Over the past several months, our kids have faced the harsh realities of growing up in a broken world. A dangerous virus has infected our communities. The devastating pain of racism is exposed for all to see. We’re caught in the crossfire of disputes over masks and social distancing, politics and policies, and the road to reconciliation for our country.
Our children are no longer innocent to the fact that life can change overnight. Yet no matter the upheaval and chaos, God offers peace to our families. Here are ten ways to make your home a safe haven in a scary world.
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1. Quiet Rest
At its best, home provides a restful place to slow down and breathe. Find respite from the stress and negativity on every screen by setting aside your devices for part of each day. Build breaks into your routine before projects and tasks run you ragged. Give yourself permission to choose “being” over “doing” so you can enjoy the simple joys of life.
How can you draw your family into quiet rest? Invite your kids to snuggle up or take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Settle in with good books on a rainy day, or savor a little backyard picnic in the sun. Set bedtimes that allow for quality sleep at night. Connect for a few moments before rushing into the day’s agenda. Embrace God’s precious gift of rest for your family.
In a safe home, everyone knows they’re loved unconditionally. Each unique personality, talent and passion is celebrated. No emotion is labeled as “bad,” so sadness, fear, and frustration can be expressed without criticism or judgment. Your kids can be confident that whether they succeed or fail, win or lose, they are accepted and embraced.
An accepting family refuses to play favorites since each child is a priceless gift from God. No one is put down for mistakes or compared to someone else who got it right. Instead of blaming and finger-pointing, you offer the kind of love that “always hopes, always perseveres” no matter what (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Each of you is set free to learn, grow, and become who God created you to be.
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God earns our trust in his love by keeping every promise and speaking the truth without fail.
We build the same kind of security and confidence at home by the integrity we show to one another. We say what we mean and mean what we say. We keep our word, and we communicate clearly if plans have to change. We choose to be honest and take responsibility for our actions.
Our kids feel safe when we offer limits and boundaries that hold firm all the time. They feel loved and secure when we keep the secret fears and feelings they share in confidence. We protect their hearts every time we walk our talk and do what’s right.
4. Open Communication
In a safe home, a family can wrestle with life’s tough questions together. Sensitive issues can be discussed and examined from all sides without shame.
Each of your ideas and opinions is heard and valued, even when you disagree. No one is left to wonder or worry alone.
Open communication gives permission to say, You hurt me. I need help. I’m angry. This is what I’m going through. It builds bridges between you and allows you to know each other’s hearts.
It makes a way to move past hurt and conflict, and it helps each person find the support they need. If a family can talk openly, they grow closer and more secure, one conversation at a time.
This kind of open communication is essential especially in stressful times, so your kids can feel safe sharing their fears with you and receive love and validation in return.
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Safety means your property, your feelings, and your body are treated with respect. You’re under no threat of insults, embarrassment, or abuse.
You can rest easy knowing your money is secure in your wallet and your keepsakes will be treated with care. When you close a door, you’re confident you’ll be given the privacy you need. Your boundaries are honored at home by the ones who love you most.
Respect tells our kids that they matter. Each act of careful, considerate treatment sets them free from anxiety. When the world tears them down, we can restore their dignity and affirm their worth.
We establish God’s Word in our home: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
6. Physical Comfort
Our family can experience a sense of security in a home that appeals to all the senses. Freshly-baked bread and wholesome meals nourish our bodies and spirits. Clean, soft bedding, fuzzy pajamas, and a cozy nightlight make bedtime a little sweeter. The mood is kept light with uplifting music, flowers or candles, and even a cuddly pet.
Comfortable spaces to read and play set the scene for fun as a family.
In the Bible, we see Jesus enjoying the good things God made. He shared delicious feasts around the table with his friends. He curled up for a nap after a long, hard day. Little ones wrapped their arms around his neck for a hug. By making our homes inviting and warm, we find comfort and experience God’s goodness to our family.
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This time is full of exposure, tough adjustments, and short fuses. The pandemic is hard on everyone, and the racism some are experiencing is another humongous emotional load. And is any kind of hurt more painful than rejection?
In these times, it seems no one is safe from labels. Slander. Harsh criticism on social media. Past mistakes are remembered and dragged into the present. We crave mercy that seems impossible to find outside our family, and we all need forgiveness for how we might be negatively reacting to the hard circumstances around us.
At home, however, we can show grace. We offer the gift of second chances. Our love refuses to hold a grudge or keep a “record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
No matter how hard we fall, our family is there to take us by the hand and lift us to our feet. We know the forgiveness we’ve received through Jesus, so we offer that same forgiveness to one another.
Our families have suffered a great deal of loss in this season.
So much has been taken—jobs and paychecks. Health. Playdates and classrooms. Church and community. Traditions and travel. Those losses can make us—and our kids—feel depleted and afraid.
Yet we still have much to offer one another. We hold the gift of undivided attention to share with the ones we love. We can lavish words of encouragement and affirmation on our family to build them up.
With helpful hands, we can lighten the load. A little creativity and effort can say, “I love you,” and create fun memories for life.
Our generosity at home—of our time, attention, and hearts—provides gifts that nothing can take away.
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The world is scrambling to find solutions to overwhelming problems. Scientists around the world research cures for disease. Government regulations attempt to bring order and prosperity to society. Yet no matter the gains we make, mankind never achieves the peace we’re searching for.
As a family, we can worship the One who promises to make all things new. Hearts and minds are transformed by his power, truth, and love.
Instead of depending on imperfect people, we put our trust in Jesus—our Creator, Savior, and King. As you worship him as a family through singing, reading the Word, and your church, hope is restored.
Peace is found. Faith is grown. Love takes hold, and fear is gone!
Today, you face threats to your peace and security. You carry your children’s burdens of worry and disappointment. Your problems are real, and you can’t see a way to solve them. Each concern chips away at the stability of your home.
Yet we serve a God who is eager to hear your prayers. His heart overflows with compassion, empathy, and love for your family.
Take him at his word, inviting you to bring your struggles to him: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) Reach out to God in prayer to find “refuge in the shelter of [his] wings.” (Psalm 61:4)
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Originally published Tuesday, 23 June 2020.