By: Nicole VanGelder
The basis for the core values of our family start at the very beginning. No, not when Jamey and I were married on that blissful day fifteen years ago. Not even when we first “went out” in Jr. High. Before then. I’m talking waaaayyyyyyy back…all the way back to the Garden. You know the one–the one in the East, in Eden.
In the very beginning, when the world was brand new, we see a blueprint for a world of possibilities. It was a good world. There was nothing bad in it. It was the way things were supposed to be. There was no lack, no pain, no confusion. It was all good. Looking at it, I can see the type of world I was created for. The type of world that my spirit longs for. What better place to start?
If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s okay. I’ll recap. In the beginning, the Bible tells us that God created man and then he placed him in a garden. I’ve done some research on the topic. (It always fascinates me to study the Bible. I love reading different translations, learning about the culture of the day, going back to the original language, etc. All of those things can really add to your understanding!) In this case, what I discovered was remarkable. What the Bible means when it says that God put man in a garden is: God put man in a garden. (It could also say: God put man in an enclosure, a garden.) Wow! Doesn’t that bring revelation. Exciting stuff, the Bible!
If you stop and think about it, though, it is actually pretty amazing. Here we have a brand new world where everything was good–and still, God chose to create a garden for man. A special place for him to live in. Wasn’t a good world good enough? Apparently not. God didn’t want man to just be in a good place. He wanted man to have a place that was…well, home. A place separated from the rest of the world (even the good world). A place of safety, freedom and protection.
What in the world doest that teach me about my core values? Well, it shows me that it is important to have a place to call home. A place to think of as yours. If, in a good world that is important, well, how much more important is that in a world that is sometimes…not good? Haven’t you ever had a day when you felt weary or beat up and just couldn’t wait to get home? What about a day of celebration? Does it feel complete until it is shared and celebrated at home?
I love being home. I’m not lying when I say that it is my favorite place to be in the whole world. I love that there is a place that feels comfortable, safe. I love that it is a place of laughter and joy. I love that I feel peace and encouragement and hope within its walls. I have had many a day when I couldn’t wait to just get home!
Have you ever felt like that? How much more so, then, do you think that is important for our children? These sweet, innocent ones that are still figuring so much of life out. Shouldn’t they have a “garden”? A place of protection. A place where their triumphs are celebrated and their tragedies are somehow not quite as bad. A place of peace and a lot of laughter. A place of unconditional love–and even like. (Because, after all you can love someone without liking them. A real triumph is to genuinely “like” all of those that you love!) I love that my home is a place of just the right mixture of structure and crazy–at least, usually. :)
What says home to you? What does it look like to have a place of protection? A place of belonging? What atmosphere do you want your home to have? Over the next couple days, take some time to really think about the answers to those questions. Dream about them. Pray about them. Knowing them on the inside is the first step to creating them on the outside.
Read more & follow Nicole’s blog at www.joyfilledhome.org!