THE HOUSE TESTIMONY PART 3: The Purpose
“You’re buying a house alone?!? WHYYYYYYYY?”
I think I clapped back with something sassy like, “Yep, women are, in fact, allowed to own property in the 21st century.” I don’t usually jump to the hyper-feminist response so quickly – or ever. His question obviously hit a nerve.
As it turns out, buying a house, and especially having one built alone was a huge insecurity for me, and I didn’t at the time understand why God was asking this of me. Like I said in part 2, I was perfectly content living the apartment life before the less-than-delightful neighbor situation. It’s wildly convenient as a single woman to live in a building with 24 hour maintenance, gates and security around the complex, complete with a gym, two pools, and walking trails around a golf course. I was fine. I wanted my neighbors gone. But I was otherwise content.
When we get content, we stop relying on God. I was dependent on myself and thinking way too small. His plans and dreams for our lives are always bigger than our own.
So why was a house a part of God’s dream for me?
As I’m writing this, I’m hoping I don’t run down a bunch of rabbit trails, because now I have a million reasons and none of them are sassy comebacks. It all ends up circling back to the mandate over my church home here in Nashville: To clean the waters.
The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken. 2 Kings 2:19-22
How often do we hear our church’s mission statement or mandate and get super hyped but never fully live it out? We repeat it like a fast food slogan but do we actually take ownership of it and live it out in our daily lives? Is it just a fun quote to wear on our Sunday morning swag?
If God called you to a church, and that church has a specific mandate over it (which it should), then that mandate becomes the mandate over your life. That is the mission you are to carry out as a part of that church body.
When God told me to move to Nashville, I still had a lot of questions. But the one thing that was crystal clear was the church family I was to be a part of. My purpose here is to carry out God’s mission in purifying the spiritual water in this city.
The Bible Belt has been tainted by years of legalism and “church hurt.” The music industry has been clouded with cut-throat competition and striving. The enemy has been floating on the murky waters of the Cumberland like he owns the place.
It’s time for Nashville to experience life abundant, to drink of a Living Water and never thirst again. We’re here to clean the waters, and we do that by prioritizing encounter over entertainment, intimacy over industry, presence over presentation, people over position, and Jesus over everything.
I know I sound like a church “about” webpage right now. But I genuinely believe this is why I’m here. TBCO friends, this is why God brought you here, too. It’s not something to talk about in the confines of our church building. It’s the call on our lives. It’s time to get to work.
To anyone who is living somewhere because God said to “go,” and you’re still not fully understanding why, I encourage you to look to the church He called you to. Their why is your why. There is something very specific in you that God thought was exactly what that part of the Body needed to bring the love of Jesus to your city.
Okay, but for real, what does that have to do with a house?
Building community is one of my things. It’s the how to my why. I love entertaining and hosting all the parties and wine tastings and casual hangs. Even more, I love when I can facilitate a place where people can encounter the love of God. Community is best when it feels like family. Discipleship is life on life. I can’t help heal this city if I don’t invest in relationship with humans.
When I moved to Nashville, I actually lived outside the city in the small town of Spring Hill. My apartment down there was brand new and absolutely gorgeous. And while I know plenty of amazing humans who live there now, I didn’t know any of them three years ago. God kept bringing people into my circles who lived in actual Nashville. No one wanted to drive to Practically-Alabama to hang out in my home… Or maybe I just felt guilty asking them to do so…But either way, my home wasn’t aiding in my purpose. And God didn’t call me to Spring Hill; He called me to Nashville.
My apartment in Franklin was significantly closer to Nashville, but I think I’ve already adequately covered why I couldn’t entertain in that home. I certainly can’t host other humans in a space I’m avoiding like the plague.
But why did God give me a house instead of a better apartment? (I’m getting there… I really promise.)
God started to show me I wasn’t yet fully committed to Nashville. I didn’t actually want to move here in the first place, and even though I grew to love it, I didn’t know how long I’d be staying. Renting was temporary, one lease at a time, year by year, and I carried with me a transient mindset. God wants me here longer than that. I needed to take ownership of this city and commit to it and God’s purpose for me here. Buying a house was surrendering on a whole new level to God and His plans.
On top of that, God wanted me to literally take territory back for the Kingdom. There is power in owning property. I’m gonna say that again. There is power when we, as heirs of God’s Kingdom own a piece of land. When we own property in the natural, we gain spiritual authority over the city we’re in.
“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy.” Numbers 33:53
This little plot of land, though it may not be much bigger than my house itself, is no longer up for grabs or owned by the prince of darkness. It’s Kingdom territory now. The day I placed a Bible in the foundation of the house was the day I took this land back and claimed it as God’s. The living and active Word of God is written on the frame of every room in this house where people will encounter Holy Spirit and transform this city with the love of Jesus. In my dark and broken neighborhood, this house will be a beacon of light.
And it’s the first of many… *wink* *wink*
The enemy loves the rivalry and bitterness in this city. But God is cleansing Nashville one person at a time. And He’s using our living rooms to meet with His people.
Why did God build me a new house instead of moving me into an already existing one?
I would absolutely love to go full Chip and Joanna on a Crieve Hall mid-century home, and won’t be fully satisfied with my Nashville life until I do. But I think God just likes to be a little extra sometimes.
My construction timeline almost perfectly matched my church’s new building renovations. When I went under contract in January 2020, God told me I’d be moving in when we were together as a church family in the new building. Between COVID complications, normal construction delays, and general Southern time, both my house and the building were delayed multiple times, deadlines leapfrogging each other all through the spring and summer. But sure enough, eight months later when our church was able to open our doors to the public for the first time since the Great American COVID Shutdown, I also got the Certificate of Occupancy for my house. I closed and moved less than two weeks later when our whole church family was able to come together for The Belonging Co Conference. God doesn’t let pandemics mess with His timeline. (That’s a sermon in itself. Friend, NOTHING in your life has been delayed because of a stupid virus. God’s promises are still true.)
Honestly, that all circles it back for me. It confirmed that I’m in the right church family. It confirmed what I’m here to do. Every prophetic word over my church’s building lined up with words over me and this house. God was making new spaces for His people to meet with Him.
And He simply wanted to build something new and fresh because He can. Like the temple Solomon built, every detail mattered to Him. If He cared about which specific wood was to cover the walls of His temple, then He cares whether mine are white, off-white, or First Star Grey. If He cared about the palm trees and flowers that were carved into the doors, then He cares about my bright white kitchen backsplash subway tiles. If He wanted basically the entire inside covered in pure gold, then He is definitely interested in my Mid-Century, Boho-Scandi vibe.
This home is where I encounter God daily. It is a space where I will minister to others and provide a peaceful place for them to rest in His presence. He cares about what it looks and feels like because He is here, too.
I’m living much more comfortably than I was in my last apartment, but the Lord’s favor is not for our own benefit. God doesn’t play that small. When He blesses us, it is to accomplish more for His Kingdom. While we will often reap the reward of it, favor is not for us to have a more comfortable life, but rather to drive us out of our comfort zone and reach further than we could before. With more favor comes more influence and more responsibility.
This house is not my own. The doors are always open for the people God puts in my circles. It’s a home for them to come find rest and belonging. This is a part of God’s Kingdom I get to help build.