I love shoes and fun, cheap jewelry. I love books. I love my three cats and my five chickens.
I love writing and I love to prowl through thrift stores and flea markets. But there is nothing in this world that I love more than my family. I know that’s not unique to me. I am sure many of you feel the same way. I’ve spent 25 years making a nice, warm, safe nest for my family. I’ve always wanted my home to be a refuge for those who live there. It’s a safe place to fall and where the strength to get up again is found. It’s where dreams grow and life is celebrated. It’s where imperfect people find other imperfect people who love them so much it sometimes seems ridiculous.
Only love isn’t ridiculous at all. That kind of love comes only from one place. The Bible tells us that God is love and that others will know we love Him by how we love one another. No, love is not ridiculous, it is the first, and most important ingredient in families. That kind of love believes all things, hopes for all things, and endures all things… and in a family, we believe, hope and endure together. Family was God’s invention, and He places us in families to bless us… even when sometimes we don’t act like blessings. But that’s on us, not Him.
I grew up my whole life, until college, in the same house. I had the same bedroom, ate dinner in the same chair, and ate every birthday cake at the same table my whole life. I was planted in that house. I had roots there. I knew where home was. My husband, on the other hand, moved quite a bit growing up. For him, change was always an adventure. I was not a fan of change, but when you marry a gypsy, you get used to packing and moving. Early on, I worried about our kids. We tend to believe (assuming our childhoods were healthy) that the way we grew up was best, and I was concerned that moving so much would interfere with our kids feeling rooted anywhere.
In his wisdom, my husband told me, “Our kids will always feel at home if they are where we are.” I worried, still, because I did that in the early days, but time has proven his statement true. Our kids have lived in more than a dozen different places, but they know where home is. Home is with mom and dad. In spite of my concerns, they are rooted well. No matter our address, we have loved, hoped and endured together. Their roots are stronger and deeper than even mine were.
Giving our kids roots is only half of our jobs as parents. It’s important to provide that for our kids, but equally important is giving them wings. Our children are only on loan to us. The Lord brings them to us to love, nurture, teach and train for only a while, and then we get to send them off into the world to live lives of blessing to others. How well they fly, and how true their trajectory, depends on those early roots, though. Kids fly best, and surest, when like homing pigeons, they know where home is. And if they fly a bit off course, knowing where home is and that home is the place to believe again, hope again, and endure, it becomes the place they can start again.
It’s like the captain of a ship who navigates by due North. He can be sure of any other direction as long as he can count on due North. You see, it’s in the roots that kids can find wings. It’s in always knowing where home is that they can venture out and live lives of purpose. As the day approaches where each of my kids find their wings, I am working hard on those roots. My motives are not completely altruistic, though. I know that in the days and years to come, a great deal of my joy will be in watching them live out the lives to which God has called them, and oh, what a time that will be! Pop the popcorn, Honey, this is going to get real good!