Riches upon riches – that’s what this blog series, “There’s No Place Like Home,” is. And today I’m thrilled to host the marvelous Cathy Madavan, a firecracker of a woman who is passionate about living the Christian life with joy, purpose, and commitment. When I was working as a publisher with Authentic Media, I longed to commission her – and was thrilled when she said yes. I love, love, love her book Digging with Diamonds, which I got to help her with – if you haven’t read it, do so. She’s not only brilliant with catchy turn-of-phrases, but has the wisdom and depth to go with it. And yes, she was the one who came up with the title for this series!
No place like home.
There really is no place like home. And by home I mean the place where you can kick off your shoes and sprawl over the sofa armed with a book and a cavernous bag of crisps/bar of chocolate/bowl of popcorn *delete as desired*.
Of course, the pressure is always on for us to create the ‘ideal home’ straight from the pages of a glossy magazine, but creating a home is different to constructing a house. It takes an architect and some bricklaying experience to construct a house, but if we want to create an home environment where relationships can thrive, that also takes some planning and skill. It’s worth thinking about what we want to build, so that we can deliberately put the right foundations and building blocks in place.
I once visited a home with a sign above the door that read, “If you want to visit the house make an appointment. If you want to visit us, come any time.” Good point, I thought. We all want our houses to be warm and welcoming, but will people really feel more at home because your trinkets are displayed in perfect symmetry? Will they be so dazzled by your spotless floor that they want to open up their hearts and reveal their hopes and fears? Not so much. Now, I do love my house – I could well suffer from Obsessive Cushion Disorder and have spent an embarrassing amount of hours choosing the right shade of cream for the walls, but it’s not a home because of shabby chic accessories.
So, rather than spending too much time discussing our fabulous new feature wall or conversely moaning about our collection of cobwebs and unfinished projects, why not instead draw attention to all God has given us and be thankful and joyful about it? This is about building firm foundations. Your house might be perfect or it might be a work in progress, but you have a safe place called home where you know you belong and where strong relationships can be built. Stable buildings need firm foundations and it’s up to us to remember what really matters most in our homes and then build on that. What are our values? How do we enjoy in this space? How can we best express our memories and passions here?
For any building, we take out insurance in case our belongings are damaged, lost or stolen. But our most precious possessions are not material. Our home is a place where love can flourish, forgiveness can be practiced and honesty can be shared. These vital values need to be protected. Just as we deliberately keep out physical danger, so we should intentionally close the door on division, bitterness and selfishness. Pray that kindness will guard the threshold into your home. Declare that transparency will shine through the windows of your family. Believe that fruitfulness will abound on your land.
Your values and your traditions will not accidentally emerge; they will be created through intention and remain safe through protection. Sadly, through the busyness of life and various competing agendas, other influences will constantly try and invade our space and the enemy will attempt to steal all we hold dear. God has given us all we need to protect our territory; what do we need to do to ensure that His love remains at the heart of our home? Are we sufficiently spiritually insured against the loss of what matters most?
Somebody said that it’s not how many bedrooms you have, but how you use them that matters. Now, while constant striving for a larger house is futile (everybody always needs just one more room), I do think this person had a point. I know people with huge houses and small apartments who demonstrate equally incredible and sacrificial hospitality. And I know others who don’t. We can all extend ourselves and replicate our values by offering a grace space to others. Our homes can be a light into our community and our relationships. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work – my preferred option is holding pudding parties where other people bring the puds! We provide the table and a place to grow deep-rooted relationships. Could you invite others to share what you are building? Why not welcome them into your mistakes as well as your success? Allow your children (if you have them) to invite friends, make mess and eat pizza.
Proverbs 24:3–4 says ‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.’ What a blessing it is that as we dwell together, God dwells in the midst of us, enabling us to build a rich and significant place called home. There really is no place like it.
Cathy is the author of Digging for Diamonds and speaks at events, churches and organisations across the UK including tours with Care for the Family. She also writes for Liberti magazine and for CWR and is part of the Spring Harvest Planning Group. She is mum to two teenage girls, wife to Mark (a church leader) and leads worship at church. She loves communicating creatively and connecting with people.