Photo by Roan Lavery on Unsplash.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

And yet, we resist one another at almost every turn.

“That’s not what I want.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“It wasn’t me.”

“You’re wrong.”

In the moment it’s so much easier to ignore or deny or blame,

but each decision to disconnect

opens another crack in the foundation,

chips away at the brick,

weakens the two-by-fours in the framing.

We become one stiff wind away from a pile of rubble

fit for the landfill.

God, give us a beat before we leap to defending ourselves,

holy discomfort and a willingness to sit in it,

the desire to know and be known by others more deeply,

and motivation rooted in love.

Blow open the windows and doors of our house in a Spirit of hospitality.

Proof our home against unhealthy conflict that would shake it down to the studs.

Make us worthy caretakers of the place where we lay our heads

and caregivers to our co-habitants,

so that we might build earth as it is in heaven,

where your house is big and sturdy enough to welcome us all.

Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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