Home is a foretaste of Heaven on Earth, at least it is meant to be. That sense of belonging, safety and nurturing. The Israelites spent forty years searching for their promised home. In the Theology of Home, the authors refer to home as ‘domestic churches’, that we should endeavour to create a home which is reflective of the temple of the Lord.
I wonder if knowing God shines through in Christian homes? I wonder what ‘being reflective of the temple of God’ really means. I think maybe that will be different depending on the family who lives there. God made us in all different shapes and sizes. To some He gives the gift of devotion through prayer; others the gift of devotion through acts of service; to others still He gifts them the ability to show devotion through music. I do not know that I possess in any great way any of the above examples. But I do remember a pastor’s wife who lived opposite us, stopping by anytime she needed a minute. She used to come in, take a deep breath and would always comment on the Peace she felt when she walked into our home. I always did a double take. My home is not tidy, I am not a natural homemaker. My home is not quiet. We are all naturally boisterous and raucous. And she and I were not ever left alone to chat, instead we were interrupted every thirty seconds or so by a child.
Over the years our home has been a refuge for those seeking Peace (and amongst all the noise and mess, this really is a Peace which surpasses ALL understanding!). We have had a fairly steady stream of teens, and latterly an older couple, come and stay with us. If someone needs a place to stay we will find the room, even if it’s just a temporary bed is put up in our cramped hallway. And yes, that has actually happened on account of more than one teen needing a bed for the night.
For many years I wondered if perhaps God had forgotten about me, that maybe He ran out of gifts when it was my turn in the line. I watched all those around me as they used all their very obvious and wonderful gifts to serve God, and I felt lacking. I found simply attending church hard (being somewhat an introvert) and overwhelming. Anytime I offered to help with anything I always felt rather useless and in the way, oh and very, very awkward.
A few of years ago, I decided to step back. I guess letting go and letting God, comes to mind. I felt like anything I had to offer was second rate, and I wondered what would happen if I did nothing, instead waiting on God. So that is what I did.
I was perhaps the last to notice, but another pastor’s wife, whilst we were out to dinner, took my hand and made the comment that she just loved the way God worked. I looked at her questioningly. Eh? She said that she knew I found socialising hard, and being around lots of people hard and that my home is my happy place, my safe place. She paused. I looked blank. She continued. Don’t you just love the way God brings the people to you? You don’t have to go out in order to serve. You can serve from your home.
And inside, so did I.
God uses each one of us just as we are, just where we are. How wonderful is that? God uses us just as we are. Just as I am. No need to be better. No need to be more gifted. No need to be anything other than willing.