Peace - that was the other name for home. ~ Kathleen Norris
What a wonderful portrayal of what home should be like. A place of peace, of rest - a sanctuary.
I've been doing some thinking about specific ways to make home that sanctuary. Each family is different, each home is different, but here are some of the things I am coming to understand for my home and I hope that in sharing these, I can inspire others to think deeply about ways to bring that peace and that sense of sanctuary into their own homes.
1. True peace only comes from God. And since true peace only comes from God it stands to reason that to have peace in our home He has to be an integral part of our home. And this has to start with Mom and Dad. Regular prayer and study of the Word are vital if we intend to establish Him as the center of home. Some other ways we make Him an integral part is by learning about Him together, through reading the Word and through devotional books. Regular prayer time together and scripture memorization are also ways we make sure He is made a part of our home. And the counting of blessings together goes a long way toward increasing our awareness of the wonder of the God we serve. These are some of things we do now or have done in the past to ensure that we are keeping our focus where it should be - on our awesome Father God and His Son Jesus.
2. Space. More and more recently I've come to realize the need for space in so many areas of life and this includes in the home. The need for space spans a number of areas. There is the need for each individual to have the space to be the unique person that God created them to be. There is the need for space in our schedules and routines for time to enjoy each other as well as to buffer the unexpected things that come up in life. And there is the need for physical space - space free from clutter, space that is kept attractive and clean and inviting to each person.
3. Acknowledging and celebrating our own uniqueness as a family. Each family is different and that is what makes them so special. My own family is made up of an interesting variety of people - my husband and I come from very different backgrounds, and our children ours through birth, adoption and a unique care giving arrangement. But it works for us, it is our family and we celebrate our uniqueness. My own way of celebrating this has been to make patchwork curtains for our home. It reminds me of the beauty that can come from a seemingly random assortment of pieces placed together to form a beautiful whole.
4. Time. In order for us to live together as in a peaceful home we have to take the time to really and truly know and understand each other. And as much as it seems like it should be a totally natural result of sharing the same space it really isn't that simple. It is much to easy to become like ships passing at sea, in full view of each other, sharing the same water, and yet each totally unaware of anything beyond what is observable on deck. There is often so much more going on inside each ship (each person) that can only be seen and understood if we take the time to put down the anchors, lower my sails, and allow the captain of the other ship to take me for a tour. For me, that takes a conscious effort, I'm far too often content to simply continue to sail around each other, happy that everything on deck looks great, until suddenly the other ship springs a leak and begins to sink. Okay, enough with the ship analogy. The moral of the story is, it is vitally important for family members to spend intentional time with one another, so that not only can we help each other stay afloat, but also truly enjoy our relationships with each other.
5. Respect. Respect for each other is a key component in a peaceful home. We all know that children should respect their parents, but I also believe each person in the family should show respect for each other. I do NOT mean that the children should run the family, simply that each person's feelings, personalities and other characteristics should be taken into account when decisions are made. It is much easier for a child to give respect when they know they are valued as a part of the whole. It is much easier for children to get along and live together happily when they have respect for each other.
It takes hand to build a house, but only hearts can build a home. ~ Author Unknown
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