Peaceful Dwelling Place

By Sonya Laughlin Executive Secretary When I was growing up, I came from a home where I never knew what to expect when I walked in the door from school. My mom worked long hours to support our family and my father’s chief role was to cause strife and turmoil. I vividly remember cowering in my room because I wasn’t sure if it was safe to come out. My home was not a home of peace. My father was loud and demanding, and I could never understand why my family was not like the other families in my neighborhood. I never invited friends to spend the night because I was afraid of what they might witness. In reality, my home was probably exactly like a lot of homes in my neighborhood. I remember thinking to myself and making a declaration for my life that my home would always be a safe haven and that my children would always feel peace and security. That they would never feel like they were unsure of what waited for them, because they knew, that what waited for them was a loving mom and dad, good food, a warm atmosphere and a place of peace. One of the greatest compliments that I ever received about my home was that “they felt like they had taken a tranquilizer when they walked through the door.” They felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Let’s take a look at Strife: the polar opposite of Peace, Strife: conflict, contention. James 3:16 : Where there is Strife, there is confusion and contention. Strife is not a problem between people; it is often a problem within the person. Symptoms of Strife: Defensiveness, bitterness, judgment, criticism, unrest, fear and negativity. Strife spreads like an infection and if not halted, can run rampant through our homes. Now let’s take a look at peace and how we can have peace reign in our homes. Hebrews: 12:14-15 Strive to live in Peace, Follow Peace When we trust in ourselves it leads to strife. When we trust God in brings peace. I realized a long time ago that being a peacemaker is a decision. It is a learned behavior. Some people seem to gravitate towards turmoil, but I choose to live in peace and I hope that this is a decision that you too will make The Devil cannot handle believers who know how to “Hold their Peace!”Colossians 3:15: NIV “Let PEACE …….act as an umpire in every situation. Matt 5:19 Be “makers and maintainers of peace.” Our rest in Peace during an attack defeats the Devil and inhibits his work. I am sure that if I asked each of you to ponder what “Home” means or represents in your life, we would probably all have different ideas. Here are just a few quotes: “Home” is defined as “a place or abode of affection, peace and rest; a congenial abiding place.” HOME: A world of strife shut out, a world of love shut in. HOME: A place where we grumble the most, but are treated the best. HOME: The only place on earth where the faults of humanity are hidden under the sweet mantle of love. Homes are not happy by accident, but they come about by following God’s word. The reason that homes have become so confused and anxiety-filled is that we have lost our focus on the worth and value that God places on the home. I remember hearing awhile back about a book that was out, that was later made into a show, that was called “Shalom in the Home.” It was written by a Jewish Rabbi. The Jewish people believe in peace so strongly that they use it in their most common greeting to one another…”Shalom.” They believe that peace is the cornerstone of a happy home and place great priority on a stress free living environment. The fact that Jesus was called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6 is no accident. Peace is very important in God’s eyes.John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" With the constant tugs that confront our children every day, the idea that they can enter a sanctuary of peace when they walk through the doors of their home could make all the difference. I want to share a little trick that I use in my home. When I am agitated with my children and need to get their attention, I actually lower my voice while speaking to them. It causes them to stop what they are doing and forces them to listen to what I am saying. I literally speak Peace into that situation by talking softly and not allowing the present circumstance to unravel me. Many of us come from backgrounds similar to the one that I described as my own and some much, much worse. Our home lives were tumultuous and I am sure that some of you spent many nights falling asleep in fear. It’s time to break that cycle in our homes! It’s time to take back our homes  and provide a peaceful environment for our children and our children’s children. Not only does developing a peaceful and restful environment in our homes beneficial to us and our children now, but is even more beneficial when they become adults and strive to break the cycle that they came from and provide a loving, peaceful environment for their own families. I also realize that some have never had a “normal” home life and that they are “pre-programmed” in their ideas of what a home is. That’s a tough place to start from.  However, in the long run, not only will a peaceable spirit set the atmosphere in your home, it will oftentimes change what was long-time considered the norm. Even Jesus had the place that was home to him. He often retreated to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary because it was a place of refuge for Him. A place where he felt taken care of, safe and loved. There was something in that home that kept bringing him back. The components of that household can be mimicked in our own homes by being a Lazarus, A true listener and confidant, Martha, someone who served as caretaker and Mary, someone that loved unconditionally. When I talk about “peace” I think that there are so many avenues that we can take as mentors and parents to bring that about in our homes. Here are a few…..
  1. Make your home a place that is warm and inviting.
  2. Make your home a place of direction and encouragement, not judgment.
  3. Make your home a place where they can let their guard down and know that they are not threatened.
We have such a small window of opportunity to affect the children in our care. Let’s make every minute of every day count by offering them a sanctuary. A place where peace is found and they look forward to walking through the doors.  A place, that long after they are gone, can remember fondly and strive to have in their own life someday. I want to challenge each of you. In the day and age that we live, all of us could do with a good dose of PEACE. Try this, try setting the tone of peace in your home and see what a difference it makes.