Clean Home, Pure Heart

A few months ago, my husband and I embarked on a massive project. We knew it needed to happen one day; we also knew it would be costly and inconvenient. When we came into some extra cash, we took the plunge. It was time to paint the house and do some upgrades. Since our home is over 40 years old, it still had popcorn ceilings and wallpaper. We also had a few ugly water spots and some minor sheetrock repairs that needed attention. The window sill in the dining room was half-gone from one of our dogs who decided to use it as a rawhide!

Our temporary barn home

After meeting with the company owner (who prayed with us), Parky and I used the weekend to pack things up, remove wall hangings, and pick colors. The team showed up Monday morning rarin’ to go. Popcorn ceiling removal was first. Within two days, our house was in absolute chaos. Furniture was piled in the middle of the floor, plastic was draped over everything, white tufts of gook covered the plastic-lined floor, and powder dusted every nook and cranny.  

We spent a couple of nights in the house before moving into our separate garage, which we call the barn because of its shape. Parky moved out two vehicles and rearranged the tools. He brought in recliners, an end table, carpet pieces, my PC, our bed, and two dog beds. We bought a small refrigerator and moved the Keurig and microwave from the kitchen. A television was already in the barn. Our new setup served as the perfect home away from home, or in this case, a home next to our home. Our two dogs loved the new arrangement and adapted quickly. Plus, we were far enough away from the strong paint fumes, which you could sometimes smell outside on the street.

The interior work took approximately three weeks to complete. Then, it was on to the exterior. After the exterior pressure washing, painting, and window washing, we decided to paint our triple-level deck. We were thrilled with the results inside and out.  

Since we were forced to empty closets, we felt it was an excellent time to purge before restocking. Boxes and boxes of old, unused, or outdated items were either discarded or given away. With every box, I felt a sense of cleansing and renewal.

Cleansing of the Temple

I was reminded of two instances in the Bible that refer to cleansing of the Temple. One is recorded in each of the New Testament gospels, where Jesus expelled the merchants and money changers from the Temple courtyard. The Temple had been transformed into “a den of thieves” and “a house of trade.” It was no longer a place of reverent worship. Someone needed to reestablish its purpose and purge the offenders and their belongings from inside the Temple.

Jesus “knocked over the tables of money changers and the chairs of those selling doves” (Matthew 21:12). He also made a whip from some ropes and used it to chase people out of the Temple (John 2:15). He meant business. Purging needed to happen to reclaim what was once holy and pure.

The second instance of cleansing is in 2 Kings 22 when young King Josiah (age 26) commissioned a group of people to make some Temple renovations and repairs. Amid their tasks, workers discovered some of the scrolls of God’s Word that were thought to be lost. 

During the renovation and purging of our house, I was surprised to find numerous things I had forgotten. One was a box of lead crystal stemware we received as a wedding present. I used them twice in our 42 years of marriage. It was time to pass them on. There were also cassette tapes of my organ playing, forgotten photos, and a large poster of my first Confronting Cancer with Faith book signing at the International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis, Missouri. Wonderful memories.

Getting Real

The truth is we all need to cleanse our temples, both externally and internally. Our bodies, hearts, and minds need to be cleansed of earthly clutter. Like Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple, we also need to check our spiritual gauges for holiness and purity.

When we were going through all of this upheaval, we knew that blessings awaited us on the other side. Our house has a whole new look now, including my whitewashed fireplace, which I’m excited about. The exterior is noticeably brighter. Neighbors have commented how much they like it although we kept the same colors. It was amazing how much the colors had faded over the years. The same is true of our spiritual health. It naturally fades if we don’t routinely refresh ourselves. Our deck is now rid of rotting boards and peeling paint and looks great.

Maybe it’s time to do some much-needed and long-awaited “temple” maintenance and repair. Don’t wait any longer.

Karen Allen


  1. Sharon Atwood on June 14, 2024 at 11:54 am

    Everyone needs a reminder to cleanse their temples. The daily grind mucks up our temples.

    • Karen Allen on June 15, 2024 at 2:03 pm

      That’s right, Sista. Let’s clean up the muck!

  2. J.D. Wininger on June 23, 2024 at 9:46 pm

    Having just had all the windows replaced in the house and the three bedrooms re-carpeted, we too went through a bit of upheaval, and yes, the “Purge.” Feels good to be on the other side of the adventure, doesn’t it?

    • Karen Allen on June 23, 2024 at 10:47 pm

      Yep, you know what I’m talking about. And yes, it sure does feel good to have that behind us although I am still in “update” mode with new window treatments. The large paintings still need to be hung and a few boxes are waiting on their fate.

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Ewe R Blessed Ministries / Karen O. Allen

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