Launch week is a test to the normal "live at home a quiet life" Clarksons. As a family that God has chosen to put, at times, in front of the public eye, we have experienced ups and downs of the demands this puts on our lives But learning to create a haven of sacred life and protection, a place to retreat and regroup safely from the eyes of the world, is important to all of us at times. We all have disappointments, failures, stresses. How important it is to find a way to pull back and restore with the grace and love straight from God's heart. Today I share a story from our book. How do you provide a safe refuge in your home so at times, your family can all escape from the pressures of life?
Furrowed eyebrows above large dark eyes was the signal to me as a mom that something was not right with one of my children. Like my other precious ones, she had faced the challenge of growing up more or less in public and was feeling exposed and fragile, inadequate to live into such a pressured role. It was not the life we chose, it was the life we were given. We must each figure out how to manage the unique puzzles of our family stories and our home life.
God has blessed our family with the opportunity to interact with so many people from so different walks of life and to touch others with our ministry, but I had learned very quickly that this was not always easy for my children. And this particular child had begun to grow into a challenging point of adolescence and especially needed attention and affirmation from me.
“Mama, do you ever feel like a hypocrite when your life is so . . . visible? Doesn't it get hard to keep on writing and speaking about your ideals when your failures are right out there for people to see? Do you ever feel disqualified?”
She went on: “I really need to get away from the voices and eyes of the world right now. Can’t we hole up in the house for a few days and just be ourselves, with all our warts and weirdnesses?” (We ended up doing just that.)
Truth be told, I could totally relate to what my sweet daughter was saying. I feel like quitting ministry about ten times a week! I am just a normal Christian woman wanting to love Jesus and live according to His example, and God simply called me into a more public place than I would ever have chosen.
How well I know what my child was discovering—the vulnerability that comes from being a leader, from publically standing firm on an ideal. You put your neck out and stand for principles, and yet you are still only human and make mistakes along the way. Not everyone understands, and there is plenty of criticism to face in the journey. Add to that our breakneck, high-pressure, high-consumption contemporary culture and it’s easy to reach a place where all of us feel depleted, needing a place of safety and refuge, desperately thirsty for emotional, physical, and spiritual water to refresh us.
The way I have been able to bear all this (most of the time) is to make our fallibility a part of our message. I’ve always been upfront about the reality that I and my family aren’t perfect or always strong. We fall down and mess up like any other family. But even when we’ve blown it, struggled with the dark side of life, or wallowed in our own sin and selfishness, God has been faithful to us.
The heart of my message is that God still redeems every moment, every mistake, and every failure.
It is a risk to stand for something, to seek after the holy ways of God, to keep going when you are weary to the bone, to love when you feel hurt and rejected, especially by those who call themselves "Christians." Every one of us will be called in some capacity to live into a call and will face this struggle in some way.
That’s why all of us need a place to escape from time to time. We need a home—but not just any home. Home needs to be a haven of safety, acceptance, and unconditional love, a place where we can rest and find refuge from all the devastating and depleting parts of life. When the storms and difficulties come, home should be the first line of defense against despair. This is why we must guard our homes as if they were our very lifelines. Because they are!
Today I challenge you:
How will you make your home a place of refuge? How will you provide a place of unconditional love where secrets can be shared and carried as a holy trust? How will you provide quiet and rest, recreation and inspiration for those within your walls? How will you keep the messages of a frenzied culture at bay so that the truth heard in your home will be that which instructs, comforts, gives insight, and shows love to those who hunger for peace and restoration?
How will you plan your home? Go forth and prepare.
From The Lifegiving Home
Thanks to everyone who has shared our books with your friends. It means so much to Sarah and me. We pray it will encourage women all over the world!
It's a party here at SallyClarkson.com, all week as we celebrate the launch of my newest books, The Lifegiving Home and The Lifegiving Home Experience! Written as a collaboration between myself and my children Sarah and Joel, these books are a magnum opus of sorts of the home we've created as a family. We're so glad to welcome you in! You can buy a copy from your favorite bookseller here!
All week we're drawing names and picking winners, who are the beneficiaries of our wonderful friends who are joining in Launch week with us! Yesterday's winners are ...
For Crystal Sutherland's painting, Bethany N!
For the two children's devotionals, Nicole L and Lisa W!
For the Princess sticker sets, Sue Tan and Krista T!
and for the two great books from Tyndale, Heather B!
Congratulations, and watch for an email with more information! We have even more giveaways for you today (all week!) Here they are!
#1. Fruit of the Spirit Embroidery Kit from Clementine Patterns--be sure to visit their lovely shop!
#2. Precious Hymn Notecards from Mercy is New!
These lovely hymn cards can be used in multiple ways! You can use as postcards to send an encouraging note in the mail. You could also use them as a lovely addition to your home decor. Hang on twine with clothes pins, frame, or give as a gift! You could also add a few to a gift to give it a special and unique touch!
#3. Art by Chastity Giles!
Chastity is offering this darling painting of Fruits of the Spirit teacups- watercolor, inktense, and ink on watercolor paper- 12"x9"!
#4. First Hands-On Bible and Devotional Reading Journal from Tyndale Publishers!
My wonderful publisher, Tyndale, is going to send these books to one winner! The First Hands-On-Bible is perfect for preschoolers, and I pray this Devotional will help you continue or begin your own practice of quiet time.
Today, please enter by tweeting about Sally's new book! Or visit Sally's Facebook page and comment on one of the posts; we keep you up to date on what's happening 'round here. Enter by using the box below:
Remember to sign up for the party for an opportunity to receive fun recipes, printable posters and a chance to win a trip for you and friend to Sally's home this summer.