Bronx Park East, a new single-room occupancy residence, in the Bedford Park neighborhood in the Bronx. Jonathan Kirschenfeld Architect P.C. (click for article)

An article in the New York Times  recently highlighted the significance of new housing models that reflect a changing New York. Here’s an excerpt:

“Isn’t the idea here to improve mental health?” Mr. Kirschenfeld said. “Isn’t good architecture part of that?”

It is, and Bronx Park East, like other S.R.O.’s Mr. Kirschenfeld has designed in the city, lends dignity to what at least used to be a byword for urban pariah and a building type that often resembled a prison.

Households have evolved. But New York’s housing stock hasn’t. In essence, New Yorkers have increasingly had to adapt to the housing we’ve got, instead of designing and building the housing that suits who we have become.

What does this have to do with girl matters?

In this world, women are under a lot of pressure. Society spits out manufactured molds of what the model woman ought to be- put together, pretty, prim, proper, and (almost) perfect. We’re told that we should be able to do it all- cook, clean, concentrate on our careers, care for our loved ones, conceal our blemishes, and console others with the same counsel that we often can’t take for ourselves. Stressed out yet?

Kimmelman’s critique of the current housing situation in NYC is parallel to this struggle that we face. We are forced into the tiny limitations of our human weakness, yet expect to amount to greatness. Instead of believing by faith that God’s grace is sufficient to live for His glory, we often wear ourselves out trying to build our own city. Frustrated yet?

I have to remember that God is the one who stretched out the heavens and created everything under it. He has given us freedom in His dominion to live out our newly redeemed lives to the fullest. We are a new creation in Christ! To use the architecture illustration, we’ve got to design and build the housing that suits who we have become. Our building codes are spiritual disciplines- there are some rules for our own protection; but that doesn’t mean we have to settle with boring, bland, dull stuff. Let’s use some bright colors and fun patterns; let’s design with the creativity that we’ve been gifted with. Clearing out these spaces in our lives so that God’s grand purpose can take over? Now that sounds refreshing.

I’ve been itching to do a “space inventory” of my life recently:

  • Do I have room in my schedule to spend quality time with my Father?
  • Does my mind have the capacity to take in His Word and promises for me each day?
  • Is my heart an open territory for the Holy Spirit to do His work?
  • Is my home a welcoming environment to be a hospitable place for my spiritual family?
  • Are my hands and feet available to obey and serve others?

What kind of space will I need to fully live as a woman of God?


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