Making It Home: What is a Home?

What is a home anyway? Is it the house? Is it the people who live in it? No, I guess that’s the family. Maybe it’s the atmosphere within a family’s house. Or maybe it’s your community – you know how when you are driving back from a vacation there is a point you get to where someone in the car says “It’s good to be home.” Perhaps it’s your people, even beyond blood relatives. When you are with them it just feels like home. But what is that feeling?

In the book of Ruth, the idea of home had several slightly different meanings. In chapter 1 verse 6, home was Naomi’s country and people. In verse 8 it was Ruth’s “family home,” the household she grew up in. In verse 9 home indicated marriage and family. By chapter 3 verse 1, Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, are back in Naomi’s hometown, and she implies that Ruth’s home would be a place she could be provided for, find protection, and the ruins of her old life could be redeemed. Finally, Chapter 4 verse 11 shows Boaz’ home as his household, but also as a place of hope and possibility where love can come and children will be born.

Whatever your heart definition of home is, let us remember what home is not. It is not your physical house however big or small, fancy or rundown, quaint or sprawling that may be. It is not your belongings. It is not stuff to be acquired in a building. It is not made by other people, it springs from our own heart. It is not the sum of all our past successes and failings, nor is it a list of all you’ve done. It’s not the mess of dirty dishes and laundry, nor is it the pristine perfection of the magazine photo. Home is what we create.

How like our loving God to allow us as His image-bearers to also create as He created! So as you create your home, know that it starts in your heart. A heart full of peace, joy and love can only come from a relationship with Jesus. Otherwise our hearts will be discontent, searching for something better, and longing for more. First Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” This is where home is born, in a godly heart full of contentment because it rests in Him.

Refinishing Cabinets and Hearts

Making It Home Series

by guest author Rachael Armitt Davis 

My kitchen cabinets need to be refinished….and so does my heart, apparently. You see, refinishing the cabinets in the kitchen and bath has been on our to-do list for over a year, but it’s not yet in the budget.

The home AC went out, the car AC went out, we had to replace the washer and dryer…there’s always something, right? So these ol’ cabinets have gotten pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. But last week, someone was in my home, and mentioned that boy do I need to update my kitchen cabinets….and counters. She showed me pictures for ideas, and while I know she had the best of intentions, all of a sudden, as I looked at those renovated kitchens, I began to see my home as less-than. Not up to par. Honestly, it’s gotten shabbier by the day, in my eyes.

And just like that, discontentment sets in.

I “need” this and this and this, and instead of my heart being focused on praying for all that’s going on in my world today, or loving my family and friends well, or anything that would bring God glory, my mind is whirling with projects and budgets and potential debt. They say “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and have you ever heard a truer thing? When I compare my kitchen cabinets, or my husband, or my children, or my parenting skills, or my job, or my church, or my friendships, or my vehicle, or my purse collection, or WHATEVER….there’s always going to be someone who has it “better,” who is doing it “better.” And just like that, my joy is sucked down into the vortex of “I wish” or “if only” or “when this happens, I will finally be happy.”

It’s a slippery slope, and today, I’m going to wipe down those shabby, beat-up cabinets and choose joy. I’m going to remember why those cabinets are so rough:

… we’ve cooked and eaten a million meals in this kitchen, my beautiful little family and I

… we’ve had water fights with the kitchen sprayer, laughing until our sides hurt, water dripping down to the floor

… we’ve welcomed thousands of people into our home, and they’ve stood over these cabinets to wash their hands before sharing a meal with us

… my children have banged a step stool into those cabinets hundreds of times, wanting to play in the sink or help mommy cook or just see what’s happening

… our children and our youth and our college students and our friends have all jumped up on the counters to sit and talk with us, banging their shoes onto the cabinet doors as they tell us about their day

Tens of thousands of precious moments have led to cabinets that really must be refinished soon. But for now, I will remember those moments and choose joy. And it’s really not about the cabinets at all, is it? It’s much more about my heart.