A Sarine Thought… or Two
Making a House a Home
When you were growing up, was there a house where you and your friends always went to hang out, and no matter the day or time, you were always welcomed with open arms? There always seemed to be snacks or a meal at the ready, and you always knew your place at the table would be set.
Maybe you were blessed enough for your house to be the home where all your friends wanted to congregate after a ball game or school dance. Or maybe you were one of those who was welcomed by a friend’s parents, who loved (and yelled at) every young person who walked through their door as if they were their own son or daughter. Either way, that place and those people inevitably hold wonderful memories of love, laughter, and fellowship that warm your heart anytime they come to mind.
Now that I am the one doing the adulting and homemaking, I want my house to be a place like that for our family and others. I want my home to be one where everyone feels welcome when they walk in the door and completely loved when they walk out. Now, don’t mistake me here… I am in no way, shape, or form a party planner extraordinaire. Some people are good at creating amazing atmospheres and moments. “Hostesses with the mostesses,” if you will. I’m not one of those. I can scramble eggs and make a mean pot of beans, but I don’t give a rip about matching napkins and tablecloths or hosting a theme night at my house. In fact, my upper lip literally broke out in a sweat just thinking of all the prep work necessary for such a feat! Kudos to those who do this well. I’ve enjoyed many a fine soiree because of your hard work and attention to detail. But I want mine to be the house where when you want to laugh or cry with someone, on a random Thursday afternoon at 4:37 p.m. you can come on in and we will do that together.
For me to feel like I can let my hair or emotions down, there are certain things that must be in regular play within an environment: laughter, love, and the Lord.
I don’t know about you, but I feel so much more at home when houses are full of laughter. I’ve written before about the importance of laughter in my life, and I believe it holds true. Laughter brings warmth and life to moments that otherwise fall flat. A house where the inhabitants laugh together emits a feeling of comfort and kinship. Whenever I look back on some of my favorite moments, laughter has played a role nine times out of ten. Perhaps it has something to do with the vulnerability revealed when walls are let down, and you completely agree with the people around you that a moment or comment is simultaneously entertaining, interesting, and provides a feeling of well-being. This means we are laughing with each other, not at each other, and there’s a big difference between the two. When everyone in the joint thinks it’s funny, there’s no common ground like it to be found!
Second, a feeling of genuine love must be felt. Going into a place knowing that the people within it love each other and want good things for each person who walks through the doors automatically reduces any apprehensions one may have felt before entering. That’s not to say these houses don’t see their fair share of disagreements and heated discussions because they do; these places are full of people, for heaven’s sake! But in these homes, the sun doesn’t go down on the anger that sometimes crops up, and forgiveness is offered regularly. Everyone knows everyone else has issues, quirks, habits, and sin they are dealing with, but all are welcomed and loved, anyway—not enabled to continue in any wrongdoing, but encouraged to be better and try our best.
Most importantly, I feel truly at home where God is the central focus. I’m a firm believer that the happiest homes contain families that play together and pray together. Having God as the center of a home takes the pressure of perfection off the humans within it. People aren’t perfect. They mess up… a lot. But God doesn’t. So, when everyone agrees He is the head of the household, everything runs smoother. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He knows it all, so trusting Him to lead the family frees people up to participate in those times of laughter and love. Everything won’t always be easy, but God never forsakes those who trust and follow Him. He walks with them through the hard times and blesses them with sweet times as well. This truth brings what everyone desires in their home: peace. True peace doesn’t happen apart from God being at the center.
With all this in mind, I’m going to be keeping God at the center of my life, loving those around me, and laughing whenever possible, so whoever walks through my door will be welcomed not just into my house, but into my home.