“Home is that place that, when you go there, they have to take you in.”Robert Frost
I don’t know if I completly agree with Mr Frost in the above quote. I would think it is not so much about having to take you in as them wanting to. I believe that humans naturally crave a sense of belonging, whether to a location, such as where they grew up, or to a person. It is that sense of belonging that we view as ‘home’. Psychologist Frank McAndrew Ph.D defined ‘home’ as “the place where you feel oriented in space and time; it is a predictable and secure place”. It is interesting to me that a person can feel “at home” in a place not connected to any prior experience. Maybe you have heard someone describe meeting a stranger and instantly feeling like they “had come home”. A sense of ‘home’ is not about a location but a feeling that you belong and are welcome there.
As a parent, it was paramount to me to create a sense of ‘home’ for my children. I wanted them to know that they are unconditionally loved and secure despite our moving locations several times during their childhood, once being from one country to another. Initially, as a young mother, I stressed about it and thought my attempts inadequate because I was focusing on the physical home. As I matured as a mother, I realized that all the decor and toys (and later, electronics) that you give a child does not give them a sense of belonging, of being safe and cared for; a sense of self. I learned that it was my love, personal care, and affirmation of them that could give them that sense of well-being and security.
I didn’t learn that from any parenting tips in magazines or online. I learned it by examining my own sense of ‘home’. What made me feel unconditionally loved, cared for, safe, valued, and most importantly, free to be me? I found all of that in my relationship with God. Knowing Him through His Word, I learned how much He loves me, sees me, knows me, and cares about what concerns me. He shows it in so many tangible ways that there is no doubt in me of His existence and His unending love for me. When I feel unsure of myself or that I’ve failed, He doesn’t berate me but actually draws me closer to Him than when I’m doing good. He is my comfort and peace. He is my fortress, my place of safety and rest. He’s my ‘home’. Because of this, I can live anywhere in the world and still feel I’m ‘home’ because He is always with me.
As a parent, I have tried to live that example for my children. I want them to know that it’s not any location or physical dwelling place but in my arms that they will always find ‘home’. I knew that if they understand that example in me and their father, they would recognise it in God. Our oldest daughter lives an exciting life, traveling the globe and telling people about Jesus, as well as doing humanitarian work to improve living conditions for others. We were used to not seeing her for several weeks at a time while she was training and travelling. Then last year she moved from Australia to the USA and we all began to understand how the huge distance would impact us. Twice, we have been blessed to see her and spend time together. The best parts of those visits were the prolonged hugs and deep conversations. It is the reality of a loving, authentic relationship that gives us a sense of ‘home’. That’s the relationship God wants to have with us.
I realize that I am not God. (Thank God!) So I cannot be God to my children, or anyone else. I can, however, point the way to Him. I have taught and encouraged my children to know Him as I do. I can confidently say that they do. I see it. I hear it on their lips when they speak of Him and to Him; as they pray. This gives me such a deep assurance that whatever they encounter in life, it will be well with them. They know the One who will never leave or forsake them.
Friend, I hope you know a sense of home. If you don’t have a relationship with God and you would like to, you can. Please contact me, I’d love to talk with you further about it. Wherever you find ‘home’, I hope you know how valued, how loved, and how precious you truly are. In the comments, please share where your sense of ‘home’ is. There’s no wrong answer and I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for spending time with me today. Let’s visit again soon!
P.S. If you are interested, I hope the following scriptures will encourage you!
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.