Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Life Giving Home: Part 1 Thinking about Home (excerpt)

By: Sally and Sarah Clarkson

The very richness of this room brings life to my soul, and that is what this book is all about - how to create a home that nourishes, nurtures, and sustains life and beauty. It is all about how to order your living space and what happens there to embody the joy and beauty of God's own spirit. 

If we look at the lovely world that God has designed for us, we can see a pattern for what He has always intended for us - a home environment filled with color and creativity and order, a welcoming provider of laughter and refuge, a space where memories are made and shared. Instead of creating us to live in a house of weariness and colorlessness, God has made us to live in a home full of soul-beautiful elements. 

Give foundations of strength and inspiration to these precious ones, but give them wings as well. Prepare them to take risks, to live by faith, so that they can take the messages and cherished values they learned at home and share them with a hurting world. And so our home becoming a launching pad, a place of blessing, as we sent our beloved children on their way - hopefully strong, whole, and secure in the ideals, faith and values that truly matter. 

Part1: Thinking about Home 

1. A Lifegiving Legacy 

As I toured Biltmore, my imagination and vision were once again piqued by the idea of intentionally making my home a holding place for all that is beautiful, good, holy, and foundational to life - a place where those I love always feel like they belong, a place of freedom and grace that launches them into the persons they were made to be, a place of becoming. In the midst of demanding, constantly pressured lives, we all need refresher courses from time to time about what we are building and why we must be intentional about doing it. 

"All people need a place where their roots can grow deep and they always feel like they belong and have a loving refuge. And all people need a place that gives wings to their dreams, nurturing possibilities of who they might become."

Family was God's original organization scheme for society, and home was the laboratory where human beings could learn to glorify God through the work, relationships, and purposes of their lives. Home would be the place where love for God and commitment to His purposes would be passed down from one generation to another.

Homemaking - not in the sense of housekeeping, but in the broader sense of cultivating the life of a home - has to be done on purpose. 

The essence of home, you see, is not necessarily a structure. What makes a home is the life shared there, wherever they may be. And cultivating the life of home requires intentionality, planning, and design. There must be someone (or several someones) to craft the life, the beauty, the love, and the inspiration that overflows from that place. 

Because of our missionary, job-oriented lives, Clay and I knew from the beginning that we would probably not have a static homestead where we could congregate over our life as a family. So we focused on creating home out of less tangible materials - traditions, habits, rhythms, experiences, and values. 

Creating a lifegiving home, then, is a long process taken one step, one season at a time. 

The intentionality of seeking to build my home piece by piece, day by day, as moved me and my family toward the goal of creating a great legacy of healthy people who live and grow within its walls. 

Home should be the very best place ever to be. 

2. Made for Home 

We don't have to have a perfect family, a healthy background. We don't have to have lived in one place. We don't have to own a mansion or even a house. Nothing required for the making of home except a heart that loves God, an imagination fired by His Spirit, and hands ready to create. And, well, a bit of courage, spaces and fill them. But when we do, the Kingdom comes in the homes we make as the love of God becomes flesh in our lives once more. 

I'm still holding out for a cottage with a garden someday, but until then, I know that each new little student room is my space of possible creation. 

As I order and hope, fill and form, the Holy Spirit is renewing one more corner of the world. Here, in my room, the fallen stuff of the broken earth is being formed back into love, into home. There's no place like it. 

3. A Symphony of Grace 

- The Music of Welcome: We always try to write the name of those we know will be entering our home. 

We want all who enter our little kingdom - family, friends, and guests - to know that they are welcome and cherished in this sacred place we call home. 

- The Music of Safety: I try to ensure that wisdom, truth and the reality of God's grace are kept within and that my home is a haven from the destructive voices of the outside world. 

In order to protect ourselves and others from finding menacing influences, as much as possible, we must purpose ways to keep our homes as havens of all that is good, pure, innocent, and excellent. If the Lord guards our own coming and going, so we should be guards over what is allowed into our homes. 

- The Music of Knowledge and Wisdom: As a young woman, I began to picture my children's hearts as treasure chests of a different sort, and I vowed to fill them with intrinsic treasures: the best stories, memorized Scripture, priceless images of classical art, excellent books, memories from great feasts enjoyed together and special days celebrated, great Bible stories and wisdom passages, plus heart photographs of love given, holiday cherished, lesson learned. 

- The Music of Beauty: We honor Him when we make beauty a priority in our homes. 

- The Music of Relationship: Relationships are the core focus of celebrating life together in a place. Consequently, the desire to create spaces for friendship, companionship, and fellowship, influenced many of our home choices - even the furniture we bought, where we placed it, and how we used it. 

- The Music of Nourishment: I believe every meal should be a celebration of life itself as we break bread and enter fellowship together. And the way those meals are planned, prepared, and served enhances the connection and the celebration. Every meal, in other words, should be a feast for the senses and the spirit. 

- The Music of Rest: - a personalized space for each occupant (in a bedroom) 

Having home that tells a great story happens over time as we mature, refine, create, and love. 

I hope you will have that experience as well. Whatever your taste, preferences, and style, you have the freedom to create your own home art and make your dwelling a place that is distinctively yours - a place of comfort, safety, and delight for you and everyone who steps inside your door. 

4. The Rhythms of Incarnation 

A Renewed Awareness 
If we want to embody the life of God in our homes, we need to understand what God intended human life to be, and we also need to be aware of what distracts us from that intention or diminishes it in our lives. 

A Scrambled Consciousness
The rhythms of earth and body require me to sleep. The limitations of my physical senses mean I can only hear so  many voices, so many words at one time. But the online world is unresting. 

We can only create what we have imagined. We can only embody the life of God if we have internally known and tasted His goodness. 

If the precious, limited hours of my day are used bit by bit in scanning information. I will have less and less time for the attentive, slow, good work of creativity, conversation, and connection that real people and real homes require. 
If my awareness of space is concentrated on a screen, my home will reflect the absence of my attention, my creativity, and ultimately, my love. 

We cannot change the world if we cannot incarnate God's live in our own most ordinary spaces and hours. Homemaking must be understood as a potent Kingdom endeavor, not merely a domestic task. Homemaking requires a willed creativity, a conscious diligence, because we are called to create new life and challenged to do it in the midst of a world that actively resists us in this endeavor. 

No comments:

Post a Comment