Giving Your Home a Purpose
A home is not just where you live. It’s where you celebrate and grieve. Where you find rest or restlessness. Where you learn all the hard lessons about forgiving and loving other flawed humans under the same roof. Where you bring home treasures from meaningful places. Where the angriest tears leak onto your pillow and the best—or scariest—news arrives on a pregnancy test. Where scratches on floors mean new puppies and Craigslist finds. Where reminders of lost loved ones hang on the walls or in edge-rubbed journals. Where you either run toward or avoid. Where you can live out days in sweats and topknots without anyone else needing to care. Where you can pound on the piano and sing until your voice barks, and then laugh and try to repeat it again. Your home—or your room or your dorm—matters because it’s what you create it to be, and because you are becoming someone unique in the privacy of it’s walls.
And as you invest in your home, that very space helps to shape you and others as you become.
Growing up, I always used to rearrange my bedrooms at odd hours. Scooting the bed into a corner instead of against a wall at 11:00 pm, or moving a dresser into a different area. I’d envision how this change in my room would enhance my experience playing with my third-grade friends in the little brick house in Erie, Pennsylvania. In middle school, back in Oregon, I decided that creating a hippy, light show experience would surely be the right move, so I got glow lamps, slept on the top of my bunkbed and covered the bottom half in beaded streamers that you had to peel back in order to reveal the beanbag chairs. After school, my friends and I would sit under the bunkbed with our raspberry mochas my dad made, talking about our emotionally charged 7th grade tales and ideas. And boys. And who was holding hands around the track at lunch break.
As I grew slightly—and I do mean slightly—more serene in High School, I decided that transitioning to a full bed and creating a more “Asian jungle” inspired room would be suitable, so forward I marched into that new vision. Bamboo plants, fake vines, inspirational quotes.
The point is, I’ve always looked at my living spaces and decided what I wanted them to encompass or how I wanted to feel when I entered each space.
When my husband and I got married in 2012, we were looking into buying a house since the housing market was practically begging people to buy homes during the painful climb out of the 2008 recession. I knew that I would want my home to be an inviting one, where we had space to welcome in out-of-town guests or host bridal showers. Space to let people come and stay for free when they were in transition or moving into the area for the first time. I knew I wanted to have more than enough extremely comfortable blankets for anyone in any room. We wanted our house to be used how the Lord would want it to be used and we spoke that out loud and prayed it over our house. In that year, our home became all of these things: a place of refuge for some, parties for others. Weekend stays and a home full of music.
Even though we have moved a lot in our 6 years of marriage (5 times to be exact), we have thought in-depth about each potential home or apartment and dreamed about how it will be used for rejuvenation and relationship and laughter. It’s about so much more than just entertaining…but about how people feel and experience the environment and the heart that you have created there. Do they feel they can only be shallow, or can they let their guard down? Did they have to cover up their exhaustion, or could they slouch back on the couch and ask for advice? Home should also be where you can let out your heartache and process difficult things.
One of the first things you see when you walk into our little house is a thin black frame with a few specific words: “Whoever you are, wherever you have been, you are welcome here.” At the core of our family I want our home to be a place where anyone could knock on our door and feel like they matter and that they are deserving of a time to be loved on. It’s even a reminder in our own daily lives, that, despite our mistakes and shortcomings with one another, we are all still desired and welcomed and forgiven.
There are many things that come into play for me as I think about the priorities for my home. Some are practical and some are more idealistic. Some are simply based on my love for designing spaces and curating just the right items. Some are formed around what I want my 2-year-old to feel and believe about his home. But I encourage you to sit and think about your living spaces. Maybe grab a pen and paper and just write words that come to mind. They can be words about your home growing up, words that resemble the homes you like to visit the most, or even words you want to avoid when you think of your home. Which of these words or themes do you want your home to stand for?
Here are some ways I’ve thought through this:
I want my home to be inviting for children, where creativity can develop in any spot and my two-year-old racing cars down the hallway is the norm. I want to prioritize getting outside, both for work and play, so we can all come to the back deck and have an ice cold drink and chilled watermelon in the middle of it all.
I want my home to be a simple retreat, with warm lighting, light colors that I love and lots of greens—even if there are crayon marks or wine spills that need to be diagnosed and treated. Our home is small, and each space has to be intentional and thoughtful. Beauty matters to me, simply because I appreciate the process of cultivating it, not because of what someone else will think.
I don’t want my home to have excess. Having moved so many times, we’ve had many chances to purge. I want to continually give away what I do not need and even what I do not love (gasp) so that my home and mind can be clear of extra clutter.
I literally want to be a good neighbor. Sharing extra eggs and herbs. Caring about our neighbors lives and their whereabouts. Asking if they’ve found their dog yet or inviting them to use our barn for wedding pictures. I want to have their backs, and I want them to have ours as well!
Most importantly, I want my home to be full of the warmth and open arms of the Holy Spirit. I want anyone who walks in the door or onto our property to both think that it is a lovely space, and to feel at peace. I want there to be clarity and depth, beauty and vulnerability.
I believe that there is much more to come with this home, and I am patiently waiting for God’s guidance in what we are to invest in! But the purpose of this home has been cultivated, and its impact continues to unfold before us.
I would love to hear how you think through your home! Thanks for reading.