I had seen in Jesus, there might be a Father who would deem me worthless, undesirable, and leaveable, just like my human father had. This is a lie from the pit of hell. The truth is something I could not even bring myself to hope for, if the Scriptures did not lead me there over and over again. The truth is that I don’t have to make myself desirable to God because I already am, and always have been. Even in my brokenness, He gave His life for me.
I am a dwelling place for the living God. This is my identity, and no one can take it from me. I feel like an old farmhouse that He is renovating. Slowly and intentionally, He clears out the clutter and junk. He knocks down a wall here, repaints a room over there. He plants a garden and lights a scented candle and moves in even before I’m completed, when there is still sawdust everywhere and no kitchen cabinets yet, and water backs up into the basement. Despite all my creaks and cracks, my unsteady foundation and leaky roof, He bought me for a lofty price and won’t stop until this busted old fixer upper is made new.
When God moves in He does two things. He heals, and He cleanses. All of the renovations we need can really be condensed down to those. His body was broken for us, to heal all our brokenness, and His blood was poured out so that we could be washed in His mercy of all our wrongdoing. Jesus is in the business of redeeming and restoring us, not only so that we can be tools for Him to use for His Kingdom but also – almost unbelievably – because He just delights in us. He likes hanging out with us. It seems completely insane to think about, but it’s true. Underneath His mercy and grace and tenderness I feared there would be a harsh and exacting tyrant, but it turns out that the mercy and grace and tenderness go much deeper than I thought. It turns out that they are His very heart. There is nothing underneath.
You are His dwelling place, child of God. Even in your brokenness. That is your identity and your place in this world: dwelling place for the living God. Whatever the world might call you, He calls you home. He delights in you, and His light shines even brighter through your cracks and imperfections. He is redeeming and restoring you because He thinks you are so very worthwhile, and He won’t quit until you’re free.
(Oh, and go read Ephesians 3 and prepare to have your mind blown at how much the God of the universe just completely adores you. I wasn’t ready.)