Thursday, April 19, 2012


Last week we took a look at houses I've occupied. There were many. But HOME is the focus today and I've only known two, the Tippetts' and Hendersons'. Perhaps moving often in the Navy gave the Tippetts a clear picture of what made our home, well. . .homey. Whether we lived in snowy Rhode Island or sunny Florida, home was the same, simply relocated.

Robert Frost said, "Home is the place where. . .they have to take you in." What made our home?
Daddy would often precede us to the new city when Uncle Sam transferred him. He might try to describe the house to us but until we arrived there, it was just the house, not home. A Chinese proverb puts it this way,
"A hundred men may make an encampment,
but it takes a woman to make a home."

These are the things, not really things at all, that filled our house. . .intangibles, that made each house our HOME.

Faith was first on my somewhat alliterated list because family security came in knowing Christ was the head of our home. Dad led us in family altar but also by example in living out his faith. That strong Christian influence filled our house. Prayer, Bible reading, finding a church were priorities and assured us of Who was ultimately in control. Before I was born, during Dad's absence in World War II, this was not only important but vital. Those prayers bonded family across the seas literally. Doug and I established that same Head of our Home pattern.

"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain."

Charles H. Parkhurst wrote,
"Home interprets Heaven.
Home is Heaven for beginners."

Family filling the rooms transformed every dwelling into home. Raucous laughter, brotherly wrestling, sibling squabbles, the smell of baking, Mama clearing her throat three times, my piano ramblings, the smell of saw dust from Doug's wood shop, "Mama! I'm home!" greeting both generations from the '50s through the 90's.

Familiarity also helped whether it was in belongings or life habits. Sometimes it took awhile for our furniture to arrive. Until then the house felt less like our home. But once my own bed arrived and I nestled into the familiar, it became home. Food tasted better on our own dishes than on paper plates.

Woven into the familiar things around us were the routines within us. Schedules, family rituals, our patterns of doing things together all established our home. Even such a mundane routine as homework helped because it was homework. There we felt appreciated, accepted, affirmed.

"Good hit, Ricky!"
"Slow down, Kathy!" I loved to practice piano at warp speed.
"Kent, brush your teeth."
"Kimberly, turn off the light. You've read long enough. Bedtime!"
"Time for devotions, kids."

Finding friends took a bit longer than unpacking the boxes but we learned to waste no time doing so. Military brats are all on that restricted time away from extended family so we learn to reach out to others as soon as the curtains are hung. That carried over when I became a minister's wife. I never waited on others but initiated friendships. Church often provided that opportunity but so did my neighborhood. My first next door neighbor taught me everything from picking and canning corn to cooking collards and pickling cucumbers. Giving, rather than taking, is the key here.

"I went outside to FIND a friend and could not find one there.
I went outside to BE a friend and friends were everywhere!"

All of this took time but combined with effort, house became home.

"We shape our dwellings and afterwards,
our dwellings shape us."
Winston Churchill

Once I wrote a magazine article on friendships in the ministry. I interviewed many pastors' wives. More than one teared up in loneliness as she admitted to having no close friends, often afraid to make them. False notions about her biblical role or life-in-the-fishbowl fears robbed many of forging rich friendship. Many wives lived in isolated loneliness. Christ had 12 close friends among others, three of whom were especially dear but He described John as the beloved.

Like dominoes encircling me, faith, family, familiar routines and friends all support to make me feel at home wherever the house may be.

One day heaven will surround me with the same. They'll take me in and I'll be home! Again. But this time, forever.

JOY of My HEART: August 3, 2011facebook_16 twitter_16

The Home of Your Dreams

"I am making everything new!"Revelation 21:5, NIV
We all have dreams of what home should be like. . . .

Do you dream of a home with love and laughter and loyalty, with family and fun and freedom? Do you dream of a home where you are accepted, encouraged, and challenged, forgiven, understood, and comforted?

There is hope! The home you've always wanted, the home you continue to long for with all your heart, is the home God is preparing for you! As John gazed at a vision of the glory of Jesus Christ . . . , he stood in awed wonder of "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1, NIV). What he saw was confirmed by the words of One Who was seated on the throne: "I am making everything new!"

Imagine it: One day, in the dream home of My Father's House, everything will be brand-new and you will live in the home of your dreams!
Anne Graham Lotz
AnGeL Ministries Websi


  1. Kent, our son, wrote:
    Enjoyed the last 2 weeks. So fun to look back with all those memories.

  2. Awwwww, I hadn't heard that song. Almost made me cry. Took a LOT of houses to build you, Kent. But you're well built, son!

  3. Kathy, the "home is where the heart is" has been presented to us as we make arrangements for Mother. We are praying with her mental alertness,that we can provide mobility for her to return to her home. She assures us He has prepared her eternal home and now she can endure the boredom at her earthly home until the transition takes place. I do so enjoy your blog because each one reminds me of things to be thankful for. Your home in Raleigh will forever be special because John accepted Jesus as his personal savior in that front yard.Brenda Bond