Paul and I had a lovely home in North Carolina that we decided to sell. We live and work in North Dakota and so keeping up with yard work was becoming arduous.
The day came to pack up our home and leave it after 14 years. I felt extremely sad as I walked through the empty house and thought of all the memories we had made in that sweet little house. My heart was feeling decidedly downcast as I said: "I am so sad to be leaving my home." I heard the gentle voice of God say so clearly to me, that there was no denying it, "You are leaving your house, (the bricks and mortar) but you are taking your home with you." Wow! What a special moment as I stopped in my tracks to consider those words. Yes, I was leaving the shell of my house behind, but all the wonderful, happy memories were going right along with me.
It is so important that we are committed to making our houses into joy-filled homes. These are some of the things I think are important.
1. Talk and Tell stories: When our family gathers around the dinner table there is noise! Everyone is talking and sometimes all at the same time. We love to tell stories from our past and stories about today. We sit and laugh and sometimes we cry as we remember the wonderful and happy times in other places. We may have left those places years ago, but we wrapped up all the memories in our memory boxes and we keep drawing them out to share them with each other. Some of the stories get told over and over, but they reinforce family, joy, gratitude and love. Talk to each other, tell stories and build great memories.
2. Share Meals together: Some families are too busy. Everyone is rushing in different directions. If you want to create a home full of joy and happiness make sure you eat together. There is nothing like sharing meals with each other. You can sit around the table and share your burdens, difficulties, dreams and joys. The meal table is a safe place for families to share their hearts. Ensure you don't disregard the importance of eating together.
3. Pray together: Praying together as families is also important. Of course, we need our own prayer times, but we also need to pray together. Why not read a short passage or devotional together and then get a different family member to pray.
4. Celebrate together: Whenever there is a birthday, graduation, or a major milestone in the life of a family member you should celebrate it. Fill the house with balloons and cake and cards. Celebrate each others achievements. Not every celebration needs to be lavish, but we do need to celebrate milestones.
5. Play together: Don't pass each other like ships in the dark—do life with each other. We love to go away as a family. Tylan and Ava love Grandad to read them stories. They love playing UNO with Uncle Jay and we love walking together on the beach, playing in the sand, and swimming together. We have the best times ever. We eat all our meals together. We tell the same funny stories over and over. We go and watch movies we never got an opportunity to see. We play hard, laugh hard and love hard.
So, where was I? Yes, I was telling you about leaving my little house. I walked out of my beautiful house and packed up all my memories in my memory box and I knew everything was going to be okay. I was moving to a new house that would quickly become a home filled with joy, new memories, and all the wonderful memories that I was taking with me.
I pray that your homes will be places of refuge and joy for each member of your family.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,