Friday, June 26, 2009

Home Em-body

Since January, I have faced the challenge of redefining my home. In the large scheme of things, my home is already defined. The bible has given me my guidelines, so really I have been “catching on” to what my home could be. It has been a monumental endeavor. I did not think that it would be, but to truly make a home is an intense daily activity.

Here are a couple of things, off of the top of my head, that I know about homes.

1. A home is nothing if it relies on appearance. My home can appear happy, but everyone can be miserable. The façade of home and the façade of marriage can be devastating. When this is reality, what do I do with the rest of my life? I am disappointed. When I am not in public, I live a great disappointment because there is no content. Content is messy. Messy is where we see God working. There is no room for messy in a façade.

2. Homes are the place that the messy is worked out. The messy is prayed over and loved on, and by God’s grace and helpful hearts, it can be healed and changed. The messy is where God does His cleanest works.

The book of Proverbs tells us that the home is the place where the action happens. Do you want to know how to disagree with someone, without escalation? Learn to do it right with the ones that love you. If this is scary, remember this, when one heart changes, it is like dominos. There is so much grace in a home and God honors it.

I have considered this for a family verse, Romans 12:9-18,

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Doesn’t that just say it all?

3. The home prepares us for the larger community. It gives us all the tools that we need to embody our faith while dealing with the world. This is what parents do. They stock up the tool belts of their kids so that when they leave, they have everything that they need to build their own homes. This is constant action…every day, every word and every minute. No wonder all of my friends are tired.

This is not just with children, however. Marriage teaches vulnerability and intimacy that you cannot learn in your home growing up. I think that I am able to be a better friend now. I am less afraid of people knowing my faults. I can reach out for prayer. My best friend, my husband, knows all of it. He knows where I come short and he still loves me. I now look for friends who show the same grace. This has changed my life.

4. A home should be a place to manifest the fruits of the Spirit. Our home should drip with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. My nephew told me that he wants to come here for college so that he can be near us. He wants to come over and get spoiled…and bring friends. The one stipulation was that they could not be spoiled more than him. My heart runneth over! My home draws him. My home spells peace and love and abundance to him…and video games.

My life statement is, “To effectively nurture, love, share & appreciate from the abundance of my life.” I should have abundance because my satisfaction comes from the Lord. It does not start in my tasks, church or with my girlfriends. I can only do this only if I am filled and my husband is filled in ways that I can address. I attend to myself spiritually and intellectually, and I attend to my husband’s needs. When that is complete, I share with people and things outside of my priorities. My home gets my best.

Oh, but when you come to my home, you share in my best. That is the part that I really love! When people touch this consecrated place, they can say, “I feel like I was home”. A girlfriend of mine (the one who commented yesterday) was sitting with me on her couch. We were talking about how wonderful it is to go into someone’s house and feel like you just want to put your feet up and snuggle down. I love afternoons with my girlfriends. I love to celebrate with them in their places of peace. A home can be so powerful. It can move someone from chaos to Jesus.

This is what a home can and should be.

Moving to the main point…So, this morning, when I read John 14:23, “Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’, I was wrapped in a warm blanket.

5. Those who love the Lord and keep His word will have God the Father and the Son with them…at home.

That is such a great thought.

Father, thank you for our homes and the possibilities of You that exist within them. Let them be expressions of You and opportunities for You. Let them warm their inhabitants and draw them closer to you. Show us where to start.

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