We need home more than ever these days. Which is why I’m so grateful that Nancie Carmichael wrote The Unexpected Power of Home for such a time as this. I’m so excited to welcome her to the blog today to share with you about Home.
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The Unexpected Power of Home
When you’re in the thick of raising kids, Home is where you keep things going: Brush your teeth, do your homework, pick up your socks! Share. Do your chores. Be good.
But some days you wonder if you’ve landed on an alien planet. Years ago, my husband Bill was on an extended missions’ trip to Africa. One night when he’d been gone for about two weeks, I finally got all the kids to bed after an awful day. Finally. I sat on the kitchen floor and sobbed. My nine-year-old son had thrown an egg on a neighbor’s house, and I was feeling like a Big Failure. I had been dramatic: “Jon, that’s vandalism!” After he’d apologized to the neighbor and washed the egg off his house, he told me that the neighbor swore at him and the other boys whenever a ball would land in his yard. Which, unfortunately, was a lot. Jon is now a married father of three and you couldn’t find a nicer guy. And all four of our sons went to college on athletic scholarships. So, things worked out.
But…Oh, how I wanted to do everything right! I would pray, Jesus, show me how to do this. Show me how to make our home a good place for these beautiful and sometimes challenging children. There was power in Home. I instinctively knew it but saw no easy answers or formulas.
Recently, my husband and I sold our home that was crammed full of memories. It was time to downsize, time to let go. I wondered, What was home all about, anyway? I began to reflect on the enormous power of it; how our earliest homes shape us for good or bad; how we, in turn, offer that life-shaping power to our own children. Out of that reflection I wrote, The Unexpected Power of Home.
Younger moms: Do you realize the powerful weapon you have at your disposal? The power of your home is what you do with it—just as the power of your life is what you do with it. Jesus used humble and ordinary things to teach important principles: Consider the birds of the air. Look at the lilies of the field. And so too, consider your home.
Home is many things. It’s our personal space where we have ordinary meals. We offer hospitality. We sleep there, play there. We Americans spend billions on our homes. But it’s possible to miss its power by focusing on its appearance and practical function. While this part of home is fun and important, the real power of home is people. It’s you, it’s me.
Take an objective look at your home, how it functions. Ask yourself:
• Is my home a place of refuge, a place of hospitality for my family and others? Does it feel “safe,” emotionally and physically?
• Is it a place of creativity? Does each person here have space to create?
• Does its atmosphere offer respect and comfort and a place of deepest acceptance and training to my children? What practical things can I do to make it so?
• Is there sacred space in my home? First, for me—and then for others?
The World Needs Your Home More Than Ever
There is a rhythm, a powerful nurturing in the common, ordinary meals…in sleep and chores and prayers. Nothing in life will ever challenge you like parenting in the intimate setting of home, where life gets real. The wilder and crazier life gets, the more we need the grounding of home. It’s where the gospel gets practical and personal.
If I had the chance, I would tell my younger self—that tearful mom that sat on her kitchen floor: Stay with it. I know you want to change the world. I know you often feel that what you are doing is insignificant. But the world needs you. The world needs your home more than ever. Jesus in you—and Jesus in your home can change the world.
Nancie Carmichael has been involved in writing and publishing for many years, including as co-publisher at Virtue Magazine, Christian Parenting Today Magazine, and now Deep River Books. Nancie’s many books include, among others, Lord, Bless My Child, written with her husband, Bill; Selah; and Surviving One Bad Year.
Nancie graduated with her MA in Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Nancie and Bill make their home in Sisters, Oregon, and have five married children and 14 grandchildren.
More about The Unexpected Power of Home
Home is where the Gospel gets personal.
Nancie Carmichael’s passion is that The Unexpected Power of Home: Why We Need It More Than Ever will inspire the reader to see with fresh eyes the potentially powerful and life-shaping place that home is. Through home, we have the power to create an atmosphere of safety, of beauty, of hospitality, and of celebration.
While a practical book, it’s also a spiritual book. Home starts with us. Through making room for the sacred in our home, we learn to make room for the sacred in our lives. This book on home addresses these questions:
- Have I really left home?
- Am I content where I am now?
- How can I be a person of hospitality and yet have solitude?
- Why do I have so much clutter?
- What does my clutter say about me?
- Does my home inspire a sense of celebration in each season?
- Is there joy in each season of my life?
As a mother of five children, Carmichael experienced with her family what it meant to have a place to grow and learn the most important things in life. Home is a place all of us eventually leave―and then look to find again. Home is a living, spiritual place that is reflective of who we are.
Includes questions at the end of each chapter to facilitate small group discussion and personal growth.
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Susan Stitch says
This sounds like a wonderful book. I want our home to be a sanctuary, and to feel that way for each person who lives here and for those who visit. As an introvert, I tend to cocoon in my spaces, but don’t necessarily work to ensure the space is as welcoming for everyone else. Thanks for sharing this on your blog.