We go to Crossroads Community Church. It's considered a "mega" church, but it feels much smaller to me. I really love it there and so does Josh and the kids. Recently, they started a church-wide series and study about Home. It has really got me thinking.
Our study book starts with this quote:
"What if it were possible to feel completely at Home, no matter where you were? What if you could always feel understood, valuable, protected and loved - like a child who is treasured? What if you could let down your guard, get recharged, find rest and be filled with bravery and hope? And what if you could experience that place right now, right here - and every single day from now on? No matter where you are right now, you can.
Wow. What a thought. Each time I read it, I get a little choked up.
When I think about what it feels like to be home, I'm transported back to my childhood, to my family home. I have to be honest: it was ideallyic. Partly because I was a little shielded by the "real world" becuase of not being so "connected" as kids are today, but mostly because I had a fantastic family who always made me feel safe, taken care of, loved and secure. We had woods in which to play, a pony in our back yard, my grandparents living behind us and a dinner bell to call us home when it was time to call it a day. My parents were married for 40 years (and lived on the same property since they got married) before my Dad died; my grandparents married a whoipping 67 years before Grandma passed away.
Norman, where were you when we needed a family portrait?!
I call it my abnormally normal childhood. I reconize that I am in the minority. I don't tell you this to boast or brag (although I'm admittedly immeasureably proud to have come from this family). But I say it because I have great feelings of inadequacy sometimes.
How can I ever live up to this for my own kids?!!?
I live in a smaller townhome, that needs more cleaning and fixing than I have time or resources. I have a 10 x 10 back yard for my kids...and there in no pony in sight. My mother, the only grandparent, lives 30 minutes on the other side of the city. I do not have a dinner bell, and it would likely freak the neighbors out if I did. We will probably move a number of times before we are ever able to settle into a more long-term house.
So with all this, how do I create Home for my family? When I really started to think about it. I noticed that, not only was I focusing on all the things I didn't have or didn't have control over, I was also focusing on all the actual THINGS. I pondered: did the security I felt as a child come from the Pony, or the woods or even the dinner bell? NO! Those are all things that were just plesant tangible reminders of the joy and happiness I felt as a kid.
I reread the quote from our book and realized: I WAS TREASURED! Not only by my parents and family, but on a level I also knew I was treasured by GOD as a child!
I want to be sure that my kids feel the same level of saftey, care, love and security that I did. I want them to feel equally (or even more) TREASURED! That doesn't mean that I have to live on a farm and have all the things I did as a kid. I can provide my children the gift of feeling treasured through my actions, love and examples; not just through physical things. I always have known that things don't buy happiness, but for some reason, this was na Oprah "ah-ha" moment for me. Those more tangible things may come for our kids, as we regain control of our finances after Grad school and a 100K medical bill (the latter of which is thankfully nearly gone thanks to insurance and the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps). Because I do want them to benefit from enjoying some things in life. But even if the things don't come, I can still show them how treasured they are!
Eventhough I will (hopefully) not be living in my current home in 20 or 40 years, I can still make a beautiful Home for my children.
I visited my Mom this past weekend. Mom and I were talking about how surreal it is sometimes for me to see my own children at her house. I get emotional about it sometimes because it makes me feel so happy. I'm thrilled that my kids get to experience that home like I did. They will have some of the same memories of playing there that I do. However, in thinking about all these things, I realized that the home is not the same: Dad is gone, the neighbors have changed, the property is smaller and the pony has long been put out to pasture. But it still feels like home because I am surrounded by the peace of God and the treasure of what is my family. And I think that is the most important part.
I am Home there, not because of what things were there, but because we were a family.
So, all things considered, now I'll try and relax and work on building my family Home, no matter where I am or what I have. We can do lots of things in our house to support our kids in feeling treasured, like reading stories, playing under tents made from bedsheets, going to a Reds game together in the cheap seats, playing in the snow, baking cookies, playing at the park or just simply eating dinner together. Above all, my parets gave me time and experiences, not that cost a forturne financially, but that were ultimately priceless in meaning.
This, I feel like I can certainly live up to. And no matter what your family looks like, what you have or where you are, you can do this, too. Teach your children what it's like to be treasured so that they can treasure others as well. If we all made each other feel treasured - no matter our gifts and abilities are - what a beautiful world that would be!