“The View From In Here” by Michelle Jones

I just went on Amazon.com and ordered my favorite movie of all time:  “Life As A House.”  It stars Kevin Kline as an architect who lived in a dilapidated shack on an amazing piece of property overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  He inherited it from his father, an abusive alcoholic who killed his wife (KK’s mother) and another couple in a drunk driving accident when Kline was just a kid.

Kline’s character learns that he’s dying of cancer at the beginning of the film.  He decides to spend the time he has left trying to make things right with his rebellious, estranged son who lives with his mother and hates him because he was never there.  They spend the summer building the house he designed for that property.  His motivation:  “…to give my son something better than my father gave me.”

As I watched the movie for the umpteenth time, I wondered, for the umpteenth time, how we manage these lives that we have “inherited” from our parents.  As we move through our days, sometimes it’s difficult to see the beauty around us because of all the crap that’s inside us.

It’s a beautiful story about relationship, redemption, healing, and forgiveness.  What always strikes me though is how the house they built together was one that had windows everywhere.  The view—which was ALWAYS THERE—could be seen from the inside looking out, and if you were outside, you could see the beauty that was inside the house.

Isn’t that one of the goals of life, to SEE what is really there, what’s always been there—the truth—and to show the world a “house” that was built with that view in mind?  If the “house” is my heart and not my physical being, or my circumstances, it makes sense that we can’t see the “view” as well from the shack as we can from the new house.  If we’re believers, we can only say so much about the awesomeness of God if our lives are not a reflection of the truth we say we know.  Kevin Kline tells his son at one point, “We have to tear this thing down before we can begin to build.”

I was afraid to tear down the house I had become so used to living in, because I didn’t know if I had what it took to start, much less finish my life according to the plans God has for me.  I have failed at too many things to count.  I have left so much unfinished.  I have been wrong more times than anyone has a right to be.  I was tired of watching my life fall down around my ears, over and over again, and I was too scared to believe God would—and could—meet me in my squalor and cover me as we built anew.

It’s tempting to want to just go outside to look at the view; momentarily forgetting the shack is where we really live.  I have been guilty of avoiding facing what’s damaged and neglected in my life, through deflecting, blaming others for where I am, or busily fixing other “houses” in other neighborhoods.  But those are temporary respites from reality.  Eventually, I have to go home and sleep in my own bed.  I have to hear the creaks under my own floorboards and the rattling of my own pipes.  I have to try and look at the view through my own tiny, dirty windows…until I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do the work.

Once I decided to show up for work, I found out that God’s sleeves were already rolled up and that He—Author, Finisher, Designer, Builder, and Decorator—had always been there.  He was just waiting for me, because you see, faith only works when you do.

We’re all in various stages of “construction.”  I’m not always comfortable in my unfinished digs.  I imagine that I’m an eye sore to the neighbors from time to time, but the truth is they all have their own homes to deal with.  If they’re focused on mine, I can’t do anything about that.  I just have to keep hammering where I’m employed.

I want a house where the view can be seen from every room.  I know it’s doable now.  I am sure that’s the plan He has for me—for all of us.  I don’t want to just talk about a view that can’t be seen from where I live.  I don’t want that life.

Atlanta has been good for me because I’ve been forced to look at the condition of my heart without distraction.  It’s not always easy, but somehow God is growing my confidence in His ability and willingness to create the heart He wants in me.  The “view” is becoming more visible from the inside of me and in the inside of me.  I am certain now that before it is anything else, Love is PATIENT and KIND.  If not for that, I would have no hope.

I shared some of these thoughts with my friend Suzan, and she suggested I share them with others.  Every day this week, someone has said something to me about writing down what’s been on my mind and heart for others to see.

It finally hit me a moment ago.  Each time I learn a truth, and write about it, it’s like God telling me that He has installed another window in my house. When we do the things God put us here to do in the way that He planned for us to do them, it is like a window that gives us another glimpse of the magnificent view of Him.

When we love our husbands, raise our children, give to those in need, weep for those who suffer and lift our hands to help them, study and share the Word, celebrate the beauty in another person’s life, hope when life appears hopeless, or give ourselves when our pockets are empty, we confirm that there are windows where decaying walls used to be.

There’s lots of work to do in me still, but every time I look through a window, and see the view of The One who gave me my breath, it takes my breath away, and I am encouraged to keep moving forward.



  1. Pup said,

    September 18, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Divinely inspirational you are; and this is completely why I love you my dear Aunt. As always, I have a few thoughts:

    – When you said “I imagine that I’m an eye sore to the neighbors from time to time…” what type of neighborhood are we in? If the house is the heart, then we are definitely mobile and therefore not traditionally rooted in a permanent foundation. This is spot on, in my humble opinion! I truly believe that in order for God to work His miracle in each of our lives we need to go where He commands us. If the heart were not mobile then this wouldn’t be possible, and the impossible could not be changed to improbable.

    My dear Aunt, I can see clearly that your house is one of inspiration and a clear testament to God living within us. Though we may not always live with our windows completely visible, yours are sincerely beautiful. The soreness in their eyes is not of disgusts or mockery, it is a soreness to light from being within darkness. It won’t take long for them to see clearly…

    A sister of yours, perhaps several, would tell her nephew that the eyes are window’s into the soul. I am thankful that you have continually chosen to open your blinds, when comfortable, because you have so much to share and it is good. I’m loving your house. Not only because we share blood, in addition we happen to have the same “Author, Finisher, Designer, Builder, and Decorator”…


    • cre8nmi said,

      September 18, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      How did I get SO BLESSED to have a gem in my life like you! Your specialness defies description. I miss you so much, but when you touch my deepest self like this, I am certain that despite the miles, we could not be closer to one another. I thank God that He put us in the same “neighborhood”! You are never far from me, nor I from you. I adore you, Pup.

  2. Tiffani said,

    September 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    As always, Aunt Mickey… You challenge me go give God everything that’s in my hand and not focus on what is not there! Maybe I should learn that lesson soon 🙂

    That’s why you are MY Aunt… God just let Will benefit from the plan. 😉

  3. cre8nmi said,

    September 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    We all have to learn that one over and over again, MY NIECE! Anyone who tells you they’ve got that lesson on lock is either dead, mistaken, or lying… perhaps all three. btw, I’m glad the Master Plan includes you too. 🙂

  4. Beth said,

    September 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Michelle – what a blessing to get to see Gods work in you through your writing. You are amazing! Thank you for this blog, after talking to you last week on the phone and you sharing these thoughts with me – I have tried remembering what is was you said and couldn’t remember. So, now I can reflect on it here! Thank you!

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