When is a house a home and how does a house make a home or they the same thing? Have you ever thought about that question? My husband and I have moved seventeen times in our twenty-six years of marriage. When I think how courageous it was to pack up everything you own and move that many times with four little boys I have often wondered if we were just crazy! Every home we lived in brought significant change in our lives and reminds us of different seasons in our marriage and family. So much different from our parents, in which his and mine continued to live in the same town and in the same house for years. However, getting back to my question, “How does a house become a home?”
A home is what you make it. It can be a place of chaos or a place of refuge. To me the definition of a house is just a dwelling place or a shelter. On the other hand, a home is an environment offering security and happiness as a valued place of protection. I have visited houses and I have visited homes. I often find it intriguing on how people live, what style they may have or what disciplines in which their parents handed down.
When we first married, our house was just a house. We did own it and took pride in fixing it up, paying the monthly bills but it was just that, a house. We both worked most of the time and it was a starting place for a newly married couple however we didn’t even know who we were much less knows how to make a house a home. We lived there for almost two years, a dwelling place for eating, sleeping and resting. A place where I didn’t do dishes and I hate to admit I threw them away if they were in the sink too long. I barely washed clothes so you can laugh and say I was a slob but on the other side, my husband was a neat freak. Can you imagine the chaos? We laugh now, but at the time it brought many bumpy paths in our relationship. Over the next couple of houses, the home environment was trying to spring up, yet we found ourselves repeating the same actions and cycles of marriage. Selfishness kicks in and independence strikes in chaotic worlds. I can truly say our house didn’t become a home until we gave our hearts to Jesus Christ 110%. There was much change to take place and it wasn’t an overnight magic happening. It took time to change lifestyle and habits. I was never taught strict discipline so I had to change to make my husband happy and to provide a safe place for my children. I had to get self-help books on organization, how to books to be a better mother, housekeeper and bookkeeper. Believe me, I have them all. During those days, there was no computer and resources were limited at the local library. He on the other hand, had to learn to give in to my whimper of trying to be home all day with four children under the age of seven in a two-bedroom house less than twelve hundred square foot. I thought I would go insane some days. I tell younger women now who face the same challenge, my twenties were a blur, my thirties was starting to get better, made mistakes but changed and now in my forties I have found tranquility. It’s all in the seasons and I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because it makes you who you are today. The mistakes and challenges you face today become the glory to God expressed in strong realities in the lives you help change.
A home is a place of refuge, protection and safety. I always try to create an atmosphere for my family where it is peaceful and clean. When Jeff came home, as most men, he didn’t want to talk. He just wanted to sit down, relax, eat and play with the boys. Me on the other hand just wanted to talk his ear off since I hadn’t had an adult conversation all day. Usually the house was clean, just toys everywhere until I learned organization skills. You wouldn’t believe the difference it will make. A daily list and calendar became a part of our lifestyle. I smile when I see Lyle pack his suitcase for a trip. He even folds neatly his dirty clothes as though they were clean upon returning. Sometimes I think I created a monster in which either his wife will love me or hate me. I laugh because Bryson is quiet the opposite. He could care less and his chaos world is a reflection of mine when I was his age. I always dreaded vacations because as a mother, it was more work than pleasure, yet I treasured a break from the routine and looked forward to the memories we made.
A home is a place of protection and a place to rejoice. Protection means there is a promise of safety. I won’t get hurt in a home, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically. My husband and I always tried to protect our lives and our boys in all these areas. You can ask them, growing up in a preachers home at times seemed to them very strict and not normal compared to the other people they may have been exposed to. Nevertheless, we always tried to make our home a loving and a positive one. We made our home a place for neighbors, friends and family. A place to come for fellowship, food and laughter. As our boys grew into teen years, we wanted their friends to come over instead of them leaving to go elsewhere. To make a house a home, there must be time set aside to rejoice, eat and be merry and provide a place for open invitation.
Do you live in a house or a home? It is your choice. You can either learn to submit your life to Christ and His holiness in character and disciplines or wallow around in a dwelling of chaotic fear, unbelief and a mess. The inside of your dwelling place reveals your true character.
Titus 2:5-6 We should encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible and pure, to manage their home, to be kind, and to submit themselves to their husbands. Otherwise, the word of God may be discredited.