Broken Houses by Jen Robinson

Broken Houses by Jen Robinson


I’ve always had a love for home. When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was walk through new houses that were being constructed. It was usually around dusk on a warm, summer evening after the workers had left for the day, leaving evidence of their presence with a generous sprinkling of cigarette butts and empty styrofoam coffee cups. What would appear as humble beginnings, the houses would be nothing more than wood frames. But as I would venture around from room to room, my imagination would run wild, picturing where the kitchen sink would be and how a reading nook would fit just so there. I would especially love comparing each bedroom to determine which one I would choose to be mine (usually the largest bedroom with the best view). And I can’t forget houses with beautiful winding staircases…that was my favorite part! I loved staircases!


For some reason, in my child-like mind, these houses became affectionately known to me as “The Broken Houses.” I can’t quite recall why this was the name I gave them, but I would imagine that it had something to do with the fact that they were incomplete. It was apparent by looking at the frame that it was indeed becoming a house, but it wasn’t yet a home. There were no beautifully decorated walls, no inviting dining table, or comfy beds. Even the simple modern necessities of electricity and indoor plumbing weren’t installed at this point. The elements that could turn this barren wooden structure to a complete home were missing.


Fast forward about 30 years…


All grown up, I still have a love for home. I love making my home beautiful and inviting. I love decorating and organizing. I explain to my husband that throw pillows are the woman’s equivalent of a stuffed animal – you can’t seem to have enough! But as I look back on those elements that I once believed were the missing ingredient to the broken houses, I found to be even truer in a house void of the Holy Spirit. In our world, in our churches, there are complete- looking houses that are still completely broken. Broken relationships, broken peace, broken joy. What makes a house a home is not found in a magazine-worthy kitchen or even a Pinterest-perfect picture collage. What makes a house a home is inviting the Holy Spirit’s presence into these ordinary structures, permeating our lives and our families in extraordinary ways.


Scripture says, “You are…members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21). When we open our door to Christ, He mends those broken spaces in our hearts and adorns them with the kind of peace, joy, and love that truly makes us, our families, and our homes wonderfully and beautifully complete.