For the past five years I have felt somewhat nomadic. This would, perhaps, surprise some of those close to me.
Five years ago, I left my home, in Kent, to live at Bible College. I was a residential student for three years, changing rooms each year and having to move out every summer. During this time, my parents moved town, and on leaving Bible College, I moved to Lincoln, UK. I lodged with an incredible couple who made me feel very welcome and became like family to me. Yet, it is only now after living in my own home that I realise how nomadic I have felt. For five years I have not really known where to call home, and now that Julian and I are building our home together, God really has taught me more about the significance of home.
In this post, I want to share with you my thoughts about home, and the kind of home I’d like to continually build with Julian. Please do comment your own thoughts and tips – I am by no means an expert at this, and I would love to know what has helped you and your families.
[ictt-tweet-blockquote]An anchor holds a ship steady, no matter the weather, and prevents the ship drifting in wind and waves. I want my home to be a place which holds us steady, a secure place that marks the safe end of a (sometimes) long journey that day. [/ictt-tweet-blockquote]
First and foremost, home is my family, not a building. Moving away from my family affected my perception of ‘home’ more than I could have anticipated five years ago. Home is not the house you live in, or the room you rent, home is the place in which you belong. It’s the place where you make memories. The place to invite those closest to you. It is only now that Julian and I are beginning to establish our own home together that I truly feel home again. There are places over the past five years that I have felt ‘at home’, but truly being home is something I am rediscovering for myself this year.
The home is a place that needs to be protected. It should be a sanctuary from the demands and stresses life throws at us. It should be a private place, sheltered from the intrusiveness of the world. I am becoming more convinced each day that we need to defend and protect our home ferociously. Whether that’s a mansion or a room, the place we call home needs to remain a sanctuary.
Personally, I am challenged to consider how frequently I am absent from home, even whilst I sit in it. I can’t call the home a sanctuary when I am still constantly accessible to the world through my phone. My home no longer feels private, when every stressful situation is continually present at home with me.
A mentor once told me that he holds certain rooms as more sacred than others, and Julian and I have found this helpful in preserving the sanctity of our most private spaces. We decided very early on that talking about stresses at work was essential to help each other process situations, but that would only be done downstairs and before dinner. Our bedroom is our peaceful space alone, and we will not talk about stressful situations in that room. In the same way, we might invite someone into our home, and they would be welcome to feel at home in the large majority of our house, but they wouldn’t be welcome to be at home in our bedroom (that would be really weird!).
My home is a place I want to keep peaceful and safe, and I will do everything I can to protect that.
A healthy home is an anchor point for the rest of your life. I have realised that without a healthy home, a place to retreat to, the rest of my life, my relationships, my work, all seem chaotic and difficult. Yet when my home is healthy, when my home, my marriage and my relationship with God are the things I focus on most intently, even the most chaotic or stressful situation outside of my home feels much less crippling.
My home is a place that I should want to come back to each night, and miss on the occasions I travel away for a few nights.
An anchor holds a ship steady, no matter the weather, and prevents the ship drifting in wind and waves. I want my home to be a place which holds us steady, a secure place that marks the safe end of a (sometimes) long journey that day.
A Place to Dream
My home is the place where I have the freedom to dream. In the moments in my life when I have heightened anxieties and fears, the one thing that feels the hardest to do is dream about what could be, and what God is saying to me. When there are lots of struggles and pressures, if I have successfully built a home based on these characteristics, my home should release me to dream.
I dream at home both on my own and with Julian. We dream about what could be, what family might look like in years to come, and how we can serve God both separately and together. I pray that we will never stop dreaming.
These are a few things that God has been teaching me about home, let me know your thoughts on what home means for you.
Image Credits: Photo by Christopher Harris on Unsplash; Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash
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