Psalm 84: 1 – 4
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
We all need a place to call our own, a place of shelter, a place where we can rest and recharge, a place of shelter and refuge…
A place where we belong, a place to call ‘home’.
The word ‘home’ can have powerful connotations of warmth and security; however, the sad truth is that ‘home’ is not always an easy place to be.
As single parents we know that ‘home’ does not always live up to the ideal, for many of us we have had to deal with a loss of love and broken trust as well as issues like addiction and abuse (both verbal and physical), and all the horrible things that go along with them. Dealing with these issues day after day can make home an unwelcome place.
As my marriage was falling apart there were many days when I did not look forward to going home, because I did not know what kind of trouble I would find there as there as things got worse. Even with all this stress and worry it was difficult to make the decision to leave the marriage, but after a lot of prayer, and with the support of others, I finally made the decision to take my daughter and leave to start our own home…together.
However our new home was hardly ideal, while it was safe, and welcome change from the turmoil we had left behind us, it was never all that peaceful, but then life seldom is.
Our home quickly became hectic, as our days were filled with issues of school, work, church, my recovery meetings, as well as friends and family. We were also having a hard time adjusting to our new lives, and to the new relationship with had with each other and that she had with her mother, this adjustment was not always easy and caused a lot of stress within our new home.
Then, as my daughter and I grew up, we found ourselves face to face with the struggles of the teenaged years, which caused us more turmoil as I once more found myself dealing with issues of mistrust and addiction and all the joys that go with these things: struggles over friends and school, as well as encounters with the police. Added to this were the financial troubles that came with being laid-off from my job.
Once again, home became a place to avoid, as I never knew what to expect when I got there. Perhaps this is a feeling that others can identify with…where home is no longer a place of refuge and comfort but of contention and conflict.
However, no matter how uncomfortable it may become, it is still home, still our place…and staying away is not an option, as our children, our families need us, and we need them…we need to be ‘home’.
When the homes we have built with our children have turned unpleasant or even unsafe, there is still hope…hope in the presence of God’s love in our homes! For if we have shared the love of God in our homes, with our children, with our families, we have transformed our homes into the dwelling place of God…a true place of love and refuge, and a place of celebration and praise, even when faced with the darkest struggles of life!
As the dwelling place of God’s love, our homes do not need to be perfect. God does not avoid the imperfect, but seeks to embrace it…after all Jesus was sent to live as one of us in the midst of our often messy and dangerous world to share the good news of this love with all people who needed to hear it, to shine the light of grace into the darkest places. Even in the face of addiction and abuse Christ brings us the healing Word of God has a free gift, and this Word has the power to restore, reform and reconcile all that has been broken…even if sometimes this reconciliation can only happen through a physical separation!
As Christians, we are called to share this love in all that we do, and not to let the struggles we face as single parents get the better of us, or even chase us out of our homes. With the help of God and each other, we can restore our homes to a safe and loving place, and heal the troubles that seek to pull our families apart!
Acting with faith in the presence of God in our homes, we can take these struggles, and truly see them as a challenge: something not just to overcome, but to learn from, to help us grow as people and as a family. When we reach out for help it meet these challenges they can remind us that we are all part of the family of God…all part of the same household, the Kingdom of God, the true dwelling place of God which is right here in our midst!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for the opportunity to build and then rebuild homes of our own with our children, and please help us to have the hope and faith to face the struggles that would break our homes apart, and let us have the strength to ask for help when it gets too much for us to handle on our own. Give us the hope that can be found in the light of Christ, who lived with us so that you could what it is like to be human…and please help us to see the challenges of our lives as lessons to help us grow, to reconcile and to restore our love for each other…so that our home not be a place of sorrow and fear, but of praise and rejoicing.