"He who walks with integrity walks securely" Prov. 10:9.
"He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity" Prov. 2:7.
"I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart" Psalm 101:2.
Integrity. A word short in length but long in importance; we hear it upheld as an important character quality to focus on with our children and certainly look for it in people we spend time with. When I try to define it, though, it feels a bit like grasping mercury. It has something to do with telling the truth and doing what you say you'll do, but that seems more a definition for plain old honesty. So what does it mean to have integrity? And if my children and friends need it, what about me?
Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary is my favorite help for defining important words, and this one is no exception because it reminds me of something I can forget: integrity doesn't refer only to the words we say and the actions we take; but also who we are. From the online version of his dictionary:
integrity: 1. wholeness; entireness; unbroken state
2. The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty.
3. Purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state; as the integrity of language.
Now we're getting somewhere: integrity has to do with wholeness. When a house is being evaluated, assessors will often discuss the integrity of the structure. How's the roof? Are the walls straight? Is water able to come in, anywhere? Are there cracks in the foundation? Perhaps these are questions we ought to ask of ourselves, too.
When it comes to motherhood ...
Am I being intentional?
Am I making decisions based on biblical values?
Am I choosing pathways that will create deep, loving relationships and give value to the people personally connected to me?
Am I willing to take risks of faith to invest my life in the things of eternity?
Am I listening to the world, or to the voice of God?
Who we are at home is who we truly are. While it's simple enough to project lovely images online for the world to see or to impress people who only see us in contexts outside the home, our families get the real deal and live with the truth of our personal soundness -- or lack thereof. Home is the place where our integrity is built and stretched and proven. May we bring our broken and unsound places to the foot of the cross and allow God to change us, that we might offer Him, our families, and the world the gift of a life of true integrity.