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The Power of Home to Heal

After eight nights in hospital with my precious little boy it is good to be home, it is good to be in my own bed, away from the noise and busyness of the hospital. But more than that being home brings healing. We have spent a lot of time these last two years in hospital: first with Lucy, now with John. The stress of the environment, being surrounded by the suffering of so many children and families; and the worry and pain of your own circumstances means you leave hospital bruised and battered emotionally- this last admission I met a family about to take their child to a hospice because the doctors can do no more, a little girl left permanently brain damaged from the treatment for her brain tumour, and a family who can spend 50% of their time in hospital with their son with cystic fibrosis, and there was us with our third terminally ill child; life is just plain unfair sometimes I left wanting to curl up and hide from the cruel world which sees families battle through the deepest of pain. Home is a place to be healed, and it was not just for me. As soon as my little six month old terminally ill, deaf, developmentally delayed baby came home he smiled, he made big happy noises, he looked around at everyone and everything familiar. He was home, he was happy and content, surrounded by all his people. This beautiful and powerful experience of coming home made me cry. This precious boy knows home, and loves home. And it was not only John who received the blessing of being home. For me back surrounded by the children, Mr Man, the mess, the chaos; but also the peace and sanctuary that I find at home my soul could exhale. My sad heart could heal. Home is the people who live there, it is also the bricks and mortar which create a fortress against the harshness of the outside world. It is where life is lived in all it’s messy glorious, honesty. Our home is not interest worthy, it is definitely no show home, it is jam packed full of life and it’s messy, it needs painted, expanded, de-cluttered, re-organised, constantly tidied; but it is home to us. And it is safe. It is a place where we can come to be healed- that is the power of home. How sad not to know home as a safe place, a place to be loved and accepted, to be nurtured. How many children turn into broken and...

Longterm Vision for Creating a Learning Culture

It’s that twilight zone of a week, the weird non-week between Christmas and New Year. A busy December has left me tired, I don’t want to do much to be very honest. The weather has been truly rotten this festive season, so we have spent much of it in doors. The year we enforced a no video game/ console games ban for Christmas presents and it has worked, so they have not spent this week playing new electronic games. Every morning the boys like to check if it’s still holiday time, if they still don’t have to do any work. And they are delighted to learn they are still off! I’ve not been super-mummy making a lot of fun activities happen, to be honest I’ve tried to do as little as possible. But something wonderful has been happening. Jude’s miniature digital piano he was given at Christmas has become a focal point of learning. The three oldest children all spending time each day trying to learn the piano, and not just plonking on keys in an annoying fashion, actually working at mastering little songs. Noah has picked up a chapter book- and this boy who has lacked so much confidence with his reading and the ability to read independently; he is going off alone and is reading, then telling me excitedly what his little tale of rabbits is all about. My only organised activity was the creating of thank you notes, this led Noah to look at Youtube videos on how to draw, which has led to all the boys spending hours (literally) drawing, and trying to do it well, to master something. As well as this the boys have been putting on dance performances to entertain us. And Jude has been creating wonderful things in lego. I’m amazed at how much “learning” has happened this week… and the boys are none the wiser :). What this has taught me is: by limiting gaming, by creating an atmosphere where learning is natural children will by themselves choose this path themselves. This does require longterm vision. It means working with them so they acquire the tools to go further themselves. Although Noah has found reading a struggle we have focused on making good quality books a central part of our home, so reading is part of the family culture, so as he himself gains the skills to read independently he will choose it as a natural past time. But if we furnish children with easy boredom fixes- copious gaming devices, endless television, DVDs a plenty then they will choose the...

Guarding the Atmosphere in Your Home

As a teenager one of the things that had the biggest impact on shaping my spiritual development was by friends home. My best friend through high school was my now pastor’s daughter. I went to church (not their church at the time), my mother went to church; but there was something quite different about this family, and about their home. I knew nothing about them when I first started visiting their home, but I knew there was something that made their house different to mine! As I grew closer to the family in general, two things really stood out to me about the way they lived their lives: firstly my friends parents prayed, and secondly they hardly watched television, and it was not the background noise to which they lived their lives. My home was a little different, I had no real awareness of my mother’s spiritual life- she had a Bible at the side of her bed, but I never saw it open, secondly the television was almost always on. The atmosphere in my friend’s home was, and still is, lovely. The kind of place where you want to stay and just be. As a teenager I determined I wanted my home to be like this when I grew up! Older, and hopefully a little wiser, I understand more about the spiritual principals which create a healthy environment to live in. Our homes should be places of healing and safety; a sanctuary against the harshness of the outside world. Therefore it is important to nurture and guard the atmosphere of the home, making it Christ centred. The Holy Spirit comes and resides in a place where God is worshiped: “But thou [the Lord] art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” Psalm 22:3. Our homes will be places of His Presence when they are places where he is worshipped and honoured. This is what God wants our homes to be like, He desires to be at the centre of our lives, that our homes will be places of peace. The building of a spiritual life as a family is important, so children learn to pray, and are taught God’s Word; but they also need to know that what you do in public is also what you do in private. It was obvious that my friend’s parents were people of prayer, you only had to look at their Bibles lying on the table to see they were the most well read books in the house. And despite being the busiest people I knew, I was aware that...
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