No woman in her right mind would want to tear her family down with her own hands or be described as disgraceful or quarrelsome.

Yet every day I have a choice to build up my family or to tear them down with my words, my actions, and my choices.

I remember one of the first fights Dirk and I had soon after we were married. I was a hot mess – not understanding how he could not see how wrong he was – and he was equally a mess, telling me how he couldn’t understand how I couldn’t understand how wrong I was! Instead of learning to work together, at that point in our young marriage we used our differences to push us apart.

Two years into our marriage, the tragedy of 9/11 struck our nation, and it forever changed me.

I heard story after story of husbands who left for work that day, never to return home. I listened to interviews of husbands and children who didn’t realize they would never see their wives and moms again and never had the chance to say goodbye. And I vowed to myself that I never wanted Dirk to head into work thinking I was upset with him. I wanted him to go to work knowing that he was loved, and I wanted him to look forward to coming back home.

Now sixteen years later, have I been perfect in this? No, not by a long shot.

We occasionally still have those crazy goodbyes as he’s yelling, “Ang, where are my car keys? I’m running late for work, babe. Help me find my…” And yes, I’ll grumble under my breath and sometimes to his face, “You know, if you would just put them in the same spot each time….” Ahhh, the realities of married life.

But the good news is, now years later we both know our shortcomings and tend to laugh off our absurdities in the heat of the moment instead of letting them get the best of us. We both know we need Jesus and a whole lot of grace.

And so that comes back to tearing down or building up.

As women, God has given us an amazing gift of influence over our families.

Daily, we have the choice to build up or tear down. Are we going to nitpick everything our husbands or children do wrong or are we going to ask God to help us view them the way He sees them; the way He crafted them and their personalities? Are we going to see them through lenses of grace, just like we want God to see us?

Maybe you’ve read these verses today and cringe wondering, “Am I building up more than I’m tearing down?” when I wish I could have you all around my kitchen table and just speak to you face-to-face.

There is grace, sweet friend… grace and new mercies that are fresh every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). If you find your mind and heart filling up with fear as you read today’s verses, let me tell you that there is hope and grace found in Jesus.

If you’ve found yourself on the tearing down side more than the building up side lately, then go to God. Ask Him for help. Repent of the ways you’ve torn down those in your home and ask God for His strength, wisdom, and guidance as you choose to change. Go to those you have hurt and ask them to forgive you. Then forgive yourself and accept the grace God extends to you as His daughter. Don’t allow Satan to cloak you in shame. Be proactive and rise each day with the commitment to first turn to God. Study His Word, apply His wisdom to your life and surrender your will to His. He will help you! He will guide you! And on those days when you are a hot mess too, remember… there is grace.

Being a woman who builds up her home isn’t about being the perfect mom or the perfect wife. It’s about being a mom and wife who surrenders her life to the Architect of her home. She allows Him to lead her, guide her, and His Spirit to work through her as she loves, serves, and cares for those in her home.

Friend, remember: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Praying for you as you go out and build up your families this week!

Love God Greatly!