What makes a home is the life shared there, wherever that may be. And cultivating the life of home requires intentionality, planning and design. The Lifegiving Home, Sally & Sarah Clarkson
My daughter had been asking me for days to help her make cinnamon bread from scratch. Actually, it wasn’t entirely her idea. The whole idea came about because when she asked me to buy the pre-made cinnamon bread that caught her senses in the bread aisle at the grocery store, I said no. At nearly $5 a loaf, and full of ingredients I could barely pronounce, I reasoned that we could easily make cinnamon bread at home, and it would be much better. She wasn’t convinced, but when I told her she could help make it, she quickly acquiesced.
I put her off for days, due to various complications and activities in our schedule, and for the fact that we had just listed our house for sale and the idea of messing up the now-pritsine kitchen to make cinnamon bread left me completely deflated.
Home is the place where the whispers of God’s love are heard regularly. The Life-giving Home, Sally & Sarah Clarkson
It hit me that for now, this is still our home, and the promise I made to my daughter was important–too important to dismiss.
So I drug out the giant dough board, and brought my Kitchenaid mixer down from the closet, and we set to work making the much requested cinnamon bread.
For 3 hours, I bounced between helping with math problems, working on reading, and babysitting the rising dough. Our excitement for the finished product swelling with each passing minute. By the time we had our loaves in the pans we could barely contain ourselves.
In their new book, The Lifegiving Home, Sarah Clarkson writes, “We must understand the creation of home as a work of incarnation power and creativity. “Kingdom come” doesn’t happen on some cosmic scale; the whole point is that it invades the physical at the humblest level.”
As we are currently seeking to physically move from this house (hopefully) is to another, I have spent a lot more time considering what exactly home is. I wrote about this the other day in reflecting on Christie Purifoy’s new book, Roots & Sky, and it seems I am to continue the conversation here today. Initially, when I realized I’d be writing two posts here in one week, both on the topic of home, I thought the timing was awkward, but I think now, after reading the Life-giving Home, that this is, at least for me, entirely intentional on God’s part.It’s so easy for me to consider the idea of “Kingdom come” in the abstract, that is, to fail to grasp the true gravity of what it means for me here, on the ground, amid my people, and all that life together entails.
“Do you see it? We were made for home. We were made for relationship and place. We were made for belonging to the physical world.” (Sarah Clarkson)
I was worried purely about the physical aspect of keeping a tidy kitchen, when I pushed off my own promise to my girl to make cinnamon bread. This is our home, and as it is on the market, the state of things, in the physical actually matters a great deal. But just as the physical matters, so does the spiritual impact of the way I choose to shepherd (or not) my own children. How I choose (or neglect) to show hospitality to my own people has eternal consequence.
I was convicted of this very fact the day I surrendered to the mess and the baking.
When all was said and done, my daughter didn’t even like the homemade bread we had made–she flat out said the store-bought was better.
Initially, I felt a bit indignant. All that, for that. I couldn’t believe it. I counted the time spent prepping the dough, waiting for it to rise, and bake and then the time it took to clean the kitchen, and for a moment, decided that the $5 mystery-ingredient loaf would most certainly have been a better use of my time and resources.
But I would have missed out on something that the $5 loaf couldn’t provide. I’m sure you know what I am saying–it’s the time spent with my girl. Baking is a spiritual practice if you let it be. While the two of us bent over that warm, sweet dough, hands all-a-buttered and our fingers, goopy with cinnamon sugar, I taught her techniques for rolling the dough just enough, and how to warm the butter just a bit, to make it spreadable. Her love language is quality time, and whatever the effort that went into two disappointing loaves of cinnamon bread, it was worth every blessed minute to have welcomed my girl into the kitchen, and to have helped her feel capable, creative, and accomplished.
His Kingdom comes in the way we celebrate, the shelter we make of our homes, the joy we put into what we cook and eat and create, our willingness to welcome strangers into our midst. (Sarah Clarkson)
In The Lifegiving Home, Sarah quotes Mark Stafford: “The Incarnation turns stuff into love.” Messy kitchens, bread that fails to meet expectations, this is the stuff that when spent on a person becomes a way of loving them. Flour dusted countertops are signs of the Kingdom come.We are challenged by the Incarnation to make our homes a small cosmos of God’s Kingdom, one more outpost of eternity right in the midst of time. (Sarah Clarkson)
God’s Kingdom is among us when we embrace the people and opportunities God places in our midst. The Kingdom of God becomes a tangible experience when we sink our hands into dough, or dirty laundry, or soapy dishwater. The Kingdom of God becomes palpable when we sit with a child on our lap and read a story, or hear about their day. The Kingdom of God welcomes us when we open our door to a friend or stranger and offer them a seat at our table, or a pillow for the night.
A Meal, a cup of water, a hand of assistance in the garden of actual soil and the soil of the heart. In all of these ways we can experience the reality of God dwelling among us.
Do you see it?–Sarah asks.
I do see.
*We are so excited to offer TWO of you a copy of both The Lifegiving Home, Creating A Place of Belonging & Becoming AND the accompanying The Lifegiving Home Experience, A 12 Month Guided Journey.*
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