As my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this weekend, I found myself traveling down memory lane. I have so many good memories from my childhood and I know that is because my parents were very intentional about everything that happened within our home. Home was a refuge. I longed to go home at the end of the day and knew I could relax and just be myself. It was safe. It was comfortable. It was filled with love. And it was encouraging.
Now that I’m an adult, I recognize how blessed I am to have had a safe home growing up. As a kid I thought my life was just like everyone else’s, but over the years my eyes were opened. Many children and even adults will never experience that safe, secure feeling and I am so thankful that my parents worked hard to make our home a refuge.
In a world where nothing is certain, one thing we can work on is creating a refuge in our homes. When I walk in the door, I want to feel safe and secure. I want my kids to know they are loved. I want to watch my tone of voice, check my words and heart at the door, and be kind to my family. I want my husband to want to walk in our door every night, not worry about what verbal attack is coming his way when he gets home from a long day at work. I want people to walk into my home and know they can just be themselves. No pretense or worry about the right thing to say or do, just come on in, prop their feet up and relax.
I’ve seen enough to realize that sometimes making home a refuge is just not possible. Alcohol, abuse, neglect, and so many other factors are often in homes and the peacemakers have no control over these variables. I see so many people who long for home to be a refuge and just can’t figure out a way to make it happen.
Even when making home a refuge seems impossible, we can still choose to let our lives be a refuge for those around us. We can be that safe space where people feel free to be themselves and take off that mask. We can love well and invite people into our world, not push them away or make them feel inferior. We can love genuinely, even if it means we might get hurt in the process. We can be the difference in someone’s life.
Whether it’s your home or yourself, or maybe a little of both, I challenge you this week to take a look at your life. What needs to change? What attitudes need to be thrown out? What unsafe practice needs to be removed from your home and life? And what steps need to be taken to create a refuge for others?
In the middle of this crazy world, be the refuge for the ones around you. It might just change their life.