I don’t know about you, but for me, having a little sanctuary has been a very important thing. In the last years that I lived in my father’s house in the beautiful land of Virginia I had my own special little place: a barn. You can barely see it tucked behind the trees lining the far side of the pond in this photo, but it was my favourite spot, along with another barn that I began to use when cows occupied the field leading to this one. Never did the Lord seem so near, never was it easier to “pour out my soul before the Lord” than in that precious sanctuary.
Things just aren’t the same now, we live in a trailer park, and there’s a home full of noise. There’s no place to “escape” to, no special, quaint little area where everything’s quiet and all I can hear is the sound of birds about me. For a while I begged the Lord to provide me another little sanctuary, some place to go to rest my soul in His presence. Didn’t know quite what that would look like, but prayed for it nonetheless, missing that communion had before in that Virginia barn.
Here enters another lesson learned through change. There was nothing special about that building of wood, however peaceful it was to be there. The Lord Himself is “a little sanctuary” to all those who will seek Him. Sure it’s harder to quiet yourself in the same way when there’s a lot going on around you, but to learn to enter that sanctuary then, or any time, is a true blessing indeed. It only occurred to me recently that that prayer was answered, not in giving us another place to live where I could somehow escape for a while to enjoy one-on-one time with Him, but by teaching that He is that place, and that not only is it possible to enter the sanctuary of His presence in the hustle-bustle of the day, but to then become or make one of sorts for my husband and children.
The way that’s worded might sound blasphemous! but all I mean is that it’s in the homemaker’s power to make the home a welcome place of rest or one of turmoil. When my husband returns from work will he wish there was another place to go where He could feel nearer to God, and not be burdened with the cares dumped upon him upon his return? Will he find here a haven where he knows he can find peace, or will he be met at the door with sundry “bad reports”, a clogged toilet, crying baby, arguing children, and a messy house? When my children are having trouble with their days will they find in me a source of comfort and truth, or just a harsh disciplinarian? Will they find in me a friend or only an authority? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe in rules and discipline! But there’s so much more to being a mother than saying yes or no, enforcing no, teaching, and kissing boo-boos.
In closing, and along the lines of a “sanctuary”, just as a little bit of practical advice that most of you probably follow anyway, this simple thing I’ve learned to be helpful: Always create a peaceful spot in the home, first thing. Mornings are pretty busy here, and after breakfast no matter how clean the house was beforehand, it’s pretty disastrous looking then! But I’ve found if there’s just one room that’s clean by the time breakfast is over, there’s so much less stress about the general state of things. For me, it’s the master bedroom. It may just be my personality, but if I look around and every room is messy I just feel grumpy! If there’s just that one place though, that’s pleasant and welcoming, the rest can be conquered with a lot more grace. 🙂
“Thus saith the LORD… although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” (Ezekiel 11:16)