For as long as I lived with my parents, I always took for granted that the responsibility of decorating the house did not fall on me. I had no reason to give any thought to the importance of what goes into a home. And the thought literally never crossed my mind that that would even be something of importance.

Until I had my own home and my own family, and I stood in the doorway confusedly scanning the predominantly void space on the walls.

Why was I confused?

Because in that moment, I realized that empty walls make a difference. And not a good one.

I realized that the things we place on the walls of our home are a reflection of what is most important to us, and serve as reminders of those things on the days when we need to feel the love and warmth that a home is supposed to offer.

I was confused because my house didn’t have that.

It’s not that I don’t love my family or don’t place them as one of the highest priorities in my life. But it occurred to me that the empty space on my walls creates this discord in that, to someone who doesn’t live here every day, it might not actually be apparent that these encased in these walls is the home of a loving, encouraging, life-giving family.

If I pretend to be an unbiased observer walking into my house, I can’t say that I feel warmth and welcome and peace. No, I think I feel like I wanted to get the heck out of here. The toys and packages strewn across the living room floor, and the abundance of dishes (some clean, some not clean) piled upon the kitchen counters tell me that this place has little to offer me in the way of relaxation. And I’m 100% right.

Because in the midst of all that chaos, there’s not much else inviting a sense of warmth and welcome. No happy faces staring down from carefully hung picture frames. No windows into the lives of the people who live here or the pleasant memories they share. Nothing to grasp my attention or affection.

In reality, I really don’t spend a lot of time at my house, and that’s probably a huge reason why we haven’t put many pictures on the wall. And I do hope that that changes soon, because I desperately want my house to feel like a home. But I also don’t know that this particular house is going to ever give us that.

My point is this, that the things we fill our houses with and the pictures we put on our wall are far more than just status quo. It’s more than just something that everybody does. The act of putting those pictures up and sharing those memories with your guests, plays an integral role in bringing life to the love that resides in that place.