Merriam-Webster defines “home” as ” one’s place of residence.” Alternatively home can be defined as “the social unit formed by a family living together.” While both of these definitions are very generic and stale they get the basic point across. Home is a dwelling place where a family unit (however that may be defined) lives together. At the very base level that is what home is. However, I believe that home is meant to be something so much more.
At the beginning of November I shared my goals for the rest of 2020 and 2021. One of those goals is to focus on my word for the year: HOME. If COVID has proved anything to me it is that I have fallen short when it comes to my hopes and dreams for making my home the haven that I truly want it to be. Sure part of that is due to where we have lived, the busyness of our lives, and other factors but now I truly feel that I’m in a place where I can really hone in and create the home atmosphere I have always longed for.
While I was in Seminary I had the joy of participating in several conferences that were dedicated to encouraging women in their homemaking journey. During one of these conferences one of the guest speakers was Devi Titus. Her time at the conference was focused on the importance of the home being the center hub for life and ministry. While I was there my mom (who attended the conference with me along with my sister) purchased a copy of Devi’s book “The Home Experience”. I have had this book on my shelves for years with the intention of diving in and following all the principles to get my home the way I envision it being but for one reason or another I have never done it. Well now it’s time for that to change. So, welcome to my journey through The Home Experience.
Chapter 1: The Dignity and Sanctity of the Home
Family was the first institution that God established. He carefully crafted man and women to come together to create new life. He set the home and family in order before sin ever entered the world. All throughout Scripture the importance of family is on display. In the first chapter of “The Home Experience” Devi Titus explains that the dignity of the home is seeing and experiencing the home’s worth while the sanctity of the home is the purpose, purity, and heart in the home. Home is the place for the human soul to find sanctuary where they can rest, recharge, be refreshed, and renewed.
Home is the place that should be considered the asset that we treasure the very most, where the majority of our time, energy, creativity, and nurturing is devoted. However, in a world where the majority of women are turning their creative powers to activities away from the home this treasure is being undermined. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for women having a career and striving for higher education, however, that still doesn’t change the fact that we as women have a calling and design to be the primary influence within our homes.
Home isn’t simply a building or structure where a family lives as Merriam-Webster defines it. Home isn’t merely an activity either. Home is the basis for human society. It is the launching point for all other activities. The house, the physical structure with the four walls divided into individual rooms, becomes a home when the people inside spend time together in it. Anything can go from a house to a home when the people who live there come together to build strong loving relationships with each other. The problem is that when there is anger, resentments, and neglect the sanctity and dignity of the home are undermined and the atmosphere of the home becomes one of contempt. Only when love, joy, and peace are nurtured in a home is that dignity and sanctity preserved.
Establishing Family Values
We all have values, things that we find as important. I like to call these our “hills to die on.” These values-our relationship with God, our spouse, our children, extended family, friends, and work-are areas we focus the majority of our time on. However, that old adage of “actions speak louder than words” is very true when it comes to this situation. We often find that we say our home is the most important part of our lives but our actions say otherwise when we spend more time running to and for, neglecting home projects, and only really being in the home for a few meals and to sleep.
The home is also where the best of our relationships are formed and cultivated. When you spend your time with your family in your home you are communicating to them that home is a very safe place, a place where the sharing of joy and triumphs while also being a place of comfort and rest in times of sorrow or trails. When it comes to the life in your home ask yourself “If these walls could talk what stories would they tell? Would they be tales of love, laughter, tears, and reflection? Or would they be silent because there are no stories to tell?”
The home should be the hub of civilization. And this year, when we have been living through COVID-19 and all the things that have come with that more people, including our family, have turned our attention back to our homes. And the thing that I have come to realize is that I want my walls to tell different stories. I want my children to have the clear understanding that home is their haven, their safe place to be, where friends and family alike can find the love of God through the open door, the warm pot of coffee or cup of tea, and an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.
The Study Questions
Each chapter comes with a series of study questions to help guide and restore the value of the home. Here they are:
Describe your home environment. Is it a haven of peace or a cave of confusion? Why?
We have lovingly deemed our home “Marshall Manor” mostly because it sounds neat and the words flow together well. Due to the simple nature of our lifestyle we have always spent more time in the home than I think most but we are still a family that has found ourselves busier than we would like. This often times leads to our home being more of a cave of confusion than a haven of peace. I think we have had seasons of peace but it is my goal for our home to be more of that haven of peace.
Look at your home and ask yourself “What do my rooms say to people who enter?” Doe the clutter say “Go somewhere else? There is no space here for you!” Does the formality say “Sit up straight! “Change your clothes!” “Be seen and not heard!” What message does your kitchen give? What area(s) of your home give a warm inviting message? Which room(s) could use a makeover?
I LOVE this question. I have spent a lot of time looking at the state of our home. One thing that I just can not stand is clutter. I am working very hard to ensure that everything has a place and that random piles of things are slowly being eliminated. I am also slowly learning our family’s personal style. The things that we find as homey and cozy. I want my home to be a place that is clean, organized, and in place but also says it is lived and loved in. I want people to feel like they can easily come in to our home, find a comfy spot on the couch, and just be. At present all the rooms could use a make over but there are underlying issues with that I am working on.
Wrapping things up
There are several more questions and I went through them all but I felt like these are the ones that I felt really spoke to me. The home is more important now than ever. People everywhere are spending more time in their homes and it is clear that there is a lot of work that can be done. So, I hope that you will join me on this journey as I work to get the home a place where life, love, and growth can and will take place.